Last Spanish Survivor Of Mauthausen Camp Dies Aged 101

Story By: Pol F, Sub-Editor: Joe Golder, Agency: Newsflash

The last Spanish survivor from the Nazi concentration camps has died aged 101and was honoured by officials for his fight against a former Spanish dictator.

Juan Romer was the last surviving member of a group of about 9,300 Spanish people who fought against the former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s reign and were later placed inside Nazi concentration camps.

Romero was injured in a battle and fled to France after recovering from his injury in 1939. There, he joined the French Foreign Legion to fight off the Nazis but was captured in 1941.

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He was placed in the Mauthausen camp which was located in the town with the same name in Upper Austria.

He remained there for three years before he was finally set free and built a life for himself in French commune of Ay-Champagne where he married in 1947, had four children and worked for a popular winehouse that produced the popular sparkling white wine associated with the region.

The 101-year-old Juan Romero’s death was announced by the Spanish Vice President Carmen Calvo yesterday (Sunday).

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Calvo said she hopes Romero can “rest in peace, the same he always fought for” adding that she had “had the immense honour” or recognizing him on behalf of the Spanish government as an “exiled compatriot in France” after going through Nazi concentration camps.

Calvo visited Romero in France in mid-August where she paid him tribute for his continued fight against fascism adding that they will “always be in debt to the Spanish antifascists”.

During the event, Romero recounted a story of one person he saw heading off to be gassed, saying: “She smiled at me, the poor thing, she did not know where she was going.

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“I wanted to hug and kiss her but I knew that if I did I was going to the gas chamber with her. That memory has followed me my entire life.”

Officials with the government’s Historical Memory department said of the almost 10,000 Spaniards that ended up in camps, 4,435 died in Mauthausen.

There have been no reports on Romero’s cause of death.

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