The surge of refugees had justified the creation, as of January 21, 1939, of the first gathering camp of RIEUCROS (Lozère). Other secret measurements staff taken in April 1939 provided that in the event of mobilization, all the foreigners of the male sex from 17 to 50 years old should be concentrated as soon as possible, then divided into units of workers to the profit of the military areas or the public services. 18000 to 20000 German nationals were concerned and dispersed in a hundred camps located mainly at the west of the Seine and the south of the Loire.

The low number of internees in the majority of the camps and the short duration of the internment make that the postal documents coming from there are rare.

During the first period starting from the beginning of the year 1939 to the summer 1940 and during which the administration of the camps was placed under the French military authority, one can note the few following internment places:

  • the camp of BELLEVUE, in Meuvaines (Calvados),
  • 146e R.R. Foreigners Gathering Center of LORIOL (Drôme),
  • the battalion of foreigners' guard n 4, in MESLAY-DU-MAINE (Mayenne),
  • the foreigners's camp MAROLLES (Loir-et-Cher),
  • the internment camp n5 of GUELAINTIN (Mayenne),
  • the camp of BASSENS (Gironde).
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