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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).

Behind barbed wire
Article published on 1 April 2015

by Gérard, Sabine
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The internment camp on Île Longue was certainly the most liberal and humane of the French internment camps during the Great War, since it gave the internees the possibility to engage in pastimes such as music, theatre, sport and craftsmanship. Many of those internees who were transferred to Île Longue from other camps write about these comparably good conditions of life in a both grateful and relieved manner. Internee Paul Madsack, the author of the memoir „Vae Victis“ [1], even talks of a second “Land of the Lotus-eaters“ [2].

Surely it does make sense to not only name the huge advantages Île Longue offered in comparison with the other camps, but to also describe the beneficial impacts caused by these conditions. On the other hand, putting too much stress on these aspects may well result in losing focus of the bigger picture.

It is, namely, undeniable that this seemingly liberal and partially highly cultured “habitat” was encompassed by two rows of coiled barbed wire fencing, which displayed the imprisonment quite vividly to the internees. A blueprint of the camp depicts this fence as two blue lines. But what did it really look like? Amazingly enough, none of the photos we have on hand depicts it clearly. Internee Hellmut Felle describes it as a “wire entanglement“ [3]. The same internee also talks – poetically enigmatic – of being “incarcerated by thirty layers of barbed wire“ [4].

On the other hand, there are many pictures painted by ”resident artists“ that reveal this ubiquitous and merciless barbed wire as one of the main reasons for the imprisoned men’s suffering. The last of the following pictures, an untitled drawing by Max Pretzfelder depicting a head (his head?) both circled by and crowned with barbed wire (perhaps an allusion to the crown of thorns?), illustrates the brutal effects of this barbed wire that destroyed both life and spirit.

Undoubtedly, Île Longue was mainly a place where men suffered – regardless of its dazzling culture and the rather liberal and humane conditions of life it offered.


Hellmut Felle

“In der Baracke”
Hellmut Felle, „Fünf Jahre hinter Stacheldraht“

 

“Gefangen”
Hellmut Felle, „Fünf Jahre hinter Stacheldraht“

 

“Brest”
Hellmut Felle, „Fünf Jahre hinter Stacheldraht“ / Cinq années derrière les barbelés

 

“Blick auf die Brester Bucht”
Hellmut Felle, „Fünf Jahre hinter Stacheldraht“

 

“Dorf Fret”
Hellmut Felle, „Fünf Jahre hinter Stacheldraht“

 

“Die Lagerautortität”
Hellmut Felle, „Fünf Jahre hinter Stacheldraht“

 

“Gefangen”
Hellmut Felle

 

“Wer ist der Gefangene?”
Hellmut Felle, „Fünf Jahre hinter Stacheldraht“

 


Paul Bor Beck(?)

Paul Bor Beck(?), Kunstmappe (BNU Strasbourg)

 


Insel-Woche

Insel-Woche, 1. Folge, Nr. 27

 

Insel-Woche, 2. Folge, Nr. 26

 

Insel-Woche, 1. Folge, Nr. 23

 


Paul v. Kovács

Paul v. Kovács, Insel-Woche, 2. Folge, 2. Jahrgang, Nr. 3

 

Paul v. Kovács, Kunstmappe (BNU Strasbourg)

 

Paul v. Kovács, Kunstmappe (BNU Strasbourg)

 

Paul v. Kovács, Kunstmappe (BNU Strasbourg)

 

Paul v. Kovács, Kunstmappe (BNU Strasbourg)

 


Max Pretzfelder

Max Pretzfelder, Insel-Woche

 

Max Pretzfelder, Insel-Woche

 

Max Pretzfelder, Kunstmappe (BNU Strasbourg)

 

Max Pretzfelder, Kunstmappe (BNU Strasbourg)

 

Notes :

[1Paul Madsack, “Vae Victis”, Leipzig, 1918

[2Homer, "Odyssee“, IX. Gesang, V. 82 - 104

[3Hellmut Felle, “5 Jahre hinter Stacheldraht“, S. 124

[4Hellmut Felle,”5 Jahre hinter Stacheldraht“, S. 176


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