The French government established the Gurs camp in 1939, before the war began and before Germany occupied France. Gurs initially served as a detention center for political refugees and later included German Jewish refugees. In June 1940, France signed an armistice with Germany. Gurs fell under the authority of the collaborating Vichy regime. Almost 22,000 prisoners passed through Gurs. More than 18,000 of them were Jewish.
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