The routes to exile

France and the Spanish Civil War refugees, 1939–2009

Author: Scott Soo

As they trudged over the Pyrenees, the Spanish republicans became one of the most iconoclastic groups of refugees to have sought refuge in twentieth-century France. This book explores the array of opportunities, constraints, choices and motivations that characterised their lives. Using a wide range of empirical material, it presents a compelling case for rethinking exile in relation to refugees’ lived experiences and memory activities. The major historical events of the period are covered: the development of refugees’ rights and the ‘concentration’ camps of the Third Republic, the para-military labour formations of the Second World War, the dynamics shaping resistance activities, and the role of memory in the campaign to return to Spain. This study additionally analyses how these experiences have shaped homes and France’s memorial landscape thereby offering an unparalleled exploration of the long-term effects of exile from the mass exodus of 1939 through to the seventieth-anniversary commemorations in 2009.

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