“Written barracks.” On the Production and Circulation of Newsletters in the Internment Camps of Southwest France
Keywords:Spanish exile, internment camp, written culture, handwritten press
Around half a million Spanish exiles crossed the French border in the Pyrenees between January and February of 1939. They were looking for shelter in anticipation of the overthrow of the Spanish Second Republic. The reception of the exiles in France was rather hostile, and approximately a quarter of a million of them were locked up in internment or concentration camps that French authorities improvised or reactivated camps of WWI. The exiles were defeated and they were deprived of freedom and forced to live in insalubrious conditions. The refugees used writing and culture as a strategy to resist, and as a means to hang on to their personal, familial, social and ideological identities. As a result of their cultural activity, a wide range of newsletters and diaries were edited in the internment camps despite the scarcity of resources. The refugees used these writings as a means of entertainment but also to spread their own doctrines. This article analyzes some 30 newsletters produced by a variety of groups in the camps: political groups, which were mostly linked to the field of education, different intellectuals and members of the International Brigades. The main goal of this work is to disentangle how the newsletters were produced, discuss the aims of the different publications and show how the texts were circulated and exchanged within the internment camps. Ultimately, the purpose of this work is to demonstrate the meaning of these communications for their authors and their readers and examine how the texts were used to reconstruct their lost identity.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).