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From international origins to transnational commemoration: the cemetery of the Gurs camp, 1939-1963

From international origins to transnational commemoration: the cemetery of the Gurs camp, 1939-1963
From international origins to transnational commemoration: the cemetery of the Gurs camp, 1939-1963
While the operation and experiences of the internment camps of the Third Republic and Vichy have been studied, little is known about how they were transformed into sites of commemoration. Drawing from fresh archival material, this study demonstrates the complexity of closing the complex of Gurs whilst also questioning the extent to which this camp can be understood as either a peripheral or forgotten site during the frequently neglected period of the post–war decades. The analysis of French correspondence not only reveals how the legacy of the camp generated a significant level of ‘administrative noise’. It also furthers understanding of how post–war narratives of the Occupation were constructed and buttressed by French officials. The tensions inherent in displacing responsibility for the French State’s actions underplay this article’s argument that the international backgrounds of the deceased explain both the camp cemetery’s neglect and its transformation into a site of transnational commemoration in the early 1960s.
France, concentration camps, commemoration, twentieth century, refugee & migration studies, transnationalism, Gurs, Jews, Spanish Republicans, Holocaust, Germany
0269-1191
82-104
Soo, Scott
89c741fa-86f2-41f7-a3d6-48faf54541cf
Soo, Scott
89c741fa-86f2-41f7-a3d6-48faf54541cf

Soo, Scott (2020) From international origins to transnational commemoration: the cemetery of the Gurs camp, 1939-1963. French History, 34 (1), 82-104. (doi:10.1093/fh/crz047).

Record type: Article

Abstract

While the operation and experiences of the internment camps of the Third Republic and Vichy have been studied, little is known about how they were transformed into sites of commemoration. Drawing from fresh archival material, this study demonstrates the complexity of closing the complex of Gurs whilst also questioning the extent to which this camp can be understood as either a peripheral or forgotten site during the frequently neglected period of the post–war decades. The analysis of French correspondence not only reveals how the legacy of the camp generated a significant level of ‘administrative noise’. It also furthers understanding of how post–war narratives of the Occupation were constructed and buttressed by French officials. The tensions inherent in displacing responsibility for the French State’s actions underplay this article’s argument that the international backgrounds of the deceased explain both the camp cemetery’s neglect and its transformation into a site of transnational commemoration in the early 1960s.

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Final draft GURS 2 June - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Submitted date: 23 October 2018
Accepted/In Press date: 31 May 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 October 2019
Published date: March 2020
Keywords: France, concentration camps, commemoration, twentieth century, refugee & migration studies, transnationalism, Gurs, Jews, Spanish Republicans, Holocaust, Germany

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 431452
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/431452
ISSN: 0269-1191
PURE UUID: 31f0cca6-c638-4367-a942-a90601c9b7ae

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Jun 2019 16:30
Last modified: 16 Nov 2021 05:02

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