The Nazis’ warship “Kriegsmarine”, was in charge of setting up a naval blockade around the British Isles, using submarines as support. The Germans decided to build a submarine base, in the Bay of Biscay.
In Saint-Nazaire, in the Loires’ estuary, between the city and the sea, was built in just four months, a large bunker, 300 meters long, 130 meters deep and 18 meters high.
1942, March 28th - Operation Chariot.
The British Navy relied on the British destroyer Campbeltown, one-way mission, to launch against the closed basin of Saint Nazaire and explode. The action partially failed, but the dock gates were destroyed. The victims of the British, amounted to 994; on the German side, the losses were of 440 men, almost all died as a result of the explosion of Campbeltown; 300 French workers died under German fire mistaken for rebellion or sabotage.
The town of Saint-Nazaire is entirely rebuilt and flourishes thanks to its port and shipyards. The enormous structure of the submarine base remains as it was, with its weight, its history, its memories, but has converted from place of war, death and hatred to a place of culture, entertainment and leisure open to the city and its visitors.
This project wants to explore the multiplicity of feelings and memories in the balance between darkness and light, past and future, nightmare and dream, death and LIFE.
Photos: Saint-Nazaire, France. June, 2012