Would you like to have a warm picnic when you come to Falaise? The Falaise – Suisse Normande Tourist Office provides school groups with a fully equipped room: the Pedro Martin room.

Who was Pedro Martin?

Coming from a Spanish family which had fled the regime of the dictator Franco, Pedro Martin very quickly joined the Resistance. Arrested in 1943, he spent two years in the Sachsenhausen camp.

At Pedro Martin, the Resistance is a family heritage. While his parents, refractory to Franco's totalitarian regime, took refuge in France, his cousins ​​joined the International Brigades to save the Spanish Republic... So in 1939, when war broke out in France, clandestine combat also began for him.

He was then fifteen when his cousin recruited him into the Resistance. He begins by distributing leaflets. Then come the first actions: theft of military equipment, surveillance, intelligence…

“We knew that if we got caught, it would have huge consequences. The biggest fear was seeing our parents being shot because of us. »

Arrest and deportation to Sachsenhausen

Around mid-March 1943, he participated in an intelligence mission on a convoy of German trucks stationed at the Bourget bridge. The group of four young people takes the initiative to sabotage the tanks of certain vehicles. But one of them is captured.

Back at the family home, Pedro Martin, who had made the decision to escape from France via Spain, was arrested by two inspectors in charge of investigating his actions and those of his combat comrades. He underwent, for five days, the violent interrogations of the Gestapo which broke his jaw and his skull.

At the end of March, chained to a comrade, he was taken in a van to Compiègne then, on April 28, 1943, he was deported to the Sachsenhausen camp. There, you have to fight. Not just to survive, but also to keep his humanity.

In June 1944, Pedro Martin and his companions learned of the approach of the Allied landings from civilians working in the camp. The end is near, they think. They will have to wait until the evening of April 22, 1945 to see the gate of the camp jump in a terrible din. In front of them, a Soviet soldier.

"He put his submachine gun down, and he cried like a child when he saw the skeletons coming. I went there, too, I dragged myself to him and we kissed. He was a kid, maybe my age. »

A difficult return to France and a strong commitment to perpetuate the duty of remembrance

Unable to be repatriated because of his too worrying state of health, there are still two long months before he can return to France.
Repatriated to France by medical flight on June 21, 1945, Pedro Martin, in very poor health, was hospitalized for seven months.

Barely released from the hospital, he agrees to follow a delegation to Denmark to testify and bring the truth to the eyes of the world. It was only after having accomplished this “duty of memory” that he returned home, to Aubervilliers, where his relatives believed him to be dead. Pedro Martin is then 22 years old, and tries to resume the course of his life.

Pedro Martin got involved very early in the Resistance and deportation associations: friendly of Sachsenhausen Oranienburg, Departmental Union of Calvados of volunteer Resistance fighters and departmental section of Calvados of the National Federation of Resistance and Patriots interned deportees . He became the President of the departmental association of deported and interned resistance fighters and politicians and families of the disappeared in October 2007 and the President of the Calvados association for the animation and promotion of the national competition for the Resistance and deportation on September 29, 2008.

Very present in the commemorative events organized within the department of Calvados, he is always ready to bring his testimony to the younger generations and is strongly involved in the organization of the tests of the National Competition of the Resistance and the deportation in the Calvados.

“We are messengers of memory. We need to educate young people. When we were at the camp, we said to each other that we had to hold on, to tell what these assassins did to us. Today when we see the situation in our country, we say to ourselves that is not what we wanted. But despite everything, when we see the young people, we say to ourselves that we must continue. Resisting is always conjugated in the present. So go ahead guys. »

In 2014, he published in the Cahiers du Temps, a collection of interviews entitled "It was the night".


  • Knight of the Legion of Honour
  • Commander of the Order of Academic Palms
  • Voluntary Resistance Fighter's Cross
  • Combatant's Cross
  • Deportation and Internment Medal
  • Nation Recognition Medal
  • Commemorative Medal 1939-1945
  • Gold Medal from the National Office for Veterans and War Victims

source: Prefecture of Calvados website

Availability of the Pedro Martin room:

Capacity: 60 people
Price: 25€ per establishment
Information and reservations at the Tourist Office