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The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

POSTPONED: ‘A place of utter desolation and abandonment…’: Administrative noise, neglect and the commemoration of the camp de Gurs. Seminar

17:00 - 18:30
10 February 2016
Room 1177 Building 65 Avenue Campus SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Prof Ulrike Meinhof at .

Event details

Part of the annual seminar series for the Centre for Transnational Studies (TNS).

The camp de Gurs was an internment centre that was initially built in 1939 for refugees from the Spanish Civil War. It continued to be used throughout WWII and became implicated in the Final Solution when German Jewish internees were deported to Auschwitz. While much is known about the internees’ experiences of Gurs and the operation of the camp, we know very little about what happened at the site once the camp was closed down. This paper sets out to explain how the camp was dismantled and then transformed into a place of commemorative activity through a focus on the camp cemetery. The analysis of local and national state archives will point towards a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics surrounding the construction and development of remembrance narratives in post-war France that necessarily accounts for both international factors and transnational processes.

Speaker information

Dr Scott Soo,Scott is broadly interested in the contemporary history of France and its relationship with the wider world through the prism of migration. His research has examined the long-term effects of forced displacement and exile on the Spanish republicans in France who were forced to flee the Francoist dictatorship in Spain. His book, 'The routes to exile: France and the Spanish Civil War refugees, 1939-2009', studies how successive French governments and the wider public responded to the refugees and, in turn, how these refugees responded and adapted to the challenges of living in France. This book also presents the first in-depth study of the emergence and development of a public and private memorial culture of the Spanish republican exiles in France.

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