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A place of memory

A museum in the heart of the Citadel
The Museum is housed in a building constructed on the orders of François Michel Le Tellier de Louvois, Louis XIV's Secretary of State, and used as a barracks for young aristocratic soldiers in service to the King (the Cadets du Roi). It was officially opened on 8 September 1982, the anniversary date of the liberation of Besançon.

The highly symbolic choice of the Citadel for this award-winning Museum
Prisoners sentenced to death by the Military Court of the Besançon Feldkommandantur were executed in the Citadel from 1941 to 1944. Four stakes located between the well and Chapelle Saint-Etienne are a reminder of these tragic events.

One hundred Resistance fighters executed by firing squads in the Citadel: 84 French nationals and 16 people from the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Spain and Poland. Sixteen members of the Guy Mocquet and Marius Vallet FTP (Francs-tireurs et partisans) groups were executed on 26 September 1943. They included two Spanish nationals and young men from Franche-Comté, including Henri Fertet, aged 16 and a student at the Lycée Victor Hugo. Before his death he wrote a poignant letter, describing his commitment to the cause:
"I am dying for my country, I want a free France and for the French to be happy, not a proud France desperate to be the best nation in the world, but a hard-working, industrious and honest France. May the French be happy, this is surely the most important thing". Copied and printed in secret, it was read out on London radio by Maurice Schumann and made a big impact.

On 7 September 1944, on the eve of the liberation of Besançon, the Citadel was liberated by the American army. It then became a place of detention for German prisoners of war.