Aurélie Filippetti, Minister of Culture and Communication, welcomes the success of the «Grand collecte», the first concrete demonstration of the commemorations of the First World War announced by the President of the Republic on November 7.

Organized jointly, from 9 to 16 November, by the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Service interministériel des Archives de France, under the aegis of the Européana Foundation and in partnership with the Centennial Mission, the Grande Collecte attracted, in 102 participating departments – departmental and municipal archives, libraries, museums – more than 10,000 people, who have entrusted tens of thousands of archival documents for digitization: photographs, glass plates, diaries, drawing books, collections of memories.

Aurélie Filippetti would like to thank all these contributors for the unique documents they have brought, which evoke the small as the Great History: among the original pieces, a set of letters written from the forehead on birch bark, a batch of 697 letters exchanged between a hairy man and his fiancée in one year, a testimony of fraternization between French and Germans on Christmas Eve 1914.

As unpublished sources of everyday life, these archives show how the memory of the Great War was transmitted in an exceptionally rich and strong way in French families. Digitized by the participating departments, a selection of these documents will be published in the coming weeks on the «Europeana 14-18» database, among the testimonies collected in ten other European countries during similar operations. A large sample of the European memory of the Great War will be made available online.

The success of the Great Collection shows the involvement of the Ministry of Culture and Communication in the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. This involvement will be manifested again, in the course of the next year, by the putting on line and the indexing of the registries of all fighters, preserved in the network of departmental archives, and by the exhibitions that will be held at the BnF, site François-Mitterrand, from 25 March 2014, «Summer 14, the last days of the old world», and at the National Archives, «August 1914. All at war!” (Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, 19 September-20 December 2014).

The Great Collection is part of the «Digital Autumn».

www.centenaire.org, “La Grande Collecte” tab