No announcement yet.

the great fire of Rouen,June 1940

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • the great fire of Rouen,June 1940

    Hello amigos.

    I have used Google translate and a wonderful blog made by a Rouennais,to explain you how my city burned for 3 night and days in 1940.
    Sorry so for the akward translation.
    Don't miss the comments,very enlightenings by themselves.

    April 16th, 2008
    "In the middle of the night of June 9, 1940 ,we saw the tanks arrive by the street of the Jews, the tanks that went Cathedral Square" Alice, 10 years

    Mask War starts in Rouen as elsewhere in France. In August 39, arriving the first passive defense measures: gas masks, reduction of lighting, furnishings shelters. On September 2, the general mobilization order is displayed. In September always is dismantled church stained glass, we protect the statues. Is conveyed to the castle of Carrouges in the Orne the most valuable works from museums, libraries and archives. October sees the start of dietary restrictions. And phony war settles. Here is how André Maurois describes Rouen during a visit April 40:

    The Grand-Pont Street was, as usual, swarming and merchantability. I enjoyed doing my head admire the treasures of Rouen monuments. (He acccompagne a British general came to inspect the foundations.)

    On May 40, Hitler attack the northern front, defeat the allied troops and the population exodus not long in coming.

    Since the fall from Abbeville,Rouen was in mortal danger. In the last week of May 1940, the city entered the military zone. As a precaution, theaters and cinemas were closed. Laid by German planes, remote bombs fell between Rouen and Elbeuf, in Essarts at Orival. In early June, the tide of refugees reached Normandy. (...) The Rouen, on their doorsteps, watching the amazing show. They helped their best. Countless wounded, soon all pharmacies were full. Most patients wanted to stop; Rouen lodged them. When all had been rented rooms available, each shared his house with a refugee. A migration of civilians, soldiers had mingled: Dutch and Belgian who had lost their country, French who had lost their regiment. Then occurred in Rouen Similarly, the phenomenon that had emptied Brussels, Lille and Amiens. Man is a herd animal. The man follows the man. The exodus is contagious. Humans waves that continued their descent distraught led to an unlikely salvation with them sixty miles Rouen. [1]

    However, it remains more than forty thousand inhabitants in the city. Part of the city council, the mayor at the head, crosses the Seine. The English troops set fire to oil refineries of the left bank.


    Fire of Grand Couronne refineries [2]

    The flames illuminated the skies. Monstrous columns of smoke rose in black and white swirls. Then a cloud of soot, residue of this giant fire enveloped the city. It was pushed by the wind, go back to Paris the next day and create the impression that grew attack by some unknown gas. [1]

    On June 9 the morning of the first Germans arrived in Rouen by road from Neufchatel.


    German General Staff street Ernemont [2]

    At 10:00 am, the French genius blew up the bridges. At 10:30, the Germans invest the town hall. Maurice Poissant, fifth Deputy Mayor, remained on site, Krupp receives authority by the commander on all common economically or geographically related to Rouen, 17 which nevertheless retained their internal administrative autonomy. A large Rouen 290 000 inhabitants is created temporarily. Appointed mayor of Rouen by the Germans, Maurice Poissant will remain at that position until April 2, 1943, when he resigned from office. He was arrested and deported on June 29, 1943. Here is an excerpt from the monthly report of the Prefect Head of Government: The German authorities have demanded the departure of Mr. Poissant, Mayor of Rouen, who gave me his resignation. They accused Mr. Poissant tolerate, the Mayor of Rouen, a hostile mindset to collaboration. They also accuse him of close relations of friendship and trust he had with his interpreter arrested some time ago for embezzlement in the management of Jewish property and for using in anti-German purposes, facilities that would give her an interpreter at the Kommandantur.

    The Germans invest the city.

    It was then that took up a strange and chivalrous episode. A light French tank, one stayed right bank, at the bottom of the street of the republic. Suddenly he threw himself before the German column that was sweeping the sidewalk shrapnel bursts, and for the honor, attacked. The meeting took place symbolically at the height of the street Alsace-Lorraine. Seconds later, the French tank, including all occupants were killed, blazing, but the first German tank had exploded and burned, too. [1]


    Fire at the bottom of the street of the republic. In the foreground, a snowcat German recognition. [2]

    The fire caused spreads rapidly in areas located south of the cathedral. The Germans, on the pretext that Rouen has not been declared an open city, prohibit firefighters to intervene. The fire raged for three days. It was only on June 11 that the order will be given to extinguish the fire while he was threatening the south side of the cathedral. Appraisal: 918 homes destroyed, 5,070 homeless. That same day, the Germans gather all black and they can find isolated colonial soldiers, who, could not escape were made prisoners of war. All these men are taken at 11, rue de Bihorel where they were massacred with machine guns. 121 Algerians, Africans and West Indians and died.


    Scene of desolation at the foot of the cathedral [2]

    [1]: Rouen devastated Andre Maurois

    [2]: Rouen under occupation Patrick Coiffier pictures Bundesarchiv

    Other bibliographic sources:

    Rouen sorry R. G. Nobécourt

    Rouen and its region during the war 1939-

    1945 G. Pailhès

    Posted at 09:51 in My city under occupation, Rouen | Permanent link

    Mr. Julien

    The end of the article is terrible, horrible ... I know nothing of this time in Rouen. I discovered and it's awful ...

    Especially continues with these items. It's a great idea. Only, cultural items (historical) are least cause but it is not serious. All this is of public interest.

    Written by: Mr. Julien | April 16th, 2008 at 21:27
    Laure Leforestier

    @ Mr. Julien:
    Glad you like it. It's true that it's less cause, but it excites me to relive this adventure in the telling here. And I matter, I keep the rhythm of a daily ticket. In such terrible stories, you still saw nothing, the worst is to come.

    Written by Laure Leforestier | April 17, 2008 at 00:01

    Another very interesting book tells that tragic day in detail: "On that day: Rouen, Sunday, June 9, 1940" Marc Boulanger.

    Written by: Hazel | April 17, 2008 at 08:51

    In "August 17, 1942, Rouen Lens", an attempt to "military" is explained in the southern neighborhoods of fire: French and British soldiers, potentially dangerous, would be hidden in the maze of narrow streets, and c ' is not to take unnecessary risks that the Germans would have let the city burn.

    Written by: Hazel | April 17, 2008 at 09:14

    Moreover, on this subject, I have a question for you, Laure: on a building in the rue Saint-Denis, it says "island René Dufour, a tribute of the victims." Despite my research, I did not find who that René Dufour. Perhaps will you be able to enlighten me?

    Written by: Hazel | April 17, 2008 at 9:23
    Laure Leforestier

    @ Hazelnut :
    About the fire, here is what André Maurois says: "The Germans would support the exposion these two tanks was the sole cause of the terrible fire, which, in these days of June 1940, destroyed the ancient and wonderful neighborhood. This thesis can not be seriously defended. The fires were then too many for the disaster was not intentional. Many witnesses saw the Germans attach to homes incendiary plates they used as other cities. "
    I have not taken this view because I know controversial. As for René Dufour, I dry.

    Written by Laure Leforestier | April 17, 2008 at 13:23

    No more non René Dufour trace in the books I have, sorry!
    The Germans left the city burning for some time before leaving intervene firefighters, who only had some water, but I have not found the "thesis" of arson but more ... knows ????

    Written by: Florence | April 21, 2008 at 21:41
    Jacques Tanguy

    the fire may have broken out accidentally (official version) but it is certain that the Germans have voluntarily developed this fire. This is an ongoing practice of German at the time. The aim was to terrorize the population to start on the road to disrupt transport of French and English armies.
    Rouen was somehow punished for not having been declared an open city.

    Written by: Jacques Tanguy | May 25, 2011 at 12:40
    Last edited by sebfrench76; 04 Jan 16, 05:10.
    That rug really tied the room together

  • #2
    In that photo of the General Staff they all seem to be smiling except for the guy wearing goggles with his hands behind his back who looks thoroughly fed up. I wonder what ruined his day.
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)


    • #3
      One AT gun,that you can locate to the right of the light Panzer ,between the 2 signals on the precedent before last pic.

      Last edited by sebfrench76; 04 Jan 16, 06:58.
      That rug really tied the room together


      • #4
        The AT gun is a Canon leger de 25 antichar SA-L mle, 1934. L/72 Chamberlain and Gander describe it as "almost useless for its intended purpose"
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)


        • #5
          Nice post and pics, Seb!

          Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post

          German General Staff street Ernemont [2]

          The same house today:


          another angle:

          You'll live, only the best get killed.

          -General Charles de Gaulle


          • #6
            If you want to know more about this battle have a look at my last post in this thread and read the acount:


            The fire might had been caused by french 75 mm shells. If I remember correctly.
            "To hell wars Grudges and parties ! As our fathers Sing in real friends, The clink of glasses Roses and lilies. The clink of glasses Roses and lilies."


            Latest Topics