Spanish Concentration Camps 1939-45

Discussion in 'Others' started by Drew5233, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've been reading that some of the BEF that finaly made it into Spain via Vichy France and the Pyrenees were 'Captured' by the Spainish Authorities and ended up in Concentration Camps and treated rather badly for quite some time before finaly getting to Gibralter.

    Does anyone have any info on the camps etc?
     
    sandwichery likes this.
  2. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Drew I think you are refering to the Internment camp "Miranda".

    Brian
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Miranda rings a bell Brian but the author refers to concentration camp(s) that had Spainish political Prisoners in from the Franco war.

    I'll have a look through the book for some more details when I've woken up.

    Andy
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    'At this camp we were made to work, carrying stones etc, and those who fell behind were lashed with thorns and stick'

    Taken from a testimony of a British Officer at Miranda, Spain. FO371/24507

    Just looking for some more accounts.

    Andy
     
  5. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    The File I have is HS 6/968 which is an S.O.E. File.
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A bit more info from Dunkirk-The Men They Left Behind:

    Diet consisted of one cabbage to make soup for 50 men.

    Some were housed in prisons that were already crowded with political prisoners from the Spainish Civil War. One such prison had been constructed to house two hundred men but actually held over a thousand. At the prison Habilitada Palacio Misiones in Barcelona British prisoners shared the facilities with thousands of Spainish citizens who were oponents of Franco. Whilst held there British soldiers heard the executions of Spainish prisoners who seemed to be picked out at random.

    Further on....

    Eventually many of the interned soldiers were transferred to the concentration camps at Miranda del Ebro and Cervera. Covering eight acres and situated to the south of Bilbao, the camp at Miranda had become notorious following the defeat of the Republican forces of the Civil War.

    Often arriving with their hands chained together, the incoming prisoners had their heads shaved and were given filthy prison uniforms of rough cotton tunic and trousers.

    The book goes onto to decribe British soldiers being beaten and flogged for minor offences. Soldiers were forced to carry a stone filled sack as punishment. Inmates were forced to break stones on a daily basis to help with the construction of roads.

    There is a bit more info on accomodation and life in general that I would describe not to disimiliar to the Concentration Camps in Germany during the war.
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Just received this related part file from Brian and I'm sure he won't mind me posting it.

    Advice from a SOE File which suggests they were looking at reports of miss treatment of British personnel in 1942.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. moniqueusa

    moniqueusa Junior Member

    I've been reading that some of the BEF that finaly made it into Spain via Vichy France and the Pyrenees were 'Captured' by the Spainish Authorities and ended up in Concentration Camps and treated rather badly for quite some time before finaly getting to Gibralter.

    Does anyone have any info on the camps etc?
    My name is monique Chronley now an American my father was a French officer that fled the Vichy governement and was captured by the Spanish in late 1943 and sent to Miranda concentration camp. i know that he was tortured there and finally free by the American red cross. the French governement has finally admitted that Miranda was a concentration camp, not a prsionner camp.After a stay in Oran 'Algeria he joined the French forces in Britain and was part of the Division Leclerc.[French tank
    Division part of Paton's army]]
     
  9. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Can't find much on the internment of Frenchmen around that time, only comments about British soldiers in 1941 and anti-Nazi Germans in 1943
     

    Attached Files:

  10. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Hi Andy,

    Mike Arnott on the Facebook group 'Scotland and the Spanish Civil War' may be able to assist you. He was a fantastic source of information when I placed my great uncles letters from Spain on their FB page. There are many Spaniards on this FB account as well who may be able to help. - Maria
     
  11. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    There seems to be very little in English about the Miranda camp, perhaps because most of the long-term British internees were NCOs and other ranks, who would have been less likely to write about their experiences. The Spanish authorities seem to have grudgingly allowed officers, SOE operatives etc to be quietly released into the care of the British Embassy. There also appears to have been a general release of interned Allied servicemen in mid-1943.

    However, I have come up with some French-language sources which Monique might find of interest:

    Miranda de Ebro - Wikipédia

    Camp de concentration Miranda de Ebro (Espagne) - Wikipédia (Identical to an article on Spanish Wikipedia)

    LES EVADES DE MIRANDA - HALIFAX GROUPES LOURDS FRANCAIS SQUADRONS 346 et 347 R.A.F

    Finally, a Spanish page, which features pictures from the Belgian CEGES/SOMA archive:

    TODOS LOS ROSTROS: Extraordinarias imágenes del Campo de Concentración de Miranda de Ebro
     
  12. starr

    starr Junior Member

    I also have a parent that wound up in a Spanish interment camp of some kind after leaving Paris during the Nazi invasion in 1940 (he was on his way to Portugal). Where is the best place to start gathering research? This board is the only place I have found with any mention of the subject.
    Thank you in advance.
     
  13. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    I also have a parent that wound up in a Spanish interment camp of some kind after leaving Paris during the Nazi invasion in 1940 (he was on his way to Portugal). Where is the best place to start gathering research? This board is the only place I have found with any mention of the subject.
    Thank you in advance.
    Big question! Spanish Wikipedia suggests that there were no fewer than 180 camps at various times. Anexo:Campos de concentración franquistas - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

    Any records of the camps are likely in Spain and not digitised, but if you can post what you know maybe someone can come up with something B)
     
  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Miranda de Ebro was one of Franco's concentration camps,it was intended to hold captured Republicans prisoners and dissidents.Regarding the British, any escapee over the Pyrenees, not able to prove beyond doubt that they was of the British Crown was incarcerated in this large camp.Even as it was British subjects were interned here and it took overtures from British authorities to get escapees released into British custody.There was a network set up by members of the British Embassy to pick up these escapees on release from Miranda and spirit them across the border at La Linea into Gib.

    A further point about those Republican Spaniards held at Miranda.Those escaping from here and from Franco's rule could only find salvation in France and they chose to escape to France rather than stay and risk their lives in Spain.Consequently these Spaniards joined the Maquis and continued their fight against who they regarded as the common enemy.

    The South West France Maquis memorials to their fallen include the category "Inconnu"most probably Spanish Republicans whose names were not important at the time but their participation in the struggle was.
     
  15. starr

    starr Junior Member

    Thank you Vitesse and Harry Ree for your responses!

    My father rarely spoke of his experience, and I learned what little I know from his ramblings when he was older and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. When he was in crisis his memories of the camp always seemed to surface. He was merely a Portuguese civilian, not directly involved in WWII or Spanish Civil War. He was in Paris at the time of the Nazi invasion and left alone on a bicycle to return to Portugal, was captured somewhere around the border and interred in a Spanish camp. The conditions he described included having only potato peels and an occasional captured rabbit to eat, and that there were daily executions of other prisoners. A perhaps irrelevant detail is that he worked at making rings for the camp officers. Don't know how long he was detained or anything about his release.
     
  16. starr

    starr Junior Member

    Addendum to my previous post : Upon further thought, I remember hearing that Spanish Republicans captured in Portugal were exchanged for Portuguese camp prisoners, which brought about his release.
     
  17. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Mike at the FB site put this link forward. Some good pictures but bulk of articles in Spanish again. THE JAILY NEWS
     
  18. Jan7

    Jan7 Senior Member

    I've been reading that some of the BEF that finaly made it into Spain via Vichy France and the Pyrenees were 'Captured' by the Spainish Authorities and ended up in Concentration Camps and treated rather badly for quite some time before finaly getting to Gibralter.

    Does anyone have any info on the camps etc?

    Drew I think you are refering to the Internment camp "Miranda".

    Brian

    About this camp, in Spanish:
    http://www.ahistcon.org/docs/ayer/ayer57/57-7.pdf
    http://www.ahistcon.org/docs/ayer/ayer57/57-8.pdf



    Jan.
     
  19. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Hi Drew, I was looking through the list of recent collections added to the Ancestry website and there's a new collection there called Miranda de Ebro Prisoners 1940-1947. Records were added to Ancestry 19/6/13.
     
  20. Jennykilverts

    Jennykilverts New Member

    My father was in Miranda as well. He was originally in the Belgian Air Force, then worked his way down through France. He crossed the Pyrenees, but was abandoned by his guide, and was finally captured and interned in Miranda. He rarely spoke about his time there, although what he did say was pretty horrific, and all we know has been pieced together from some random conversations I remember. He was finally released after he and a group of other inmates went on hunger strike and the Red Cross became involved. He subsequently came to England and joined the SOE.
    Starr, you refer to your father making rings- my dad had one made in Miranda and we still have it. Maybe one your father made!! I have a photo of it but no idea how to put it on here. Any ideas?

    I would love to know more about my dad's activities during the war.
     

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