Wednesday, January 19

Josep Sala, the last survivor of the Francoist San Marcos concentration camp, dies

The survivor of the Francoist concentration camps Josep Sala has died at 101 years of age. Sala, belonging to the so-called Quinta del Biberón, passed through a concentration camp in Zaragoza and was later transferred to the Santa Ana and San Marcos camps, both in the city of León. He died this Monday, serenely and surrounded by his entire family.

San Marcos, the reopened parador that was a Francoist concentration camp

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Just five months ago, the survivor was able to witness the tribute that took place in San Marcos, which had been one of the hardest Francoist concentration camps, today converted into a luxurious inn. According to various investigations, at least between 15,000 and 20,000 people passed through there and, as reported by the journalist Carlos Hernández, author of the book Franco’s concentration camps, It was one of the “most lethal and terrible camps, one of the ones that collected the most prisoners and where the greatest brutality was recorded.” The same Hall has remembered the act of tribute with his daughter this Monday before passing away. And he added: “And I am the last.”

“Josep greatly appreciated the tribute that was paid to him five months ago in San Marcos. He was a man of principles and peace, with great humanity,” his daughter told The tiny plaque then installed in the parador that mentions that this was a concentration camp is still inaccessible to the public, enclosed in a room that only guests can enter upon request for a key at the reception.

Sala met in San Marcos the worst of the human condition, as he told in an interview in 2019 with “Death was haunting us, I felt it so close …”, he recalled, adding that he survived because “he barely spoke.” According to his account, he was shortly after being executed at the time he was imprisoned in the province of Lleida. A Francoist brigade saved his life when he was already gunned down, under the pretext that too many people had already died that day.

After being released, he traveled throughout Spain and North Africa, stationed in a fortification brigade of the national army. And finally, in 1942, he was able to return home. That same year he began to work in a pharmacy in the Raval, from where he did not move until the day of his retirement.