The French Amicale de Neuengamme was founded by a group of survivors in August 1945. It had two main objectives:
- Providing support to the families of the more than 7000 deceased deportees from France and to those who, among the less than 4000 survivors, were facing difficulties,
- Making known the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis and demanding that they be punished for their crimes.
During its first Congress, in April 1946, the members of the Amicale wrote a Serment à nos camarades tombés chez l’ennemi (Pledge to our departed comrades), in which they promised to remain faithful to their memory and to keep it alive. Their commitments were reaffirmed and updated in a Manifesto adopted in 2010.
In 1948, the Amicale organized the first pilgrimage or memory journey to Neuengamme. Until 1971, there were several trips to Neuengamme and satellite camps every year, then one a year. Considering the declining number of participants, it has been decided to have only one trip every 18 months or every other year.
Other activities of the Amicale include the publication, in 1995, of the Mémorial des Français et des Françaises déportés à Neuengamme, which contains 9500 names. A digital, more complete version, is about to be published with over 9700 deportees.
In 2006, the Amicale set up a website. In 2008, the Amicale published a book called Neuengamme, camp de concentration nazi, with a new edition in 2010.
Since 2013, it regularly issues booklets about specific subjects or satellite camps.
The main problem for the Amicale is the disappearance of survivors and the correlative decline in the number of members (about 550 in 2017). That phenomenon has led the Amicale to reinforce its cooperation with other similar associations within a new structure called Interamicale.