When I think of Marseille, I see images of the summer of 1940 and foreigners fleeing the Nazis, living on top of each other in the city, waiting for a visa for a long hoped for departure. I see also repatriated French citizens in the summer of 1962, arriving in the city, lost, looking for lodgings, some work, … images of the stateless and of refugees passing before my eyes and so similar to this hot topic in the news today.
In Marseille, a world city at the crossroads of all the immigrations into France – Italian, Algerian, Armenian, Comorian, etc, stand the Fort St Jean and the Mucem. It’s an institution which carries within it all these migrations histories, tracing narratives and understanding, by the shores of a Mediterranean that has delivered great civilisations. It’s a veritable palace, now known to all, a place for walks and intellectual pursuits, which somehow seems to have always been there.