Barenton (stele)

Historical background

Between April 11, 1941 and October 8, 1942, a Gypsy internment camp existed 5-6 km from the town of Barenton. It was intended for 40 people from the Manche district. In January 1942, there were 36 prisoners: 12 men, 6 women and 18 children, mainly brought here from nearby Gavray, where they lived and worked in an amusement park. They lived in two stone buildings that used to be part of the Barenton iron mine. Today, this area is far from inhabited towns – only a forest and a road. It was no different in the 1940s. The Gypsies who lived in solitude in this place had no access to water and electricity. Surrounded by barbed wire, the camp was guarded by five gendarmes. According to Olivier Jouault’s “Instructions for establishing a nomad camp from the Manche district”, created in 1941 – Gypsies could travel to Barenton twice a week. Several children also went to school.

On October 8, 1942, all residents of the Barenton settlement were transported to the Montreuil-Bellay camp (district Maine-et-Loire).





Description of commemoration

On the D182 road leading from Barenton to Saint-Clément-Rancoudray and Sourdeval, there is a car park/parking bay, located 5.3 km away from Barenton. Right next to it, there is a square that was levelled with the road (the rest of the neighbouring area is about half a meter above the road surface). A concrete-covered spot with a granite stele is located in the middle of the meadow.

The stele has the shape of a slab which is about 1.20 m high and rounded at the top. The granite along the edges of the stele is still jagged, only the front surface of the stele is ground even. The sandblasted letters in the fancy handwriting font are covered with gilding. Unfortunately, the letters carved in the bright, dotted black granite are not clearly legible.



In French:

11 avril 1941 – 8 octobre 1942 / Ici, l’occupant nazi, / avec la complicité / des autorités de Vichy / a fait interner des Tsiganes. // Des enfants, des vieillards, / des femmes et des hommes / ont souffert. // Souvenons-nous, / pour que rien de semblable / ne survienne demain!

Translation into English:

Here, from April 11, 1941 to October 8, 1942, the Nazi occupier with the Vichy authorities interned Gypsies. Children, old people, women and men suffered a cruel fate. Let us remember so that nothing like this could ever happen again in the future!


Date of the unveiling

October 11, 2008



The D182 road from Barenton to Saint-Clément-Rancoudray i Sourdeval, 5.3 km away from Barenton, not far away from the end of the forest.



48°38’18.7″N 0°50’52.0″W


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