“Here lived president Lluís Companys Jover, born 1882, exiled 1939, arrested 1940 in France, shot 15 October 1940 in Barcelona.” This is the inscription that reads on a cobblestone dedicated to president Companys, arrested by the Nazi Gestapo and shot by the Franco regime in the castle of Montjuïc. It is a small square memorial made of brass, belonging to a project originated in Germany in 1992 (Stolpersteine) to pay tribute to the victims of Nazi persecution.
The Stolperstein to remember Lluís Companys was an initiative of the Cologne-Barcelona Sister Cities Association and has been waiting for three years in an office for permission from Barcelona’s City Council to install it. As the cobblestones are installed on public pavement, it can only be placed if the city council deems it appropriate, as has been the case in more than 200 municipalities throughout Catalonia. For some reason, however, Barcelona is blocking the Companys memorial and now ousted president Quim Torra has addressed the mayor of Barcelona via Twitter asking her to find a solution before 15 October.
Benvolguda Alcaldessa de Barcelona, aquesta llamborda Stolpersteine dedicada al president Companys ha de col·locar-se a l’entrada del Palau de la Generalitat. Us demano que us hi comprometeu abans del proper 15 d’octubre. No hi ha memòria històrica sense reparació. https://t.co/uaFaQN1XmV
— Quim Torra i Pla (@QuimTorraiPla) October 3, 2020
Although the Companys Stolperstein got the green light at Barcelona’s City Council in April 2018, discussions on whether it should be placed in front of his house or before the Catalan Government headquarters seem to delay its final goal endlessly.
101 new Stolpersteine
In fact, throughout autumn, 101 such new plaques will be placed across Catalonia, being added to the 184 already existing. They honor the memory of Catalans who were sent to concentration camps. There are more than 75.000 Stolpersteine all around the world.
In September, an institutional act in Vilafranca del Penedès, south from Barcelona, paid homage to Josep Cerrillo, who was taken from his home in 1941 and sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp. Although he survived, over 1,000 Catalans died in such camps. Not only Jewish people were persecuted in such camps. In Catalonia, Republicans and those who fought against fascism were also persecuted in similar ways.