"The Devil in France"
In his account “The Devil in France”, published in New York in 1941, Lion Feuchtwanger described how this “devil” was full of “polite indifference to the suffering of others”.
Despite being unable to adequately provide for those held within the overflowing camp, the French authorities responsible refrained from reallocating the inmates into the surrounding communities. Furthermore, the situation was exacerbated by the climatic conditions of the camp’s location at the foot of the Pyrenees, the disproportionately old age of the inmates, their exhaustion after years of persecution and the debilitating journey, as well as by the despair of their imprisonment. The fact that an even worse catastrophe did not initially occur was primarily thanks to the aid provided by charitable organisations and family members.
Due to critical news coverage in the foreign press, the Vichy regime commissioned André Jean Foure to carry out an inspection of Gurs camp. At the end of 1941, he presented a glowing review of the camp conditions. The photos that accompanied the report show staged images of clean and tidy hospital wards that are only half-filled with patients and are adequately staffed.