GURS (near Pau, Basses-Pyrénées), one of France's largest concentration camps during World War II. Situated in southwestern France in what would later be the Unoccupied Zone, it was first used to intern Republican Spanish refugees, and then, later, refugees from Austria and Germany. After the Franco-German armistice in June 1940, Jews were brought to the camp. Food supply and sanitary conditions in Gurs were worse than in the camps of the Occcupied Zone. Some 800 Jews died there in the winter of 1940. In 1941 there were 15,000 internees, including 7,200 Jews who had been deported from the Palatinate and Baden in western Germany, and about 3,000 Jewish refugees who had been arrested in Belgium on May 10, 1940, and had been sent first to the French concentration camp Saint-Cyprien on the Spanish border. In the second half of July 1942, Theodor Dannecker, Adolf Eichmann's representative in France, inspected the Gurs camp. Shortly afterwards, most of the internees were sent to *Drancy , and from there to death camps. Deportations ended in the summer of 1943. Only 735 women, 250 men, and 215 children remained in Gurs when it was finally closed down. The cemetery near the camp contains the graves of 1,200 Jews.
Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer (1966), 214–2; J. Weill, Contribution à l'histoire de camps d'internement dans l'Anti-France (1946). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M.R. Marrus and R.O. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews (1981), 172–3, 306–7.
[David Weinberg (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.