Education: To Be Continued

According to the guidebooks, there should have been a great university, standing in the middle of the town. But when British troops moved into Caen that July day in 1944, they saw no university. The night before, an Allied bomb had struck the library, and fire had destroyed the buildings. The pride of Normandy, the 500-year-old University of Caen, had vanished.

In the bombing, the rector had been wounded, and scores of professors and students killed. But that fall professors reopened classes in the town's normal school, which had been used as barracks and hospital by successive waves of French, German and...

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