Departement des Pyrénées-Atlantiques
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
In April, 1939, the Gurs Concentration Camp was established by the French. It initially served as a detention camp for political refugees fleeing Spain after the Spanish Civil War.
In early 1940, the French government interned about 4,000 German Jewish refugees as "enemy aliens," along with French leftists who opposed the Allies. After the French armistice with Germany in June 1940, Gurs fell under the authority of the leftist collaborationist French government - the antisemitic Vichy regime.
Conditions in the Gurs camp were very primitive. It was overcrowded and there was a constant shortage of water, food, and clothing. During 1940-1941, 800 detainees died of contagious diseases, including typhoid fever and dysentery.
Vichy French authorities closed the Gurs camp in November 1943. Almost 22,000 prisoners had passed through Gurs, of whom over 18,000 were Jewish. More than 1,100 internees died in the camp.