At the Voves camp, by restoring the deportation wagon, these students have become memory smugglers


The “heroes of the day”, aged 14 to 17, restored the wagon of the deportees from the Voves camp. (© Laurent Rebours)

This morning of Friday 13 May 2022 was particularly propitious with its mild summer to welcome dozens of participants in an inauguration ceremony of the restoration works of the chariot of deportees from Voves concentration camp (Eure-et-Loir).

The work done by the students of the François-Truffaut regional adapted education institution in Mainvilliers near Chartres who, under the guidance of their teacher Régis Drigny, simply accomplished feats.

Technique at the service of true memory work

Of from February to May 2022combining their technical and professional teachings with a real commemorative work saving this chariot to allow it to cross the future decades, these students ” they are the heroes of the day He confides separately Anne Rothenbuelerdirector of the departmental service ONAC-VG.

We can say that these moments are full of emotion, commitment, transmission, these young people aged 14 to 17 have had a certain form of courage that must be honored. They were impressed by what they achieved, by the scale of their project.

Anne RothenbuelerDirector of the departmental service ONAC-VG.

So these young people were truly honored by all present, by their teachers, by the elected officials, by the personalities who welcomed this achievement.

Night and fog

The wagon in the name of André Migdal has been completely restored, it will benefit from a hard shelter.
The wagon in the name of André Migdal has been completely restored, it will benefit from a hard shelter. (© Laurent Rebours)

Régis Drigny, initiator of the innovative construction site-school brought to this field of commemoration of Voves, for more than twenty years he has been able to combine the passion for his technical and professional training with that for history.

That of the Second World War in particular, which led him on sixteen occasions to accompany his students to places of horror such as, very soon, to Struthof in Alsace.

We can only note that very few pupils of Eure-et-Loir know the historical sites such as this field of Voves, the Maquis de Plainville, the barbed wire seminar … A name here immediately caught my attention, ct is that of André Migdal and his incredible career that needed to be explained. This chariot bears his name, we must pass on his memory because, when we see what is happening today in the East, oblivion is not far off. We can only remember Nacht und Nebel, Nuit et Brouillard …

Regis DrignyProfessor at EREA François-Truffaut in Mainvilliers

A wagon offered by the SNCF in 1947

Official inauguration with students tied to cutting the ribbon
Official inauguration with students tied to cutting the ribbon (© Laurent Rebours)

The secretary of memory of the Voves camp, Etienne Egret, always present to animate the place with the public, simply returned to this wagon put into service in 1947 and offered in 1994 by the SNCF.

Video: currently on Actu

Several partners allowed it to be presented here and it bears the name of André Migdal, who died in 2007.

Thanks to EREA François-Truffaut, we set up this training site in July 2021 and we were followed by financial partners to make this operation possible and offer this wagon now in extraordinary condition, all these young people are a credit to their structure.

Etienne ÉgretSecretary of the Voves Camp Memorial Committee

On the history of the camp, more generally, the honorary mayor André Coeuret wanted to recall how “it was in a state of total abandonment in 1982, with four meters of brambles in some places, scrap metal, mountains of stones …”

With volunteers it was repaired for months, which revealed the foundations of buildings such as showers.

“The young people here have paid for their commitment with their lives”

A training site led by Professor Régis Drigny
A training site led by Professor Régis Drigny (© Laurent Rebours)

The current mayor, Marc Guerrini, more than appreciated “the colossal work done by these students for the transmission of memory”.

An opportunity for him to evoke the memory of “all these young people who, interned in this camp, paid for their commitment in these disastrous years with their lives, here I am addressing a free youth! “

Marc Guerrini took the opportunity to indicate that every effort is being made at the moment develop memorial tourism in the department and already, here from the protection of this wagon by a rigid shelter, the creation of a museum and a parking lot with video surveillance.

“The restructuring of this wagon is substantial with a budget of 14,600 euros, but it is a blank operation thanks to the Department” concluded the mayor.

“The killing of madness is upon us”

Principal Josiane Merkiled and Etienne Egret presented the students with a diploma
Principal Josiane Merkiled and Etienne Egret presented the students with a diploma (© Laurent Rebours)

And for the Departmental Council of Eure-et-Loir, Christophe Le Dorven he left his speech aside to let his feelings about what these young people have accomplished.

Are you aware of what you have achieved? I’m not sure. As the grandson and son of a veteran, I have been blessed to never have to fight and suffer. You will be able to tell, when you are a parent, what is the story concerning your territory because we often remember only the best.

Christophe Le DorvenPresident of the Eure-et-Loir Departmental Council

With the war at the gates of Europe today, Christophe Le Dorven considered it necessary to “also and almost exclusively remember the worst! This refurbished wagon will never have to be driven again. Murderous madness, barbarism is now on our doorstep. “

The school received the medal of the municipality of Villages-Vovéens.
The school received the medal of the municipality of Villages-Vovéens. (© Laurent Rebours)

Comment continued by Deputy Philippe Vigier, “young people are able to best convey history, the peace we have known for decades is now broken, there are war crimes in Europe, be our ambassadors of peace“.

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