French Association of Municipalities, Départements and Regions for Peace.
As you enter the village of Maillé, you might just spot the sign that says “Municipality for Peace”, standing at its entrance.
This sign is a reminder that Maillé is a member of the AFCDRP, the French Association of Municipalities, Départements and Regions for Peace.
AFCDRP is the French branch of the international Mayors for Peace organization. Founded in 1982 by the Mayor of Hiroshima, this calls for mayors across the five continents to unite in abolishing nuclear weapons and promoting a culture of peace.
Efforts to reconcile with Germany
Rising above the painful memories, survivors and the municipality have agreed to step up joint initiatives with Germany. In 2009, at the request of local officials in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Mayor of Maillé and President of the Pour le Souvenir de Maillé (For the Memory of Maillé) association committed to organizing a Franco-German exchange for struggling young people, whether for family, social or legal reasons.
Organized every year since 2010 (apart from 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic), this exchange has enabled countless young people to meet with survivors of the massacre. During their stay in Touraine, the group also take part in projects for the community.
List of projects accomplished:
- Upkeep of the towpath following the demarcation line along the Cher riverbanks
- Upkeep of the steles paying tribute to the resistance fighters
- Waymarking for a hiking route
- Crafting of furniture for Maillé’s picnic area
- Crafting of benches for Maillé’s cemetery
- Upkeep of the Réveillon (river running through Maillé) in the context of the EU Water Framework Directive.
Highlight of the exchange: a ceremony organized by the municipality attended by a number of survivors, local officials and leaders, where the group is able to showcase its accomplishments and the project to the local community.
Exhibitions and conferences
In addition to this exchange, there have been other Franco-German initiatives including a bilingual exhibition on World War I, unveiled simultaneously at the Maison du Souvenir in France and in an exhibition room in Bodenseekreis, a district in southern Germany. The Maison du Souvenir has also put a German exhibition on show for its visitors on the White Rose group of German resistance fighters, thanks to the White Rose and Montgelas foundations.
Moreover, since 2017 a close friendship has developed between Maillé and Friedhelm Boll, a German academic who is a member of various remembrance associations (Gegen Vergessen für Demokratie, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Pax Christi for example). Thanks to efforts on his part, in 2018 a delegation from Maillé was invited by Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe of the Federal Republic of Germany.
On the occasion of this visit, a series of conferences was organized for high school students. More than 450 young people were able to learn about Maillé’s history and talk with Serge Martin, a survivor of the massacre and President of the Pour le Souvenir de Maillé (For the Memory of Maillé) association, and Romain Taillefait, Director of the Maison du Souvenir.