Vichy Camp at a distance, Tendrara
- Ain el-Ourak
The Vichy labor camp at Ain el-Ourak was a satellite camp of the much larger facility at Tendrara, located a short train ride away. Jews and non-Jewish political prisoners were imprisoned here. Alma Rachel Heckman shot this footage on a research expedition to the site, which she found has fallen almost completely into ruins.
- Foum Deflia
The Holocaust’s long reach extended even into the Sahara Desert, as the remains of this forced labor camp attest. In the early 1940s, France’s Vichy regime established a series of labor camps in North Africa for Jews and others. Many of the Jews incarcerated were European, including a large group of Polish Jews. After being shipped across the Mediterranean, they were delivered to remote camps via a rail line that runs south through Morocco parallel to the Algerian border.The camp at Foum Deflia served as a discipline center for certain prisoners from the larger detention camp at Bou Arfa, a town to the northwest. Set in a stark valley on the edge of the Sahara, the solitary camp seems to be in the middle of nowhere. Most prisoners lived in tents and slept on straw mats. Under the direction of an overseer, a certain Lt. Thomas, terrible torture was meted out against prisoners. (To see a panorama of this site click here)
- Tendrara Camp
The small town of Tendrara is the site of a Vichy-era labor camp, built along the railroad stretching from Oran, Algeria, south through Morocco’s eastern border. The railroad was largely built by the labor of Vichy prisoners, sent to camps like this one. It is the best preserved Vichy camp along Morocco’s eastern border with Algeria, perhaps in the country. (To see a panorama of this site click here)