Resistance and Deportation History Center

Lyon in the war, 1939-1945


The Resistance and Deportation History Center conserves and cares for archives and collections. What makes it different is its remarkable collection of posters, contemporary song sheets and material coming from the great figures of the Resistance. Some 700 filmed first person stories of members of the Resistance and deportees make it a key place for discovering the oral history of this period.



A permanent exhibition 

Divided into three basic concepts - commitment, information and propaganda, space and time -, the permanent exhibition offers a concrete experience of the major moments of the Second World War.

An audio guide system helps the visitor feel the atmosphere of the Occupation years.

With this visual and sonic world and the contemporary documents (videos, photos and written archives), the visitor can understand the various realities of occupied France. At the end of the tour, a giant slide show lets the visitor re-situate the local and national events of remembrance into the planetary scale of the conflict, by placing them in their historical context.





Temporary exhibitions


The Resistance and Deportation History Center accepts or creates many exhibitions which bring the museum to life. They cover alternately the values of the Resistance, the current state of Human Rights or the lives of committed individuals, and occupy a central place in the museum's programming.

Extracts of the Barbie trial

Klaus Barbie was appointed head of the Gestapo in Lyon, responsible for fighting members of the Resistance , communists and Jews. The particularly brutal methods of interrogation which he used explain how he earned the nickname of "butcher of Lyon". Forty years later, in May 1987, he was judged for crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Barbie trial was the first trial for crimes against humanity in France, and was an important moment in history and for the remembrance of the Occupation years, sharing in the awakening of the Lyon's collective memory and prefiguring the creation of the Resistance and Deportation History Center.

Since its inauguration, the Resistance and Deportation History Center relays exclusive extracts of the trial by special permission of the Paris High Court. Putting the accent on eyewitness statements, this film gives an idea of the debates and the emotion surrounding the trial; each witness statement contributing to the reinforcement of the idea of crime against humanity.


  • Sessions : 10h30, 12h00, 14h30, 15h30, 16h30
  • Duration : 45 min


The documentation center


The documentation center is an indispensable resource for information on the period for all types of public. Admission is free with a multitude of documentary tools as well as a research assistance service. The works for consultation are listed on the website of the Lyon municipal library.

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Educational service


In response to what is one of its mains raisons d'être, the Center gives young visitors pride of place in its admission and programming policy, thus contributing to the education of future citizens, free, responsible and conscious of having inherited a common memory.

The educational service is available to teachers to assist them with school visits and develop an effective partnership. Visits and workshops are led by mediators.

Lyon during the war


During the Second World War, Lyon saw a mix of destinies. Situated in the Southern zone, in accordance with the 22nd June 1940 armistice, it became the most important city of Free France. It fulfilled a major role with the redeployment of administrative services and press organs from Paris. As an important intellectual hotbed, Lyon saw numerous leaflets and clandestine newspapers begin to appear from the summer of 1940. At the same time, the civil and military Resistance began to be organised.

On 11th November 1942, the situation changed radically: German troops invaded the Southern zone and occupied the city. The German repressive services and the Vichy auxiliary police tracked down the members of the resistance and made many arrests. The repression also descended on the Jews, and many roundups were organised from August 1942.

On 14th September 1944, during a speech at the City Hall, General de Gaulle paid tribute to the city's commitment, and proclaimed Lyon "Capital of the Resistance".


A place of remembrance


The Resistance and Deportation History Center is housed in the former military Health College, in the very building used by the Head of the Gestapo in Lyon, and is a powerfully symbolic place in the service of history and remembrance . The building's cellars, in which the Gestapo's victims were held, and which today house the temporary exhibitions, constitute the heart of the museum.

On 26th May 1944, Allied bombardments put an end to the occupation of the severely damaged building. The Gestapo services were then transferred to a building situated on the corner of the Place Bellecour and Rue Alphonse Fochier. There they carried on their sinister tasks until the liberation of the city, on 3rd September 1944.


Eyewitnesses of the Second World War



The project for creating the History Center owes a lot to the eyewitnesses, who today are still strongly involved in its working life.

The History Center is a place where memories are handed down and generations can meet. Former members of the resistance and/or deportees, "hidden children" of deportees, actors and eyewitnesses of the Second World War come every day to tell their story and dialogue with the young and their teachers.