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Photo confiscated by Nazi prison guards returned to Spanish daughter, 80 years later

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Photo confiscated by Nazi prison guards returned to Spanish daughter, 80 years later
The photo of Paquita Jouda confiscated by Nazi prison guards. Image: collections.arolsen-archives.org
11:06 CEST+02:00
The image shows the smiling face of a young girl proudly posing for the camera in her Sunday best with a backdrop of traditional Spanish scarves in a formal garden.

It was taken nearly eighty years ago as a souvenir for her father, Francisco González Cuadrado, who was working away in the mines in Algeria.

The story behind the photo came to light this week, when it was returned to the subject, who is now an 83 year-old Spanish grandmother, living just over the border in France.

Paquita Jourdá, née González was tracked down by a historian working on the “Stolen Memories” project, which works to collect stories and information on those interred and killed in the Nazi death camps during World War Two. A

Historian Antonio Muñoz, had discovered a file. stored at the Arolson Archives, on one of the few Spanish prisoners to survive both Mauthausen and Dachau camps, and in the file was the photo confiscated by prison guards.

Muñoz decided to try and trace the girl and this month travelled to her home to meet her and return the photograph, accompanied by a photographer and reporter from Spanish news agency Efe. 

He found Paquita in the village of Font-Romeu, just over the border on the French side of the Pyrenees, where she has lived since she was ten, having been reunited with her parents at the end of World War Two.

The family had been split apart during the Spanish Civil war when her father had been a driver for Republican forces, later trying to make a living in the mines in Algeria.

But with the outbreak of World War Two, he had been moved to France and put to work on the Maginot line, where in 1940 he was captured and taken to a prison camp before being transferred to the notorious Mauthausen and then later to Dachau.

 

He was freed in 1945 weighing a mere 40kg and found his way to the village of Font-Romeu where he was reunited with his wife who fled Franco's Spain at the end of the Civil War in 1939.

Meanwhile, Paquita had been brought up by her grandparents and an uncle in the town of Cabrianes, near Barcelona.

She was smuggled out of Spain and reunited with her parents when she was ten years old but said she had always felt abandoned by her parents.

She told reporters that having the photograph returned to her and knowing that it was one of the few possessions her father had held onto made her “realised how much he must have loved me”.

Robin Townsend, the photographer for Spanish press agency Efe was sent to cover the story and informed Paquita that his own father had been with the US army's 14th Division force which liberated Dachau.

 

 

 
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