It’s now a very ambitious and educational site relating difficult years during the second world war when this former tile factory was converted into an internement camp for subjects of enemy countries, transit camp for candidates for emigration and for deportation to death camps.
First of all, you’ll learn about the refugees (Germans, Austrians… fleeing the Nazis) that were hold in the place. The specificity of the Camp in the first period is that a number of intellectuals (writters like Lion Feuchwanger), artists (painters like Max Ernst, Hans Bellmer…) musicians, archietcts, scientists (2 Nobel prices of medecine) stayed in the camp.
A few paintings are lefting on the walls, moving witnesses of their stay and of the cultural life they tried to maintain to help them bearing the harsh living conditions and facing an uncertain future.
Some of these people have been able to immmigrate to the States in particular helped by people like Varian Fry who was an agent of the Emergency rescue Committee that helped anti-Nazi and Jewish subjects to escape.
Others were not that lucky…
During the last months, in August and September 1942, the Camp of les Milles is also a place from where about 2000 Jewish people, including children, were deported to Auschwitz via Drancy and Rivesaltes.
Historical, educational it is also a means for raising awareness, fostering reflection and inspiring action in this field.
Contact us if you want to have a private tour of Aix en Provence, The Camp des Milles and Marseille focusing on the Jewish history of this part of France.