French internment of Allied/Axis Troops

Gents,
I was wondering whether someone could shed some light on something for me.
I watched the great ww2 film Tobruk, starring George Peppard, Rock Hudson, and Nigel Green yesterday, and at the beginning of the film Rock Hudson's character is kidnapped by a Special Forces unit, from a Vichy French ship that was transporting Allied and Axis prisoners.
Now my question is; why were the Vichy French transporting Axis Prisoners for internment?
I understand that they were neutral in the war, but they were allies of the Germans in reality.
Is this a wartime fact or were the film makers being carefree with the facts.


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Drew5233

Old-Salt
Can't speak about PoWs after the whole France Flanders Campaign of May/June 1940 (not really my area) but some BEF chaps I've researched that were still on the run for in Vichy France, long after the BEF had left France, when captured were put in a fort in Marsailles - The name escapes me but I know the American Consulate in Marsailles along with a certain Scottish vicar did great work helping them escape and get to Spain over the Pyrennes. Many were imprisoned again after crossing into Spain for the British Consulate to do great work in getting them released and to Gibraltar for a RN ship to eventually take them back to England.

One chap I researched that survived a SS massacre in Nieppe Forest was on the run for 18 months before getting back to England.
 

Drew5233

Old-Salt
Ps I appreciate this probably doesn't answer your question but there is always a underlying fact you should remember when watching Hollywood Films......It was made in Hollywood. ;)
 
Gents,
I was wondering whether someone could shed some light on something for me.
I watched the great ww2 film Tobruk, starring George Peppard, Rock Hudson, and Nigel Green yesterday, and at the beginning of the film Rock Hudson's character is kidnapped by a Special Forces unit, from a Vichy French ship that was transporting Allied and Axis prisoners.
Now my question is; why were the Vichy French transporting Axis Prisoners for internment?
I understand that they were neutral in the war, but they were allies of the Germans in reality.
Is this a wartime fact or were the film makers being carefree with the facts.


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Ho, I have no idea whether the film was historically accurate but given that most of the ports of (French)North Africa had direct shipping links with Marseilles and Toulon throughout the war it seems plausible, though my uncle a member of the South Wales Borderers captured by the Afrika Korps was moved in an Italian ship to catch a train northwards through Italy. He escaped and spent the war interned in Switzerland, something that he was almost embarrassed about, the wartime chocolate eating walt. (He received an MiD which caused much mirth and self mockery apparently) Sorry for the thread drift mate.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
The French operated internment camps in North Africa and the conditions could be quite severe. Survivors of at least one ship (HMS Manchester) lost on Pedestal ended up in one.

From Wiki:

Vichy France[edit]
During World War II, The French Vichy government ran what were called "detention camps" such as the one at Drancy. Camps also existed in the Pyrenees on the border with pro-Nazi Spain, among them Camp de Rivesaltes, Camp Gurs and Camp Vernet. From these, the French cooperated in deporting about 73,000 Jews to Nazi Germany.

In addition, in areas which Germany formally annexed from France, such as Alsace-Lorraine, concentration camps were built, the largest being Natzweiler-Struthof.

The Vichy French also ran camps in North and West Africa, and possibly French Somaliland and Madagascar. The following are the locations of concentration camps, POW camps, and internment camps in (Vichy) West and (Vichy) North Africa:

The camps were located at:

West Africa:

North Africa:

Also camps connected to the Laconia incident:

The following camps which are under investigation:

  • Taza
  • Fes
  • Oujda
  • Sidi-bel-Abbes
  • Berguent
  • Settat
  • Sidi-el-Ayachi
  • Qued Zem
  • Mecheria
The camps at Conakry, Timbuctoo, and Kankan had no running water, no electricity, no gas, no electric light no sewers, no toilets, and no baths. The prisoners (mainly British andNorwegian) were housed in native accommodation - mud huts and houses, and a tractor shed. The Vichy French authorities in West Africa called these camps "concentration camps".
 

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