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le camp d'internement 1914-1919
Le camp d’internés 1914-1919

Dieser Internet-Auftritt verfolgt das Ziel, möglichst viele Informationen über das Internierungslager auf der Ile Longue zusammenzustellen, damit Historiker und Nachkommen der Internierten sich ein Bild von den Realitäten dieses bisher wenig bekannten Lagers machen können - nicht zuletzt auch, um die bedeutenden kulturellen Leistungen der Lagerinsassen zu würdigen.

Le but de ce site est de prendre contact avec les familles des prisonniers allemands, autrichiens, hongrois, ottomans, alsaciens-lorrains... qui ont été internés, pendant la Première Guerre mondiale, dans le camp de l’Ile Longue (Finistère).

Culture

By Christophe Kunze, translation : Roger Stephan

The existence of a cultural life more or less developed in a prison camp of war or civil internees camp, is in itself, not an exceptional fact. That the prisoners of the camp of Long Island, essentially German, Austrian and Hungarian, were able to make of this lost place the Mecca of the German culture seem nevertheless extraordinary.

Indeed, the camp of Long Island is characterized by the presence of practically all the constituent elements of a culture : a high-level theater, a fully equipped library, schools and training centers offering courses and conferences in numerous subjects, a rich and varied musical life, scientific and philosophic circles, various craft workshops, sports clubs, printing office, commercial activities

Three factors, essentially, allowed this extraordinary cultural development, namely :

1. The friendly and tolerant attitude of the French authorities

In the time of the World War I and up to the signature of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, there was no international agreement for the protection of the civilians in wartime.

For more information:

Given the absence of international conventions, and also the hateful relations between France and Germany : for what reasons did the French authorities granted to the prisoners of Long Island so many liberties and possibilities of contacts with the outside (families, help organizations) to allow them to devote themselves to numerous cultural activities? Is it due to the fact of the „international control“ (visit of the delegates of neutral countries, threats of reprisals of the enemy countries which also have French internees camps) evoked by Jean-Claude Farcy in his aforementioned work? Or would it be the result of the application of the principle of reciprocity to the German prisoners, as the Germans grant to the French prisoners? The question would deserve an in-depth study.

2. The social composition of the population of prisoners

One of the peculiarities of the camp of Long Island - and an essential condition for the birth of a culture in the camp – is the social composition of prisoners. Without artists’ presence - professionals or amateurs - of specialists of all kinds, scientists, teachers, qualified craftsmen or sportsmen, the camp would have remained a barren place. Furthermore, among the passengers captured from ship Nieuw Amsterdam and interned in the camp of Long Island, there are numerous representatives of the German, Austrian and Hungarian bourgeoisies, cultivated, sometimes well-to-do people and who, before their internment, were used to attend all sorts of cultural events : theaters, concerts, operas, conferences, expositions and libraries.

3. The newspaper of the camp Die Insel-Woche

The weekly review in German Die Insel-Woche is much more than a simple newspaper. In reality, it is the main reason of this tremendous evolution of a bared prison camp into the highest of culture. It is the review - thanks to numerous articles on the artistic, scientific, craftsman’s trade, sport activities - gives the publicity to this cultural life, encouraging the prisoners to participate.

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The theater
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