Keyword: concentration camps

The forgotten wartime persecution of France's 'nomads'

By Pierre-Yves Bulteau
The site today of the camp de la Forge at Moisdon-la-Rivière, in north-west France. © PYB The site today of the camp de la Forge at Moisdon-la-Rivière, in north-west France. © PYB

The shameful mass internment of gypsies in camps across France between 1940 and 1946 remained a largely forgotten wartime episode until it finally received official recognition three years ago. Later this month, as part of that process, a ceremony will take place in homage to those who were placed in one of the camps, at Moisdon-la-Rivière in north-west France, where some died from the dire conditions. Pierre-Yves Bulteau traces the history of the persecution, and interviews survivors and witnesses of the horrors at the camp for "nomads" at Moisdon-la-Rivière.

The homage France owes to Spanish Republican refugees

By Nicolas Lebourg
Spanish refugees arriving across the French border in the village of Le Perthus, February 1939. © David Seymour. Musée national de l'histoire et des cultures de l'immigration Spanish refugees arriving across the French border in the village of Le Perthus, February 1939. © David Seymour. Musée national de l'histoire et des cultures de l'immigration

A move to include the 150th anniversary of the birth of the notorious French anti-Semitic and far-right author Charles Maurras in official ceremonies across France this year caused such an outcry that it was struck off the agenda, calling into question the criteria employed by the country’s learned national commemorations committee. Amid the farce over Maurras, historian and Mediapart contributor Nicolas Lebourg argues here that a truly worthy commemoration sorely missing from the official calendar is that of the plight, and unsung contribution to France, of the hundreds of thousands of Spanish Civil War refugees who, in the runup to World War II, crossed into the country seeking refuge from the Franco regime.