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Memorial book

This project was created by the foundation in 1996. It is the result of the supervision during the ceremony on the occasion of the fifties anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps in 1995, because of a deficit concerning authentic numeric data about the number of deportees from France.

Untill September 1996 a team of young historians from the University of Caen had the chance to do some researches, with the agreement of the State Secretary of Veterans affairs. All in all 18 persons worked on this project for seven years; the majority of them as persons liable for compulsory community service or as staff members of the foundation. The project is managed by François Perrot, vice president of the foundation, and Claude Mercier, general secretary, as well as by a teacher, installed by the Ministry of Education (Gerard Fournier and Thomas Fontaine).

The project was supported by:

  • The European Commission
  • The French government: prime minister, Ministry of Defence (Memory, Heritage and Archive Directorate), State Secretary of Veterans affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture and Communication, Ministry of the Interior, Transportation Directorate
  • The National Office of Veterans Affairs (ONAC) and district exchanges
  • The regional council of the Ile de France – University of Caen Basse-Normandie (CRHQ)
  • Associations, organisations and friendships of deportees and their families
  • The municipality of Val de Fontenay

// Reasons

The goal is to identify all deportees and because of repression arrestees in France. That means, that the persons and groups, who were not acknowledged Germany as occupying power and whose activities had to be stopped for this reason, should be registered.

Just as well the goal is to compile a standard list of the deportees. The information result from the public transport and chronological lists, as well as from information about the individual (name, sex, date and place of birth, nationality, civil status) by CVs, health insurance certificates and identification cards of any kind.

// Results

A total of 86.827 deportees are listed, among them 10% women, separating in

  • 048 persons, who were arrested and deported in concentration camps because of repressive measures, and
  • 779 prisoners arrested by persecution. This number contains deportees, who are not registered in every (French) memorial place, like “half Jews”, Arian spouses, Jews off the area of the German army command in Brussels and Sinti and Romanies.

That’s why the title of the book is “Memorial book of the deportees of France and because of penalties and in some cases persecution arrestees”.

// Collection

The book consists of four volumes and comprises nearly 6.000 pages. It is published by Editions Tiresias.

With a preface written by Marie-José Chombart de Lauwe, president of the foundation, the book is a collective work. It contains a common view of 250 pages in volume one, in which the project is explained, the used sources are presented, the method is explained and the most important results and places of deportation are shown by using cards.

The relevant texts were developed by the group of Caen and some were written in collaboration with external authors, like Mauritius Voutey, Paul Le Goupil, André Sellier, Pierre Saint-Macary (well-known former prisoner and historian, like Claudine Cardon-Hamet and Yves Le Maner).

362 lists follow, each with five parts, which specify the historical information by comments.

  1. The prisoners captured in the occupied territories (zone of the instant occupation in the North)
    Total: 65.324 deportees (75,2%)
  1. The deportees from Alsace-Moselle
    Total: 6.059 deportees (7%)
  1. Deportees from the territory of the Third Reich
    Total: 13.128 deportees (15,1%), among them
    – 737 Spanish deportees from the camp Mauthausen
    – 391 prisoners, which were arrested at the territory of the Third Reich and were interned in prisons and concentration camps
  1. Persons, who could not be classified (absence of information)
    Total: 1.537 prisoners (1,8%)
  1. Prisoners by persecution
    Total: 779 deportees (0,9%)

The deportees’ destiny could be determined in 92%. More than 40% of them did not return.

Finally volume four contains a list in alphabetic order of all deportees who are known by the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation.

For the first time it is possible to give a total number of deportees out of France. There were a bit more than 162.000 prisoners, men and women, who were mostly arrested because of repression. 75.721 of them were Jews, just 3% of them returned.

Now these results should facilitate the historical research about the deportation. Typological studies of certain territories could make a contribution to close the gaps.

 

The “memorial book” online!

// Memorial book of the deportees of France and because of penalties and in some cases persecution arrestees

The return of the deportees in 1945 caused a memorial discourse. The proofs and stories are numerous. The foundations main aim is to know that the memories of the contemporary witnesses are eternalized over the generation till this day.

Because of the work of Serge Klarsfeld it is known that 75.000 Jews were deported out of France. We can hardly draw conclusions for the persons, who were arrested because of repression and afterwards deported. The number of “65.000 people”, which was determined by the committee of history of World War II at that time, is quantitative outdated, as we know now. A new population census would be of essential importance for the reminiscence of the group of deportees.

Three main aims are pursued since the projects start, which were realized in the issue published in 2003: identification of the deportees because of repression, because of resistance, “political” hostages, etc., a chronology of the transports and essential information of every deportee including an overview of the circumstances of returning and plans for the future.

To get the results, historical studies were started. Plenty of data were collected, which explain the circumstance of the arrest as well. Afterwards the work was handed over to the National Archive and the archive of the Ministry of Defence. The result of this pioneer work is, that a lot of common and specifically aspects of the deportation in France can be published and that historical knowledge about that is not getting lost. The foundation initiated the project in cooperation with the University of Caen.

All in all more than 85.000 people were registered to this day. The evacuation out of France is known in nine of ten cases, the end of the imprisonment in eight of nine cases. Beyond that 20.000 individual fates were studied more precise. By the foundation, explicit cases were checked for the memorial book to present a wide-ranging report. Mostly the arrestees were brought to the camps of Compiègne and Romainville, since 1944 also to prisons in the French cities. Historians were on the trail of deportees, who were not carried across the huge “transfer sites”. Often special prisoners were arrested by “Night and Fog”-activity (“NN”) and transported on small ways.

Besides other approaches, like the geographic approach, were also used, at which the zoning of the German occupied territories and its special departures were kept in mind, as well as these of the Allies. That is how the foundation could reconstruct the ways of the deportees, who were relocated quiet often during their imprisonment. The way of the Spanish resistance fighters, who were deported to Mauthausen in 1940, was developed too.

Finally special sociologic approaches were used, which among other things concentrate on the gender role in the concentration camps.

The foundation desires to activate again a memorial discourse because of this book, which dedicates the memory of the deportation, a mass crime with plenty of individual fates.

Without the numerous collaboration this book would never have originated. Special thanks go to all, who had cooperated with the project: the deportees, their families, their associations, the services of the DMPA, the Ministry of Defence, and the Archive of France, local department governments, ONAC and the museum of resistance and deportation in Besançon and everyone, who collected documents on private and professional grounds.

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