Historical Centre of Resistance and Deportation
In the Heart of Jean Macé
The museum is found in the district of Jean Macé, which was particularly affected by WW2 bombings, with whole buildings destroyed. Lyon’s Resistance Museum is in Lyon 7 at 14 Avenue Berthelot, housed in a former military health school.
In 1943, the Museum was taken over by six sections of the Sipo-SD, the Nazi police. Section IV, the Gestapo, was run by the so-called “butcher of Lyon”, Klaus Barbie, whose job it was to track down resistants and Jews.
The building was transformed into Lyon’s Resistance Museum in 1992, to honour all those who were affected by the decisions taken by those in the building during WW2.
The museum honours all those who tried to resist the Nazis, when Lyon was free – under the rule of Maréchal Pétain, and when it was finally fully occupied by the Nazis.
Jean Moulin is particularly paid hommage to, as the man who led the resistance in France on behalf of Charles DeGaulle, who was in London.
After the war, Lyon was heralded as the city of resistance, partly due to the actions of Moulin, who brought together different resistance groups.
You can see a fragment of the parachute Moulin used to return to France after a brief rendez-vous with DeGaulle in the U.K!
But the museum does not forget the consequences of being a resistant, or anyone else the Nazi regime did not value – Jews, gypsies, homosexuals…
Lyon’s Resistance museum has several testimonies from those who were taken to concentration camps and managed to survive. It is also possible to see many artefacts from the time, such as letters written by resistants or those in detention. Particularly touching is the book of names of Jews deported during WW2 from France.
Life In Lyon During WW2
For residents and expats in Lyon, what is particularly touching is seeing photos of buildings they know and love, with Nazi tanks outside or dressed in the Nazi flag, such as the Hôtel de Ville.
The museum also has an array of ration books, letting you see how life would have been in Lyon during WW2.
The exhibition finishes with a trip into a recreation of a resistant’s house. Upstairs is the kitchen, with a picture of Maréchal Pétain hanging on the wall. But downstairs is the resistant’s printing press…