International Committee of Natzweiler-Struthof

The former inmates of Struthof

A decree on 13 October 1953 set up a national committee for the erection of a deportation memorial at Struthof to organise a national fund-raising drive for the building of a monument in homage to the victims of deportation, announced the same day.

The national committee’s executive board was created by a decree on 2 December 1954 that requested it to take all useful measures for the building and conservation of a memorial.

In 1961 and 1964, the board’s permanent activities were put on hold.

Jean Sainteny, the former head of the Alliance network in Normandy and President de Gaulle’s minister of veterans’ affairs and war victims, re-activated it on 2 March 1964. Its members were appointed by decree and consulted for the organisation of the national ceremony in June. The board meets several times a year and participated in maintaining the camp, creating a museum in one of its barracks and erecting the statue of a reclining figure at the site’s entrance.

Today the executive board, which is still made up of former Resistance members and deportees, is the moral authority that ensures the Natzweiler-Struthof site’s long-term survival in the respect of history and memory. The board’s members are the guardians of remembrance, seeing to it that the camp’s history and the memory of those who were deported there is passed on to visitors.

In addition to this official organisation, various associations co-exist or co-existed, all of which had the goals of helping their members keep in touch with each other, perpetuating the memory of those who died and publicising the meaning of what they fought for.

  • Amicale des Anciens Déportés Politiques du camp de Struthof (dissolved in 1952).

  • 1948: Amicale des Anciens internés des camps de Schirmeck et du Struthof, headed by Mr. Oberlin (dissolved around 1955).

  • 1950: Amicale des Déportés et Familles de Disparus de Natzweiler-Struthof et ses Kommandos, created by François Faure, Compagnon de la Libération, NN deportee at KL-Natzweiler. Afterwards his organisation was renamed the Amicale nationale des déportés et familles de disparus de Natzweiller-Struthof et ses Kommandos. It is responsible for the plaque at the Rothau railway station and the monument at Père Lachaise. It still exists and puts out a newsletter, KL-Na.

  • 1971: The International Committee of Natzweiler-Struthof groups together the Belgian, French, Dutch and Luxembourg organisations and a German comrade (the Norwegian group joined later). The board was responsible, with the chairmen of the other international camp committees, for the European Parliament resolution of 10 February 1993 “on the European and international protection of Nazi concentration camp sites as historic monuments”.

  • 1972: Souvenir de la déportation NN, an association founded by Guy Quintel and Father Joseph de la Martinière, was responsible for the erection of a marker in memory of the NN deportation (in the shape of a Lorraine Cross) inside Natzweiler camp in 1979. It publishes a newspaper, Nuit et Brouillard, Organe du Souvenir de la Déportation NN.