I usually prepare my posts early (if I can), the weekend before, because during the week, with full time job, the gym and everyday life I have very little time and don’t want to do a rushed job. I was wondering what I would post on the Tuesday, because the guest post was already sorted. I had some ideas but I wasn’t 100% convinced by any of them. And then my mother phoned me on Saturday morning (in the middle of a computer crisis) to tell me that a cousin (a very distant cousin as he’s the grandson of one of my mother’s aunts) had gone to visit them the previous day and he was in the process of researching information for a book he was planning on writing. Of course, once they got talking about books I came up and my parents gave him my details. And now we’ve just established e-mail contact.
And that made me think. I wasn’t surprised he wanted to write about his chosen topic. You see…My cousin wants to write about the family, well, about our grandmothers’ two brothers, Josep and Conrado Miret Musté. I don’t know very much about it. I
remember my maternal grandmother, Juana (who was always known as Juanita) telling me things about her brothers. Josep was the eldest. She always used to tell me that they were very tall and strong and they played rugby. Both were involved in Catalan politics (according to what my grandmother used to say, Josep had reached quite a high position in the executive of the PSUC [Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia, a communist nationalist party] and in the government of the Generalitat (the autonomic government of Catalonia) at that time, and during the Spanish Civil War, Josep had a responsible position in the supplies department. Although the three sisters (Francisca, but always called Paquita by the family, Juanita and Magdalena, Magda) remained in Barcelona, as they hadn’t been directly involved in politics, the two brothers went into exile when Barcelona fell to Franco’s forces and it was clear the war was all but lost. Like many others they went across the border into France. If I remember correctly both of them had families (I know for certain Josep did) but they remained behind. The history/legend is that Conrado disappeared in Paris (the suspicion has always been that the Nazis caught him when they invaded France and killed him), and the Nazis definitely caught Josep because he ended up in Mauthausen. And never left alive.
I remember my aunt Magda lent me Montserrat Roig’s book ‘Els Catalans als camps de concentració nazis’ (‘Catalans in Nazi Concentration Camps’), that like other books by the sadly late author I strongly recommend. In this book there were sections about Josep Miret, what he did in the camp, how he tried to help others, there were pictures of postcards and letters he had sent back home, including some to his sister Magda…Fascinating and horrible at the same time. My cousin is right. There are many things we don’t know about what happened. Although the dead don’t talk, I hope my cousin is lucky and can find information that helps fill up that void.
Thank you very much for reading, and please, if you have any knowledge of the subject, connections that might know, or just an interest, any support would be appreciated.
Thanks for reading. And on Friday, guest post by author Michael Brookes.