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Spain gets first memorial stones to Nazi victims

Jessica Jones · 10 Apr 2015, 17:08

Published: 10 Apr 2015 17:08 GMT+02:00

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The five stones were unveiled on Thursday afternoon in memory of five neighbours who died in Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp near the villages of Mauthausen and Gusen in Austria. 

The town, which has a population of around 6,000, is the first in Spain to install the stolpersteine (stumbling stones), a brass cobblestone-sized memorial to victims of Nazism who were deported to concentration camps during the Second World War.  

Set into the pavement in front of buildings where Nazi victims once lived or worked, the 10cm by 10cm stones include their details; names, date of birth and their place of death, as a way to commemorate their lives.

The stolpersteine memorials were created by German artist Gunter Demnig and can now be found in over 1,000 towns and cities in countries around Europe, making them the largest Holocaust memorial in the world.

The five stones unveiled in Navás on Thursday are Spain’s first.

Four have been placed in the square in front of Navás’ town hall in memory of Ramon Sala Besa, who was mayor of the town during the Spanish Civil War, and three others; Antoni Barberà Pla, Esteve Flotats Caus, Jaume Obradors Grífol.

A fifth stone has been placed in the area of Palà de Torroella de Navàs in memory of Josep Soler Torrens. 

Story continues below…

The ceremony was attended by the artist, Gunter Demnig, as well as family members of the victims.  

Large groups of Spanish Republicans were transferred to Mauthausen during the Second World War, most of them former Republican soldiers who had fled to France after the victory of General Francisco Franco. They were then captured by German forces after the French defeat in 1940 or handed over by the Vichy authorities. 

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Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

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