Yesterday, Roger Torrent, the speaker of the Catalan parliament was guest of honor at the Day of Exile and Deportation in Prats-de-Mollo, a village in Catalunya Nord—i.e., Northern Catalonia, under French administration.
Here is a link to the page on L’Independent, the newspaper of Catalunya Nord with videos and an interview with Roger Torrent.
Below is a rough translation of the main story. The full interview with Roger Torrent can be found on the L’Independent page.
Prats-de-Mollo se souvient des Républicains espagnols en fuite en présence du président du parlement catalan
Journée de l’exil. La Retirada a jamais gravée dans le marbre en Vallespir.
Prats-de-Mollo recalls Spanish Republicans on the run in the presence of the Catalan parliament speaker
Day of exile. The Retirada has never engraved in marble in Vallespir.
Yellow ribbons everywhere. On the balustrades of the bridges, in the trees, on the back of the jackets. This Sunday for the Day of Exile and Deportation Prats-de-Mollo, which hosted this year’s departmental event, was in tune with southern Catalonia. It claims by this symbolic color the freedom of political prisoners.
Among the crowd were flags of the Spanish Republic, the one that lived between 1931 and 1939. “The one I brandished today,” says a refugee’s son, “is the one my father carried when he was here in 1939. When my family arrived here it was raining, it was cold, they came on foot by the Col d’Ares. For me it is very moving to be present with all these descendants of refugees. It is necessary that the memory continues and that one never forgets.”
The procession was led jointly by Claude Ferrer, the mayor of the municipality, and Roger Torrent, the elected president of the Parliament of Catalonia. There were elected representatives of the Catalan Parliament, mayors of Vallespir, a departmental councilor, institutional Catalan and many supporters . At the village cemetery a plaque was then unveiled, funded by the Generalitat (of Catalonia), where were engraved the names of the 36 people, men, women, and children, who died here at the time of the Retirada, the exile of Spanish Republican refugees at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939.
Floreal, particularly moved, explained: “I am a child of exile, I have never known my country. I suffered physically during the Retirada, but this suffering I will undergo it all the life.”
They were 100,000 refugees to go through Prats-de-Mollo, housed in schools, churchs, and homes. All did not return to the camps of Rivesaltes, Argelès or Barcarès. 36 are forever buried in the commune.
Roger Torrent, President of the Catalan Parliament: “Our institutions are muzzled by Article 155”
Roger Torrent, president del Parlament de Catalunya, signant el llibre d’honor de l’Ajuntament de Prats de Molló en presència del batlle Claude Ferrer. Vallespir. Catalunya Nord. Països Catalans.
Foto Nicolas Garcia Benaigues