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Scum of the Earth by Arthur Koestler
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Scum of the Earth

by Arthur Koestler

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Interesting story about being a foreign resident of France in 1939-40, who was arrested twice and then incarcerated in the infamous Le Vernet internment camp just before the German Nazis took control of it in 1940. Grim details about living in miserable conditions, surviving and getting out of the camp. Also about escaping from France ahead of the German Nazis and finally explaining how veterans of the Spanish Republican Army were mistreated by the French police and then scooped up by the Nazis and delivered to German concentration camps. ( )
  robertg69 | Dec 19, 2006 |
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At the beginning of WWII, Koestler was living in the S of France working on Darkness at Noon. After retreating to Paris he was imprisoned by the French as an undesirable alien even though he had been a respected crusader against fascism. Only luck and his passionate energy allowed him to escape the fate of many of the innocent refugees who were handed over to the Nazis for torture and often execution. This is more than the story of Koestler's survival. His shrewd observation of the collapse of French determination to resist during the summer of 1940 is an illustration of what happens when a nation loses its honor and pride.
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