The National Office for Veterans and Victims of War
The National Office for Veterans and Victims of War (ONAC-VG) is an executive agency of the Ministry of the Armed Forces that guarantees the nation’s recognition of those who have served it. Today it is the “one-stop shop” for harkis and their families, who it supports in their applications.
The relationship between the National Office for Veterans and Victims of War (ONAC-VG) and the repatriated harkis goes back a long way. Contrary to popular belief, the auxiliaries did not arise directly out of the Algerian War. They were connected to the pro-French indigenous movement that emerged in 1830 with the rallying of tribes to the French side. In 1831, “native” troops began fighting under the French flag. The regiments of turcos, zouaves, Algerian tirailleurs, etc. that distinguished themselves in most of France’s military campaigns since 1850 serve as a reminder. Thus, a great many auxiliaries went on serving France during the Algerian War and remained loyal to it after the declaration of independence. Today, then, it is a matter of guaranteeing the full rights of those who have been repatriated and ensuring their proper integration into French society.
When these communities arrived on French soil, a major census and administrative support operation was undertaken by ONAC-VG. The archives also show how provision was made for the basic needs of harkis and their families, in addition to the distribution of emergency relief.
In the 1990s, ONAC-VG worked to guarantee priority access to vocational training establishments run by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, Ministry of Social Affairs or Ministry of Veteran Affairs for the children of former auxiliaries or equivalent. As an extension of that initiative, and a material expression of the Nation’s solidarity and gratitude, the departmental services provided financial support to trainees. In addition, every year, ONAC-VG schools reserved over a hundred places for auxiliaries’ children, to enable them to increase their qualifications and obtain certifications. Lastly, in 1994, the Office supported the creation of “victim of captivity in Algeria” status, assigned by the Ministry for Veteran Affairs.
By setting up departmental offices, ONAC-VG became a key intermediary between users and central government in the examination of applications from veterans and, since 2002, replaced the prefect in this role. The Office has also overseen the processing of applications for permanent allowances, such as the award of “recognition benefit” to harki veterans. In 2013, the “one-stop shop” for the processing of all applications further reinforced its central place in actions concerning repatriated harkis.
Aujourd’hui, l’ONAC-VG entend poursuivre son engagement en supervisant la mise en œuvre de la loi portant sur "la reconnaissance de la Nation envers les Harkis et les autres personnes rapatriées d’Algérie et la réparation des préjudices subis par ces derniers" (loi n° 2022-29 du 23 février 2022). Historiquement, la mission nationale de l’Office est ainsi ancrée à deux piliers fondamentaux : la reconnaissance, tout d’abord, par le biais d’actions de formations, de recueil des témoignages oraux ou encore l’inauguration de lieux de mémoire pour préserver l’histoire des Harkis ; la réparation, ensuite, via des mesures d’indemnisation, des subventions aux associations et des rachats de cotisations de retraites.
La tragédie des Harkis [The tragedy of the harkis], a ten-minute film commissioned from the ECPAD by the DMCA.
Articles of the review
1962: the end of the war in AlgeriaOn 18 March 1962, in Évian-les-Bains, the French Government and its Algerian counterparts signed an agreement that paved the way for Algerian independence, heralding the end of 132 years of colonisation and a war that had begun in 1954. It did not lead to the immediate cessation of violence and clas...Read more
Algeria in the ECPAD archivesRead more
Remembering the Algerian WarThe Memorial to the Algerian War and the fighting in Morocco and Tunisia is a Major National Remembrance Site of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. The man behind it, Gérard Collin-Thiébaut, and the staff of the National Office for Veterans and Victims of War (ONAC-VG) talk about the meaning and util...Read more