LES CAMPS DE PRISONNIERS DE GUERRE DANS LE SYSTÈME NAZI DU TRAVAIL FORCÉ EN MOSELLE ET EN SARRE
Territoires, histoire(s), mémoire(s)
Between 1940 and 1944, hundreds of prisoner of war camps were opened in Moselle, annexed to the “Third Reich”, and in Saarland, then united within the XIIth German military region. Thousands of men, including French, Soviet, Italian and Serbian POWs, passed through these territories and were forced to work in inhuman conditions : in iron and coal mines, on farms or in private companies in the region and as far north as Luxembourg. Thousands of them also lost their lives due to epidemics, malnutrition and mistreatment, especially at the camp of Ban Saint-Jean near Boulay-Moselle. This doctoral project aims to study the involvement of these camps in the Nazi forced labour system and their own functioning, but also to shed light on the fate of forgotten victims of National Socialism from a prospographical perspective, based on a corpus of varied archives (diplomatic sources, journalistic, military and private archives).
This project analyzes changing narratives at different scales and in different places and explores the reasons that led for decades to the oblivion of these victims. The slow re-emergence of this memory may be linked to the impact that the commemorations of the Second World War had on the writing of history and international relations in the post-war period.
Image: Ban Saint-Jean, former officers’ villas, now in ruins (Photo by C. Zebdi-Bartz, Nov. 2020)