Archives for category: Family stories

Hi all:

As you’ll remember I’ve written about my mother’s uncles, Josep and Conrado Miret several times before and recently I interviewed my cousin, Joan Molet, who told us how he had started his research and the work he does now as part of the Amical Mauthausen. I told you then that a few weeks later would be the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp and thanks to Joan, who attended the events, I can tell you a bit about it (and share his pictures).

Two groups of the Amical departed (one from Madrid and one from Barcelona) towards Vienna on Friday the 8th of May. There were around 130 people, including members of the Amical and students of schools in Aragon and Catalonia.

El Castillo de Hartheim

Hartheim Castle

In the afternoon they visited Hartheim Castle, where they used to perform what they called ‘project T4’, the massive annihilation of people suffering from all kinds of disabilities (physical, mental) and other human beings that the Nazis didn’t think deserved the right to live. They used a gas chamber to kill prisoners from Gusen and Mauthausen and they also performed medical experiments on the prisoners.

Saturday 9th

In the morning the group visited the sub-camp of Ebensee where they rendered homage to the Spanish Republicans; they took part in the International Acts of Homage and visited the tunnels where they manufactured weaponry. Here there was another act of homage to the Spanish prisoners.

Ebensee Tunnels

Ebensee Tunnels

Ebensee Tunnels

Ebensee Tunnels

After that they took part in the inauguration of the monument to Ana Pointner. The monument was installed thanks to the work of the Austria Perspective Mauthausen. Enric Garriga, the president of the Amical, participated representing the organisation, and Juan Francisco Ortiz, son of a Republican exile who was also a prisoner at Mauthausen, and who now lives in France and plays the guitar, played a number of pieces.

Monument to Ana Pointner

Monument to Ana Pointner

(Ana Pointner collaborated with Francesc Boix photographer and prisoner at Mauthausen. She hid the negatives of the pictures that Boix had taken whilst at Mauthausen behind the stones of the wall at the rear of her house. Those negatives were used as proof in the Nurember Trials.)

Here a bit of an aside about Francesc Boix.

The entry in Wikipedia about Francesc Boix:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Boix

I leave you a link to a documentary about Francesc Boix called ‘Francisco Boix, un Fotógrafo en el infierno’ (Francisco [Francesc is Francisco, Francis, in Catalan] Boix, a Photographer in Hell). There were several versions but I could not find one with subtitles in English although there might be one. Otherwise I wonder if it would be possible to add them on. It includes images and even some film of his testimony at Nuremberg (he speaks in French). He was only 17 when he arrived in the camp and although he survived, he died at 31, probably due to sequels of the experience.

There are a number of interesting articles about his work, although the most recent ones I could find are in Spanish. Just in case you want to check, this one from the Spanish TV talks about the collection of pictures.

http://www.rtve.es/television/20150121/dos-guerras-del-fotografo-boix/1084600.shtml

Here the wall where she hid the photographs

Here the wall where Ana Pointner she hid the photographs

***

Afterwards there was another commemorative event at the train station at Mauthausen and they went to the Memorial of Gusen were further events remembering the Spanish Republicans and international events took place.

A delegation representing the Amical attended a concert by Juan Francisco Ortiz that took place at Mauthausen, where he donated a copy of the Republican flag his father had made whilst he was a prisoner at the camp.

Sunday 10th.

In the morning, jointly with the members of the Amical in France there were ceremonies at the Spanish and French monuments and together they participated in the international parade (the members of the Spanish Amical as part of the Spanish delegation presided by the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs).

Monument to all the victims at Mauthausen. And Joan

Monument to all the victims at Mauthausen. And Joan and his wife

Monday 11th.

Members of the expedition had free time to visit Mauthausen in the morning and they returned to Madrid and Barcelona in the afternoon.

Many thanks to Joan for his chronicle and for the pictures, thanks to all of you for reading and you know, like, comment, share, CLICK, and above all, never forget.

Hi all:

Those of you who have been following my blog longer might remember that I have dedicated posts with the title ‘Family Stories’ to two of my mother’s uncles, Josep and Conrado Miret, who died during WWII, one in Mauthausen (in one of the satellite camps, Floridsdorf), and the other one who had disappeared in France and they suspected had been killed there whilst fighting for the French resistance.

Josep Miret who was Conseller of the Generalitat (the equivalent to a Minister of the Autonomic Government of Catalonia) has a street in Barcelona named after him and some of the letters he had sent to his relatives (in particular those he had sent to his younger sister, Magdalena) appeared in the book Els Catalans als camps de concentració nazis (Catalans in the Nazi concentration camps) by Montserrat Roig. But…

IMG_0780

My cousin, Joan Molet, has been researching the story of these two men for the last few years, and has offered me the opportunity of keeping you up to date with events and new findings he made. When I was preparing a new post on the subject, I thought that you could be interested in the process he had followed and how he had become involved in what is now his mission. I surely find it fascinating. And that was how I went to visit Joan and took many notes. Here I bring you my take on it.

Joan Molet dando una charla en una escuela. Al fondo, una foto de Conrado Miret

Joan Molet talking at a school. Projected we can see a picture of Conrado Miret

Joan told me that he began researching the history of these two relatives because his grandmother (Francisca Miret, Paquita) had told him some things about her two brothers, there were some (few) objects and items from their period before they left Spain during the Civil War, but there was a void of information about what had happened afterwards, both during their stay in France and in the concentration camp (in the case of Josep) with few details and paucity of documentation. And, Conrado was still classed a missing since the 1940s. Joan decided to investigate and try to fill this void. He started his search in early 2012, three years ago.

To achieve that he tried a variety of approaches.

1) He visited his relatives. That was how we came into contact with each other, as although my grandmother, Juana, had died years ago, Joan went to visit my mother (another Magdalena, it’s a very popular name in the family, although she prefers to be called Magda) to ask her if she had any documentation of the era, but apart from some photographs, we didn’t have much else. When we talked I suggested I could share some posts about his work and his findings in my blog, and he has kindly kept me informed. Thanks Joan! Not all our relatives have taken part or are interested in the matter (as we know, family stories are very personal)

2) He requested information from official sources and archives. Among others:

    • Archivos Generales de Ávila (General Archives of Ávila): where the military papers are kept. Officially they have no documentation. (Considering Josep Miret was head of supplies of the Republican Army in the Ebro Front, it’s a bit weird, but…)
    • Archivo de Salamanca (Archive of Salamanca). They sent him a few documents.
    • The Pabillion of the Republic in la Vall d’Hebrón de Barcelona. He obtained some information about the PSUC (Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya, a communist nationalist Catalan party) and his relationship with the party.
    • Central Archives of Catalonia (St. Cugat). It contains several personal collections of researchers and authors interested in the topic (Eduard Pons Prades, Montserrat Roig… including a postcard Josep sent from the camp.)
    • The International Red Cross (who sent him a copy of the death certificate for Josep Miret in Floridsdorf, where he was injured during an allied attack and killed off by one of the guards).
    • He also researched the family tree, including visiting the archive of the Archbishopry of Tarragone and others, and he managed to recover information up to the end of the XVIII c. (when the French troops burned what they found on their way).
    • As both brothers were exiled in France (Josep left before they closed the border with his own paper, whilst Conrado escaped using a false identity and was for a while at Saint Cyprien) my cousin imagined there must be documentation in France, but he didn’t know how it might be organised or where to go. But at this point he got very useful help. He got into contact with:

3)La Amical de Mauthausen. This organisation that has been functioning since 1962 and at the beginning helped the survivors of the camp to obtain help and subventions, has widened its activities, and it is now part of the red ‘Never Again’ to ensure the memory of what happened is never forgotten and to carry on fighting against fascism, and they organise/facilitate informative sessions in schools, organisations… They also do research work and send proposals to organise official homages and commemorative events, and help relatives locate information about their loved ones, be it giving by them any data they possess or assisting them with their personal searches. Here I leave you a link for you to check their activities in more detail. (The information is available in several languages, including Spanish, English and French).

With their help and his effort, Joan found out plenty of information that was very useful, like the fact that the archives and information about the activities or the résistance are organised according to areas (Josep had been in the French Bretagne, in Caen).

His enquiries made him cross paths with L’Amical des Anciens Guérrilleros Espagnols en France (AGEEF-FFI) (the Amical of the old Spanish guerrilleros in France), who as a reply to his questions about Josep, asked him in turn if he was not interested in finding information about Conrado. Thanks to this contact and to the interest he showed, Joan has atended several commemorative events in France (in Prayols there is a monument to the guerrilleros) and even recently in Spain, for example, the 22 November 2014, in remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the last retreat of the republican forces during the Battle of the Ebro. (Here a link to a video about the event.)

4) Thanks to his activities, his interest and effort, Joan has become a member of the Junta (Board) of the Amical in Barcelona (since 2013), he represents the Miret family in acts related to the Republican fighters and the Spanish guerrilleros, and recently has become the representative of the Amical at CIIMER (Centre for the Interpretation and Research of the Memory of Republican Spain, Centro de la Interpretación y la Investigación de la Memoria de la España Republicana). As it sometimes happens, in searching for our roots we might discover an interest and a new dedication to a cause.

Joan gave me many details of his journey (tortuous and hard), he showed me documents, some of interest to everybody (official documents, transcripts of the trials), others much more personal (like the envelop of a letter Josep had sent to Joan’s grandmother, addressed to a house Joan still remembered), and I hope I’ll be able to share some more with you and carry on brining you news. (Some, like the commemorative plaque to honour Conrado, that I felt was particularly emotional, I’ve already shared). But for me, there were two moments that felt particularly representative of the experience.

In 2012 Joan joined a number of internet chats about WWII as possible sources of information. Through them he was contacted by Claude Midon, a Frenchman who has now lived in Australia for a long time. His wife, Madeleine (another Magdalena), is the daughter of Josep Miret and Lili Brumerhurst, and they have not only been in contact since, but Madeleine visited Barcelona and met Joan last year, and she was able to join in the ceremony of inauguration of the plaque to Conrado in June 2014.

Madeleine Midon, Joan Molet i foto de Conrado Miret

Madeleine Midon, Joan Molet and photo of Conrado Miret

In May 2012, Joan visited for the first time the camp Mauthausen-Gusen. (At Floridsdorf, of the camp there is only a commemorative plaque left. Joan was sent a picture of it by the president of the Association of the descendants of the Spanish combatants in Austria, whilst completing his research.). As part of their activities, the Amical also organises annual visits to Mauthausen (including a visit to the Castle of Hartheim, that they used for “active euthanasia”, and where they experimented the most effective way to exterminate parts of the populations, Jews in particular). This May (2015), is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camp that will be celebrated with a number of acts and I hope to be able to bring you Joan’s impressions of the events. I also hope to visit the camp myself in the future and tell you what I felt.

El Castillo de Hartheim

Castle of Hartheim

What impressed him or touched him most of the visit? The truth is everything. More than anything, how easy it was to imagine being there, being one of those men and thinking of their experiences.

Mauthausen

Mauthausen

Also, the historical incongruences (like the fact that the main building of the Gusen camp is now used by a business company, without any external changes other than very limited cosmetic changes). The fact that one can enjoy a piece of cake at a cafeteria in Mauthausen…Dins del camp

 

Climbing the steps to the quarry and thinking of the prisoners the guards made jump to their deaths still carrying their load, just for the fun of it.

Camino a la pedrera

Climb to the quarry

The human spirit, that’s never defeated.

And his pride for being related to these men who fought to ensure that the world didn’t become a much worse place. I share some of the pictures he sent me of that trip. Not many words are needed.

crematori

Placa

Many thanks to Joan for offering me so generously his time, telling me his experiences and being so generous in sharing his documentation, thanks to all of you for reading, and if you’re interested, please, like, share, comment, and CLICK.

 

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:

Meeting a Prayols June

Meeting a Prayols June

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!

VIVA FRANCE!

Conrado y placa

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.

Madeleine Midon, Joan Molet i foto de Conrado Miret

Madeleine Midon, Joan Molet i foto de Conrado Miret

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.

Joan Molet thanking the city of Paris

Joan Molet thanking the city of Paris

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.

http://espana36.voila.net/index.htm

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!

As you know, my cousin Juan Molet is embarked on the task of researching and collecting information about our relatives, Josep and Conrado Miret Musté, who were exiled to France during the Civil War and ended up fighting with the French Resistance. In the past I’ve shared some of the documents that he has sent me. He recently sent me the document of a talk he gives to schools on the subject, and particularly about life in Mauthausen (where our great-uncle Josep Miret Musté was a prisoner during the War), and I thought it appropriate to share with you. I hope you find it informative and interesting. There are certain things that should not be forgotten.
Here I leave to my cousin Juan and his talk:

Xerrada Ies Les Termes 12 11 2013 007
My name is Juan Molet Vila, I am a member of Amical Mauthausen and Amicale des Anciens Guerrilleros Espagnols in France ( FFI), my great-uncles were Josep Miret Musté and Conrado Miret Musté , the first died in Florisdorff , command Mauthausen on 17th November 1944 , shot by SS Hans Bühner, and the second in Paris on February 27th 1942 .

Himmler and his entourage ascend the "ste...

Himmler and his entourage ascend the “steps of death” which led from the quarry to a road going up to the Mauthausen camp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First I am going to speak of Mauthausen. On August 8th 1938 the first prisoners arrived from the Dachau camp. The location was chosen because of the nearby granite quarry; firstly prisoners worked constructing the camp and then extracting stone from the quarry. The same happened in the nearby camp of Gusen in 1940. Until late 1943 Mauthausen was a camp where they brought political and ideological opponents, the conditions of the detainees were extreme and it was a camp where there was a high mortality rate .
From 1943 the prisoners are also used as labor in the armaments industry and the number of prisoners increased. In late 1943 in Mauthausen – Gusen complex had about 14,000 prisoners and in March 1945 there were about 84000. From the second half of 1944 prisoners from other camps started coming to Mauthausen in response to  the advance of Allied forces in the Second World War. This led to an overpopulation of the camp and living conditions became much harder.

Estelades a Mauthausen

Estelades a Mauthausen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the complex there were Spanish prisoners, Austrians, Germans, French, Italians, Poles, Soviets, Hungarians, Jews…In total there were prisoners of over 20 nationalities. Between the opening of the field and its release by the U.S. military it is calculated that by the field passed 200,000 deportees.
Significantly, Mauthausen was not an extermination camp, it was a labour camp and most of the prisoners died because of their hard labour, because they were not fed properly for the work they did and sanitary conditions were very poor. Prisoners’ trades and skills were the main reasons determining their chances of survival.

Causes of death in the camp were beatings, bullets, by injection, some froze to death, by using the gas chamber, but most died from the exploitation of their labour . In the Mauthausen – Gusen complex 100,000 prisoners died, most of them in the four months before his release on May 5th, 1945.

English: Survivors of the Mauthausen-Gusen con...

English: Survivors of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp shortly after their liberation. Deutsch: Überlebende des Konzentrationslagers Mauthausen-Gusen kurz nach ihrer Befreiung. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Nazis deported some 15,000 Spanish Republicans, of which 7,200 went to Mauthausen, 4,800 were killed and 2,400 survived.

Portrait à tirer MIRET
Conrado Miret Musté was born in Barcelona on April 15th 1906 and died in Paris on February 27th 1942, in Prison de la Santé. He was a member of the Popular Army of the Republic, with the rank of Major in 1938. After the victory of General Franco he was exiled in France, where he was the first Chief of the armed groups in the MOI (Immigrant Manpower), actively fighting the Germans in Paris and arrested for the first time in 1940, but he managed to escape. He was arrested again in Paris on February 12th 1942. He died after two weeks of interrogation. He was buried in a mass grave at the cemetery in Clichy (South of Paris), this mass grave was destroyed after the end of the Second World War and now his whereabouts are unknown. Recently documents certifying his death have been found in France and he has been named Honourably Dead for France in Paris on August 25, 2013.

Josep Miret Muste 1939
Josep Miret Musté was born in Barcelona on September 14, 1907, studied at the Escola Treball (School of Labour), graduating at age 18, here he developed his progressive ideals and he focused on the active struggle against the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. During the Second Republic he joins the Unió Socialista de Catalunya (Socialist Union of Catalonia), becoming the head of the Youth of the party. On the 23rd July 1936 the party was one of four who founded the P.S.U.C. (Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya, Socialist Unified Party of Catalonia, a communist nationalist party). He became Counselor of Procurements for War of the Generalitat (the National Government of Catalonia) in 1937, but left the office to go to the front, as Commissioner Delegate of War in the Third Division, participating in the battles of Belchite, Mediana, Huesca and the Ebro
After the war he goes into exile with his wife Cecilia. During the journey, his son Josep was born. He was a prisoner in French camps until he could reach Paris. There, with his brother Conrado, he joined the French Resistance, and both were involved in acts of sabotage against the German occupation. At this time his wife Cecilia and son return to Barcelona because she does not want to live through another war.
He was arrested in Paris on 30th November 1942, at the apartment of his companion from the French Resistance, Lily Brumerhurst. He was transferred to Mauthausen, where he joined the underground organization of the PSUC. In the camp he finds out that Lily is pregnant and his daughter, whom he will never know, is well. This child currently resides in Australia.
In the camp Josep and other comrades do active work to help the prisoners, taking pictures, and becoming involved in sabotages and escape attempts.
He is wounded in an allied bombing in the Florisdorf Armaments Factory where he worked, and SS Hans Bühner finishes him off with a bullet to the head.
We can say that Josep and Conrado Miret Musté have begun to receive recognition by the authorities of the French Republic at the request of the Amicale of Spanish Guerilleros in France. We cannot say the same has happened in Catalonia and Spain where they remain two unknown characters, although Josep Miret Musté has received some recognition from the city of Barcelona, ​​where he has a street named after him, at the request of Amical Mauthausen.
It is, of course an honour to be related to them both, and I contribute my little grain of sand in Catalonia, Spain and France to try and bring attention and recognition to these two families, as well as to all those who participated in the Spanish Civil War, went into exiled, participated in World War II and then were forgotten by the victors of the Second World War. Only France welcomed them at the time, although many of them ended locked in concentration camps in 1939, others were persecuted, and after the Second World War (1944-1945) the French authorities of the moment completely abandoned the Republican fight, and of course, they suffered the forgetfulness and contempt of the Franco government in Spain.
Finally I want to say that if anyone is interested in exploring this topic in more detail, just let me know, right at the end of this act or through your Institute and I can provide more comprehensive information on the subject, thank you very much.
I will continue sharing the information Juan sends me, and if you want to contact him directly I am happy to act as go between.
Thanks to Juan for sharing his talk with us, and thank you all for reading, and if it was interesting, do not forget to share, to like, and comment.
From next week, as Christmas is quickly approaching, I will bring you a selection of classic post and various other things … And on January  we’ll start with new post (and news! )

  • Munich (aceeurotrip2013.wordpress.com)
Français : Résistants de la 2ème guerre mondia...

Français : Résistants de la 2ème guerre mondiale dans la région d’Huelgoat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you will remember I have posted in a number of occasions about my mother’s uncles, Josep and Conrado Miret Musté, who fought both in the Spanish Civil War and later in France, taking part in the French Resistance against the occupying German forces. My cousin Joan Molet sent me another article talking in more detail about both brothers and their roles during the French resistance. I’ve translated the article below and include a link to the original article at the end. 

The first contacts with the direction of the O.S. (Special Organisation) were made within the family as it were, because most of the leaders were French ex-combatants with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. Nadal, Spanish leader of the first period, gives us his testimony: 

     “It was  a summer’s day of 1941, and I had an appointment with a French colleague in a café near the metro station of Sèvres-Babylone. It was my first contact with colonel Dumont, who was the leader of the 14th International Brigade in Spain. He asked me to choose some comrades with experience fighting behind enemy lines, for the armed groups. (Dumont also asked, in the same period, the support of the Italian comrades of the 12th International Brigade “Garibaldi”). Following his instructions I asked Buitrago, former head of the 14th corps of guerrilla fighters during the Spanish War, to come from Burdeos, and José Miret introduced me to his brother Conrado who volunteered to fight in the urban guerrilla.” 

The heroic fight of the Miret brother and their tragic deaths deserve the respectful memory of all the members of the Resistance. 

José Miret Musté, member of the executive commission of the P.S.U.C. (Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia, a Communist nationalist party) and of the government of the Generalitat de Catalunya, was also commissar of the 43rd Division during the war in Spain. In France, he was political leader and organiser of the Spanish resistance within the occupied zone. He was arrested by the police in November 1942, he was immediately transferred  under German jurisdiction, and after being jailed and tortured in Fresnes, he was deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp on the 27th Auust 1943 with the inscription “Natch und Nebel” (by night and fog) that meant, according to Hitler’s words, “Death sentence, but total silent to the families about the fate reserved to the prisoners”. On the 10th September 1943, José Miret was sent to the exterior commando of Schwechat, and he died the 17th November 1944 during the bombing of the Florisdorf commando. The truth is that José Miret and his partner of misfortune, Juncosa Escoda, were only wounded, but S.S. Streitwiesser, kommando leader, ordered that they were finished off with a bullet to the back of their heads. 

Conrado Miret Musté (Lucien for the comrades of the O.S.) was nominated leader of the armed groups of diverse nationalities, organised by the M.O.I. In early times the recruitment was selective and limited, and Conrado Miret took part in numerous operations with French comrades. 

Alber Ouzoulias (colonel André) writes in his book ‘Youth Battalions ’: 

            “The immigrants anti-fascists have their own organisation: Lucien (Conrado Miret-Musté), of the Spanish Communist Party, leads the armed units formed by anti-fascist men and women of all the countries members of the M.O.I. (Immigrant Workers).” 

            Ouzoulias specifies that Lucien was in charge of weaponry, and gives detailed account of two operations that took place in 1941 where Conrado Miret fought with the French Groups of the O.S.: the arson attack on a German garage, in number 11 of Paris Street (Vincennes) on the 5th September, and the attack with Molotov cocktails to the German Garage HKP 503, in number 21 Boulevard Pershing in the XVIII district. 

For the snipers of the M.O.I., Conrado Miret was Alonso. Georghe Vasilichi, a Rumanian member of the resistance, explains that “the organisers of M.O.I. bring together in combat groups all the immigrants under the command of Conrado Miret (under cover known as Alonso). Carlotta Gruia, another Rumanian member of the resistance who was deported to Ravensbruck concentration camp in July 1943, also talks about Alonso (alias of Conrado Miret Musté): 

            “Bocsor turned up at the apartment in boulevard of the Chapel with a stranger, and this apartment became the main “arsenal” of the O.S for the fighting groups of the M.O.I. The strangers told us he was called Alonso, and it wasn’t until much later that I discovered he was really called Conrado Miret Musté. He was a Spaniard who had fought in the Republican Army and according to the link between Bocsor and his superiors he had studied Chemistry…” 

            “Alonso had brought me a dozen of revolvers that some Spaniards in Paris had given him and he told e to give them to the combatants of the O.S.” 

Carlota Gruia describes the process of fabricating bombs and granades, and also the necessary chemical experience required by Conrado Miret and Bocsor to be able to fabricate explosive, and their plan to derail a train transporting German troops using the simplest possible method, although unheard of during these early times, removing the rails using a wrench… 

             In October or November 1941, they arrested comrade Alonso (Conrado Miret Musté). Immediately Bocsor came to see me in the street of the suburb of Saint Denis, to tell me that we had to evacuate quickly the apartment of the Chapel   Boulevard. He said that he was convinced Alonso was strong enough not to say anything, but it was more prudent not to go there for a few weeks… 

            We had nothing to fear. His leader had died a hero, tortured by the Gestapo.” 

Carlota Gruia doesn’t share Ouzoulias’s opinion about the date of Conrado Miret’s arrest. She and Boris Holba, who later will become leader of the groups F.T.P-M.O.I, give a vague date (October, November 1941, or the latter part of 1941). Albert Ouzoulias, affirms that he was arrested in February 1942: “In February, other comrades were arrested, among them, Conrado Miret Musté (Lucien), founder of the snipers groups of the M.O.I.” 

Conrado Miret was already dead, tortured and assassinated by the Gestapo, but the time his brothers in arms went to trial: 

            “On the 15th April 1942, the second trial of the “Youth Battalions” and the O.S. begins in the House of Chemistry. The Nazis said that it wasn’t a second trial but the continuation of the one that had taken place in the Chamber of Representatives.” 

            “The charges inculpate twenty-seven combatants, the twenty-eighth, Conrado Miret Musté, leader of the snipers of the M.O.I. is not present. He was tortured to death before the beginning of the trial. “

Original article can be found here:

http://www.geocities.ws/combatcommuniste/combat006.htm

Thank you for reading and if you have enjoyed it, please feel free to comment and share! And if you have any orther information I, and particularly my cousin,  would be very grateful.

Related articles

I have written a few posts about two of my mother’s uncles, Josep and Conrado Miret Musté, who fled Barcelona during the Civil War and went to France.
You’ll remember one of my cousins, Juan Molet, has been researching documentation regarding their lives (and deaths) but so far he had not been able to find confirmation that Conrado died.
Juan participated in a homage organised in honour of the Spaniards who fought with the French Resistance in Prayols last weekend. Here it was revealed that finally a document had been found confirming that he had died on the 27th February 1942. I attach the document that gives few details, other than there was a witness statement by one of the guardians of the prison (Rue la Santé 42) . It seems indeed he died under torture. Now, with this document, he finally has been given the status of having died for France.

Conrado%20%20-%20ce%20que%20porté%20sur%20registre%20maintenant[1]
I also attach copy of the picture they officials used to search for him. I find it quite haunting, but it might be the family thing.
Portrait à tirer MIRET

And here my cousin in front of the picture.

SAM_3118[1]

He mentions that he had a chance to talk to Ángel Álvarez, member of the Republican Army (Exercit Popular de la Republica), member of the Resistence in France, and the first Spaniard who managed to escape from the train taking him to Dachau. My cousin explains that his was a sad but illuminating story.
I’m hoping I’ll be able to meet my cousin when I visit Barcelona in September and I will bring back some more information and insights to share.
Thank you for reading and please share. And if you have any relevant stories or information, do let me know.

conrado%20et%20jose[1]

Hi all:

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll remember that I’ve posted on a few occasions about my mother’s uncles, Josep and Conrado Miret, and the research that one of my cousins, Juan Molet, is pursuing trying to find all the information possible about their fates and stories.

Both brothers were involved in politics (PSUC, Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya) in Catalonia (Barcelona) and Josep was in the government of the Generalitat at the time of the Spanish Civil War. When this was lost to Franco’s troops both brothers exiled to France where they continued their political task and got involved in the French resistance, reorganising the party abroad.

Josep was captured, sent to Mathausen and died in Florindorf.

Members of the French resistance group Maquis ...

Members of the French resistance group Maquis in La Tresorerie, 14 September 1944, Boulogne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conrado’s (the one on the right) fate is a bit more mysterious. With his brother he got involved in the French Resistance against the Nazis, and it seems that he had a role protecting some important members of the militia and also intimidating the traitors. (I know he was a rugby player, so I suspect he must have been quite a strong man). He was in charge of the OS-MOI (armed groups of various nationalities fighting with French resistance). Amongst other actions they were involved in destroying two German military convoys, setting fire to a German garage, and attacking the factory SOGA with Molotov cocktails.

He was arrested in February 1942 during a fight and he disappeared without a trace. He was not present at the trial of all his colleagues, and it is suspected that he died tortured at the hands of the Gestapo. My cousin received a letter from the French Ministry of Defence where they could only confirm that he had been arrested and imprisoned in Fresnes ‘for terrorist activity’ on the 27th February 1942. The prison had not death certificate or other documentation about him.

Thanks so much for reading and if you have any information or know of somebody who studies the field and might have access to sources we’d be very grateful.

conrado%20et%20jose[1]

Hi all:
You’ll remember that I recently wrote a post about my cousin (second cousin on my mother’s side), Juan Molet, who is doing research into the family history, in particular about two of our grandmother’s brothers, Josep and Conrado Miret. They were both involved in politics in Catalonia (in the era of the Second Republic, pre-Franco), and Josep was the equivalent to a minister in the government and belonged to the PSUC (Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya, a communist nationalist party, still in existence today).

Español: Bandera de España durante la Segunda ...

Español: Bandera de España durante la Segunda República (1931-1939) Diseño inicial de proporciones 3:5. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My cousin has been kind enough to share some of the information he has been gathering and I thought I’d offer you an update. Josep was involved in the French Resistance after he exiled himself to France during the Spanish Civil War, and he had a daughter with a woman in the French resistance. His daughter, Magdalena (is a name that runs in the family…My mother and one of her aunts are also called Magdalena) now lives in Australia. Unfortunately (but understandably in the circumstances) she has no information about her father.

Josep Miret Muste 1939

My cousin also sent me copies (translated to English) of testimonies from men who were with Josep during his period in France and later in the concentration camp. I enclose one of them, that I found very moving.

Memories of Miret – by André Arlas

Toward the end of 1941, the inter-regional head of the French Communist Party introduced me in Bordeaux to a ‘comrade’ so that I could in turn introduce him to the leader of the Spanish freedom fighters in Gironde and with whom I was in contact.

After having set a place and a time for that meeting, this ‘comrade’ whose name had not been given to me, left.  We had exchanged not more than 20 words and our meeting had lasted less than 5 minutes.  However, the brief meeting had made quite an impression on me and what had struck me about this comrade was his concise way in which he expressed himself, together with an air of authority and strong personality which inspired trust.

I had not realised then that I would get to know him better and in circumstances such that qualities, faults, greatness and smallness cannot be hidden.  I met this comrade for the second time in June 1943 and I found out his name:  Josep Miret known as ‘Emile’.  It was in the nazi extermination camp of Mauthausen.  A few days later, we left together for the Schwechat commando and from that time on I stayed with him until his death.  We had been assigned to the same kind of work and I was working opposite him at a welding bench.

During those long months of suffering I was able to appreciate his exceptional qualities.  He had the gif of attracting friendship and for those privileged enough to know him, he was a source of benevolent warmth.  He had a sunny disposition – how many songs had he sung for us – a great dynamism and vitality, he enabled us to share his enthusiasm and his unshakeable trust in the future.  Very modest, he never tried to put himself forward.  It took me months, following my questions, to discover what had been his important responsibilities in the Spanish Communist Party  in Catalonia, in the Spanish Republican Army, as a Minister , or in the resistance movement in France.  But most of all, he stood out with his unique personality, his calm courage and his very lively disposition.  One must add his instinctive kindness.  How precious have his support, solidarity, moral as well as material, each time he was able to demonstrate it towards his comrades, Spanish and French.  How precious as well have been his wise advices which have guided us.

Following the bombing of Schwechat, we were taken to Florisdorf.  During the air raids, we were sent to caves.  Josep Miret, lover of life, sun, ‘lover of freedom’ as he called himself, could not stand being underground like rats.  He therefore asked to be assigned to the fire fighting kommando.  Unfortunately, shortly before the camp was liberated, he was wounded and an SS shot him dead.

We were of course used to see death on a daily basis but his death had been considered by all who knew him as the most unjust.  He was a very dear friend, a beloved brother, the one we admired most and that we all mourned.

So, it seems normal, after so many years, that his memory has remained so vivid and I am certain that is the same for all who have had the privilege to know him.  Miret had always been very discreet about his private life.  He was telling me that now was not the time to be soft and wonder about the fate of our loved ones as we had no answer.  He felt that we should instead harden, and keep our strength to survive until the victory.

Thus, upon my return from the camp, when I heard about the terrible ordeal suffered by Miret, with infallible courage, my admiration for him grew even more. The death of Miret, who died so young, has certainly deprived d the Spanish Communist Party of a great leader.  By his demise, the Spanish people have lost one of their brightest sons and France lost a great friend.

For my part, I could never forget the exemplary man, in every way, that Josep Miret had been.

André Arlas

Deported resistant fighter to Mauthausen

Number 34482

I hope there might be more posts to come with further information. And as I mentioned before, if you have an expertise on the subject or know somebody who does, we’d be very grateful to hear form you.

Thank you for reading. And on Friday…I’m waiting for confirmation of a guest post, but if that doesn’t happen I have some ideas…And an announcement to make about a free giveaway!

PSUC Civil War poster

PSUC Civil War poster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello all:

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

Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia
Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

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