Resistance Museum, Lyon
Lyon was the "capital of the Resistance" (quote Charles de Gaulle) in France
under the Vichy regime during WWII
and Nazi Germany
's occupation of the city. It is thus only proper that this museum should be situated here in this city.
It is also housed in the very same building used by the Gestapo
and its infamous local chief Klaus Barbie as their operational centre from 1942 until September 1944, shortly before the liberation of the city. During that time Barbie oversaw and actively took part in thousands of round-ups, torture, executions and deportations to the gas chambers of Auschwitz
– in one particularly notorious case he instigated a raid on a Jewish orphanage in Izieu, whose children he had directly transferred to Drancy
and on to the extermination camp. During his time in Lyon he displayed a vile pleasure in personally torturing his victims or watching while his henchmen did so – including one of the best-known leading members of the Resistance Jean Moulin.
One section of the museum is fittingly devoted to the historic trial of Klaus Barbie, who was not only the "butcher of Lyon" but subsequently also an undercover agent for the CIA
(and for a while even the West German intelligence service) in Bolivia
, where he may also have been involved in the assassination of Che Guevara. It was only in 1983, under a new democratic Bolivian government, that Barbie was finally extradited to France
. His high-profile trial (in which he stubbornly remained silent) took place in 1987 and ended in a life sentence, though his remaining life was short – he died in jail only four years later.
Another focus of the museum is eyewitness reports, of which it has a large collection and there are also regularly changing temporary exhibitions. An educational service (e.g. for teacher assistance and for mediating school workshops) is another branch of the centre.
The official name of the institution is "Centre d'histoire de la Resistance et de la Deportation", though it also known simply as "Musee de la Resistance". But only the longer name indicates that the deportations of political prisoners and Jews during the Nazi reign of terror also forms part of the coverage of the museum.
Opening times: Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at weekends; the adjoining documentation centre has slightly more restricted opening times, including an hour's lunch break and it is closed altogether on Sundays.
Admission: 4 EUR (2 EUR for students, and free for under 18-year-olds), including a trilingual audio-guide.
Location: at 14 avenue Berthelot, 69007 Lyon, in the south-eastern part of the city centre, just a block from the eastern banks of the Rhone river; to get there either walk or take tram line T2 directly to Centre Berthelot, or metro line B to Jean Mace and walk a few blocks up avenue Berthelot.