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Max Marius Achille Lejeune

     Max Lejeune was born February 19, 1909 in Flesselles, Paul, 30 years old and Berthe Lejeune born Crognier, 26 years old, both teachers at Les Moulins Bleus, worker district attached to the town of Etoile. He is the youngest of the family, his brother, Michel, born in 1907 proves to be calmer. Raised up to five years by his maternal grandmother in Long-Le Catelet, he shows a lot of mischief and returns to live in the Blue Mills on the decision of his father.

At the age of 5, Max sees his father go for the "butchery" of 1914, as he will say later in his diary of teenager. Paul Lejeune is seriously injured and evacuated to Morlaix in Brittany. This painful episode will mark Max in his way of feeling things, he becomes pacifist and patriotic. After his tender schooling at Les Moulins-Bleus, Max obtained the certificate of primary studies in July 1921 with honors "very good", he returned to high school in Amiens and asserts himself more and more. Then, under the support of his father, became a student at the Sorbonne in November 1928.
At the age of 20, he joined the SFIO and became secretary of the socialist student group in Paris. In 1936, he became one of the youngest deputies of the Popular Front.

Mobilized in 1939 at his request, he was taken prisoner in June 1940 and could not participate in the vote conferring full powers to Marshal Petain, which he completely disapproved. He makes him know, taking part for De Gaulle, trying to escape several times. This earned him reprisals, including being sent to Camp IV C Colditz, near Leipzig from April 1941 to May 1942, a punitive detention camp. He committed to his exit in the Resistance where he established his own network and a link with Free France.

He was minister several times during the IVth and the 5th Republic:

Minister of Veterans Affairs
Secretary of State for the Armed Forces
Minister of the Sahara
Minister without portfolio (Minister not in charge of a ministerial department and can not incur expenses on his own authority.) Prime Ministers without portfolio are appointed by Honoré Mercier in 1887. From 1948, this term is replaced by "Minister of State")
Minister of State
Minister of the Government Charles De Gaulle at the beginning of the Fifth Republic until 1959 because, opponent of the Independence of Algeria, he puts an end to his ministerial career when the General proclaims the Algerian Independence.
As a member until 1977, he became a senator until his death in 1995.

He was also one of the main actors of the department of the Somme since President of the General Council from 1947 to 1988 and especially Abbeville mayor from 1947 to 1989, a record longevity of 42 years. It is under this label that this article is dedicated to him.

"MAX" dies on November 23, 1995 in Abbeville and rests at the cemetery of Longpré-les-corps-saints.

His funny war and his detention

     Strictly pacifist in the 1930s until the declaration of war, Max Lejeune has always favored the understanding of the peoples and is actively campaigning to avoid the race to war, a second butchery like the one of 14-18, whose father Paul made the expense in November 1914.
But the declaration of war completely changes it. Pacifist but not antimilitarist, he wants to go under the flag despite his parliamentary status which gives him a certain freedom and claims to be mobilized at the front. December 1939, he joined the Maginot line in Thionville. Holder of a laissez passer permanent, he makes many go back to Paris to attend sessions of the Chamber of Deputies.
On May 10, 1940, the deputy of the Somme is just on leave in Paris but he chooses to leave as soon as possible to join his comrades, leaving his wife Andree and his two young children Jean-Jacques and Marianne. Defending his country is of utmost importance to him: "France first!"

In 1940, Max Lejeune refused defeat and rebelled against the Germans despite his pacifist sense. He refuses to ally himself with Marshal Petain and to comply with the German demands. For him, the war is far from over and can not be concluded on a "shameful armistice". For him, the Germans will be defeated, it's just a matter of time, we must continue the fight. This Gaullian state of mind suggests that he heard on the radio the General's intervention on June 18th.

Max Lejeune therefore refuses to lay down his arms and enters a long period of captivity. He first arrives at the camp at Nienburg-sur-Weser, near Hamburg, and still refuses the superiority of Marshal Petain, rebels, escapes, and is thus sent to the punitive camp at Colditz, near Leipzig, then in Lübeck, a detention camp reserved for political prisoners, candidates for escape and strong heads. It will remain resistant and anti-petainist until the end.Max Lejeune was released on May 2, 1945, repatriated to France on the 30th.

He returned to Abbeville on June 9, 1945, welcomed as a real hero at the station by Paul Bénard but struggles to recognize its beautiful city. 
He was elected mayor in 1947 and therefore inevitably took on the task of rebuilding the city, his city.

A reconstructed mayor with a limited role

     Max Lejeune therefore had the difficult task of rebuilding the city of Abbeville. . This will require him more than two mandates. It was necessary first to clear all the ruins, this already since 1940 while raising the surfaces of the destroyed houses with many rooms, windows etc ... This in order to evaluate the value of the goods then divert and channel several rivers to avoid floods and floods Abbeville was previously often victim. In these ruins, cobblestones, bricks and stone are stored in order to re-serve what can be. Then redo the lanes to facilitate traffic. In four years, five bridges will be rebuilt on the Somme.

A note that a first PAEE (Development Project Extension and Embellishment) developed by Jacques Gréber was born in 1932: it is the first plan Gréber . Unfortunately, he never had time to be realized. From 1940, he was inspired naturally to update the "2nd Gréber plan", the Plan of Reconstruction and Development (PRA) of the city. The traffic plan is recalculated and the architectural style of the main square mixes regionalism and "fine arts". After the liberation of the city and the resignation of the communal administration under the occupation, the 2nd plan is approved on January 11, 1946.

     Let us return in 1940.
It is only after this long work of ant that we can to finish clearing the ruins and start the many wooden barracks so that the city does not die and continues its semblance of life thanks to the relocated businesses.

     In January 1941, the garden city stands on the lawns of the Porte Du Bois, built with the recovery of materials from the ruins.

     1944. The city is liberated thanks to the Poles, the occupant leaves, the bombings are finished but the city is nothing but ruins, mud, darkness, looting, without lighting, few shops, no gas, no electricity, no telephone, without trains ...

     1945. On May 2nd, Max Lejeune is released and returns to Abbeville on June 9th. Most Abbevillois are homeless and need to be relocated.

     1946. The Gréber plan is adopted. A first installment of "State buildings" (buildings intended to relocate the victims without waiting for consolidation) is started. These are the ISAI (Real Estate Without Immediate Assignment), the Cité Leday, the Champs de Mars (LOPOFA, LOgements for FAmilles), city of railway workers (financed in part by the SNCF). In October, the candy destroyed May 10 40 is rebuilt.The St. Vulfran street is repaired with old cobblestones. The Collegiate begins its consolidation thanks to the famous stonemasons of the company Charpentier.

     1947. MAX Lejeune becomes mayor of Abbeville. The place of the Pilori changes completely face. The statue of Boucher de Perthes, kidnapped in 1942 by the Germans is sorely lacking. The trees on each side are cut down, the beds and the banks disappear.

     1948. The main lines of circulation are traced. On May 8, commemorative date, Vincent Auriol President of the Republic, René Coty Minister of Reconstruction and Urban Planning and Mayor Max Lejeune inaugurate together laying the foundation stone of reconstruction Abbeville on the parvis Saint-Vulfran.
On also divert the rivers that passed in the city center: Scardon, Sautine, Novion, Eauette and Hotel-Dieu are found in a diversion channel along the Boulevard of the Republic to pass under the Place de Verdun and then pour into the Somme.
The monument of deportees and shot from the Place du Pilori is inaugurated by Max Lejeune, then Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, who at the same time hands the legion of honor to the city.

     1949. Completion of the Talence, Ledien, Hocquet and Portelette bridges.

     1950. Study of the construction of the future Courthouse in place of the old destroyed because the prison, just behind is active, as well as the repair of sidewalks.
A large wooden barracks, temporary place of worship is installed Boulevard Vauban to "replace" Saint-Gilles and Saint-Vulfran restoration work.
45 houses are built Avenue Champs de Foire.
The Hotel de France and Tête de Boeuf together ends, giving the place of the Pilori his final face.
At the end of the road Du Bois, the shops are reopening little by little as the holidays approach.

     1951. The school town begins.End of the reconstruction of the streets of the Minimes, the Tannery, the Champ de Foire, and the Chapel of Notre-Dame de France rue des Minimes.

The visit of the Minister of Reconstruction and Urbanism Eugène Claudius-Petit will change the course of things. Indeed, the plan Gréber too monumental and expensive for the city is stopped. He then designates Clément Tambuté as a reconstructive architect and his plan is then "voted" on January 21, 1951. Voted? or imposed? It must be said that to refuse the plan "Tambuté" means the renunciation of the subsidies which the city was badly needed to get up. So ... The communal administration had no choice but to accept it.
The brick and the concrete then predominate on the stone.
Buildings bridges are born around the always named place of Admiral Courbet and enclosing the Collegiate in a setting making impossible the necessary retreat to its integral contemplation.
One also completes the bridge of the Nears (old Pont Levis) and the street Boucher de Perthes .

     1952. The Abbevillois have a great need to amuse themselves after so many dark years. High fashion shows are organized at the Hotel de France, exhibition fairs, horse shows, the Tour de France passes.
The Feria and the Chanteclerc beat records of frequentation.
The Palace of the garment reopens its doors, the street Saint-Vulfran was completed in trade, the first boat enters the port.

     1953. Calm and transitional year.

     1954. The fire station and the covered market are up and Admiral Courbet "moves". A symbol of the city to which the Abbevillois are very attached must leave to make way for the future communal palace. The rebuilders decided that way. The admiral will no longer point his finger at the station as the abbevillois liked to say but to his former location. He is towed to a small secondary place not far from the birthplace of his illustrious incarnation.
Inauguration of the Boucher de Perthes museum in what remains of the old Town Hall. The collections of Boucher de Perthes were located at his home at the hotel Chépy, also burned.
The city has a larger library, a school of fine arts. August 22 are the first and last post-war Marian feasts, monumental.Opening of the panoramic restaurant "Le Chateaubriand" in one of the famous bridges designed by Tambuté.
The rue du Maréchal Foch is filled with commerce in turn.October

     1954, Jean Berthoin, Minister of National Education comes to inaugurate the Jean Zay school and lay the foundation stone of the Jean Macé nursery school. 1955. End of work at the Arsenal, impasse des Postes and Champs de Mar.Inauguration of the New Galleries (Monoprix) .
The plans for the bus station and the Hôtel de Ville begin to be drawn.Inauguration of the Talence, Chevalier streets La Barre, Hôtel-Dieu, Lefébure de Cerisy (up to here), Place Bonaparte, parvis Saint-Vulfran, Herb market passage, Barbafust, rue du Pont d'Amour, Place des Jacobins, Place du Grand Marché, Firmin streets Touvoyon, the Lingers, the Belfry, Jean de Ponthieu, passages of the Boucherie, Haranguerie, Limaçon, Chivalry, Guindal (ISAI), Moulin du Roy, Eauette, Canteraine, Menchecourt, Colleges and Mill Quignon.Jumelage with the city of Rochester.

     1956. End of the square with the nice name of "La Libération" Inauguration of the Ponthieu to replace the Stella-Palace destroyed on May 20, 1940.Inaugurations of the Avenue du Champ de Foire, streets of the 128th RI, 3rd regiment on horseback , Paul Delique, Pierre Sémard and Place de l'Hôtel de Ville to replace the place of Admiral Courbet.

     1957. Inauguration of "Le Paris", cinema of the Chaussée Du Bois.First return to school at the Mixed School of Abbeville, meeting of the colleges Courbet and Jules Ferry which takes the name of Boucher de Perthes.On October 13, Max Lejeune poses the first stone of the "communal palace".

     1958. The sidewalks are finished.

     1959. The party hall is inaugurated. That year, the Summer Carnival brings the municipality to shine: a huge party made up of 22 floats, 56 costumed groups and 400 participants. Inauguration of the HLM Argillières and Menchecourt. The bus station is completed. The restoration of Saint Sepulcher and Saint James begins. 1960. Acquisition by the diocese of a chapel Avenue Champs de Mars to assist Saint-Gilles, still under construction and supplemented by the wooden barracks: it will be Saint-André. Start of construction for a municipal swimming pool and recreation center. open air (Robert Viarre). Industrial zones are mounted Crotoy road and at the top of the rue du Château d'eau.La place of Liberation embellished with a nice basin with fountain and willows in parallel with the end of City Hall. It is inaugurated on October 9 in great pomp by the feast of the Renaissance.

     The second reconstruction of the city (the first having taken place after the First World War) officially ends in July 1960 with the inauguration of this new city hall, a communal palace at the contemporary Belfry.


I say voluntarily "officially" because there are still some elements to come:
• The roof of the Boucher de Perthes museum in 1985
• The stained glass windows of Saint Sepulcher made by Alfred Mannessier in 1993,
• The watchtower turret on Saint Vulfran in 1993,
• End of the Saint-Vulfran yard in 1998
• The steeple of Saint Sepulcher in 2012,
• The bell tower of the Saint-Gilles church in 2019 ????

MAX LEJEUNE, FOR THAT VIVE ABBEVILLE


Mayor Lejeune was an exemplary mayor for the city of Abbeville with certain longevity. One of the explanations for this longevity is apart from the reconstruction, the fact of the cumulation of the mandates. Minister, senator and deputy, Max had played to build bonds, relationships and defend his city. Thus, this city of medium importance welcomed several heads of state: Vincent Auriol in 1948, Charles De Gaulle in 1964 and François Mitterand in 1985. Between 1947 and 1989, the Tour de France passed 11 times,
Max Lejeune thus had a preponderant place in the heart of the Abbevillois, close associations, close to veterans, close to its municipal.
Nevertheless beaten by the team of Jacques Becq in 1989, he continues to sit on the city council and still enjoys a certain popularity on Abbeville.

On November 23, 1995, thousands of Abbevillois and the surrounding area will gather at the town hall of Abbeville, thus paying tribute to him in the communal palace which was so familiar to him.


Creation date : 25/07/2018 16:01
Category : History - Personalities inhabitant of Abbeville
Page read 1356 times

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