Fort de Queuleu construction began while part of Lorraine was under French rule in 1868. After the interruption of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, the fort was improved between 1872 and 1875 by the German Empire, which had annexed the area as a result of the war. Renamed Fort Goeben, it formed part of the first ring of the fortifications of Metz. Functionally obsolete by the First World War, it saw no military action, but was used by the Germans as a detention center for members of the French Resistance during World War II.
The fort was one of the first built according to the fortification system developed by Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Adolphe Séré de Rivières. The goal was to build a discontinuous enclosure around Metz using a series of artillery forts armed with a variety of guns. In the 1860s tension was rising between France and Germany, causing France to attend to the fortification of its frontiers. Metz, close to the border and a strategic road and rail crossing, was the beneficiary of one of the first programs of fortification. Before all of the forts could be completed, France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian War and the area around Metz was annexed to Germany. Metz then became a crucial strongpoint on Germany's frontier, receiving sustained attention to its defenses that culminated in the Moselstellung of the early twentieth century.
The pre-war French construction program comprised eight forts surrounding Metz at a distance of 3.5 - 5.5 km from the center of the city. Planning began in 1864, and in 1867 the project was placed under the supervision of Séré de Rivières. Compared with later Séré de Rivières system forts, the fort's design is reminiscent of the bastioned enclosures of Vauban of the 18th century. In their developed form, the Séré de Rivières forts of the 1870s were much simplified in plan, with less overt reference to historic prototypes.
During the Annexation of the Moselle during World War II the fort was used starting in 1943 by the German occupiers as an internment camp for members of the French Resistance, including Joseph Derhan. It was not a concentration camp, but an interrogation center for captured or arrested members of the Resistance. Between 1500 and 1800 people were detained at Queuleu. Prisoners were held in Casemate A of the fort. Thirty-six died there and four escaped through a ventilation shaft. Among the most notable prisoners were the Mario Group of resisters, led by Jean Burger. Almost all of the prisoners were transferred to concentration camps as American forces approached Metz in late 1944. The Germans evacuated the fort on 17 August 1944 and moved the majority of the detainees to Struthof, Schirmeck or Ravensbrück.
The Fort de Queuleu's four faces measure 350 metres while the side facing the city measures 700 metres. Barracks and casemates were arranged on two levels. As constructed, a large proportion of the fort's artillery was placed on the surface of the fort, exposed to high-angle artillery fire. This was not considered a major disadvantage in the 1860s, when most opposing artillery was expected to be smooth-bored guns firing solid shot or gunpowder-filled shells on a low trajectory, with the aim of battering the walls of the fort so that breaches could be exploited by infantry. During the 1870s rifled guns came into widespread use, making exposed masonry walls dangerously vulnerable. At the same time, fuses were developed that enabled shells fired at a high angle from howitzers or mortars to explode in the air above an open position, making exposed fixed-position artillery untenable. Fort de Queuleu was thus already obsolete when it was taken over by the Germans.
A memorial to the Resistance and Deportation, designed by architect R. Zonca, was inaugurated on 20 November 1977, when the fort became the property of the city of Metz. The fort is open to the public at scheduled times.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.