A little colonial world in metropolitan France

The Harkis' camp at Saint-Maurice-I'Ardoise (1962-1976)
By Tom Charbit

In 1962 several thousand Harki families were repatriated to France and hosted in military camps which were hastily rehabilitated. One such was Saint-Maurice-l'Ardoise. First a "transit camp", it became in 1965 a "Hosting and lodging estate" meant to receive all those who the administration of the camp regarded as "impossible to reallocate" (war wounded, disabled, insane and other unemployable persons). A perfect example of a total institution, Saint-Maurice-l'Ardoise was run until 1976 according to methods directly inherited from the colonial Algerian experience, especially the so-called "regroupment camps." This paper shows how these practices were maintained and which factors contributed to changing them.

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