A watch and a ring seized by the Nazis from a resistance fighter who died in a concentration camp have been returned to his family.
Josep Verges was a Catalan resistance fighter who was deported to the Neuengamme concentration camp in Hamburg, in northern Germany, where he died in 1945, and his watch and ring were set to be returned to his descendants on Saturday, 29th January.
The Government of Catalonia in north-eastern Spain said in a statement obtained by Newsflash that Verges was born on 22nd April 1918 in the municipality of Sales de Llierca, in the province of Girona.
He reportedly worked “for the French Resistance as a liaison and helped many members” to cross the border between Spain and France.
He also collected military intelligence from the Germans who were in the French Zone controlled by the Vichy government led by Philippe Petain (1856-1951) after the Nazis split the country in two, with the north controlled by the Nazis directly, while the south of the country was under the control of French forces collaborating with the Germans.
In 1944, the Nazis arrested him and transferred him to the Compiegne-Royallieu prison before he was later taken to the Neuengamme concentration camp, where he died in 1945.
The Verges family was located at the end of 2020, thanks to an investigation into those deported from Girona to France. Verges’ objects were part of the MUME’s ‘#StolenMemory’ exhibition, an itinerant exhibition dedicated to showing the personal objects recovered from prisoners in various Nazi concentration camps.
The objects are being kept in the Arolsen Archives, which preserves nearly 3,000 belongings and organises exhibitions in different European cities. The Arolsen Archives, also known as the International Center on Nazi Persecution, formerly the International Tracing Service (ITS), is an internationally governed centre for documentation, information and research on Nazi persecution, forced labour and the Holocaust.
MUME, the Museu Memorial de l’Exili (Exile Memorial Museum), in the municipality of La Jonquera, in Girona, is dedicated to the history and memory of the many people who had to flee into exile as a result of the Civil War in Spain.
The Ministry of Justice, through the MUME, was set to return a watch and a ring belonging to the resistance fighter to his descendants on Saturday, 29th January. There have been no details regarding the identities of his descendants.
The Neuengamme concentration camp was headquartered in Hamburg, where the main camp was located, but there were more than 85 satellite camps that were part of the Neuengamme network of camps.
The Neuengamme concentration camps held over 100,000 prisoners during the course of their operation, with a death toll estimated at over 42,000 people.
After the Allies defeated the Nazis in 1945, the British Army used the concentration camp as an internment camp for high-ranking members of the SS and other top Nazis.