Gurs (Concentration camp) Collection
Scope and Content Note
This is a constructed collection of items related to the internment and concentration camps in France in operation during World War II. The bulk of the materials relate to the Gurs camp and stem from 1940-1942. Other camps mentioned are St. Cyprien and Vichy. Materials included are correspondence, photographs, personal accounts, lists of prisoners, a death certificate, clippings, reports and minutes of relief organizations, poems and songs, and reproductions (photographs, photocopies, and slides) of artwork depicting Gurs.
Language of Materials
The collection is in English and German with a few items in French.
This collection is open to researchers.
The Gurs internment and concentration camp was located outside of the village of Gurs in southern France about 50 miles from the Spanish border. Established in April of 1939, Gurs first held Spanish republicans fleeing Franco after the Spanish Civil War. These political prisoners were joined in 1940 by Jews from Germany and Austria as well as French political opponents of the Nazis. Aid organizations helped to release about 2,000 Jews between 1940 and 1942. Many of those who remained either died in Gurs as a result of harsh living conditions or were deported via transport camps to the extermination camps Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor. The Gurs camp was closed in November 1943 and then reopened in 1944 first to hold political prisoners of the Vichy government and then prisoners of war captured by the Allies. It was shut down completely by 1946.
During its operation from 1939-1940, the internment camp at St. Cyprien held refugees of the Spanish Civil War and Jews from the German Reich. In 1940, many detainees were transferred to Gurs.
Rutkowski, Adam. “Gurs.” Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. Israel Gutman, ed. New York: MacMillan, 1990.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Gurs.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14 March 2013 from http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005298.
0.25 Linear Feet
This is a constructed collection of items related to the internment and concentration camps in France in operation during World War II. The bulk of the materials relate to the Gurs camp and stem from 1940-1942. Other camps mentioned are St. Cyprien and Vichy. Materials include correspondence, photographs, personal accounts, lists of prisoners, a death certificate, clippings, reports and minutes of relief organizations, poems and songs, and reproductions (photographs, photocopies, and slides) of artwork depicting Gurs.
Materials in the collection were separated by document type. Folders are arranged chronologically by the earliest date of the items they hold.
This collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.
The original Karl Schwesig artworks and the artist's book Gurs 1941 by Liesel Felsenthal have been removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection.
Duplicates were removed. Where necessary, photographs were placed in archival envelopes and brittle papers were placed in Mylar sleeves.
- Guide to the Gurs (Concentration camp) Collection 1940-1989 (bulk 1940-1942) AR 2273
- Processed by Leanora Lange
- © 2013
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Described, encoded, and digitized as part of the CJH Holocaust Resource Initiative, made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.
- January 2015: dao links and digitization information added by Leanora Lange.
- July 2015: dao links to oversized material added and digitization note updated by Leanora Lange.