The head of the State will now recognize the responsibility of France in their internment between 1940 and 1946.
Tll the associations of Gypsies and travellers were waiting. François Hollande, who travels today in Montreuil-Bellay (Maine-et-Loire), should recognize the responsibility of the country in the internment of nomadic and homeless during the Second world War… and even after, since the last camp closed in may 1946.
” The Vichy regime, first, and then France were interned Gypsies, against their will, and the president will tell that it is necessary to recognize and assume, ” says one in the entourage of the president. “This visit is part of the work of memory that the head of State has committed since the beginning of his five-year term to reconcile all of the memories and form a single one, that of France,” added the presidency. The State had taken a first step towards the recognition of the participation of France in this internment family in July 2010. The former secretary of Veterans affairs Hubert Falco was featured in a national Day of memory of victims of racist crimes and anti-semitism of the French State.
Recognising the caravan as a housing
Montreuil-Bellay (where François Hollande will inaugurate a memorial stone memorial) was the largest of the 31 camps run by the French authorities and between 6 000 and 6 500 people were interned. There, near Angers, in france, more than 2 000 nomads, Gypsies but also of the homeless people of Nantes, were interned from November 1941 to January 1945. A hundred perished. Classified as a historic monument in 2012, the site of Montreuil-Bellay, in which nothing remains of the remains, is highly symbolic. It is testimony to the treatment dramatic — unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, and disease endured by the people of the journey between 1940 and 1946.
This recognition is only a first step for the nomadic population, whose suffering during the war have long been overshadowed. “It now remains to repeal the 1969 law that restricts the free movement of such French citizens,” said Laurent el-Ghozi, president of the Fnasat-Gens du voyage. Because they can be manouches, gypsies, or of other origins yet, but these people are indeed French citizens. “
The act of 1969 — which was, it is true, with notable improvements to a law dating back to 1912 — requires in particular to have a common tie, and prohibits a municipality from more than 3 % of travellers in its population. Even emptied progressively of its substance, the law maintains the book circulation with the obligation to do so, aim for once per year. “We have good hope, because this repeal is expected to be completed by the end of the year with the law on Equality and Citizenship “, hope Laurent el-Ghozi. At the heart of the reform, the recognition of the caravan as a dwelling in order to, for example, benefit from public aid as ELL. It will still have the right to normal access to education or health…
” A historic date “
To Laurent el-Ghozi, president of the Fnasat-Gens du voyage, the largest federation of associations of people travelling, October 29, 2016 will be remembered as an important date.
This ceremony will mark a historical date ?
Laurent el-ghozi. Absolutely. For the first time will be recognized the responsibility of the French government in the internment — and, for some, the deportation — and the people of the trip. We stop to say that it was the Germans, the nazis, and even Vichy, which are at the origin of this policy. It is a French government. And this even after the end of the war since the last camp was closed in 1946 ! This episode is glorious of the French Republic. I say : of the French Republic.
Is it so important that the July 16, 1995, when president Chirac recognized the responsibility of France in the roundup of the Vel d’hiv ?
It is important not to engage in the competition of memories. What is at stake today, it is not the will extermination of jews by the nazis, but the internment by France of a population solely on the grounds that, living in caravans, it represented a potential danger to the public order. The people on the trip were without fire nor place, and therefore, in the minds of many, without faith nor law. If the 1969 law also comes to be repealed (see above), the year 2016 will be marked by two important advances.