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View Full Version : Did you know that Roland Garros stadium was a concentration camp for Jews?


spiceboy
May 27th, 2004, 01:36 AM
The ghosts of Roland Garros

War has often rendered sporting venues inactive.


But the Roland Garros stadium, in a remarkable period dubbed by the French as their "dark days", was to endure a different fate as hostility broke out throughout Europe for the second time in the 20th century.

Some tennis historians have called it a "shameful" history, and the French Tennis Federation chooses to ignore it in its literature charting the life and times of the home of the French Open.

But the guardians of the championships had little choice when, in 1939, Roland Garros was converted into a concentration camp.

It was used at first by an insecure French government, as it sought to house political dissidents, aliens and other suspect types.

But, as the war raged on and as German occupation spread, it was "home" to Jews who would later be shipped East to their doom.

One such inmate was the author Arthur Koestler, who chronicled his experiences of political imprisonment in "Darkness at Noon".

Koestler, who escaped Nazi detention to flee to England, wrote: "At Roland Garros, we called ourselves the cave dwellers, about 600 of us who lived beneath the stairways of the stadium.

"We slept on straw, wet straw, because the place leaked. We were so crammed in, we felt like sardines.

"Few of us knew anything about tennis, but when we were allowed to take our walk in the stadium, we could see the names Borotra and Brugnon on the scoreboard.

"We would make jokes about mixed doubles. Indeed, compared to our experiences in the past and the future, Roland Garros was almost an amusement park."

Throughout its 74-year history, it is an episode that Roland Garros would rather forget.

*JR*
May 27th, 2004, 03:00 AM
I'd never heard this, but the Nazi's did use sports venues as "holding pens" for reasons including sending people to actual death camps. Is there @ least a plaque in a prominent location there noting the history?

Jericho
May 27th, 2004, 03:03 AM
interesting...i was not aware of that

Martian KC
May 27th, 2004, 03:06 AM
I'd never heard this, but the Nazi's did use sports venues as "holding pens" for reasons including sending people to actual death camps. Is there @ least a plaque in a prominent location there noting the history?

Yes, they even used basketball stadiums as well.

PointBlank
May 27th, 2004, 03:09 AM
Ew. Will never walk under the Stadium of Roland Garros

xcrtbckhnd
May 27th, 2004, 03:51 AM
Shocking and very sad. I never knew this.

vettipooh
May 27th, 2004, 03:59 AM
Just read about that a few days ago.Horrible piece of history.Wonder how many players are aware of this.

Yonge
May 27th, 2004, 04:20 AM
Thanks for the info. I've never heard of this before and will never look at Stade RG the same way again.