(Catalonia, Spain) Secret Route for Escaping Jews During WWll #general

Jan Meisels Allen

The Pyrenees Mountains (mountain chain separating France and Spain) in
Spain's Catalonia Lleida Province was a major escape route for European Jews
fleeing the Nazi's during World War ll. The major influx occurred
August-November 1942, with a second wave in the Spring of 1944. In the
beginning of WWll Franco permitted transit visas however, he later bowed to
Nazi pressure and ordered a halt to all visas and deported those crossing
illegally. Some who were expelled ended up in Auschwitz. However, in 1942
with a change of the Minister of the Exterior the expulsion policy was
relaxed. Once there however, men of fighting age were placed in a
concentration camp, children placed in foster care, families imprisoned.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (http://archives.jdc.org/)
helped with transit papers, money, reunification and more.

The Forward has an article in its current issue about the tens of thousands
of Jews who fled Nazi Europe to "neutral" Spain in order to immigrate first
to the United States and Canada and later to Israel ( then known as
Palestine). To read the article see: http://tinyurl.com/y8u2mcpc
Original url:

The Perseguits i Salvats is a 2013 initiative that retraces the freedom
route. There is a website in English, Catalonian and Spanish at:

Under the section "chased and free" a history of what was happening in
Europe and the fleeing Jews to Catalonia is retold.

A section does address data collection and records, which includes
transcriptions of interviews, photographs, a video and While with patience
the website opened all the documents but it took a while as I was trying to
have it translated on Google Chrome and the documents area is not
automatically translatable. Once can copy and paste into Google translate

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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