Natzweiler-Struthof Monument

The monument at Natzweiler-Struthof is called the Memorial of the Deportation. It was built to honor the French resistance fighters who were deported after they were captured while fighting against the German occupation after the defeat of France in June 1940. In May 1964, the Memorial was "dedicated to all the deportees, to perpetuate their memory, and with it, their heroism and their martyrdom," in the words of Dr. Leon Boutbein, one of the survivors.

The photo below shows the first view of the former camp, as seen from the road that enters the Memorial site. This view is looking eastward; the road to the village of Natzwiller is behind the camera in this shot. The entrance to the camp is on the left; the Memorial is outside the barbed wire enclosure, set upon a hill above the camp.

The photos below show the side of the Memorial which faces the former camp. Inside the spiral is the carved figure of a man. In the first photo below, the barbed wire which surrounded the camp is shown in the foreground.

Photo Credit: Diane Shaffer

In the words of Dr. Leon Boutbein, written in 1954, when plans were made for the monument:

The Memorial will be the symbol of the flame of the crematorium that united the victims in the same sacrifice, and it will also recall a splendid spiral ascending towards the infinite, the eternal hope that was in the heart of every deportee. It was for the promise of a reconciled humanity in a world happy and free that they accepted to die. [....] Yesterday the heroism of the soldiers of Verdun was consecrated in Douaumont, today it is in the supreme serenity of this marvelous mountain haunted by the spirits of those who died, who were hanged, who were shot, that our children will come to meditate and to honour the civic heroism of the Partisans who suffered and who died so that the love of freedom should remain the law of human beings.

The remains of the prisoners who died at Natzweiler were brought back to the camp and buried beside the Memorial in the National Cemetery of the Deportation. In the foreground of the photo below, are the crosses that mark their graves. Each cross has the name of a resistance fighter who died as a martyr for France.

Ash pit

The gallows


Camp Prison



The Camp