This website was last updated on December 23rd 2016. Although I have tried hard to ensure that all facts are correct, any mistakes or omissions are my own responsibility. Please let me know if you spot anything!
Internment camps of South West France 1939-1944
An opportunity to share knowledge and unlock the past.
Saint Cyprien. This camp was opened on the 8th February 1939 as a result of the camp at Argeles being totally inadequate to house the arrival of more and more Spanish refugees. The internees were mostly men of the Republican Army, and by the beginning of March 1939 there were 100,000 men here. By August the number had dropped to 6,000 as internees were sent to various work-camps throughout the country.
The camp was closed on October 30th 1940, the remaining population being sent to Gurs.
One good source of information on this site is a French philatelic site. You can reach it by
Barcares. This camp was begun at the same time as that of Saint Cyprien, but it was built and opened gradually, intending to be a better solution to the problem of finding accommodation for the Spanish refugees. By the end of March there were still only 16,000 men here, rising to 50,000 in July. It was constructed with more than 600 barracks in 25 “ilots”, and was equipped with kitchens and toilets. Not only Spanish but also other refugees were interned here. Eventually it too became the victim of unhygenic conditions because of overcrowding and was closed finally in August 1942.
The French philatelic site has good information on this camp too. You can see it by clicking here.