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Removing Inflammable Material: The Pyrénées-Orientales

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Abstract

Whereas Marseille had been liberated by the joint action of the Resistance in the streets, and the French Army of Africa, in pitched battle against a German garrison, the Liberation of the Eastern Pyrenees (the Department of the Pyrénées-Orientales) was more a case of repossessing an area which was largely being vacated by the enemy in the late summer of 1944. With the growing success of Allied efforts in Normandy, and the Landings in the South, German troops in the region had been thrown into some disarray. By mid-August, they had started leaving their bases on the Mediterranean coast. Perpignan, Béziers, Sète and Toulouse were all evacuated. In the Pyrénées-Orientales, German troops retreated, often in considerable disorder. On 20 August, a trainload of soldiers, leaving the frontier town of Cerbère, set off to reach Perpignan. En route, the commanding officer on the train heard that the Germans had already abandoned Perpignan and that the station was now in the hands of the Resistance. Accordingly, the train stopped in open country, and the troops were ordered to disperse as best they could, over the vineyards. In the event, some tried to get into Spain through the Col de Perthus. Others made their way towards the outskirts of Perpignan. Most were eventually captured by local Resistance forces.1

Keywords

French Authority French People Foreign Legion Inflammable Material German Troop 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Pike, D.W., In the Service of Stalin: The Spanish Communists in Exile 1939–1945 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), p. 233.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    P. Héricourt, Pourquoi mentir? L’Aide franco-soviétiqe à l’Espagne rouge (Paris: Baudinière, 1937), p. 21.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    E. Salgas, ‘L’Opinion publique et les représentations des réfugiés espagnols dans les Pyrénées-Orientales (janvier-septembre 1939)’, J. Sagnes, and S. Caucanas (eds), Les Français et la guerre d’Espagne (Perpignan: CREPF, Université de Perpignan, 1990), p. 186.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    See, for example, G. Dreyfus-Armand, ‘Les mouvements migratoires dans l’exil’, L. Domergue (ed.) L’Exil républicain espagnol à Toulouse, 1939–1999 (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 1999), p. 25.Google Scholar
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    Quoted in R. Grando étal, Camps du mépris: des chemins de l’exil à ceux de la Résistance 1939–1945 (Perpignan: libres del Trabuscaire, 1991), p. 66.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    See, for example, G. Dreyfus-Armand, and E. Témime, Les camps sur la plage, un exil espagnol (Paris: Editions Autrement, 1995), p. 77.Google Scholar
  7. 27.
    A. Boitel, Le Camp de Rivesaltes 1941–42: du centre d’hébergement au ‘Drancy de la Zone Libre’ (Perpignan: Presses Universitaires de Perpignan, 2001).Google Scholar
  8. 29.
    A. Grynberg, and A. Charaudeau, ‘Les camps d’internement’, P. Milza, and D. Peschanski (eds), Exils et migration: Italiens et Espagnols en France, 1938–1946 (Paris: L’ Harmattan, 1994), pp. 139–61.Google Scholar
  9. 31.
    P. Laborie, and J.-P., Almaric, L’Exil républicain espagnol à Toulouse, 1939–1999 (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 1999), p. 15.Google Scholar

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© Hilary Footitt 2004

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