The Camp de concentration d'
Argelès-sur-Mer was a concentration camp
established in early February 1939 on the territory of the French
Argelès-sur-Mer for Spanish Republican refugees. Some of
the refugees were retreating members of the Spanish Republican Army
(Ejército Popular Republicano) in the Northeast of Spain in the last
months of the Spanish Civil War.
2 Notable prisoners
5 Further reading
6 External links
Last area under Republican control after the
Fall of Catalonia
Fall of Catalonia in
February 1939. French authorities would not allow Spanish Republican
military units to be transferred to this zone after having entered
The camp was located near the Mediterranean coast at the foot of the
northern side of the
Albera Massif in Roussillon, 8 km north of
the French-Spanish border.
The camp at Argelès received more than 100,000 Spanish men and women,
of both civilian and military backgrounds. The latter were the
remainder of the
Eastern Region Army Group
Eastern Region Army Group (GERO) that crossed the
border following the
Fall of Barcelona
Fall of Barcelona and the Retirada - the
desperate withdrawal of long civilian and military columns towards the
French border at the end of the
Francoist Catalonia Offensive. All
refugees were disarmed and arrested upon entering France.
Republican military leaders such as Modesto, commander of the 4th
Division and Líster, commander of the 11th Division of the elite V
Army Corps, had first seen the retreat to France of the remainder of
the Ebro Army as part of a tactical evacuation, with the aim of
regrouping these units with the remaining units of the last area under
Republican control in order to continue the resistance. The French
government, however, would not allow the Republican units that crossed
the border to be transferred to the remaining Spanish Republican
territory. All the veteran survivors of the 11th Division, together
with all Republican military, were disarmed and swiftly interned in
French concentration camps immediately after crossing its border.
The conditions were very poor in this concentration camp, and many
diseases were prevalent. The guards would bring around petroleum baths
to combat the infestations of fleas and lice. Efforts to encourage the
refugees to return to Spain were common. The concentration camps were
very large and poorly run. People died of hypothermia, disease, or
despair. It was common to see dead bodies piled up and left in the
open in areas throughout the camp.
The French government went on to found internment camps all along the
northern foot of the Pyrenees to relieve the grim conditions at
Argelès. Many refugees ended up confined in those camps, e.g. Gurs
Marcel Langer, member of the international brigades, later in World
War II a hero of the
French Resistance in Toulouse, where he was
guillotined on 23 July 1943
Diego Camacho (pen name Abel Paz), Spanish writer and novelist
Rubén Ruiz Ibárruri, son of Spanish Communist leader Dolores
Ibárruri, La Pasionaria.
Vicente Ferrer Moncho.
Joaquim Amat-Piniella, Catalan writer.
Peko Dapčević, Yugoslav partisan.
Arthur Adamov (23 August 1908 – 15 March 1970), playwright, one of
the foremost exponents of the Theatre of the Absurd.
Andrés García La Calle, Commander of the fighter units of the
Spanish Republican Air Force
Commemorative monument for the survivors of the retirada (retreat).
Inscription on the commemorative monument on the northern beach of
A la mémoire des 100.000 Républicains Espagnols, internés dans le
camp d'Argelès, lors de la RETIRADA de Février 1939. Leur malheur:
avoir lutté pour défendre la Démocratie et la République contre le
fascisme en Espagne de 1936 à 1939. Homme libre, souviens toi.
In memory of the 100.000 Spanish republicans, interned in the Camp of
Argelès, during the RETIRADA in February 1939. Their disgrace: having
fought for defending democracy and the republic against fascism in
Spain from 1936 to 1939. Free Men, remember them.
(A la memoria de los 100.000 republicanos españoles, internados en el
campo de Argelès, tras la RETIRADA de febrero de 1939. Su desgracia:
haber luchado para defender la Democracia y la República contra el
fascismo en España de 1936 a 1939. Hombre libre, acuérdate.)
^ Szajkowski, Zosa (1966) "Argelès-sur-Mer" Analytical Franco-Jewish
Gazetteer, 1939-1945 privately published, New York, p. 245,
^ Corazón Helado de 1939 - Los exilios republicanos
^ Hugh Thomas (1976); Historia de la Guerra Civil Española. Círculo
de Lectores, Barcelona. P. 946ISBN 84-226-0874-X.
^ Salas Larrazábal (2006); Historia del Ejército Popular de la
República. La Esfera de los Libros S.L. ISBN 84-9734-465-0
^ Salas Larrazábal (2001); p. 2237
^ Hugh Thomas (1976); p. 943
^ NODO 50: Actos en Argelés-sur-Mer
Espinar, Jaime (1940) "Argelés-sur-mer": Campo de Concentración para
Españoles Editorial "Elite", Caracas, Venezuela, OCLC 39325331;
available on microfiche OCLC 156061478, in Spanish
Ferrer Rodriguez, Eulalio (1987) Entre Alambradas: Diario de los
campos de concentracion Pangea, Mexico City, ISBN 968-6177-14-0,
Garcia, John Andres (2008) "The International Brigades and the Refugee
Camps of the south of France" Manning Clark House Inc., Forrest,
MacMaster, Neil and Granda, David (1990) Spanish Fighters: An oral
history of civil war and exile St. Martin's Press, New York,
Stephen, Walter M. (2001) La Retirada: Sixty Years on at Argeles Hills
of Home, Edinburgh, Scotland, OCLC 47272024
Argelès-sur-Mer Internment Camp Photographs Capa, Robert (1939)
International Center of Photography. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
Coordinates: 42°34′30″N 3°02′43″E / 42.575°N
3.04528°E / 42.