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Funeral of last Catalan Ravensbrück concentration camp survivor held in Toulouse

Conxita Grangé was part of French Resistance and was praised for her efforts to “explain the brutality”

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04 September 2019 03:05 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The last Catalan survivor of the female Nazi concentration camp Ravensbrück, Conxita Grangé, was given a final farewell in Toulouse, France, where she died on August 27 at 94. 

Among the attendees of her funeral on Wednesday were the Catalan justice minister and the secretary of the Amical Ravensbrück association, and the event also included a tribute by French veteran soldiers. 

Her coffin was covered by a French flag and the Catalan government was one of the institutions providing a flower bouquet. 

Grangé, who was born in a village in the Catalan Pyrenees in 1925, was part of the French Resistance when she was captured by the Nazis in 1944. 

Speaking to the Catalan News Agency (ACN), Catalonia’s justice minister Ester Capella praised the Ravensbrück camp survivor for her efforts to “explain the brutality” of the Nazi era

Grangé, a life fighting fascism

Capella also mentioned Grangé’s “fight against fascism,” like Amical Ravensbrück’s secretary Teresa del Hoyo, and went into more detail about her life: “At 11, she was in France with her aunt and uncle, but returned to Catalonia to defend the Republic (during the Spanish Civil War).” 

“She is a person who from the age of 11 until her death was committed: firstly, with the war, secondly with the Resistance, and then at the Ravensbrück camp, where she took part in various sabotage attempts. When she left, she dedicated her life to preserving the memory, to sharing these events.”

Grangé spent much of her life relaying her experiences to schools and organizing trips to concentration camps, ensuring that the suffering of the deported women is remembered.

Walking for weeks after liberation

Grangé was born on August 6, 1925, into a family of eight siblings. Her mother became seriously ill, and so when she turned two she was taken to live with her uncle and aunt in France, where she would live until the Spanish Civil War, when the family returned to Catalonia to fight for the Republicans.

Following the Civil War, she headed back to France as her uncle fought for the Resistance against the Nazis. Grangé and Maria Castelló, her cousin, became involved with the Maquis, rural guerrilla bands of the French Resistance. 

Grangé, now at the age of 19, was arrested along with her aunt Elvira Ibarz and cousin Castelló in May 1944, in Peny. They were brought to Toulouse, where they were imprisoned and tortured.

In September of that same year, following a two-month journey from the South of France to the North with 700 other detainees, Grangé was admitted to the German concentration camp. The camp hosted several other Catalan detainees, such as renowned lifelong campaigner against fascism Neus Català, who died in April this year.

When the camp was liberated after a bombing by Allied forces, Grangé walked for weeks before she was able to find Allied troops, when she could finally return to France. She would go on to live in Toulouse, marrying a former Catalan soldier, Josep Ramos Bosch. 

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  • Funeral of Conxita Grangé with the French flag over the coffin. (Photo: Gemma Tubert)

  • Funeral of Conxita Grangé with the French flag over the coffin. (Photo: Gemma Tubert)

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