The high place of Cueuille

Le haut lieu de cueille
2 panels located on National Road 89, which runs alongside the site, one upstream and the other downstream, positioned 50 meters on each side of the road.

1) Specificities and Evolution of the high place of cueuille

Let’s remember… In the poster they had made to inform the population of Tulle about the hangings, the SS had specified that the bodies would then be “thrown into the river!” (in this case, the Corrèze river), without burial.

The SS abandon this project, with Corrèze almost dry, but they continue to want to humiliate the victims by imposing the dumping of refuse from the so-called place called Cueille, as a burial site, located on the edge of RN 89, direction Brive, about 2km from the place of hangings. Orders are given for the corpses to be buried promptly in a mass grave, anonymously, without any identification. (1) After bitter negotiations, the Germans reluctantly agree that the Youth Workshops dig 2 graves instead of one. The larger one contains 80 dead, the smaller one contains 19. The bodies are placed side by side, in rows of ten. The young people from the Youth Workshops will only finish this painful burial around 11 PM.

It was only in mid-October 1944 that the exhumation of the bodies could take place, which lasted more than a week. (2) On October 31, the end of the exhumations will mark, thus allowing the families the delivery of identified coffins. (3) In the weeks that follow, a fence will come to delimit the area, inside which were the two mass graves that will be marked by 2 white crosses. (4 – 5 – 6)

In the following months, the families of the martyrs decide to form a committee. The Founding President will be Léon Bossavy (7), and the secretary Antoine Soulier (8) (author of the book “Le Drame de Tulle”), both deeply affected in their flesh by the hanging of their respective sons. (9 – 10)

In the years following the Liberation, a collective mobilization initiated by the Committee of Martyrs takes shape, aiming for a more dignified place of remembrance to be realized. To achieve this, a widespread subscription is opened, and the State, through the then Minister of the Interior Henri Queille, provides a financial contribution equal to almost half of the project’s cost.

The remainder is provided by the subscription of several hundred communities, businesses, and individuals. On November 1, 1950, during the inauguration of the High Place of Cueille, (11-12-13-14) Léon Bossavy, President of the Committee of Martyrs, addresses Mr. Massoulier, Mayor of Tulle, in the following terms:

On behalf of the Committee I preside over, I hand over to the city of Tulle, the Field of Martyrs of the High Place of Cueille. I have the conviction and the certainty that your municipal council and yourself, as well as those who will succeed you, will be vigilant and faithful guardians of this sacred land.

11 Inauguration Cueille 1950 Photo 11
11 : Inauguration Cueille 1950 en présence d’Henri Queille

It was in 2004 that the Municipality undertook and financed restructuring and beautification works of the Site, including the creation of a wall along almost the entire site to isolate it from the noise of National Road 89 that runs alongside it. These new arrangements have fully sanctified the place, thus achieving the goal jointly pursued by the contractor and the client, as evidenced by the photos below: (photos no. 15-16-17-18-19-20)

For 80 years now, faithful to the oath made in 1944, families and numerous residents of Tulle gather on June 9th each year, around 5 p.m. at the Gare square, to proceed in procession and pay their respects at this High Place of Cueille where a commemorative ceremony of honor and tribute to our deceased, tortured, and deported takes place, benefiting from the legitimate mention “Died for France.” An adornment of 99 braids on the balconies completes the tribute. (photos no. 21-22-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30-31)

« Died for France »

Posthumous honorary mention added to the civil status of a person, recognizing their sacrifice in the service of France.