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Refugee camp

Posted: Fri 26 Sep 2008 16:39
by Marguerite & Steve
Was there once a refugee camp at Rivesaltes, we were on the new back road to go to Carrefour from Estagel area and noticed a few buildings resembling a refugee camp, gave me the shivers. Any ideas?

Refugee camp

Posted: Fri 26 Sep 2008 17:01
by Polly and Steve
Yes, a big one! I'm half way through reading Rosemary Bailey's book 'Love and War in the Pyrenees' and I'm on the chapter about the Rivesaltes camp at the moment - it's harrowing stuff. Thought I'd get a lot more out of the book reading it while I'm actually here and it's so interesting; this whole area was invaded by refugees both from Spain and Franco and from northern France and the Nazis and their escape routes in and out of France and the beaches where a lot of the internment camps were set up are those places we know and love today as great days out.

It's really whetted my appetite to find out more - I think there are guided tours of the Rivesaltes site and there's a memorial apparently at the Chateau d'en Bardou near Elne where Resistance workers would smuggle mothers with tiny babies.

Recommended reading, but as I say, a bit harrowing.

Posted: Fri 26 Sep 2008 17:14
by Marguerite & Steve
Thanks Polly, I will see if I can find out more on the internet. x

Posted: Fri 26 Sep 2008 17:36
by carol sheridan
I posted a little while ago about Victoria Hislop's second novel, 'The Return', which is the story of one family in the Spanish Civil War. It tells how refugee camps were set up on St. Cyprien beach to house the thousands of Spanish fleeing Franco's forces. I strongly recommend the book anyway - it was the first time I had really understood the Spanish Civil War. The French did not treat the refugees very well - they were largely used as slave labour.

Refugee camp

Posted: Fri 26 Sep 2008 20:40
by Polly and Steve
Thanks Carol, yes I do remember your post now. Anyway, Victoria Hislop's book now ordered through Amazon (2p for Kate, hurray!) and it should be waiting for me when I get back next week.

Posted: Fri 26 Sep 2008 20:45
by rbg
Might be one for the book club?

Posted: Fri 26 Sep 2008 20:48
by Kathy
I enjoyed her first book The Island, that one is worth reading.

Refugee camp

Posted: Fri 26 Sep 2008 21:51
by Polly and Steve
Marguerite .....Durrrrr............just found lots of info on the Rivesaltes camp on, yes of course, this very site!! Should've known, shouldn't I. Click on the Tourist info tab at the top of the home page and then Historical sites in the drop down sub section and voila!

Posted: Fri 26 Sep 2008 22:02
by Marguerite & Steve
Just found it Polly, I didn't think to look there...Interesting in a sad way.

Posted: Sat 27 Sep 2008 00:21
by PaddyFrog
The CG has a page on Rivesaltes.

Refugee camp

Posted: Sat 27 Sep 2008 15:33
by Polly and Steve
Thanks for the link Paddy Frog. Interesting information there; managed to understand a lot of it, but my loss with my limited French. Will take a detour next time we're speeding up the autoroute.

Posted: Sat 27 Sep 2008 16:51
by Roger O

Posted: Sat 27 Sep 2008 16:58
by Kate
There's an article in the next P-O Life (still languishing at the printer's but ready hopefully by next week) about this but some of the 'high'lights....

Camp Joffre opened in 1938 and closed in 1970. Its history is horrific.
Refugees from the Spanish Civil War, Jews and Gipsies joined
other “undesirables”. So handy for the railway. Destination:
Auschwitz, via Drancy. Before long it was seriously overcrowded,
families separated, often starving. Stark figures
remain: 2,551 Jews recorded as deported from Rivesaltes, 400
of them children.

We human beings have a lot to answer for

Posted: Sun 28 Sep 2008 12:32
by PaddyFrog
Kate wrote: We human beings have a lot to answer for
And whats worse we continue to ignore suffering at the cost of Diplomatic niceties.

Why do we never learn.

Posted: Sun 28 Sep 2008 13:44
by Roger O

Posted: Mon 29 Sep 2008 19:40
by Chris
Exactly - we do not learn the lesson of history which is that mass murder by the state happened with monotonous regularity last century. As Hitler once correctly opined " who remembers the Armenians?"
If my children only remember one thing of me I want it to be this - "POWER CORRUPTS" - engraved deeply in the stone of their memories.
I once got into trouble for being politically incorrect; I objected to my children being taught about "the holocaust" at school - I said it should be "the holocausts" since there were many of them, carried out just as often by left wing governments as by right wing governments.
I felt that their teachers were missing the point by implying that holocausts can be avoided by banning right wing political parties whilst ignoring Stalins even bigger holocaust.
Once a state becomes too powerful it becomes corrupted by its own power and becomes a terrible monster which is much more dangerous than anything it claimed to be protecting us from.
Individual liberty is not a silly obsession of the suburban liberals; it is our only guarantee of survival.

Posted: Mon 29 Sep 2008 21:28
by PaddyFrog
Your posts are always, clear , concise and thought provoking, We must never take it for granted that people are aware, it is our duty to supply the facts.

Posted: Tue 30 Sep 2008 08:14
by Santiago
Very well put Chris.

Posted: Tue 30 Sep 2008 11:26
by Roger O
Chris wrote:Individual liberty is not a silly obsession of the suburban liberals; it is our only guarantee of survival.
I think this is what the various "survival groups" in the states lock onto - but often "fixate" on this subject, e.g.
Survival supplies:
(scroll right down, slowly!!)
Survival "tools" - would like to see Chris' comments on this one!!
Imagine this, used for aggression, not defense!!
The ultimate survivor?

On a much wider level, those who argue for "freedom of the individual" as a survival factor in today's society should read through this "as dispassionately as possible" to analyse the logic of the various statements and quotes
then debate whether much of it is "racist propaganda" or "statements of fact".
As in any argument on any subject, personal "leanings" and "predudices" tend to colour "statements of fact"!

Last thought:
Latest studies on the "extermination" of the Neanderthal race indicate that, far from being "primitively inferior" to the Cro Magnon (now known as EMH or Early Modern Human) who supplanted them, they (Neanderthals) give indication of having been a race possessed of "intelligent altruistic behaviour" - which would naturally have condemned them over a long period in competition with our family/tribally orientated ancestors. Has it taken EMH 32,000 years to arrive at such differentiation within "themselves" that "western man" has now arrived at the brink of the Neanderthal's fate? That is what contributions to the above link seem to be arguing, in effect!

Personally, I try to maintain an optimistic attitude, in spite of the emergence of CCTV, EDVIGE, etc. in our "own" society and the procreation rates of the "less altruistically-educated societies" of today's humanity!!

Many scifi writers have already argued that the human "race" will never achieve true cooperative cohesion until faced with an "external threat".
"Independence Day" was a typically American presentation of this "solution" in that "America once again saved the world"!