The Durestal Resistance

History and Resistance in the heart of Périgord

Visites guidées du Maquis de Durestal

Explore an unusual site in Périgord, hidden in the depths of the Dordogne forests. Immerse yourself in the little-known history of the Resistance and experience what the daily life of a WWII Resistance fighter or ‘maquis’ was really like.

Five good reasons to visit the Resistance site known as the “Maquis de Durestal” :
1. This recently reconstructed and original historical site in the heart of the Périgord forest, is an unforgettable experience and you can either visit it independently, take a guided visit, or watch a reenactment.
2. You can experience first hand, one of the most important and troubled periods of recent French history, in a captivating and anecdotal way.
3. Follow a footpath dotted with a dozen stop-off points, all equipped with explanatory panels and fascinating photographs of the period.
4. Soak up the atmosphere of this unique site, charged with emotion and memories: a historical and cultural landmark dedicated to the memory of the French Resistance and an important legacy for future generations.
5. Share an enriching family outing, giving your children an educational and pleasurable chance to explore this unusual “city in the woods” and see up close, the leafy homemade shelters that served as dormitories, kitchens, an arms depot and even a prison ! An unforgettable experience for all ages.

Discover the “Maquis de Durestal” encampment: an historical testimony to the Resistance in the Dordogne

The historic Maquis de Durestal site in Cendrieux was a refuge for various Resistance groups during the crucial period of the Second World War. It was founded and first occupied in July 1943 by resistance fighter Mojzesz Goldman, nicknamed “Mireille”, who was one of the first Secret Army (SA) leaders in the Dordogne. This encampment sheltered up to 800 men simultaneously, making it the largest gathering of the French Resistance in the region.

In September 1943, an anonymous letter revealed the location of the camp to the authorities, which lead to an attack that scattered its occupants. However, it was reinstated by the Resistance in early 1944. The aim was to slow the advance of Nazi forces by creating the ANCEL Resistance, as well as the Alsace-Lorraine brigade which later became the “Strasbourg” battalion (with up to 600 men), and which would later distinguish itself during events in the Vosges, in the North-East of France. It’s a story of immense courage and determination at the heart of the resistance against Nazi occupation.

The Durestal Resistance ©Office de Tourisme Intercommunal du Grand Périgueux

Plunge into the history of the Durestal Resistance

Visit the actual site of the Resistance Movement camp, the Durestal Maquis

At the start of your visit, you’ll see a carved, stone tablet paying tribute to the Resistance fighters or the ‘maquis’. This marks the starting point of your exploration, and it leads you into a long hut that traces the history of the Resistance in the Dordogne. Here, you can read the stories of the historic and often anonymous figures who fought valiantly for the liberation of France.

On a carefully planned itinerary with a dozen stop-off points, you can fully explore the various areas of the camp as it would have been eighty years ago. From the spring to the washhouse, from the garage to the canteen and not forgetting the arms depot, you can soak up the atmosphere. You’ll also come across a prison and a small cemetery right next to where traitors were executed by firing squad. Each section of the camp has detailed information panels and evocative photographs which will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

The meticulous reconstruction of the site, including the recreated huts, has been carried out with great attention to detail and was based on numerous eyewitness accounts. A captivating and educational tour experience that transports you back in time and gives you an authentic insight into this crucial period in French history.

Visites guidées du Maquis de Durestal
The Durestal Resistance ©Office de Tourisme Intercommunal du Grand Périgueux

📍 Don’t forget to use your Grand Périgueux Tourism Pass to get a good deal on ticket prices when you visit the resistance encampment the Maquis de Durestal

The story of Mireille: a key figure in the Durestal Resistance

Mojzesz Goldman alias “Mireille”, from his Resistance name, played a significant role as the first departmental leader of the Secret Army (AS) of the Resistance in Périgord in 1943. By founding the Maquis de Durestal, nicknamed “Les Sangliers” or ‘Wild Boars’, he opened his camp to an impressive troop of up to 800 volunteers. Of Polish-Jewish origin and a dentist by training, “Mireille” embodied the diversity of the Resistance.

His courageous life was also marked by great hardship and he was arrested in Périgueux by the German police on October 30, 1943. After being interrogated and tortured, he was deported to Auschwitz, from where he returned when the Allies liberated the death camps.

André Malraux: a supporter and friend of the Liberation

At the end of May 1944, the Durestal Maquis briefly welcomed an emblematic figure of the Resistance to their camp: André Malraux, also known by his code name “Colonel Berger”. The writer and Resistance fighter was struck by his visit and described it as a “sort of little town in the woods”. It was a memorable encounter all round and highlighted the impact and importance of this particular encampment in the fight against the Nazi occupation.

Visites théâtralisées du Maquis de Durestal ©Office de Tourisme du Grand Périgueux
The Durestal Resistance ©Déclic & Décolle – Office de Tourisme Intercommunal du Grand Périgueux
The Durestal Resistance © Déclic& Décolle – CDT Dordogne

📍 Don’t forget to use your Grand Périgueux Tourism Pass to get a good deal on ticket prices when you visit the resistance encampment the Maquis de Durestal

The Durestal Maquis story is also accessible via the “C’est quoi la Résistance?” app, a valuable resource for discovering a wealth of information about the Resistance in the Dordogne. Take advantage of this totally free app to deepen your understanding of this crucial aspect of French history.

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