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Les déracinés de Cherchell

Camps de regroupement dans la guerre d'Algérie (1954-1962)

Collection : Études et enquêtes historiques

2018, 200 pages


n° ISBN 978-2-7332-6015-9

18,00 € Buy


n° ISBN 978-2-7332-6021-0

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n° ISBN 978-2-7332-6022-7

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Preface, Alain Blum

General Introduction

Chapter 1. Regrouping the populace: an anti-guerrilla strategy

I. “Population regroupment centres” (CRPs) and prohibited areas

II. A general overview of the CRPs

III. The ALN [Army of national liberation] in the foothills of Cherchell: the first clashes

IV. CRPs in the Cherchell region

Chapter 2. Rural life as lived between traditions and the colonial administration

I. A population made up of Berber-speaking tribes

II. The disappearance of an ancestral tribal society

III. Memories of a rural life

IV. Relations with the colonial administration

Chapter 3. Expulsion, uprooting, dispossession

I. A military imperative

II. The violence of the expulsions

III. Rough living in the camps

Chapter 4. Life in the camps: the view from both sides

I. Military perceptions of life in the camps

II. The camps as seen by the “regrouped”: barbed wire and watchtowers

Chapter 5. Vulnerable population groups

I. The situation of women in the camps

II. From shepherd to pupil: children in the torment of the war

III. Working outside the regroupment centre

Chapter 6. The end of the war

I. The failure of the anti-guerrilla strategy

II. Revolt

III. “All Frenchmen are not of the same seed”

IV. The harkis

Chapter 7. Afterwards

I. Post-war disappointments

II. The difficulty of reintegrating regroupment centre populations

III. A definitive change from the world that was

Chapter 8. Residential trajectories and migrations

I. Forced residential mobility

II. From sedentary life to mobility

Chapter 9. Portraits of the “regrouped” and their diverse fates and fortunes

I. Major life changes

II. Those who remained

III. New futures

IV. Singular figures and multiple trajectories

General conclusion



[The uprooted people of Cherchell: regroupment camps during the Algerian War (1954-1962)]

From 1954 to 1962, one-fourth of the population was displaced by the French military authorities and confined in regroupment camps in order to destroy what they presumed to be a source of support for the armed independence fighters.

Cut off from their lands and means of subsistence, these relatively poor groups composed primarily of women, children and older persons had to create new lives for themselves in these makeshift camps.

The forced moves radically changed the living conditions of thousands of Algerian peasants, and the effects were felt well beyond the period of confinement.

The book reconstitutes the trajectory of persons from the region of Cherchell who underwent forced displacement and presents their accounts, thereby making a fundamental contribution to the reconstruction of an often forgotten or obliterated episode in collective memory.

Collectively swept up in the turmoil and shock of the war, these men and women attest to a wide range of different life paths. The authors collected the detailed stories of their broken trajectories. In a few cases, the painful experience of being uprooted opened the way to relatively satisfactory outcomes.

Kamel Kateb is an INED demographer and researcher in the “International Migrations and Minorities” and “Identities and Territories” research teams. He studies Algerian history through statistics, the history and educational systems of specific groups in North African countries, and migration between the Maghreb and Europe.

Nacer Melhani is a trained, practicing agronomist interested in the development of rural populations in the Cherchell region. He is involved in community associations and movements and has written several press articles (in French and Arabic) on Algerian history.

M’hamed Rebah is a writer interested in questions of the environment and topics concerning the media, history and current events. Though retired, he continues to be active in community associations and movements.  

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