TRAVEL with pat and lew

* Nazi concentration camp in southern France

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 26, 2010


Spread across a huge barren windswept area in Rivesaltes, just north of Perpignan, not far from where we live in southern France, are the decaying remains of a French concentration camp. Here in the early 1940s, approximately 40,000 Jews were collected for the Nazis by French police, kept under conditions for which the word inhumane is grossly insufficient, and then shipped to Auschwitz. A heartbreaking description of these events is found in Rosemary Bailey’s brilliant book Love and War in the Pyrenees: A True Story. A memorial for these Jews, and for earlier Spanish and later Algerian detainees, is being planned.



3 Responses to “* Nazi concentration camp in southern France”

  1. There is a new book published this year, in French and German, the story of one family’s expulsion from Karlsruhe, Germany to the south of France, where they were kept in several different camps, including at Gurs and Rivesaltes. The story is told by Paul Niedermann, who was a 12-year-old boy at the time and includes much fascinating original documentation, including letters written by his mother that somehow made their way out of the camps. Since testifying at the Klaus Barbie trial in 1987, Niedermann has devoted himself to bearing witness, particularly among German youth, to what he, his family, and his people suffered during the Holocaust. He is a remarkable human being: chastened, but not embittered–and essentially optimistic despite all he saw and experienced–his is a story worth hearing!

  2. Rachel Willen said

    My mother and grandmother were in this camp.

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