The Kamp Erika was a concentration camp established by German Nazi troops in 1941. The old youth summer camp area was expanded by the general commissariat as a 'penal camp', and in June 1942, the first prisoners were admitted. Camp Erika was under civil administration, and the guards were Dutch. The prisoners were for the most part criminals and 'economic delinquents' - people who had supposedly violated the economic regulations of the occupying regime.
The camp quickly became overcrowded. Many of the inmates were deported to Germany for forced labour deployment. The conditions at the came were quite like similar to those at a concentration camp; the guards were infamous for their brutality.
In May 1943, the penal camp was closed and the camp was reopened as a 'labour deployment camp'. It was used to intern students who had refused to sign a 'declaration of loyalty' towards the occupying regime. The conditions at the camp were slightly better during the second phase of its existence. Most of the prisoners were eventually deported for labour deployment in Germany. In September 1944, the German Order Police took over the camp, which was finally shut down on April 5, 1945.
Between June 1942 and May 1943, about 3,000 prisoners passed through the camp. Between 170 and 200 inmates died during this period, either on site or in concentration camps in Germany. Between 3,000 and 4,000 prisoners were interned at the camp during the second phase of the camp's existence; 12 of them died at the camp.
Following the liberation by Canadian troops, the Allies used the premises as an internment camp for people suspected of having collaborated with the occupying regime. Up to 2,000 people were interned at the camp until is dissolution at the end of 1946. Later, the premises were converted to a camp site, and all remaining traces of the camp vanished. For many years, all that commemorated the camp was a cross which had been erected in 1946; in 1991, a memorial stone and plaque were added. On May 4, 2006, an information sign was set up. The museum of local history in Ommen has a department dedicated to researching the history of the camp.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.