From 1939 to 1946, France interned 600,000 people (Spanish, German and Austrian refugees, Jewish, communist, gypsies, etc.) in a very significant number of camps and of which some are still little or not known.

Who, for example, intended to speak about the two camps hereafter having functioned in our area: ESSARTS-VARIMPRE, into Seine-Inférieure, and GAILLON, in Eure? They are reproduced however, the first, on a list of camps of civil internees on November 19, 1940 (paperboard 2P4l, file 7, Historical Service of the Army, Château of Vincennes) the second, in appendix of the circular n° 127 pol. Cab. of January 31, 1942 of the Ministry for the Interior!

There exists, for many camps, no trace of correspondence emanating from the internees. Some others even completely disappeared from the memory. I want of it for proof the CAMP OF BASSENS by the way whose the Mayor of this locality, consulted by my care, answered me "that there never was camp of internment on the commune of Bassens in Gironde" ! It however appears indeed in the Files of the Historical Service of the Army of which it is refers a little higher.

Anyway, the postal document retrieval of the French internment camps remains certainly difficult but is of nevertheless unquestionable interest at historical level.

An about sixty years have run out for this tragic time and the number of survivors is reduced day after day. Time erases all!

This is why I consider that it is up to the collectors to contribute their share to the knowledge of this painful chapter of the history of our Country. It is in this spirit that I have undertaken and realized this modest study.


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