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Drancy Camp Established

Leo Bretholz describes the Drancy camp. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum


We arrived in Drancy and were checked in. The checking-in process in Drancy was...well, a first step in a, in a real dehumanization process. Number one, when we arrived there, the faces that we saw, the...the eyes with queries in them, and a lot of questions, “Where are you coming from? How is it outside? What did you...what do you think?” and “What news do you have?” Everybody gathering about a new group of arrivals because they may, they may have something to convey and we went through a barrack process of checking in which would also mean taking your watch away, your rings, certain belongings, money. And another psychological ploy, giving you a receipt for the things that they took from you, with the admonition, “Don't lose that, because you will never get them back. That is your receipt that has a number on it.” It had a number on it. Just imagine that.

August 20, 1941

In Drancy, France, German authorities open an internment and transit camp for Jews. The SS eventually deports Jews captured in France from Drancy to Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Sobibor killing center.

The Drancy camp, named after the northeastern suburb of Paris in which it was located, was established as an internment camp for foreign Jews in France; it later became the major transit camp for the deportations of Jews from France. Until July 1, 1943, French police staffed the camp under the overall control of the German Security Police. In July 1943 the Germans took direct control of the Drancy camp and SS officer Alois Brunner became camp commandant.