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Jew's Road (Chemin des Juifs)
© Marcus R. Roberts (2015)

Places of interest

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Start of Jew's Road
The Jewish Memorial
Block of spoiled Concrete
Foot Prints in the Concrete
Bunker Swarm and More Foot Prints in the Concrete
World War II Barbed Wire
Fallen Block House and Rommel's Asparagus

1. Start of Jew's Road

The start of the Jew's Road can be found at geo-location, 50.646147, 1.608720

2. The Jewish Memorial

There is a recent commemorative stele raised in c. 1994 on the Jew's Road, which is important in indicating the actual history of the Jew's Road and is now also the site of an annual commemoration.

The memorial relates that the thousands of deported Jews, the victims of Nazi barbarity were worked and died on the road during the construction of the Atlantic Wall, between 1942 - 1944.


3. Block of spoiled Concrete

After the Jewish memorial take the right-hand path after the memorial.

A few meters along the Jew's Road a block of spoiled concrete can be seen to the right of the path. It is alleged that some prisoners sabotaged concrete and it might be that the bare-foot print near the memorial might be causally related to the spoiled concrete.

4. Foot Prints in the Concrete

The first of hundreds of foot-prints can start to be seen in the Jew's Road from this point onwards, though the most can be seen in the last section of the walk. The reason for the foot-prints is that the Germans were in such a haste to finish the construction of the Road that they would not let the concrete fully cure before they tested it and continued further work on it. Along the length of the road there are impressions of the guards' hob-nailed regulation Wehrmacht boots, the prisoners' civilian shoes (the Belgian Jews mostly wore their own clothes, not camp uniform) as well as evidence of wooden cleated clogs, possibly concentration camp issue. There are also paw-prints from guard dogs, hoof-prints from the officer's horses and there are also marks from the metal sleepers of the light gauge railway track used to push tubs of materials and concrete by the prisoners.

Close to the memorial it can be possible to see a bare-foot print. This is significant as prisoners who were being punished, or accused of sabotage, were sometimes made to work in the concrete in bare-feet.

5. Bunker Swarm and More Foot Prints in the Concrete

The Jew's Road can then be followed through the dunes and Forest for another 0.7km until a fork in the road is reached.

The Jew's Road continues after the Memorial, progressing through the different sections of the extensive sand dunes systems that are now integral to the important nature reserve that the road passes through. Gradually the green dune, with the forest and lakes and ponds, transitions to the white dune, as the sand comes to the fore and replaces much of the large vegetation. It is clear that building in the sand would have been an immense and energy sapping undertaking and very unpleasant in windy conditions.

At the fork in the road the left-hand turn going down to the beach and the right-hand turn climbing another 0.5 km to a high point in the dunes and the majority of the bunkers and casements. It is at the point that the road turns steeply up-hill that the greatest concentration of evidence of the building and builders of the road can be found.

There are hundreds of foot-prints and other impressions in the concrete. The hob-nailed and cleated regulation Wehrmacht boot prints from the guards can be seen, the imprint of civilian shoes worn by many of the prisoners, as well as some clog prints from the wooden-soled shoes which were issued to concentration camp prisoners. There are also the paw-prints of the guard dogs and the hoof-prints of the German officer's horses. There are also marks from the metal sleepers of the light-railway tracks along which the prisoners pushed trucks laden with concrete and other building materials. These are important and poignant evidences of the torment of the construction of the Jew's Road.

6. World War II Barbed Wire

On your return from the highest point of the Jew's Road and the view point over looking Hardelot, you can turn right at the fork at the bottom of the steep slope to go down towards the beach (please note that the path is now covered by deep sand and dune as the beach is approached.

Depending on the ebb and flow of the sands there are remains of WWII barbed wire in the dunes along the route, from a barbed wire emplacement that survived into the 1970s. A large mass of rust and wire at one point is the remains of a spool of wire.

7. Fallen Block House and Rommel's Asparagus

As you exit the deep sand of the dunes over-looking the beach, a large block-house or casement that has tumbled down onto the beach from the dunes can be seen. Also at low tide the remains of wooden beach defences, 'Rommel's Asparagus' can be seen protruding from the foreshore at low tide. They were designed to prevent aeroplanes or gliders landing on the vast local beaches and to stop landing craft. Some had mines strapped to the top. These were also installed by forced labour (using hydraulic hoses)and led to the destruction of the local wood-lands, much resented by local people.

The return route is the same way as you arrive, though a circular route through more of the nationally important dune reserve can be made by joining with the Sentier du Mont Café by turning right at the Jewish Memorial (map or guide required). If you start at Pre Catalan, then a fine circular walk can be achieved by walking back to Hardelot along the one of the best beaches in France and then following a path following the bank of the small river until Pre Catalan is achieved, or by crossing into the edge of Hardelot by crossing the river by the small bridge and walking on the edge of the village until the Avenue des Bois is achieved and turning left.


Care and common sense should be used when exploring the bunkers at end of the Chemin des Juifs as some of the lighter constructions may have that crumbling brick-work or loose concrete that could present a hazard to the careless. Also, the shifting sands can reveal a variety of metal junk and objects (which can be interesting) but it is important not to pick up anything that you do not know what it is, in case that any old munitions are exposed.

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