Between 1939 and 1945, 45,000 French men and women interned in psychiatric hospitals died of starvation. Only the Saint-Alban settlement in Lozère escaped this tragic fate. In his documentary happy hourin theaters since April 20, historian Martine Deyres tells how the internees survived this massacre.
During the Second World War, psychiatric hospitals were abandoned. In Saint-Alban, a small village in Lozère, doctor Tosquelles and psychiatrist Lucien Bonnafé are pursuing a policy against the tide. Instead of isolating the patients, they opened the asylum doors to allow the internees to participate in civilian life by working in the fields and welcoming village volunteers to participate in the nursing care.
Interviewed by KonbinicMartine Deyres portrays “the vitality of the place” and tells how this solidarity made it possible to “working for the survival of all”.
Watch the documentary trailer Happy Hours:
With this striking example from the past, the historian invites us to rethink the hospital “as a place of care and a place of life”.