Keyword: Rivesaltes

The French internment camp that symbolizes the shameful fate of refugees

Arrivée de réfugiés espagnols fuyant Franco © Mémorial du camp de Rivesaltes Arrivée de réfugiés espagnols fuyant Franco © Mémorial du camp de Rivesaltes

Between 1941 and 1964, a total of 60,000 people were interned in a camp at Rivesaltes in south-west France, close to the border with Spain. The successive waves of internees included Spanish Republican refugees, Jews and Roma during the German occupation of France in World War II, and later Algerian Harki soldiers and their families who had sided with French forces during their country’s bitter war of independence. On Friday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls inaugurated a major memorial centre at the notorious camp and which highlights widespread political hypocrisy in face of the current refugee crisis. Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis reports on the history of the camp and its belated memorial centre, a project of 17 years in the making.

The Vichy deportation camp that is a 'permanent stain' on France

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A senior figure in the Socialist Party has angrily criticised French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti for allegedly snubbing Rivesaltes, a former internment and deportation camp in southern France which is set to become a memorial in 2015, during a recent trip to the area. The culture minister has dismissed the claims as 'absurd'. To understand the importance of the memorial site behind this political squabble, Mediapart asked historian Denis Peschanski to describe the political and historical issues at stake in a camp that revives some of the worst memories of the Second World War in France. Antoine Perraud reports.