Camp Gurs was an internment and refugee camp constructed by the French government in 1939. The camp was originally set up in southwestern France after the fall of Catalonia at the end of the Spanish Civil War to control those who fled Spain out of fear of retaliation from Francisco Franco’s regime. At the start of the World War II, the French government interned Germans and citizens of other Axis Powers, as well as French nationals who were considered to have dangerous political ideas or who were imprisoned for ordinary crimes.
After the Vichy government signed an armistice with the Nazis in 1940, it became a concentration camp for Jews of any nationality except French, as well as people considered dangerous by the government. After France’s liberation, Gurs housed German prisoners of war and French collaborators. Before its final closure in 1946, the camp also held former Spanish Republican fighters who participated in the Resistance against the German occupation, because their decided will to end the fascist dictatorship imposed by Franco made them threatening in the eyes of the Allies.