Tuesday, October 05, 2004

French Kept Allied Citizens in Concentration Camps after WW2

This story should be required reading for all those who complain that any valid international alliance must include the French. From the Guardian (via Instapundit):
The government of Charles de Gaulle held hundreds of foreigners, including at least three Britons, in an internment camp near Toulouse for up to four years after the second world war, according to secret documents.

The papers, part of a cache of 12,000 photocopied illegally by an Austrian-born Jew, reveal the extent to which French officials collaborated with their fleeing Nazi occupiers even as their country was being liberated. They also show that, when the war was over, France went to extraordinary lengths to hide as much evidence of that collaboration as possible.
Based on the story, most of those held, including Britons and Americans, were French residents when the war started. The post-war DeGaulle Government, whose actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis Kerry warmly cited during the debate last Thursday, kept the camps running to avoid revealing how actively the French cooperated with their German "occupiers". If only the Iraqis were half as cooperative with us as the French were with the Germans.

Apparently the French had a lot to hide. The Guardian remarks that "under a 1979 law most of France's wartime archives are sealed for between 60 and 150 years after they were written." The documents reveal how enthusiastically the French officials continued their work, even after the D-Day landings:
The papers also show that officials continued to deport inmates of all nationalities to a near-certain death in Germany even as France was being liberated.

A neat register shows that, in March 1944, NoƩ contained inmates of 25 nationalities, including three Americans and 13 Britons aged between 21 and 55, and one other Briton aged over 55.

On June 24 1944, two weeks after the allies landed on the beaches of Normandy, the camp commandant wrote to the Toulouse prefecture. "I have the honour to inform you," he said, "that on the 22nd of this month nine British citizens were transferred to this camp."
Even more chilling is the uncertain fate of those interred:
But what happened to those, many elderly and infirm, who stayed? Some are marked "transferred". Others were moved in 1947 to Pithiviers or Rivesaltes camps, both officially closed. Some are marked: "Agreed with Mr Casse - to be lost". And what that means, no one knows.
The story includes the names and birthplaces of some of those held, so the veracity of the papers can be checked.

The French are not our friends.