The Villlemin Garden (Jardin Villemin) is a public park in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, between the East Station (Gare de l’Est) and the Canal Saint Martin. It is named after Jean-Antoine Villemin (1827–1892), a French army physician who was the first to demonstrate that tuberculosis is an infectious disease.
The garden is on the site of a former military hospital, which was built near the Gare de l’Est in 1870 so that wounded soldiers, brought in by train, could be immediately treated.
At the west entrance to the garden, the one facing the railway station, is this sign. It reads:
From 1941 to 1944, the Vichy authorities under the orders of the Nazi occupiers issued ordinances that were particularly DISCRIMINATORY including one that PROHIBITED access to all public parks, squares and play areas for dogs and JEWS.
More than 700 deported Jewish children, including 75 very small ones, the youngest only 15 days old, lived in the 10th arrondissement. These children did not have the joy of playing in public gardens. All were torn from their mothers and deported. They perished assassinated in the extermination camps. In order to perpetuate their memory, a stele erected in this square is dedicated to them.
NEVER forget them.
A.M.E.J.D. of the 10th arrondissement
The initials A.M.E.J.D. stand for Association pour la mémoire des enfants juifs déportés (Association for the memory of deported Jewish children). The first of these associations was founded in 1995 (half a century after the end of the Second World War) in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, then in the 11th and 10th arrondissements and gradually in most of the others, as well as in other French cities such as Lille, Nice, Lyon, Nancy, Toulouse and Avignon.
On a wall at the other end of the garden, near the Canal Saint Martin, a street artist has painted a portrait of the French Socialist leader Jean Jaurès, along with one of his most famous quotations:
C’est qu’au fond il n’y a qu’une seule race: l’humanite!
Which means: “It is that basically there is only one race: humanity!”
This is a highly appropriate quotation for the 10th arrondissement, which today is home to people from numerous countries, particularly from Turkey, Africa and Southern Asia.
My photos and text in this post are from 2023.