The prison of the Pierre-levée

Novel Dieu n'est même pas mort Samuel Doux (2012)
Prison de la pierre levée à Poitiers (Crédit photo : Fantrippers)
Prison de la pierre levée à Poitiers (Crédit photo : Fantrippers)

“My wife and daughter have been locked up for two weeks in the prison of the Pierre-levée”.

Moshe Herschel (in Dieu n’est même pas mort)

For a year and a half now, the Germans have settled in Poitiers. The year 1942 was a complicated one for Moshe Hersel. His wife Sabka and his three daughters live in fear of being arrested because they are Jewish.

It was done. Moshe’s wife and daughter are thrown into the prison of the Pierre-levée. The prefect of the Vienne, Louis Bourgain, in order to be in the good books of Pétain, drew up lists of the inhabitants of Poitiers in order to verify their identities and their religion.

While waiting for news of his wife and daughter, the man hides in the cellar of a print shop, while his two other children are sheltered at André’s house.

If today the prison of the Pierre-levée is no longer a place of deprivation of liberty as it was during the Second World War, it is a semi-open center for light sentences. Between 1940 and 1943, prisoners were incarcerated there for “communist activities, propaganda, possession of weapons, destruction of a public building”. It was then the starting point for the firing squad or the concentration camps.


24 members of the OS-680 resistance group from the Thouars region were locked up in the prison. After a trial, 9 were executed in Biard and Angers.

209 Rue du Faubourg du Pont Neuf

The prison of the Pierre-levée in Poitiers does not receive any more prisoners since 2012.


It was in 1904 that the decision was made to build a prison in Poitiers to replace the one transformed by the Visitation convent.

It is built on the principles of panoptic and cellular allowing a supervisor placed in its center to see all prisoners.

From 1942, it was placed under the jurisdiction of the German authorities. Resistance fighters, communists and Jews were incarcerated there.

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By Damien Canteau

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

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