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Prisoners listen to a talk in front of the barracks in the Gurs concentration camp in France.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 65547

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    Prisoners listen to a talk in front of the barracks in the Gurs concentration camp in France.
    Prisoners listen to a talk in front of the barracks in the Gurs concentration camp in France.


    Prisoners listen to a talk in front of the barracks in the Gurs concentration camp in France.
    1939 - 1940
    Gurs, [Pyrenees-Atlantiques] France
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Hans Landesberg

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Hans Landesberg
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2004

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Hans Landesberg was born on February 10, 1912 in Vienna, Austria. After graduating from medical school, he left Vienna on October 3, 1937 for Paris where he joined a battalion of the International Brigade to fight in the Spanish Civil War. Hans served as a battalion doctor with the Thaelmann Battalion in fighting around Teruel. After the dissolution of the International Brigade, Hans remained briefly in Spain to serve as the director of a Spanish typhus hospital and to care for war orphans and wounded children. He returned to France in February 1939 only to be interned first in Argeles and then in Gurs, where he worked as a high school teacher. Following the French surrender to Nazi Germany in June1940, Hans was sent back to Argeles. Some time later he and other political prisoners were chained together two-by-two and transported to the fortress of Mont-Louis near Andorra. From there he was brought in chains to the harbor, where he was deported on a freighter to Oran, Algeria. From Oran, he was sent first to Algiers and then to Djelfa. In 1941 Hans reached Djelfa, an internment camp where the prisoners were housed in tents. In the beginning of June a Soviet delegation arrived in the camp and offered prisoners Soviet protection. Since the Soviet Union and Germany were then at peace, the French accepted these mimeographed protection slips. However, a few weeks later on June 21, Germany launched a surprise invasion of the Soviet Union, and the prisoners had to destroy their slips as quickly as possible. Hans then decided to find other ways to be released from jail. He wrote to the American legation in Algiers and informed them that in 1939 that he had inaugurated the process to obtain an immigration visa to the United States. In the beginning of October, the camp commandant summoned Hans to his office and handed him the legation's invitation, a safe conduct pass, and a ticket. Hans visited the legation office in Algiers where he filled out questionnaires and was told to wait for his quota number to come up. A friend in Casablanca then sent him a Moroccan entry visa so that he could wait for his quota number there. However, Moroccan police only allowed refugees to remain at large for fourteen days, so he again was sent to a concentration camp to await his emigration. Hans was incarcerated in a disused fort near the village of Sidi-el-Ayashi from October 1941 until February 1943. On March 30, he received his American visa. He left Morocco the following day and arrived in New York on April 7, 1943, where he resumed his medical practice.
    Record last modified:
    2010-10-06 00:00:00
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