Neus Català

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Neus Català
Neus Catala 7491 resize.jpg
Català in October 2015
Born
Neus Català i Pallejà

(1915-10-06)6 October 1915
Died13 April 2019(2019-04-13) (aged 103)
Els Guiamets, Catalonia, Spain
Occupation
  • Resistance fighter
  • political activist
Known forOnly Catalan survivor of Ravensbrück concentration camp

Neus Català i Pallejà (6 October 1915 – 13 April 2019)[1] was a member of the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (Catalan: Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya, PSUC) during the Spanish Civil War and was the only Catalan survivor of the concentration camp of Ravensbrück.

Biography[edit]

Neus Català was born on 6 October 1915 in Els Guiamets, Tarragona, Catalonia.[2] However, her godmother officially registered her birth on 15 June that year, because of the disappearance of the documentation of the Municipality of Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War.[citation needed] Català moved to Barcelona at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War and obtained her nursing degree.[3]

In 1939, escaping the Francoist forces, she crossed the French border, taking with her 182 orphaned children[2] of the colony Las Acacias from Premià de Dalt, better known as the Children of Negrin,[citation needed] which she later repatriated or arranged to be adopted.[2] While in exile in France, she collaborated with her husband, the Occitan, Albert Roger,[4] in the activities of the French Resistance, centralizing (at her home) the reception and transmission of messages, documents, weapons, and sheltering political refugees.[citation needed] She was reported to the national socialist authorities by a pharmacist of Sarlat. She and her husband were later arrested by the Nazis in 1943.[citation needed] Català was imprisoned and tortured in Limoges, and in 1944 she was deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she was forced to work in the armaments industry. There, she was part of the "Lazy Commandos" (Spanish: Comando de las gandulas),[citation needed] a group of women who sabotaged the manufacture of weapons in Holleischen, a factory which depended on the concentration camp of Flossenburg.[5][citation needed] Thanks to sabotage, the facility produced about 10 million faulty bullets and marred numerous weapons making machines.[6] After her release, she returned to France where she married a Spanish exile, Félix Sancho.[3]

Català remained in France continuing her clandestine struggle against Francoist Spain.[3][4] She lived in Sarcelles, near the city of Paris, and chaired the Association of Victims of Ravensbrück.[4] In 1978, she returned to Catalonia to live in Rubí, Barcelona.[3]

She continued her membership in the Communist Party of Catalonia (PCC), United and Alternative Left (EUiA), and the Pere Ardiaca Foundation, of which she was a member of honor at the time of her death.[citation needed]

With her second husband Sancho, had two children Margarita and Lluís.[3] She died on 13 April 2019, at the age of 103.[7]

Recognition[edit]

Stolperstein for Neus Català in Els Guiamets

The Generalitat of Catalonia awarded her the Cross of St. George in 2005, and later she was chosen Catalan Person of the Year in 2006 for her defense of the memory of the more than 92,000 women who died in Ravensbrück. In 2006 she also received the Award for Alternative granted by the United and Alternative Left. On 29 October 2014, at the age of 99, the Barcelona City Council awarded Català the Gold Medal of Civic Merit, in recognition for her work to preserve historical memory, the fight against fascism, and the defense of women. In 2015, she received the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia, for her struggle for justice and democratic freedom, the memory of those deported to Nazi death camps, and the defense of human rights.[8]

In 2019, by a vote of the Council of Paris in February of the same year, the City of Paris awarded her the 'Grand Vermeil Medal', the highest distinction of the French capital.[citation needed]

Neus Català's Year[edit]

Catalonia dedicated 2015 to the memory of Català, who, about one hundred years old, was the last living person in Spain who survived Ravensbrück. This commemoration paid tribute, by extension, to all those who suffered the consequences of war, the Third Reich, and internment in prison camps and death camps. During the presentation, the Minister of Welfare and Family said, "She is a strong and caring woman, an antifascist fighter, a survivor of the Nazi death camps, and the reference and testimony for all the women who fought in the Spanish Civil War and World War II."[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b c Women War & Peace: Women's Stories of WWII from Ireland, Spain, Germany, and Poland. Instituto de Formación y Estudios Sociales. Smashing Times Theatre Company. November 2016. ISBN 978-0-9957376-0-0. Retrieved 15 April 2019 – via Epageflip.net.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e Eaude, Michael (19 April 2019). "Neus Català obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Creus, Jordi (2007). Dones contra Franco. Barcelona: Ara Llibres.
  5. ^ ACN, Falset (14 June 2015).
  6. ^ «Neus Català».
  7. ^ Colell, Elisenda (13 April 2019). "Muere a los 103 años Neus Català, superviviente de los campos de exterminio nazi". elperiodico. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  8. ^ March, Oriol.
  9. ^ Catalunya dedica el 2015 a Neus Català, l'ùltima supervivent de Ravensbrück.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]