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Building which served as a concentration camp at Camp des Milles.

The Camp des Milles was a French internment camp, opened in September 1939, in a former tile factory near the village of Les Milles, part of the commune of Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône).[1]



The camp was first used to intern Germans and ex-Austrians living in the Marseille area, and by June 1940, some 3,500 artists and intellectuals were detained there.[1][2][3] Inmates included men of letters such as Fritz Brugel, Leon Feuchtwanger, William Herzog, Alfred Kantorowicz, Golo Mann, Walter Hasenclever, scientists such as Nobel Prize laureate Otto Fritz Meyerhof, as well as musicians and painters such as Erich Itor Kahn, Hans Bellmer, Max Ernst, Hermann Henry Gowa, Gustave Herlich, Max Lingner, Ferdinand Springer, Franz Meyer, Jan Meyerowitz, Franz Waxman, François Willi Wendt and Robert Liebknecht.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Between 1941 and 1942 Le Camp des Milles was used as a transit camp for Jews, mainly men. Women were at the Centre Bompard in Marseille, while they waited for their visas and anthorisations to emigrate. As emigration became impossible, Les Milles became one of the centres de rassemblement before deportation.[1] About 2,000 of the inmates were shipped off to the Drancy internment camp on the way to Auschwitz.[3] After the war, the site was briefly re-opened in 1946 as a factory.


Since 1993, the sites serves as a World War II memorial.[3] The "Fondation du camp des Milles: mémoire et éducation" (Foundation of the Camp des Milles: Memory and Education) is directed by Alain Chouraqui, a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research.[2]

On September 10, 2012, seventy years after the last train left from Les Milles to the Auschwitz concentration camp, the memorial was inaugurated by French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.[2] Elie Wiesel, Simone Veil and Serge Klarsfeld visited and praised the memorial.[2]


In 1995, a movie entitled Les Milles commemorating this camp and the events that took place in this camp at the time of the Armistice in June 1940 was made.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Guénaël Lemouee, Camp des Milles : la mémoire de la déportation, La Provence, 10 September 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Aliette de Broqua, Ayrault au mémorial du camp des Milles, Le Figaro, 10/09/2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Olivier Bertrand, Camp des Milles : «Parti sans laisser d’adresse», Libération, 10 July 2012
  4. Jean-Marc Chouraqui, Gilles Dorival, Colette Zytnicki, Enjeux d'Histoire, Jeux de Mémoire: les Usages du Passé Juif, Maisonneuve & Larose, 2006, p. 548 [1]
  5. Histoire du camp - L’internement
  6. Memoire juive

External links

Coordinates: 43°30′12″N 5°23′08″E / 43.50333°N 5.38556°E / 43.50333; 5.38556

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