Inès and Zoé
Testimonials - Students *
> Firstly, can you tell me about the audiovisual work that helped you win the award? The kind of investment needed?
With the help of our teachers Mr Ingrao and Mrs Balladon and a director, Dahmane Bouaziz, we made a film called "Val de Loire Memories" on the theme of "the liberation of the region and the return to the Republic". We interviewed several witnesses but also historians, we visited historic sites and went to the city archives to get photographs, newspaper articles, archives, videos from the time and we read the documentation, watched films and listened to interviews. So we shot footage for the project but also selected film clips we wanted to include in our documentary then wrote and recorded the voiceover parts, selected documents, etc. During all this audiovisual work and through the stories told by the witnesses, I gained a much clearer idea of the reality of the Second World War. I learned how to put together a documentary film. I had never done it before. I especially liked the documentary research: looking for letters, newspaper articles.
This work demanded great input from us: we all met up at midday once a week but also some Wednesday afternoons, some days during the holidays or half-days during our classes. The work was well shared out among everyone in the group and I don't feel that I was overloaded with work. This work took a lot of time but it was a pleasure to do and I think I can speak for the whole group when I say that. We are very happy to have won this award.
For me the CNRD is the first history competition I every took part in. It helped me reflect on the Second World War, meet witnesses, historians and other young participants. I learned to work in groups and how to make a film. In all, I learned a lot about the 1939-1945 period thanks to this competition and its partners (resistance foundation, etc.). Such as what life was like for civilians during the war and what happened in our region.
Today the CNRD is needed to convey the memory of those who lived through that war so we never forget. It is also needed to help us understand the world we live in, to give us the tools to think, build and deepen our knowledge of history.
I think that in 20 years the competition will still be important, especially since there will be very few if any witnesses from that period left alive. It certainly will play a role in reminding us what war really means and will continue to convey the values the resistance fighters fought for such as freedom of expression and human rights.
Mrs. Volle's testimony helped me better understand what it meant to live during the war. It highlighted the courage young people of our age had at that time. Mrs. Volle gave us a beautiful message for our future. She made me grow up a little by telling us that now it was up to us to fight to preserve the freedom we have, "to take our lives into our own hands" and refuse to be manipulated. We are in a society in which we are inundated with information and it is important to pay attention to the ideas that are conveyed. I realized that women have only recently gained the right to vote, that during the war the people were deprived of freedom, that millions of people died for their religion or their membership of a group. It must never happen again.
> What does the CNRD represent for you?
The CNRD is devoted to the history of the 2nd World War. It brings together several secondary schools who have to submit a project the students were involved in. The theme of the 2nd World War greatly interested us and that's why we didn't think twice about taking part. Our knowledge was pretty shaky and this competition helped us to clarify and deepen some points we did not understand in history class. The CNRD is also a competition that enables past memories to be passed on to future generations. It also taught us how to make a film: we learned about the techniques used to make this film and we had access to the camera. It was a very enriching experience.
> What purpose do you think it has today?
This competition is very useful today. As we saw during our stay in Paris, there were a lot of young people there and that goes to show how dynamic the competition is and the interest it arouses. This competition and the projects it gives rise to are useful to tell and remind our generation about the history of the Second World War. We were lucky enough to meet people who lived during that time. They were able to explain and share with us how they felt at the time and this prompted us to ask certain questions and to put the events that took place during the Occupation into perspective.
> What will the CNRD be like in 20 years time in your opinion?
I'm convinced this competition will still be relevant in 20 years time even if the event is far different from what it is today. Indeed, in 20 years time the witnesses to this event will unfortunately probably no longer be with us. The competition will therefore take another form and will be less based on direct testimony. But ultimately, these witnesses will be still with us through their writings and recorded testimony. The need to understand and know what happened will not just go away. Similarly, we will remember those who fought and continue to pay tribute to them by perpetuating their legacy.
> Why was the testimony from former resistant Mrs. VOLLE important to you?
This is one of the most beautiful testimonies we heard. She told us about her past, her life story and gave us advice for the future. What she told us made us think: she spoke with conviction and emotion. This is a person who didn't give up and who did not agree with the regime they wanted to impose on her. And despite her young age she did not hesitate to rebel and resist. It was an act of bravery and courage that we might perhaps not be capable of doing today. We had a very special time with Mrs. Volle and are grateful to her for it. We hope to finish what she began, defend our ideas and convey the story of this commitment.
* Collège Massenet-Fourneyron (42)
Ministry of defence - SGA/DMPA/SDMAE/BAPI - Report by Marie-Christine Caubet. Iconographic sources:
participatory contribution by students and their teachers. - © Presidency of the French Republic – Élysée.fr