3945 Memory Museum


The 39-45 Memories Museum

In the company of Enzo, Stéphanie and Jean-Luc, discover what it's like to be inside this bunker, a major wartime monument in Brittany.

3945 Memory Museum


A museum like no other

First impressions

We're in the lion's den! This large bunker, built 30 kilometers from Brest, was the headquarters of the Graf Spee battery, the largest in Finistère and a key component of the Atlantic Wall. We hold our breath as we descend the steps to the German barracks. In this maze of narrow corridors, voices resound and our senses are stirred.

Until now, Enzo has only learned about the Second World War through history textbooks, a few films and the rare confidences of his great-grandfather. Here, texts explain the course of events, but what's most moving are the scenes, testimonies, anecdotes and intimate objects of the men, women and children who lived through this war.

Musée du Musée-Mémoires 39-45


In the shoes of a German soldier

The other face of the enemy

We catch German soldiers in the middle of a meal and a game of cards. They look harmless with their family photos hanging on the walls... Here, the wolf has a human face, chatting, thinking of his loved ones and playing the harmonica to kill the boredom.

Enzo is fascinated, "Did you see that?" he whispers to his father, as he stands in front of the model of the Graf Spee battery, revealing a vast network of bunkers camouflaged to deceive the Allied air force. An arsenal designed to defend the strategic port of Brest.

Musée du Musée-Mémoires 39-45


The bombing scene


Une jeune fille nous accueille chez elle, dans une cave éclairée à la bougie où nous serons à l’abri. Brestoise sous l’occupation, elle a vécu plus de cent fois la même scène et sait comment réagir quand l’alerte est donnée. Mais au bout de quelques minutes, le vacarme est tel qu’elle cesse de nous rassurer. En sentant les bombes tomber et les murs trembler dans l’obscurité, nous sommes tous cloués au sol, la peur au ventre.

Musée du Musée-Mémoires 39-45


Surviving stalag

Testimony of a prisoner of war in Germany

Cabioch, that name rings a bell... Roscoff, summer 1990, my vacation sweetheart was Eric Cabioch! His grandfather may testify here, as mine might have done, had he been willing... A former prisoner of war in Germany, Mr. Cabioch recounts how he organized his survival in stalag thanks to tomato seeds sent to him by his wife. Together with his friends, he grew a magnificent bed of tomatoes on German soil, under the amused eye of the guards...

Musée du Musée-Mémoires 39-45


The price of freedom

J’aurai 18 ans l’année prochaine et je ne rêve que d’une chose : être libre ! Tout est possible tant que des fils barbelés ne nous barrent pas l’horizon. Pendant la guerre, être libre signifiait désobéir à des lois injustes, au péril de sa vie tels ces grands résistants et héros plus discrets parfois si jeunes. J’aurais fait pareil à leur place, enfin… je crois. Papa est fan de Jean-Jacques Goldman, la chanson « Né en 17 à Leidenstadt » complètera ma réflexion ce soir.

Through binoculars...


Panoramic view

On the Lighthouse Route

Back into the daylight! At the top of the steps, the eyes of the ground-level bunker are 12 x 90 marine observation binoculars: we can touch the lighthouses of the Iroise Sea, the Pierres Noires, Keréon and even Ar Men! Behind a row of poppies, the beach next to us is none other than the island of Molène.
Quite a program for tomorrow!

Saint-Mathieu Lighthouse Musée Mémoires
©Ludivine Meneur

And then...

Our visit ends with a stroll along the trenches at the foot of the bunker, which takes us back to the Museum reception area. Waiting for us here are Clément and Aurélien Coquil, the two young brothers behind this immersive museum. When we ask them how the idea came about, they evoke the memory of their grandfather, a Resistance fighter during the war, who had a profound effect on them. 20 years of shared passion, research and interviews have enabled them to bring their project to fruition, so that the memory of this conflict lives on. Hats off to them!

How do I get there?
Getting there with Google Maps