Immersive D Day experience draws fire in respect row

The planned immersive experience has drawn condemnation from Normandy veterans. Photo credit: Marcin Jucha, Shutterstock

A planned ‘immersive’ experience to commemorate the D Day landings in World War Two has drawn condemnation from veterans of the invasion, who view the project as disrespectful to those who fought and died during the Normandy campaign.

The Homage to Heroes project aims to use immersive theatre to draw crowds of up 600,000 tourists per year, with costs for the project planned to reach 250 million Euros, using ‘new tools’ alongside archival footage. The experience is set to open in  2024, in time for the 80th anniversary of the invasion.

Roberto Ciurelo, one of the organisers behind the project, said: “At the 80th anniversary, there will not be many direct witnesses. Our goal is to pass the memory on to the younger generations. Create curiosity to go further.” 

The plan has drawn criticism from both French and US veterans of the battle, with one American veterans association, the National 4th Infantry Division Association sending a letter of opposition to the project alongside local French veterans. 

More than 150 descendants of French commandos who went ashore on D Day described the project as ‘D Day Land’, writing in French newspaper Le Monde that "The memory of the D-Day is better than a show.”

The group demands that no commercial or show project should be set up on the D-Day landing beaches or Normandy battle sites over fears that the famous battlegrounds could turn from a place of remembrance into a ‘Disneyland’ like experience.