As you will remember I have shared with you on several occasions stories of my family (two of my mother’s uncles, Josep and Conrado Miret) and their involvement with the Republican cause in Spain, their exile in France, and their deaths. Recently reading the post of another writer where she followed and shared an initiative to collect family memories of relatives who had fought in the two World Wars (here is the link to Sarah Vernon’s post in First Night Design: http://firstnightdesign.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/first-night-design-my-letter-to-an-unknown-soldier/) I reflected that my country had not been directly involved in either, but of course, that doesn’t mean many did not play a part.
My cousin Joan Molet is involved not only researching the family history but also trying to preserve the memory of the many men and women who although also fought (for their countries and for others also under attack) due to their lack of direct affiliation, in some cases seem to have been lost to history. Luckily through the effort of organisations and individuals those memories are being treasured and official recognition is finally coming.
Joan attended a meeting at Prayols on the 7th of June as part of the 7oth anniversary of the D-Day and here I leave you his speech:
In the month of February 1939, and with the end of the war in Spain, approximately 500,000 people crossed the border with France in what would be for some a long exile, final for others. Many of the of exiles ended up in concentration camps such as Argelès Saint Cyprien, Bram, Septfonds, Le Vernet, Gurs, Rivesaltes …
The situation of the ‘interns’ was complicated; some eventually returned to Spain, some, the majority, managed to get out of the camps, and were mobilized under military command in Companies of Foreign Workers (Compagnies de Travailleurs Étrangers), which were used for hard work with almost no pay. A significant proportion became involved in the fight against the German Army after they invaded the French territory, and also against the Vichy regime.
After three years of hard struggle against fascism in Spain the Spaniards were very experienced, this allowed them to organize themselves very quickly and some became leaders of resistance groups, such as my uncle Conrado Miret Musté, first head of the groups of the MOI that fought in Paris from August 1941.
The role of those members of the resistance in the areas of France where they acted was crucial; often making the German army lose some fights, making them withdraw from their positions or with their acts of sabotage making the operations of the invading army much more difficult.
In Spain I am a member of the board of Amical Mauthausen and other camps, an organization that has recently become part of the Centre for the Interpretation and Research of the Memory of Republican Spain of Borredon. Since 1962 Amical Mauthausen has been working to ensure that the memory of the Spanish Republicans — many of whom, after their heroic struggle in France were arrested and eventually imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps as was my other uncle Josep Miret Musté, who died in Florisdorff, command Mauthausen, by gunfire from SS Han Buhner, after being wounded in a bombing — is not forgotten.
In conclusion, as a member also of the Amicale des Anciens Gerrilleros Espagnols in France, I want to acknowledge the work of dissemination and maintenance of the memories of combatants by the various entities that are present in this act.
VIVA LA REPUBLICA!
You will also remember that after years of having no official word of Conrado Miret’s whereabouts, it was confirmed that he had died in La Santé prison under torture and the city of Paris had dedicated him a plaque on the wall of the prison. The official commemoration of the plaque was the 13th of June. Joan attended with Madeleine Midon, daughter of Josep Miret. Here I leave you his words and also some pictures.
As a representative of the family of Conrad Miret Musté, first chief of the MOI FTP in Paris in 1941, I want to thank the City of Paris for placing this plaque to forever immortalize their struggle and that of all the Spanish Republican exiles in the fight to liberate France from Nazi invaders.
I asked my cousin to provide me a link where people who are interested in delving further in the subject might find more information. He recommended me the page of Charles Farreny, son of an exile, and although in French, I leave it here for you.
Thanks very much for reading, to Joan for sharing and if you’ve found it interesting, you know what to do, share, like, comment and CLICK. And never forget!