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Denise Lallich

The CHRD: a memorial and place of reflection A meeting with a former member of the French resistance

Denise Lallich, a former member of the French resistance and a speaker at the CHRD

Having joined the resistance at 16 years of age, Denise Lallich is one of the precious remaining witnesses to the events of the wartime years, and a speaker at the Resistance and Deportation History Centre (theCentre d’histoire de la résistante et de la déportationor CHRD). She tells us about her time in Lyon’s resistance networks.

Could you tell us a little about the CHRD?

The  CHRD  is a history centre. More than just a museum, it invites visitors to discover history at first hand and to reflect on these events. It was recently redesigned to give greater emphasis to eyewitness accounts. Here, we find historical information, reconstitutions, and items (parachutes, weapons, deportees’ uniforms, gas masks and so on), but above all precious eyewitness accounts from the members of the resistance themselves. What's more, speakers like me come along to share their experiences and memories of the war.

In addition to the permanent exhibition, the CHRD proposes temporary exhibitions and is home to a very comprehensive documentation centre.


What form does your participation at the CHRD take?

I explain what we lived through at the time, particularly those of us who were schoolchildren. For me, this is an essential mission as it’s important that we never forget. We must never lose sight of the evil of which man is capable in order for us to avoid it in future, and we must constantly make it clear that one must always retain one's judgement and never blindly obey anyone.

Do you have any special memories of the CHRD you’d like to share?

I've seen children cry here as they discovered the horror of the war. I also particularly remember a teacher that I met in tears in front of the CHRD. She had just learned what really lay behind her grandfather's past as a militiaman and at the same time discovered that the ideas defended by her parents were not those that she imagined.

How did you come to join the resistance?

I became a liaison agent at the age of 16 because my brother was in a resistance organisation which needed to smuggle things. At the time, I took my bicycle to deliver items and messages to the publisher Eugène Pons. I was never arrested: with my young face and my bright and cheerful appearance I didn’t look in the least bit threatening!

Later, when the Germans moved into the free zone in 1942, I used my skills as a calligrapher in the production of false papers in the university basement. There, I was often obliged to hide as many of my comrades were shot. I was also a member of the FUJ, (Forces Unies de la Jeunesse- united youth force).

With my past, to be able to speak here, on the very site where Klaus Barbie tortured members of the resistance, seems very fitting.

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25/05/2016 14:34

thank you for preserving the history of the bravery and sacrifices of members of the resistance

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Lyon City Card Admission to the CHRD and the exhibition are included in the Lyon City Card

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