In 1916, one of the bloodiest battles (300,000 dead and 400,000 wounded) made Verdun the symbol of the Great War and of the suffering of the soldiers.
In 1936, 20,000 French and German war veterans outlined their great reconciliation by taking an oath in the same place as the battle.
In 1966, during the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Verdun, the Book of Peace was unveiled at the town hall and signed by the General of Gaulle. Thus, Verdun proclaimed itself the “Captital of Peace”.
On September 22nd 1984, President Mitterrand and Chancelor Kohl came together to reflect, hand in hand, in front of the Ossuary at Douaumont in silence. This highly symbolic gesture symbolises not only the reconciliation, but also the regained friendship between two populations.
Thus, naturally, l’Association du Centre Mondial de la Paix, des Libertés et des Droits de l’Homme (The Association of the World Centre for Peace, Freedom and Human Rights) was created in 1990 in Verdun.
The former Episcopal Palace, after restoration work, has sheltered the permanent exhibition of the Centre since 1994.Source : G. Domange Apprendre la paix à Verdun (ed. CRDP Lorraine)
This exhibition shows pictures of conflicts of the recent thirty years from all over the globe: Afghanistan, Chechnya, Haiti, Lebanon, Vietnam… from all the places where Patrick Chauvel “witness among people” has travelled for getting hold of evidence.
His pictures have already been published in Paris-Match, Times Magazine, Life, Newsweek… The exhibition, which has arisen out of an exclusive selection, allows different views of the wars: it tells stories of history, the life of the anonyms in the middle of combats. In the majority of cases “the fragments of humanity escape the historians” but also “the survival instincts” or the everyday moments. Faces laughing, frightened or full of hatred…