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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.

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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!

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