This was also the situation in Gurs, which had been taken over by the French Republic in August 1944. Some camps were later used as “centres de retention” (detention centres), while others were left to decay.
In France, it was the French Resistance, which had fought against the German occupation, that for a long time took centre stage and dominated discussions on the memory of Nazi crimes. It was not until the mid-1990s, when former president Jacques Chirac recognised the French state’s responsibility for deporting the Jews from France, that perceptions began to alter. In 1994, Gurs camp was announced as one of three national memorials. These sites are intended to commemorate the victims of the racist and antisemitic persecution and the crimes against humanity that were carried out under the joint responsibility of the Nazi and Vichy regimes. Since then, memorial sites have been established in many other places, largely thanks to initiatives by survivor associations and sponsoring associations.