Monday, 25 April 2011

Lest We Forget - a dark episode in the history of Provence.

Camp des Milles.

Les Milles, which is situated between Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, was once a tile and brick factory. But during the second world war it was used as an internment and transit camp by the Vichy Government. Thousands of men, women and children were rounded up, kept at the camp and then deported to Auschwitz via Drancy outside Paris.
The station and railway track can still be seen. Railway wagons also remain.

Many artists and intellectuals passed through the camp, although some managed to escape. The camp is unusual in that the prisoners were given paints and decorated the walls with murals, which remain to this day.
One prisoner who was held in Les Milles for a few weeks and then released was German Surrealist artist Max Ernst.

Les Milles is the only former transit camp in France which is still in good condition and a project was set up to preserve it as it is for educational purposes. The project, called Mémoire du Camp des Milles (Remembering the Camp des Milles) works to "save, maintain and open to the public" the buildings of the  camp. The project came about as the site is "a remnant of a particularly painful and enlightening period of history. Therefore, it represents a significant part of the French national memory and of the European culture."

More information can be found at Camp des Milles.  Photos of some of the murals are at     campdesmilles/photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment