Saint-Nazaire celebrates its D-Day

On June 6, 2019, the D-Day celebrations are an opportunity to highlight the late liberation of the city. The "empochés" of Saint-Nazaire, trapped in an encircled "pocket" of land still under German control, had to bide their time!

It was not until May 11, 1945 that Saint-Nazaire was finally freed. "The pocket of Saint-Nazaire" had to wait nine months and suffer longer than the rest of France, liberated in the summer of 44, which led General Charles de Gaulle to write: "To Saint-Nazaire, which is both an example and a hope".

State of siege

The ports on the Atlantic coast suffered destruction and German occupation well after the others. In particular, Saint-Nazaire, a strategic place whose fortified submarine base was an attraction for the Germans. On August 12, with the help of the French resistance, the American troops liberate Nantes but the German opposition is still strong in the lower Loire ... 32,000 Germans entrench themselves in Saint-Nazaire and its surroundings, encircled by the allies.125,000 civilians are trapped in this pocket fortified by 28,000 German soldiers; it will be necessary to wait for the capitulation of the Nazi Reich to enable the surrender which arrived two days later, on May 11, '45.

9 months too long

A double penalty curses this city taken hostage. Allied bombing is raging. Without electricity, without coal, the deprivation is unbearable, and the winter is freezing. The forlorn inhabitants, the population which remains hungry despite food supplies, feels forgotten by all. The administration of the Post Office distributes its traditional calendar of 1945 with the title "Calendar of the island of Saint-Nazaire"! While news of the jubilation of the country reaches them, their own liberation is deferred. Civilian evacuations are put in place. This state of siege is particularly cruel because of the cohabitation with the Wehrmacht. Saint-Nazaire holds the unenviable record of being the last city in France and Europe to be liberated. An emblem of this, a tricolor pin that the "empochés" wear on the inside of their jacket starting in April '45!

10 years to rebuild the city

There was an absolute necessity to rebuild the city of which 85% was destroyed. A new city emerges: a zone of port and industrial activities in the East, an area for urban development in the West. And a planted zone around the underwater area. A major axis of one kilometer crosses the city from North to South. In the 80s, the city is turned towards the port and the sea. Around 1995, the port city reorients the city center of the reconstruction towards its port and enhances the harbor district. In the 90s, it is the reconquest of the submarine base with its flagship "Escal'Atlantic" which reconnects with the transatlantic legend of the city.

 

Photo: Monument of surrender / Wikimedia

 

Related reading:

- In Saint-Nazaire, Chantiers de l'Atlantique open their school

- The city of Saint-Nazaire is looking for greeters

- The city of Caen pulls out all the stops for D-Day

 

The housing solution in Saint-Nazaire

The Smartappart residential hotel is an economical alternative to hotels. Located in the district of "Ville-Port", the Smartappart apartment hotel offers a wide choice of furnished apartments, from double studio to one-bedroom apartments.

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