Rendez-vous at The penal colony of Sedan
The three occupations of the Ardennes by the Germans amounted to eleven and a half years in total. Among all the horrors endured, that of the internment camp in the castle at Sedan retains the worst memories of this tragic history. It was used from January 1917 until November 1918. It was a veritable ‘death camp’, run by torturers, a forerunner of the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. This hellhole, ignored by the public in neighbouring regions, was called ‘the Penal Colony’ by the Sedan people, where both French and Belgians died as a result of such inhumane treatment. It was the desperate need for labour which drove the enemy into taking these criminal and inhumane actions. In the Belgian and French occupied zones, civilians from 14 to 60 years old were requisitioned into labour battalions (ZivilArbeiter Bataillon). Those who put up any resistance were sent to the internment camp in the castle at Sedan or the discipline camps (Kommaandos) at Bazeilles or Mont Saint Martin. The exact number of victims remains uncertain, but in less than 2 years it exceeded a thousand deaths and was probably significantly more.