Camp Gurs was an internment and refugee camp constructed by the French government in 1939. There have been Internment camps and Concentration camps in France before during and after World War II. The government of France is a Semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the fifth Republic, in which the nation declares The camp was originally set up in southwestern France after the fall of Catalonia at the end of the Spanish Civil War to control those who fled Spain out of fear of retaliation from Francisco Franco's regime. Catalonia (Cataluña Catalunya Aranese: Catalonha) is an Autonomous Community in the northeast part of Spain. The Spanish Civil War was a major conflict in Spain that started after an attempted Coup d'état committed by parts of the army against the government of Spain () or the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España is a country located mostly in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco y Bahamonde (born December 4, 1892 in Ferrol, died November 20, 1975 in Madrid At the start of the World War II, the French government interned Germans and citizens of other Axis Powers, as well as French nationals who were considered to have dangerous political ideas or who were imprisoned for ordinary crimes. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. The Axis powers also known as the Axis alliance Axis nations Axis countries or sometimes just the Axis were those Countries
After the Vichy government signed an armistice with the Nazis in 1940, it became a concentration camp for Jews of any nationality except French, as well as people considered dangerous by the government. Vichy France, or the Vichy regime are the common terms used to describe the government of France from July 1940 to August 1944 Nazi Germany and the Third Reich are the common English names for Germany under the regime of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people commonly in large groups without trial PLEASE TAKE NOTE************ After France's liberation, Gurs housed German prisoners of war and French collaborators. Vichy France, or the Vichy regime are the common terms used to describe the government of France from July 1940 to August 1944 Before its final closure in 1946, the camp also held former Spanish Republican fighters who participated in the Resistance against the German occupation, because their decided will to end the fascist dictatorship imposed by Franco made them threatening in the eyes of the Allies. Year 1946 ( MCMXLVI) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. While officially Non-belligerent during the Second World War, General Franco's Spanish State gave considerable material economic, and military Resistance during World War II occurred in every occupied country by a variety of means ranging from non-cooperation disinformation and propaganda to hiding crashed pilots In general allies are people groups or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose
After the victory of Francisco Franco's forces over the Spanish Republic on April 1, 1939, many combatants, together with their relatives and other people who feared Franco's repression, fled to France. Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco y Bahamonde (born December 4, 1892 in Ferrol, died November 20, 1975 in Madrid The Second Spanish Republic was the system of government in Spain between April 14 1931, when King Alfonso XIII left the country Events 527 - Byzantine Emperor Justin I names his nephew Justinian I as co-ruler and successor to the throne Year 1939 ( MCMXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The French government built various camps to give shelter to these refugees. The most important camp was the one at Gurs, built adjacent to the city of Gurs, in the region of Aquitaine in the department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, 84 kilometers east of the Atlantic coast and 34 kilometers north of the Spanish border. Gurs is a commune of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département, in southwestern France. Aquitaine (Aquitània Akitania archaic Guyenne / Guienne (Occitan Guiana) is one of the 26 Regions of France, in the south-western part of Pyrénées-Atlantiques ( Gascon: Pirenèus-Atlantics; Basque: Pirinio-Atlantiarrak or Pirinio-Atlantikoak) is a department
For the site they chose an extended hill with a flat back, of clay soil, whose agricultural use was virtually nil: a little bit of corn and pasture for cattle. Construction began on March 15, 1939, and was still incomplete when the first group of refugees arrived on April 4. Events 44 BC - Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, is stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Year 1939 ( MCMXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.
The camp measured about 1,400 meters in length and 200 in width, an area of 28 hectares. The metre or meter is a unit of Length. It is the basic unit of Length in the Metric system and in the International Explanation The hectare is commonly used in most countries around the world especially in domains concerned with land planning and management such as Agriculture, The only street spanned the length of the camp. Both sides of the street were surrounded by parcels of 200 meters by 100 meters, named îlots (blocks; literally, "islets"). A city block, urban block or simply block is a central element of Urban planning and Urban design. There were seven îlots on one side and six on the other. The parcels were separated from the street and from each other by wire fences. The fences were doubled in the back part of the parcels, forming a passageway in which the exterior guards circulated.
In each parcel stood about 30 cabins; there were 382 cabins altogether. This particular type of cabin had been invented for the French army during the First World War; they had been built close to the front but outside the range of the enemy artillery, and they served to accommodate soldiers during the few days between when the soldiers arrived at their barracks and awaited their trench assignment. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All Artillery (from French artillerie) is a military Combat Arm which employs any apparātus machine They were assembled from thin planks of wood and covered with tarred fabric, all identical in construction and size. They were not provided with windows or other insulation. They did not offer protection from the cold, and the tarred fabric soon began to deteriorate, allowing rainwater to enter the cabins. Closets were nonexistent, and residents slept on sacks of straw gathered place on the floor. Despite the fact that each cabin had an area of only 25 square meters, each cabin had to lodge up to 60 people during times of peak occupancy. M^2 redirects here For other uses see M². CM2 redirects here
Food was scarce and poor in quality; there was no sanitation, running water, or plumbing. The camp had poor drainage. The area, due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, receives a great deal of rain, which made the clay campgrounds permanently muddy. The inmates made paths with the few stones they could find in a pathetic attempt to keep the mud in check. Pieces of wire that had been stripped of their barbs were placed between the cabins and the toilets and used by the refugees like the railing of a staircase, to maintain balance on the unsteady ground.
In each îlot there were rudimentary toilets, not very different from the sort of troughs that would be used to feed animals. There was also a platform about 2 meters high, which one climbed using steps, and upon which were built additional toilets. Under the platform there were large tubs that collected excrement. Once they were full they were transported out of the camp in carts.
One feature of the camp was that the wire fences were only two meters high; they were not electrified, and they did not have lookout towers filled with guards pointing their machine guns at the internees. The atmosphere was radically different from an extermination camp: there were no executions or displays of sadism on the part of the guards. Extermination camps were two types of facilities that Nazi Germany built during World War II for the systematic killing of millions of people in what has become
Around the camp there were small buildings that housed the administration and the guard corps. The administration and care of the camp was conducted under military auspices until the fall of 1940, when a civil administration was installed by the Vichy regime. Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar.
Those arriving from Spain were grouped into four categories(here translated into English):
From 1939 to the autumn of 1940, the language that dominated in the camp was Spanish. The inmates created an orchestra and constructed a sports field. On July 14, 1939, Bastille Day, the 17,000 internees of Spanish origin arranged themselves in military formation in the sports field and sang La Marseillaise, followed by sports presentations and choral and instrumental concerts. Events 1223 - Louis VIII becomes King of France upon the death of his father Philip II of France. Year 1939 ( MCMXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Bastille Day is the French national holiday, celebrated on 14 July each year. " La Marseillaise " (la maʁsɛˡjɛz in English The Song of Marseille) is the National anthem of France.
The German members of the International Brigade edited a newspaper in German by the name of "Lagerstimme K. Z. Gurs" of which there were more than 100 editions. The inhabitants of neighboring places could come to the camp and sell food to the inmates. For a time, the commander permitted some imprisoned women to rent a horse and cart and let them leave to camp to buy provisions more economically. There was a postal service and visits were also occasionally permitted.
At the start of World War II, the French government decided to also use the camp to house ordinary prisoners and citizens of enemy countries. The first contingent of these arrived at Gurs May 21, 1940, eleven days after the German government initiated its western campaign with the invasion of the Netherlands. Events 878 - Syracuse Italy is captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily. Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Netherlands ( Dutch:, ˈnedərlɑnt is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands the Netherlands To the Spaniards and Brigadists who still remained in the camp, were added:
In contrast to the Spaniards, for whom there was generally sympathy, the internees from the second waves were known as "les indésirables", the undesirables.
With the armistice between France and Germany in June 1940, the region in which the camp was situated formed part of the territory governed by the Vichy government, passing over to the civil authority. An armistice is a situation where the warring parties agree to stop fighting The military commander, before turning over command, burned the records in order to make it difficult for the new French government to locate and persecute many of the inmates who, informed of the change in command, had fled, disappearing among the French population who gave them shelter. A later consequence of the burning of the records however, was that once the war was over it made it difficult for many ex-prisoners to claim the compensation that was due to them for having been incarcerated.
Seven hundred of the prisoners, interned only for the reason of their nationality or for being sympathetical to the Nazi regime, were liberated between August 21 — the date of the arrival of the inspection commission sent by the German government to Gurs — and October. Events 1192 - Minamoto Yoritomo becomes Seii Tai Shōgun and the De facto ruler of Japan. The Vichy government used the camp to lock up:
In October 1940 began the most painful period of the camp. Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Nazi Gauleiter ("governor") from the Baden region of Germany had also been named Gauleiter of the neighboring French region of Alsace. A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP (more commonly known as the Nazi Party) or the head of a Gau or of a Baden is a historical state in the southwest of Germany, on the right bank of the Rhine. Alsace (Alsace alzas Alsatian and Elsass pre-1996 German: Elsaß; Alsatia is one of the 26 Regions of France, located on the eastern In Baden resided some 7,500 Jews; they were mainly women, children, and the elderly, given that the young and middle-aged men had fled from Germany or had disappeared in the Nazi concentration camps. This article is a list of Nazi-German concentration camps.In the table below Extermination camps are marked with pink
The Gauleiter received word that the camp at Gurs was mostly empty, and on October 25, 1940, it was decided to evacuate the Jews from Baden (between 6,500 and 7,500) to Gurs as part of Operation Wagner-Bürckel. Events 1147 - The Portuguese, under Afonso I, and Crusaders from England and Flanders conquer Lisbon after a Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. They remained locked up there under French administration. The living conditions were even more difficult, and during the year that they remained in the camp, more than a thousand fell victim to illness, especially typhus and dysentery. Typhus is any of several similar diseases caused by Louse -borne bacteria Dysentery (formerly known as flux or the bloody flux) is an infection of the digestive system that results in severe Diarrhea containing mucus and blood
Of the survivors, some 700 managed to escape and almost 2. 000 finally obtained visas that permitted them to emigrate. The rest, several thousand, remained in the camp, and males in the best physical condition were imprisoned in French work gangs.
The deportation of the German Jews to Gurs in October 1940 is a unique case in the history of the Holocaust. The Holocaust (from the Greek el ''ὁλόκαυστον'' (el-Latn holókauston holos, "completely" and kaustos, "burnt" also known as On one hand, it deals with the only deportation of Jews carried out toward the west of Germany by the Nazi regime. On the other hand, the Wannsee conference in which the above mentioned extermination program was delineated, did not take place until January 1942. The Wannsee Conference was a Meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on
Precise information on the motive of this deportation have not been found. There only exists the suspicion that it could have involved setting into motion the Madagascar Plan, an initiative of Adolf Eichmann designed to transport the entire Jewish population of Europe to the island of that name. The Madagascar Plan was a suggested policy of the Nazi government to forcibly relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar. Madagascar, or Republic of Madagascar (older name Malagasy Republic) is an Island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern If this was the case, this deportation would be the only known attempt to carry this plan forward. The protests of the French government avoided subsequent actions in this direction.
Beginning December 20, 1940, various humanitarian aid organizations intervened to lend their services: in addition to the Basque government in exile, posts were set up in Gurs belonging to the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, Jewish French organizations tolerated by the Vichy regime, and Protestant organizations such as the Quakers, CIMADE, and the YMCA. Events 69 - Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of Emperor. Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Basque Country ( Basque Euskadi, Spanish País Vasco) is an autonomous community in northern Spain. The Young Men's Christian Association (" YMCA " or " the Y " was founded on June 6, 1844 in London England by a young man Despite the fact that the camp was situated in a region where the great majority of the population was Catholic, not one Catholic organization offered its help to the inmates. On February 15, 1941, the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (Children’s Aid Society) installed a medical post and obtained permission to take numerous children away from Gurs, who would be housed in private homes throughout France. Events 590 - Khosrau II is crowned as king of Persia 1637 - Ferdinand III becomes Holy Roman Emperor Year 1941 ( MCMXLI) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (the link will display 1941 calendar of the Gregorian calendar.
It was not difficult to flee the camp: the wire fences were not very thick and security was not very harsh. But poorly dressed, without money, and without knowledge of the local language, people who fled were quickly found and returned to camp. Here they were imprisoned for a time as punishment in an îlot called de los represaliados (of those suffering reprisals). In case of recidivism, they were sent to another camp. But an internee who could count on outside help could successfully escape, whether to Spain or a shelter on a flat in France. There were 755 who managed to escape.
Once the program for the eradication of the Jews was put into motion in the camps in Poland, the Vichy regime turned over the 5,500 Jews who were located in Gurs to the Nazis. On July 18, 1942, the SS captain, Theodor Dannecker, inspected the camp and then ordered that they prepare themselves to be transported to Eastern Europe. Events 390 BC - Roman - Gaulish Wars Battle of the Allia - a Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, Year 1942 ( MCMXLII) was a Common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Theodor Dannecker (born 27 March 1913 in Tübingen; died 10 December 1945 in Bad Tölz) was an SS Hauptsturmführer Beginning on August 6, they were sent in convoys to the Drancy deportation camp, on the outskirts of Paris, and later many were murdered in extermination camps. Events 1538 - Bogotá, Colombia, is founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. Drancy deportation campof Paris, France used to hold Jews who were later deported to the Extermination camps. The majority of them were sent to Auschwitz. "Auschwitz" redirects here For the town see Oświęcim Auschwitz-Birkenau () was the largest of Nazi Germany
Upon the withdraw of the Germans from the region due to the advance of the Allied invasion of France, the French who took charge of Gurs locked up their countrymen accused of collaborating with the German occupiers as well as Spaniards, who having found refuge in France, had been fighting in the French Resistance against the German occupation. The French Resistance is the collective name used for the French Resistance movements which fought against the Nazi German These men were not trying enter into an armed conflict on the French-Spanish border and were not interested in confronting Franco but the French feared they may and so held these Spaniards in Gurs for a short time. It also briefly housed German prisoners of war.
The camp was dismantled in 1946, and fell into obscurity. Year 1946 ( MCMXLVI) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The hill has since been covered in dense vegetation that still does not manage to absorb the water that flows from the clay soil. One can see a few stones that were paths and the bases of cabins. Groups of volunteers have begun to remove the overgrown weeds to expose the misery in which some 64,000 people were forced to live during the various époques of the camp.
In 1979, on the 40th anniversary of the creation of the camp, the region's youth started to air the forgotten history of the camp by inviting old inmates to conferences and lectures. Year 1979 ( MCMLXXIX) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1979 Gregorian calendar) The event was well-publicized by the French, German, and Spanish press; as a result, the next year there was a reunion at Gurs on June 20—21. The reunion drew a hundred former detainees, who came from many different countries. Also in attendance were people associated with the French resistance and survivors of the Nazi death camps. Together, these people created an organization called L'Amicale de Gurs. This organization developed an official newsletter called L'apell de Gurs, which was full of emphatic catchphrases such as, Gurs, a symbol of combat and the suffering of the peoples of Europe," and "Gurs, a concentration camp, calls for vigilance, for unity, and for action; actions taken so that man can live in freedom and dignity.
Since this date, a commemorative ceremony has been held annually. Some of the main participants in this ceremony have been Jewish organizations, representatives of citizens of Baden, former exiles, their relatives, and people of diverse nationalities who, by their presence, hope to point out the duty of every generation to remember the criminal acts of the dictatorial regimes that assaulted Europe during the 20th century. The twentieth century of the Common Era began on
Today the camp contains a reconstruction of a triangular cabin as a testimony to the hundreds of identical cabins that were lived in by the inmates. Like the original cabins, the reconstruction was made from thin slabs of wood covered in tarred cardboard. A few monuments recall the camp of the Gursiens, a name that was first used by the inhabitants of nearby towns to refer to the inmates and that was ultimately adopted by the inmates themselves.
The thick vegetation that covers the area occupied by the Gurs ilots contrasts sharply with the tranquility of the large Jewish cemetery, which is paid for and exquisitely maintained by the governments of German cities that once deported their German-Jewish populations.
After the liberation in 1944, The French Association of Jewish communities of the Basses-Pyrénées took charge of Gurs' upkeep and erected a monument to the camp's victims. Pyrénées-Atlantiques ( Gascon: Pirenèus-Atlantics; Basque: Pirinio-Atlantiarrak or Pirinio-Atlantikoak) is a department As the years passed, though, the cemetery itself fell into disrepair. Hearing of this disrepair, the mayor of Karlsruhe in 1957 took the initiative to have his city assume responsibility for the conservation of the camp, supported by the Jewish associations of Baden. Karlsruhe (ˈkaɐ̯lsʁuːə population 285812 in 2006 is a city in the south west of Germany, in the Bundesland Baden-Württemberg, located near He got in touch with the parts of Baden that had deported their Jewish citizens to Gurs so that they could participate in the project. The French state, for its part, gave the federation of Jewish organizations of Baden the right to control the cemetery for the next 99 years. The German cities of Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Pforzheim, Konstanz and Weinheim now pay the economic costs of the cemetery's upkeep. Mannheim is a City in Germany. With 327318 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in the state of Baden-Württemberg after the capital Stuttgart Heidelberg is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. As of 2006 over 140000 people live within the city's area Pforzheim is a town of nearly 119000 inhabitants in the state of Baden-Württemberg, southwest Germany at the gate to the Black Forest. Konstanz (in English formerly known as Constance) is a university town of around 80000 inhabitants at the western end of Lake Constance Weinheim (Bergstrasse is a town in the north west of the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany with 43 000 inhabitants approximately 15 km north of Heidelberg
Since the year 1985, the camp has had a memorial to the fighters of the Spanish Civil War who were interned in the camp; the camp's cemetery has a section set aside for the members of this group who have died. The Spanish Civil War was a major conflict in Spain that started after an attempted Coup d'état committed by parts of the army against the government of In the year 2000, the German War Graves Commission performed major renovations on this cemetery. The German War Graves Commission ( Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge in German is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of German war graves in Europe and North
|Basques||6. Events 456 - St Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary bishop Events 1056 - Byzantine Empress Theodora becomes ill dying suddenly a few days later without children to succeed the Throne Year 1939 ( MCMXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. 555|
|Total||2. Events 462 - Possible start of first Byzantine indiction cycle. Events 313 - Roman emperor Licinius unifies the entire Eastern Roman Empire under his rule Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. 820|
|Spaniards||3. Events 305 - Diocletian and Maximian retire from the office of Roman Emperor. Events 69 - Second Battle of Bedriacum, forces under Antonius Primus the commander of the Danube armies loyal to Vespasian, defeat Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. 695|
|Germans and Austrians||9. 771|
|Germans from Baden||6. Events 1147 - The Portuguese, under Afonso I, and Crusaders from England and Flanders conquer Lisbon after a Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Events 445 BC – Ezra reads the Book of the Law to the Israelites in Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 91 NLTse Year 1943 ( MCMXLIII) was a Common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. 538|
|Arrivals from Saint Cyprien camp||3. 870|
|German prisoners of war||310|
|Anti-Franco Spaniards||1. Events 193 - Septimius Severus is proclaimed Roman Emperor by the army in Illyricum (in the Balkans) Year 1944 ( MCMXLIV) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Events 708 - Copper coins are minted in Japan for the first time (Traditional Japanese date: August 10, 708) Year 1944 ( MCMXLIV) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Events 1363 - Beginning date of the Battle of Lake Poyang; the forces of two Chinese rebel leaders— Chen Youliang and Year 1944 ( MCMXLIV) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Events 406 – Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gallia. Year 1945 ( MCMXLV) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar 475|
|Collaborators with the German occupiers||1. 585|
|Total before the liberation||60. 559|
|Total after the liberation||3. 370|
|Total people interned (1939-1945)||63. 929|
Among the prisoners of the camp were:
There have been Internment camps and Concentration camps in France before during and after World War II. A geographic coordinate system enables every location on the Earth to be specified in three coordinates using mainly a spherical coordinate system.