Caen hosts the first conference of ambitious international WWII project
Only a few days after the 74th D-Day anniversary, the Region of Normandy will host a conference and the exhibition ‘History through their Eyes’ on the 8th of June 2018. Organized at the same time as the Forum for Peace, the first EYES conference in the city of Caen tends to pay tribute to values of freedom and democracy.
‘D-Day and the Normandy Landing Beaches – symbols of the universal values of freedom and democracy?’ This question will be highlighted during the conference in Caen. The aim is to get youngster’s attention and invite them for a discussion over the topic of remembrance of the Second World War and the meaning of the European Union.
Several war veterans will be present to address the audience. Among them is Bernard Dargols, a French-American veteran who landed at Omaha Beach on the 8th of June 1944. Léon Gautier, a French veteran who landed at Ouistreham on the 6th of June 1944, will be a speaker as well. The third veteran on stage will be Charles Norman Shay. The Amerindian veteran landed at Omaha Beach on the 6th of June 1944.
Besides the veterans, Jean-Luc Leleu will enter the stage. The historian is a member of the UNESCO Scientific Committee. He will explain the candidature of the Normandy Landing Beaches to the UNESCO World Heritage. Helen Patton, granddaughter of General Patton, will close the conference with a speech about the transmission of war memories towards the youth nowadays.
Until the mid of July, people can also have a look at the travelling EYES exhibition that has been developed and is being shown in the Abbaye-aux-Dames in Caen. The exhibition exists of the stories of ten young men and women who personally witnessed the Second World War.
Some were members of the resistance, others operated tanks, some were nurses taking care of the wounded while others were wounded themselves. Some of them are still alive today while others died during the war. All of them faced difficult choices and saw their lives change dramatically.
The Liberation Route Europe Foundation created a virtual exhibition where even more biographies will be available in English, French, Dutch, German and Italian.