Past exhibitions - ÎLE-LONGUE 1914-1919

Discover the cultural life of the camp of civil prisoners of war of the harbor of Brest

As part of the celebration of the Centenary of the First World War, the museum proposes to retrace this part of the rich and yet unknown history of the camp of civil prisoners of war of the harbor of Brest.

During the First World War, Île-Longue became the largest French camp of civilian internees. 5 300 men will stay there from a few months to five years, from 1914 to 1919. The life of the prisoners is sometimes surprisingly organized in this "concentration camp". This exhibition is an adaptation of the work of the association Ile Longue 14-18, presented for the first time in 2014 in Crozon and which obtained the label Mission Centenaire.

The presence of German, Austrian and Hungarian artists and intellectuals, captured aboard the Dutch ship Nieuw Amsterdam, gives the camp an exceptional dimension. A real cultural life is being developed through plays, concerts and sports competitions, as well as the journal written by the prisoners Die Insel-Woche (La Semaine de l'île). Some of the prisoners will become celebrities after the war, like filmmaker Georg Wilhelm Pabst, playwright Hermann von Bötticher, or economist Karl Italiener.

An immersive and interactive journey

These rich testimonies will be presented to the museum through an immersive course. Archival documents trace the history of these prisoners, supplemented by digital media. A virtual visiting device, oculus and interactive terminals, opens the doors of the Island of Brest, already so secret during the First World War.


Jean-Yves Besselièvre, administrator of the Musée national de la Marine in Brest
Lenaïg L'Aot-Lombart, mediation assistant.