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Creation: 2013

Design and interpretation: Claire Vidoni

Co-production: National Office for Veterans and CERCIL Children's Memorial Museum of Vel d'Hiv


“It was while reading the third and final version of her work on Ravensbrück that I discovered Germaine Tillion. I was immediately struck by her desire to recount the terrible moments she had gone through with a concern for objectivity, undoubtedly induced by her qualities as an ethnologist. This impossibility of separating the objective study from his personal experience made his work appear to me both as aprecious and moving testimony, while preserving the facts in their purely historical dimension.


"It seems to me more and more that to discourse on the human sciences,

pure erudition cannot suffice,and that an experience livede, deep and diverse

constitutes the essential substrate of the authentic knowledge of our species;

it is only to live to be convinced

that the events experienced are the key to the events observed"

Germaine Tillon

To his magnificent empathy towards the human race, are added his sense of humor, coupled with a remarkable courage: In the horror of Ravensbrück, she finds the energy to write at the risk of her life, while she is hidden by her comrades at the bottom of a packing case, an operetta which she will entitle: "The verfügbar in the underworld".

Such a woman deserves consideration of her experience and her writings, which form one and the same work: that of her own life.

Germaine Tillon
memory and reason
1940 - 1945

Part 1
Germaine Tillion - Cie Théâtre de l'Imprévu
germaine tillion.jpeg

Hisethnological workhaving led her to study very closely the Chaouïa population of the Aurès during several missions before France was occupied by German troops in 1940, she returned there in 1954, then again in 1957. There, she became aware with all the lucidity that we know of the extent of the use of torture in Algeria.

It is therefore very difficult to divide the existence of Germaine Tillion into several compartments, but I would like to set up a public reading of the various texts and testimonies that she left us, covering the years of the War during which she will come into resistance, will be imprisoned in the prison of La Santé, then in Fresnes, and will be deported to the Ravensbrück camp.

Later, the horrors of the Algerian war will inevitably bring her back to her painful experience in the camps, but Germaine Tillion will never again have the same view of humanity; In Algeria, she realizes that her people can also turn into executioners, which will make her say:  

“Between 1939 and 1945, like many, I yielded to the temptation to formulate differences,

asides, "they" did this, "we" wouldn't...

Today, I no longer think a word of it, and I am convinced, on the contrary,

that there is no people that is safe from a collective moral disaster”.

It is all the  complexity of this existence, so rich in experiences and questions,  that I want to highlight in the reading.

Claire Vidoni

© assoc GT Photo G Tillion carte d'étudiante 1934.jpg

Creation 2020at the National War Memorial in Algeria and the battles in Morocco and Tunisia, Quai Branly (75).

Design and interpretation: Claire Vidoni

Co-production: National Office for Veterans and War Victims


After her painful experience in the Ravensbrück camp during the Second World War, we follow through this reading the journey of Germaine Tillion in the horror of the Algerian War. Always empathetic towards the human race and armed with an incredible strength of character, the ethnologist makes us relive his dangerous adventure, driven by his courage and his quest for justice and peace.

A strong and essential testimony to better understand the events that shook Algeria in the middle of the last century.

Germaine Tillon
memory and reason
1954 - 1962 - Algeria

Part 2

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