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The Patrimoine (artistic and cultural heritage) of France: Marseille during World War II

Marseilles, the second largest city in France, has a unique artistic and cultural heritage. Founded in 600 BC by the Greeks from Phocaea, this gritty, working class city is the front door to Provence, and the capitol of French Hip-Hop.

A Brief Overview of Marseille during WWII


After Frances defeat against the Germans in 1940, on July 10, 1940, both chambers of the French Parlament voted to give power to Marshall Petain, a World War I war hero from the Battle of Verdun.  Petain would lead the French of "Free" France (i.e. Vichy, France), while the occupying German Army was in charge of the occupied region.  This arrangement required collaboration with the Germans; who on Nov 11, 1942, took charge of "Vichy" France in retaliation for the Anglo-American landing in North Africa.   Between January 22 and January 27, 1943, upon the request ofGerman General, Himmler, the Germans carried out a vast military/policing operation to destroy the Vieux Port neighborhood of Marseilles.  Its entire population was “filtered.” Hundreds of people were arrested and transferred to the transit camp at Compiègne camp and then deported  to German concentration camps; among them were around 800 Jews.   Marseille was finally liberated from German control between August 15 to August 29, 1944 during the Battle of Marseille.  Sources: SciencesPo

The Resistance

Le Tranbourdeur

The bridge of Marseille (le transbourdeur) was built in nineteen months to connect the quays of the Port and the quays of Rive Neuve. It was inaugurated on 15 December 1905. In the 1930s, it served only as a decoration, due to the lack of means to maintain it.

On August 22,1944, the German military blew up the bridge to block the port during the liberation of Marseille, but only the north tower fell into the water. The rest collapsed on September 1, 1945, following the firing of 400 kg of explosives. Follow this link for more information.





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