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Camp Vernet

Le Vernet Internment Camp, or Camp Vernet, was a concentration camp[1] in Le Vernet, Ariège, near Pamiers, in the French Pyrenees. It was originally built in June 1918 to house French colonial troops serving in World War I but when hostilities ceased it was used to hold German and Austrian prisoners of war.[2]

Between the wars, it served as a military depot.[2] Towards the end of the Spanish Civil War, in February 1939, it was put to a new use. It became a reception camp for Republicans fleeing from Francisco Franco's armies after the collapse of the Second Spanish Republic. At this time, it held mainly former soldiers from the Republican Durruti Division.[1]

With the outbreak of World War II, the role of the camp was expanded. It was used to house "undesirable" foreigners, in particular, anti-fascist intellectuals and former members of the International Brigades.[1] After the Fall of France on 25 June 1940, it was taken over by the pro-Nazi Vichy France authorities, to house "all foreigners considered suspect or dangerous to the public order".[1]

From 1942, Le Vernet was used as a holding centre for Jewish families awaiting deportation to Nazi labour and extermination camps.[1] The final transport took place in June 1944 and took the remaining prisoners to Dachau concentration camp.[1] One source says that "about 40,000 persons of 58 nationalities were interned in the camp".[1]

Notable prisoners

Sources and footnotes

  • Ariège history, website in English]
  • Ariège history, Chemins de Memoire, in French

See also

Coordinates: 43°11′43″N 1°36′30″E / 43.19528°N 1.60833°E / 43.19528; 1.60833

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