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.
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.
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.
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.
(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:
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.
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.
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).
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.