Exploring P-O’s School Years 1940-1945: Conference By Historian Georges Sentis

On the occasion of National Resistance Day and, at the end of the 2022-2023 school year, which saw the National Resistance and Deportation Competition have the theme: “School and the Resistance: days dark after the Liberation (1940-1945)”

-“The Union of Departmental Delegates of National Education and the Departmental Committee of the ANACR invite you to the conference on “School in the Pyrénées-Orientales during the 2nd World War” given by Georges Sentis, Doctor of History , Wednesday May 24, at 3 p.m., at the Departmental Sports Center (rue Rue Dugay-Trouin).

From 2 p.m. and after the conference, you can visit the Museum of the School of the Republic (avenue Paul Gauguin) where teaching materials, textbooks and various documents on school in the 1930s and 1940s are on display.

To speak of the School during the 2nd World War is first of all to evoke a great stability in the school structures, if we except the abolition of the normal schools from 1940 to 1944. Stability also, at the educational level despite the action of supporters of the New School in the 1930s, then despite the measures taken by the Vichy government.

Indeed, the Marshal’s desire to train young people through education came up against material difficulties due to the Occupation and the growing hostility of teachers. As for the cult of the Marshal, the establishment of the Compulsory Labor Service was fatal to it.

If some teachers, often veterans of 14-18, supported “the winner of Verdun”, many were those who, out of attachment to republican values, opposed him with strong inertia. As for the pre-war union activists, they formed the backbone of the Resistance. Most carried out, within the various movements, a propaganda against the reactionary and collaborationist policy of the French State. Some, such as René Horte, became involved in temporary networks or, like Lucette Justafré, in intelligence networks. Others, in the first place, Louis Torcatis, threw themselves into the armed struggle. Above all, let’s not forget the handful of college students who took part in the political or armed struggle against the Vichy government and the Occupation.

The months that followed the end of the war were disappointing for those who had fought, not only for the liberation of the country, but also for the construction of a new France. We almost returned to the School of the Third Republic and the long-awaited democratization of access to knowledge was postponed”.

This article is originally published on ouillade.eu

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