“Heirs of Remembrance”: 5th edition


View the programme of the ceremony


See the photoreport of the ceremony of 20 May 2021 at the Pantheon (Ministère des Armées/ECPAD/Lara Priolet)


The “Héritiers de Mémoire”, or “Heirs of Remembrance”, awards are organised by the Ministry of the Armed Forces Directorate for Heritage, Remembrance and Archives (DPMA), in partnership with the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, to shine a spotlight on the outstanding defence education projects carried out by primary and secondary schools. Those projects are the subject of documentaries produced by the Établissement de Communication et de Production Audiovisuelle de la Défense (ECPAD) and receive awards at a national award ceremony held at the Pantheon, in Paris.

“Héritiers de Mémoire” is an innovative event, firstly because it is not a competition but a national initiative to reward the grassroots work done by schools. In addition, it combines remembrance and film, by way of the documentaries. The initiative also welcomes multidisciplinary approaches and is open to all age groups, from primary to sixth form. Each year it shines a special spotlight on classes particularly deserving of praise, like those at priority education schools, vocational colleges and agricultural colleges.

Finally, “Héritiers de Mémoire” has an international dimension, with priority being given to French schools overseas.


The 5th ceremony, on 20 May 2021


The ceremony on Thursday, 20 May 2021, was all about diversity: the variety of different projects receiving awards, the regional diversity represented, with schools from ten different towns and cities, the varied forms of participation by young people (some students there in person, others taking part remotely), and a focus on projects to combat hate and prejudice, with two trophies being awarded by the Minister for Remembrance and Veterans on this theme.

The ceremony was also about renewal and inventiveness. It put young people firmly at the heart of the commemorations, for the first time giving them the job of presenting this national award ceremony. It rewarded the great adaptability of teaching staff and remembrance partners, who, in spite of the health crisis, used their resourcefulness to produce some excellent projects.

It placed great emphasis on educational and digital innovation for the purposes of remembrance.

It also stressed the concept of engagement, with the themes of the calls for projects concerning particularly impressive and different careers, like those of Marie Curie, General Charles de Gaulle or little-known Resistance fighters.

The ceremony was broadcast live for the first time on the institutional websites and social media pages of the Ministry of the Armed Forces.


For further information about the “Héritiers de Mémoire” awards, click here




For the 2020-21 academic year, two projects received awards and two were awarded distinctions.


“Landscapes at War, Landscapes of War” Award

  • Lycée Colbert (Lyon, Rhône) – Lyon Education Authority 

  “Everything moves, changes, decomposes and recomposes: Destructions and reconstructions in Lyon”

In response to the DPMA’s call for projects on the impact of war on the landscape, the 24 première students (ages 16-17) of the management science and technology course at Lyon’s Lycée Colbert carried out a research project to understand and measure the impact of the Second World War on the city’s urban landscape. To gain a better grasp of the issues around this subject, the students did research at the municipal archives and at the Resistance and Deportation History Centre (CHRD), in the form of a documentary investigation. The themes covered were the Allied bombing of 26 May 1944, the destruction of the bridges over the Rhône and the Saône by the Germans in September 1944, and the acts of sabotage carried out in the Lyon area. The research was complemented by a workshop on the areas affected by the world wars, taken by a team of ECPAD staff. The results of this major investigative project were presented in the form of a report illustrated with a map, showing the sum of the research carried out by the students, together with a presentation given at the municipal archives.


“Marie Curie: Science and War” Award

  • Collège Saint-Exupéry (Noisy-le-Grand, Seine-Saint-Denis) – Créteil Education Authority 

“Marie Curie: a scientist engaged in the Great War”

In response to the DPMA’s call for projects on Marie Curie’s engagement in the war, the 26 troisième students (ages 14-15) of Collège Saint-Exupéry in Noisy-le-Grand carried out a multidisciplinary project on the impact of Marie Curie’s work and actions on the First World War. The students began by studying the background to the conflict in their history classes and, in physics and chemistry, the phenomenon of radioactivity. They then went on visits to the Pantheon and the Palais de la Découverte, in Paris, and the Musée de la Grande Guerre, in Meaux, where they took part in workshops that looked in greater depth at the scientific discoveries made by Marie Curie: in particular, radioactive decay and the use of X-ray machines on the front in the First World War. During the course of the project, they also learnt about the research of other women scientists, like Lise Meitner. To round off the project, the students produced a series of rayographs depicting the key episodes in Marie Curie’s life, with an emphasis on her engagement during the First World War.


“Marie Curie: Science and War” Distinction

  • Lycée Professionnel Clair Foyer (Caussade, Tarn-et-Garonne) – Occitanie Regional Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Forestry (DRAAF) 

“Marie Curie: science and war – an epistolary memory”

In response to the DPMA’s call for projects on Marie Curie’s engagement in the war, première students (ages 16-17) at the Lycée Professionnel Clair Foyer, in Caussade, wanted to contextualise scientific advances and the condition of women in the light of the First World War. It was only natural, then, for them to choose to study the figure of Marie Curie in her entirety: an exceptional woman, a socialist, scientist and patriot. The students began by researching bibliographic and video resources to explore the scientific and personal life of Marie Curie. Next they studied the correspondence she kept with members of her family and well-known personalities, together with data extracted from her lab notebooks. Based on this research, they produced their own collection of imagined letters.  The most interesting ones from a historical and scientific standpoint will be included in a new display at the Musée Marie Curie. Lastly, an exhibition on Marie Curie’s life was presented on the school’s open days.


“Fighting Hate and Discrimination” Distinction

  • Cité Scolaire François Villon (Paris) – Paris Education Authority 

“Deportees’ memories”

This interdisciplinary educational project was carried out with troisième students (ages 14-15) at the Cité Scolaire François Villon, in Paris. The project’s aim was to pass on the history and memory of deportation through the staging of a musical. It involved students from a number of priority education schools, including final-year primary pupils from École Fournier, in Paris, and students of the Lycée Professionnel Frédéric Bartholdi, a vocational college in Seine-Saint-Denis. To begin with, the students chose a selection of letters and texts by Resistance members and deportees with their history teacher, to be staged with the help of their drama teacher. The songs in the show were performed by a choir of 30 students. The costumes were made by the students of the Lycée Professionnel Frédéric Bartholdi. Documentary research and visits to the Shoah Memorial, the Musée de l’Armée, the De Gaulle Foundation and Mont Valérien enriched their artistic work. The students, accompanied by professional musicians and directed by Yohann Recoules, put on (filmed) performances of the production for other schools and private audiences.


Find out more about : this year’s award-winning projects


See the photos of the ceremony of 20 May 2021 

(Ministère des Armées/ECPAD/Lara Priolet)