Dark tourism? / Le Vernet internment camp / Cemetery
Le Vernet Internment camp was a concentration camp in Le Vernet d’Ariège, in the French Pyrenees.
It was originally built in June 1918 to house French colonial troops serving in World War I but when hostilities ceased it was used to hold German and Austrian prisoners of war. Between the wars, it served as a military depot. Towards the end of the Spanish Civil War, in February 1939, it was put to a new use. It became a reception camp for Republicans fleeing from Francisco Franco’s armies. At this time, it held mainly former soldiers from the Republican Durruti Division.
With the outbreak of World War II, the role of the camp was expanded. It was used to house "undesirable" foreigners, in particular, anti-fascist intellectuals and former members of the International Brigades. The Vichy government used it to house prisoners considered suspect or dangerous to the government. From 1942 until June 1944, it was used as a holding camp for Jewish families awaiting deportation to Nazi labour and extermination camps. The last transport out of the camp in June 1944 took the prisoners to Dachau. About 40,000 persons of 58 nationalities were interned in the camp.
The only remains of the concentation camp are the train station which houses a museum and the cemetery which houses a memorial. These photos were taken in August 2016.