Rosa Serra Salmauri, a resident of Gironella (Berguedà), who died of natural causes in the Sant Josep de Puig-Reig Residence at the beginning of 2020, held on to the letters that her aunt Maria Salmauri Puig had received from her partner Ramon Fígols Costa for years. He was interned and died in the Bram camp (Aude department) in the summer of 1939.
Ramon Fígols and Maria Salmauri, together with his sister, Maria Fígols, were active members of the CNT (the National Confederation of Labour, a confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labour unions) in Berguedà and heavily involved in trade unions in the Alt Llobregat region in the 1930s. He was a sales representative for the Singer company, while the two women were weavers in El Llobregat. They were fairly active within the union, although more in coordination than leading the movement.
Ramon Fígols fought in the Columna Terra i Llibertat militia, surviving the war and crossing the border during the retreat. He was interned in the Bram concentration camp (Aude), in hut 101 in sector F, where he fell ill and died in the infirmary, possibly from pneumonia, in October 1939. His letters bear further testimony to the appalling conditions suffered by the Republican exiles in the French internment camps. Details of the stay in the infirmary, relationships with colleagues and the evolution of his illness, as well as the efforts Maria made to free Ramon and his colleagues from the camp, are some of the points of greater interest in the correspondence. Ramon died in the infirmary after he was denied a visitation permit and his attempts to obtain a leave of absence had failed.
Maria Salmauri and Maria Fígols moved into a house in Montclar, owned by Mme Anglantina Vaegsse, where they earned a living sewing until they returned to Catalonia and to Gironella in 1949. During their stay in Montclar, they also carried out coordination tasks for other republican exiles.
feature historical memory