Sunday, 26 October 2014

Juigné Forest

Compared with English woods, the Forêt de Juigné is enormous, although it is not exactly huge compared with areas of woodland in America or even France.  It stretches roughly five miles by about two and a half, and for most of the length - at least four miles - there is a road running straight as a die.

The forest road in spring . . .
. . . and in the autumn.

One of the side lanes.

This is in the part of France that was occupied during the Second World War and, not all that many miles away there was a prison camp, Choisel, at the edge of Châteaubriant, where were interred Frenchmen that the Germans didn't like such as Communists.   In December 1941, it was decreed that 100 Jewish or Communist hostages should be shot (in reprisal for something I have not managed to discover), nine of them coming from the Choisel camp.  They were driven into the forest for their execution.

For many years, their only monument was a hand-painted, wooden board, but about two years ago this was replaced by a smart, brick pillar with a stainless steel panel.  Somehow, the old monument seemed more personal and more evocative, but I do agree that the newer memorial is more fitting.

Apparently, there is another memorial in the forest, on private land, where one tree that was used as an execution post is still standing, complete with bullet holes.

(Photo Patrice MOREL)


The Broad said...

That tree is a far more effective memorial...

Shammickite said...

What a sadness. People do such terrible things to each other. I like the hand painted sign, but the other one will keep their memories alive for so much longer.