Thil Concentration Camp
The crypt at the Thil camp. Source: Photo Aimelaime
The town of Thil, in Lorraine, is located in the north of the Meurthe-et-Moselle department, a few kilometres from Longwy, in the heart of the industrial region known as the Pays-Haut.
The presence of a concentration camp, Struthof commando, on the territory of this community, was attested by a report from March 1951 in the Arolsen archives (service of the International Red Cross).
Called the "Erz work camp" at the time, it appears that the Thil-Longwy camp was in operation from 10 May 1944 until the month of September of that year, when it was evacuated due to the advancing Allied armies. Its installation in the north of the Meurthe-et-Moselle department can notably be explained by the presence of many iron mines in the region.
Indeed, after the bombing of Peenemunde in the Baltic, the main production centre for the V1 and V2 missiles which, according to the Nazis, were going to turn the tides of the war in their favour, the German authorities sought out other sites they could develop.
The Thiercelet mine at Thil, with its 250,000 m² of surface area, was chosen for an underground factory to be used as a V1 and V2 production unit.
It is estimated that some 800 to 900 deportees passed through this camp.
After the war, the residents of Thil decided to raise issue a subscription to build a crypt holding the crematory oven, symbol of the camp’s existence. This monument was inaugurated on 17 November 1946 with many personalities in attendance, including MP Louis Marin, the Founding President of the Fédération Nationale des Déportés Internés Résistants et Patriotes (FNDIRP), Colonel F.H. Manhés and representatives of General de Gaulle and the head of the government, Georges Bidault.
Three years later, in 1949, the Thil camp was officially recognised as a “concentration camp, satellite of Struthof”. Finally, in 1984, the crypt was classified as a National Cemetery, thus being included in the Domain of the State. Despite all these efforts, however, the history of this camp is still little-known to the general public.
That is why the municipality of Thil and the association for the “Mémoire et la Reconnaissance du Camp de Concentration de Thil-Longwy” (AMRCCTL) are proposing a major development project for access to the Cemetery, thus creating a real historical itinerary and memorial leading visitors to the crypt.
Practical information :
Visits by appointment with Thil Town Hall:
Tel.: +33 (0)3 82 89 45 92
Fax: +33 (0)3 82 89 20 60
Eugène Gaspard, Les travaux du IIIe Reich, entre Alzette et Fensch.