Other expeditions

To start this section of other expeditions we transcribe some paragraphs from the book “Camino de Liberation” , second edition.

When Antoni Dalmases recalls the experiences of his time in Andorra in November 1937, he writes the following:

“Some 30,000 men crossed the Pyrenees in small groups led by smugglers who, knowledgeable about the high mountains, guided excited and desperate young people along the most difficult paths, at night, with infinite precautions, driven by an absolute determination to reach the border.

The organization of these escapes was based on the immense solidarity that was created in the town. It was developed in several steps that began with the detection of those who thought to flee, to put them in contact with links that accompanied them from Barcelona to various towns in the area where the expeditions were concentrated. It was ensured that the towns were the closest to the border, but they had to move away from it as the difficulties to cross it increased.

At the time of my history, the links used to be small and the main concentration area was towards Solsona, Pons, Balaguer, Berga, etc.; that is, about 70 Km. south of the French border. These towns were reached by bus or truck, provided with more or less falsified documentation, and from them they left on foot through the mountains, taking refuge in houses isolated by the forest, where the fugitives stayed for a few days or weeks. It was necessary to change places frequently. The fugitives were hiding in the silos, in the mills, in the stables, or in neighboring huts and corrals – sometimes you had to pretend you were working as a bracero – until a suitable group was gathered.

Several local guides or the rural women of the region, who acted selflessly and with great selflessness, collected the fugitives and grouped them together until they were gathered at certain points in the mountain, where they handed them over to the professional guides, who then took the I command the expeditions to drive them with firm discipline to Andorra or France.

I don’t know how many perished or failed in this enterprise: some expeditions fell completely, others lost some men who were left behind on the way or in the shelters, others did not reach the assembly areas. . . This escape was then a great and serious adventure, which included very great risks and penalties and achieving it could only be the result of an absolute decision, taken with full responsibility and maintained tenaciously and without hesitation.” (2)

We attach some very general information about the atmosphere of the Andorran border during these years.

In 1936 there were about 4,000 people in Andorra. In 1939, after the war, there were 8,000. It is also estimated that 8,000 people passed there in the direction of national Spain or France.

In the first year of the Spanish war, an average of 80 refugees arrived in Andorra every day. The average number of people who passed through Andorra during the 3 years of the war was around 200 people per month.

On July 23, 1936, the anarchists of the CNT – FAI arrived in La Seu d’Urgell to control the Andorran border. Puigcerdà and its border with France was also controlled by the anarchists. Later the International Brigades also controlled the border. In total more than 600 carabinieri carry out a constant surveillance that is difficult to avoid. The carabinieri did what they wanted, entering and leaving Andorra as they pleased. They were the masters of the borders. From July 19, 1937, Colonel Baulard totally prohibited the carabinieri from passing through Andorra. Meanwhile, the number of fugitives increased extraordinarily.

On October 11, 1937, at 6.30 in the afternoon, around 380 people passed by and were chased into Andorran territory, some of them being taken. The General Council complained to the anarchists at Headquarters. Many other expeditions were pursued in Andorran territory. Andorran border violations were continuous.

When Franco’s troops occupied Lleida, in March 1938, many republicans also went to Andorra. There are official documents, information from April 2, 1938, which say that in Andorra there are 1,200 men of military age who have left Red Spain. Some of these will go to Spain National.

From the end of April 1938, after the Franco offensive, the desperate situation of Republican Spain gave rise to an increase in deserters and fugitives. Hundreds passed by daily.

After the end of the Spanish Civil War and during the 2nd World War, currency trading began in Andorra: gold, jewels and objects of artistic value, and also many people from Europe passed to Spain, more than 3,000 people, through the Pyrenees.

(1) Extensive information can be obtained from the books: “Andorra during the Spanish Civil War”, by Amparo Soriano, published by the General Council of the Principality of Andorra, 2006; and Spies, contrabando, maquis y evasión”, by Ferran Sánchez Agustí. Editorial Milenio, 2003.

Some escape expeditions
Any geographical point of contact between Catalonia and Andorra was a suitable place for people to pass. The most difficult places to access were usually sought. We will only refer to the border crossing in the area of ​​Argolell, Arduix and Mas d’Alins, where, according to the information we have, around 2,000 people could have passed.

Below we cite in chronological order some expeditions that we have been able to learn about.

A.- Expedition of José Mª Torrabadella. July 1937.
José María Torrabadella, born in Barcelona on 1.11.1917. On July 18, 1936, he was therefore 18 years old and studying medicine. He lives in Carrer de Rosselló corner Rbla. of Catalonia.

When he is called to the ranks by the republican army, he hides in Barcelona in some of his family’s warehouses located in Carrer del Parc, no. 5. He stays there for about 5 months. He then moves to a house in Sant Marçal, in Montseny, where he will stay for a few days. Seeing that all this is not at all safe, his family decides to go to Andorra with some clandestine expedition.

In the morning one day in mid-June 1937 he takes the bus that leaves the Pça. from Tetuan and goes to Seu d’Urgell.

Already on the bus, when he arrives in the town of Tiurana, a man approaches him, asks him his name and tells him to get off with him and accompany him to his home. That’s how he does it. After sleeping at home, they leave early in the morning and head to Pallerols, in the Barony of Rialb.

In Pallerols they depend on Ca l’Empordanès and live in cabins in the forest. These cabins were very basic: some tree trunks and branches above, without any comfort. All very provisional. 5 or 6 people lived in each cabin. He’s been here for about 3 weeks.

At the end of July 1937, an expedition of 130 to 140 men left for Andorra. They all come from the Empordanès, which shows that all these people lived on the edge, in different cabins in the woods. They are led by several guides.

The march will last 5 nights. Every night they walked about 12 hours. The last march ended in Sant Joan Fumat, where the expedition dispersed, with a general disbandment due to the danger that existed at a certain moment. Some were able to pass to Andorra and others were scattered in the forests near Sant Joan. Among the latter was a group of 12 people who went back until they reached the Village of Castellbò.

Towards nightfall they went to ask for asylum in a farmer’s house on the outskirts of the town. They were there for almost 3 months. They were well taken care of when it came to eating. However, life was very uncomfortable because they were not allowed to move at all from a very small loft that was in the hayloft of the house.

Once the price of the new expedition was agreed, with the respective relatives of the fugitives, and after waiting several days for the guide to come, the second expedition was organized which left Castellbò on the night of November 8, 1937.
This march ended badly, in the morning of November 10, 1937. When they were almost at the Andorran border, above the village of Arduix, the carabinieri caught some of the fugitives. They arrived at Arduix from Ars and Asnurri. The guide on the last stage was a very young boy, about 14 years old. And it happened that when they were near Arduix, the border militiamen heard a noise and started shooting at night without a specific target. This caused some to be afraid, and while a few ran past the rocks above Arduix, a few stood still because of fear. As it was night there was very little to see and they didn’t know where they were going, so they were stuck waiting for day to come. When the new day dawned they were easily caught.

B.- Expedition of Francesc Molleví Serra, from Cal Mateu, from Peramola. July 1937. (2)
The Diary of Francesc Molleví Serra begins like this: “We are working with my brother Pablo in the dairy of my parents, and in the company of my fiancée Carme, together with her brothers and the nanny; I am in the dairy with my brother Pablo, it was 12 noon and my brother Mateo came from Peramola and told us that we had to leave immediately for Peramola because they would come to pick us up to take us to war.”

They leave Barcelona at the end of June 1937, the same day that their older brother, Mateu, warns them. They arrive in Peramola, in Cal Mateu, at 11 at night. They spend about 15 days there until on the 9th of July at night they leave their house and hide in the nearby woods, since on the 10th they were called to the ranks. Finally, at one o’clock in the morning on July 14, 1937, in fact the morning of the 15th, they set off for Andorra, where they will arrive at dawn on the 19th .

This group is made up of the twin brothers, Francesc and Pau Molleví Serra, their cousin Josep Serra Molleví and other young people from Peramola.

Through this Diary it is not possible to clearly see where they passed since it does not mention any names. He mentions “Mount Daras” only once, which must be Mount Ares. From the description of the places they pass through we deduce that from Peramola they surely went up the Aubenç. He says that they arrive at a house where they rest: it could be Casa d’Aubenç or further away in Fenollet. Then they go up to Santa Fe and Ares. From this point on, we do not know exactly where they arrived in Andorra.

(2) Newspaper “Pro Deo et Patria” (year 1937), by Antoni Dalmases

C.-Expedition of Isona. October 1937. (3)
On 18.10.37, at night, 11 boys from the Region leave from Isona. Among them are, Isidre Gabriel i Riba, from Cal Barber, and Pere Benet i Ponsich, from Cal Pere Xullador strong>.

They leave Isona. They pass through Biscarri and arrive at Pallerols de Rialb at night. They go to sleep on the ground under some trees.

The following day, in Pallerols, they find two priests from their territory: they are Mn. Martí, vicar of Isona and Mn. Ramon, from Conques. There are 5 chaplains hidden in a cabin in the woods of Pallerols. They accompany them to Ca l’Empordanès. Here they meet with other expeditioners, reaching about 53.

The next day he accompanies them to the exit Mn. Joan Porta Perucho, priest of Pallerols, who was working as a policeman in Ca l’Empordanès.

These are days of heavy rain (4). When they reach the border, they turn back because there is a lot of danger: everything is very guarded. They see some guides who turn back saying that it is impossible to pass.

They retreat to Taús, where they sleep in a cave. The following day they retreat to Fenollet, where they stay another day. From here they push forward again and arrive in Andorra on 29.10.37. In total they used 12 days, which can be done in 4 or 5. They each paid 1,500,- pts.

They arrive in Andorra via Bexissarri: it was raining and snowing. They do not know exactly where they passed, but it seems that they followed the path of Boumort, Rasos de Taüs, Port del Cantó, Sant Joan de l’Erm, Bosc de Santa Magdalena, Cortals de Civís, Coll de Laquell, Bexissarri and Sant Julian of Lòria.

In Sant Julià they sleep at the Hotel Pol. The next day they go up to Escaldes and live in Cal Serra, past the Engordany bridge. This hotel is no longer there.

In Escaldes they meet one from the town of Isona: Salvador Ubach, who ran the Casino d’Escaldes, which is next to the Hotel Valira. He gives them work for about 10 days: cleaning the streets of the remains of the floods that occurred in the past days.

Finished these works both go to France. Isidre had relatives and he stays with them. Peter stays in France where he can.

After the war they return to Spain and are taken to concentration camps and enlisted in the army for 5 years.

D.- Expedition of Antoni Dalmases. November 12, 1937. (5)
Antoni de Dalmases Esteva, is one of the expeditioners who joined on November 28 the expedition that came from Pallerols and which we expand on in chapter II. We put it aside because initially they constituted different expeditions that came together on the road that goes from Juncàs to Ribalera.

The first contact is in Plaça d’Urquinaona in Barcelona. He tries to connect with expeditions that cross the border through Figueres and another through Cervera, but without success. Finally, on November 12, 1937, he left by train for Manresa, where he arrived around 12 noon. At 7 in the afternoon they leave by car for Solsona where they arrive at 9 at night.

They immediately leave Solsona on foot towards a house near Oliana. It takes 8 hours. He is in this house until November 22, when he leaves for Oliana, more than 2 hours away. They are staying at a hotel, perhaps the Hotel Victor.

They leave Oliana at 4 in the morning on the 23rd. There are a total of 1 local guide and 3 fugitives. From the description he gives of the terrain, they probably go up towards Castell·llebre, probably reach Juncàs and continue towards an “espluga” where they arrive at 7 am on the 24th. Here they spend the whole day waiting for the local guide that comes at night He takes them to sleep in a hayloft of an abandoned house (probably Santpou). As the main guide will not arrive for another 4 days, they go back down to the road, near Oliana, and settle in a hotel for 3 days, possibly La Penella de Baix. They are locked in a room for 3 days, until at 3 am on the 28th of November they leave the hotel to go back up the road to Juncàs. “Good weather, moon, stars, forest, river and four men marching without noise, in a single file.” (5)

They arrive at Juncàs and put them in the corral: “. . . we get to the house and we get into the corral with straw already laid out, where we tend to rest. We have to wait here for the bulk of the expedition to pass, but before one hour two men come to look for us, they get up and we follow them only 500 m. and here something magnificent awaits us. The joining of the expedition. They give a muffled whistle, another similar one answers, and from where apparently there was no one emerges several men, about twenty. They all go like us more or less: big backpacks, blankets, scarves, raincoats, everything is there and everything without comments. A guide goes in front, then us and behind the rest. I can’t help but turn back often to observe this spectacle. There is no more noise than that of sticks tapping on the ground. Behind me are following men and more men who, in the moonlight, look like ghosts. They are extraordinarily dressed and hunched over from the weight they carry in the back We are going up the mountain and as we wind around because the slope is very strong we see a row moving like a tired scolopendra. By the looks of it, they have already been walking for many hours (since six o’clock the day before, they tell me later) because they are exhausted and we often have to stop to rest. It seems that some of the queue can’t walk at the pace marked by the guide and that’s why you have to stop a lot.

I will not forget this twilight as long as I live. We walk until the indiscreet sun rises, which is when we arrive at the place where we will rest today.

We took shelter under a huge rock of about 30 m. high, from whose highest point falls a waterfall that passes in front of us to fall much further down, where there is a stream. The ground is full of large stones, which makes it more dangerous and wild. We are on a platform about five meters wide and suspended about 30 m. above the river From him to us there is an impassable slope covered with vegetation; above us, the almost vertical rock and the sky.” (5)

The description of the arrival point coincides exactly with the Espluga de les Vaques, in the Barranc de la Ribalera. In this place you will find the components of the expedition described in section 6, and their Diary agrees fundamentally with the Diaries and Documents we have from the other expeditioners.

E.- Expedition of Coll de Nargó. December 1937. (6)
On 8.12.37 after the night’s dance, three 19-year-old boys who live in Coll de Nargó leave for Andorra. They are: Pere Oromí, Joan Pujol (lo Tomasó) and Mariano Bach. That same day 8.12.37 they were called to the ranks to go to war with the republican army.

They left Coll de Nargó towards the Houses and were hidden for a few days in the hermitage of Sant Jaume, which is near this house. During the day they were hidden by the forest above the hermitage, in high places. From there they could see without being seen who was approaching.

There they were picked up by Pitarell, who took them to Sant Joan de l’Erm, where they reached a group of 25. They walk at night and arrive in Sant Joan de l’Erm around 6 in the morning, where they rest until 6 in the afternoon when they continue to Andorra where they will arrive at dawn the following day. The guide who takes them from Sant Joan de l’Erm to Andorra is l’Armengolet.

The route followed to go from Cases to Andorra is: Cases, Comalavall, Montanissell, Pitarell, Boumort, Rasos de Taüs, Port del Cantó, Sant Joan de l’Erm, Bosc de Santa Magdalena, Cortals de Civís, Coll de Laquell , Bexissarri and Sant Julià de Lòria.

In Andorra they settle in the Casino d’Escaldes hotel, which is located before arriving at the Muntanya hotel. They go a lot to Bar Burgos, which was set up by people from Coll de Nargó. They are in Andorra for a few days, and since they cannot find work they go to Sant Sebastian, where they are recruited by the national army.

Pere Oromí registers as a volunteer at Terç Requeté Ntra. Mrs. de Montserrat, and is sent to different fronts in the mortar unit. In February 1938 he was on the Guadalajara front, in Sigüenza, specifically in Mazarete. On April 27, 1938, he was in Huerta Hernando until May 1938, when he was sent to Cogolludo. In August 1938 he was in Villalba dels Arcs, on the Ebro river front. Then he is sent to Extremadura. He is an assistant to different officers, and he works as a barber some months, so he has a fairly quiet war, apart from a few months on the Guadalajara, Ebro and Extremadura fronts.

F.- Expedition of Josep Ramonet Espar, from Ca l’Armenter d’Organyà. May 1938. (7)
Josep Ramonet Espar was 40 years old when he was sent to the war front in May 1938. He was married to Concepcion Oste Argerich from the house of Juncàs, from Peramola. Many expeditions to Andorra were organized from Juncàs, including the one that serves as the fundamental basis for tracing the path that we describe in this book and that we call the Andorra Way. Amadeu Rocamora says verbatim: “Juncàs was throughout the war a center of refuge and concentration for those who had to leave the red zone.”

It was precisely Josep Ramonet who introduced the guide Josep Cirera to the people of Juncàs and from where that guide made three expeditions. He himself had helped pass people to Andorra. Once, replacing a guide who could not come, he accompanied a large group of 80 to 100 people from Perandela to the Ares trail, where he left them with other guides.

Since the national offensive had reached Pallars around this time, and considering that the war would end very soon, he made the decision to leave his family and move to the area dominated by the nationals. In the early days of the war, the expeditions went to Andorra or France. When Franco’s troops arrived at Pallars, in the middle of April 1938, the fugitives found a shorter way to get to the other side: to cross the front line.

So while some members of the Comité d’Organyà were knocking on the door of Calle de Santa Maria in order to communicate the mobilization order, he left through the back door and went to Juncàs, to his brothers-in-law’s house.

He stayed there for a few days, hiding in a cave, but finally came out on an expedition on May 15, 1938.

Also on these dates, May 1938, they went directly to the national area of ​​Pallars in Mateu Molleví i Serra, from Peramola. It would not be strange if they went on the same expedition, since being from Peramola he knew the Juncàs people perfectly, with whom they had collaborated in organizing other previous expeditions, including the one in November 1937.

As was usual in these expeditions from Juncàs, they left at 5 in the afternoon and passed Aubenç and, quoting Josep Ramonet’s Diary verbatim, “walking all night until reaching Fenollet “. We continue with the Diari: “On the 16th we leave Fenollet at 5 in the afternoon, we pass through Monroi and Santa Fe to arrive in Ares at 12 at night and we go to a hayloft to rest” .

On the 17th, we stay in the hay until noon, after lunch two soldiers arrive and we start running up the mountain until we reach the Coms where we regroup. We head to Borda del Masover where we arrive at night, there we find some colleagues from Organyà and we go to sleep while waiting for the guides”.

On the 18th, the guides arrived in the morning“. It starts snowing and they wait until the 19th at half past eight in the afternoon when they leave for Taús. They arrive at Borda del Janroi. That same night, after passing some springs and streams with a lot of water, they arrive at a mill that is already a national area, where they rest until daybreak. They light a fire, warm themselves and around 8 am on the 20th they leave the mill in the direction of Gerri where they meet a couple from the Civil Guard. They have breakfast and then they are transferred to Sort with a truck.

So far the summary of this expedition, which up to Ares follows practically the same route as the one we follow.

G.- Expeditions of Josep Cirera(8)
Speaking to Josep Cirera, he explained to us that throughout the war he made few expeditions with people: 6 or 7. Instead, he made many, practically every 15 days, passing goods from one side of the border to the other .

Below is a summary of these expeditions.

a) First expedition: From Cal Roger to Sant Julià de Lòria, by Mas d’Alins, accompanying the Marquis de la Seu d’Urgell (July 26, 1936).

b) Second expedition: From Cal Roger to Sant Julià de Lòria, via Mas d’Alins, accompanying a Piarist religious (autumn 1936).

c) From Barcelona to Noves de Segre by car (year 1936), about 5 or 6. From this point they were picked up by guides from the Parish of garden

d) First expedition of the year 1937 (March 19) from Organyà. bankruptcy

e) Three expeditions from Juncàs (year 1937): one at the end of August (which was not carried out), one another in October with relatives of Juncàs and a last one in November which was the expedition on which we have more information and which constitutes the basis for determining precisely the “Camino d’Andorra”.

f) In 1938 a few expeditions (2 or 3) from Noves de Segre to Andorra, one of them with 2 brothers from Cal Caseta de Montanissell.

In the spring of 1938, people definitely stopped passing because, according to us, it was very dangerous.

In total, we must say that from July 1936 to March 1938 he made the following expeditions: 5 or 6 by car from Barcelona to Noves de Segre. Two from Cal Roger to Mas d’Alins. Two from Juncàs to Andorra and 2 or 3 from Noves de Segre to Andorra. In total on foot to Andorra, no more than 6 or 7.

However, during the entire period of the war, although few people passed through, he did not stop making expeditions with goods: practically one every 15 days, except on summer days when it was very hot or if the weather was very bad in the winter He worked for the King of Andorra and was mainly dedicated to passing tobacco and other things, since sometimes the King did not pay him in money but in spices and then they had to sell these goods to be able to collect.

Usually there were 4 or 5. Josep Cirera almost always went with Garreta d’Espaent. The goods that came down from Andorra were taken to La Reula, a house that is below Noves de Segre next to the river Segre. A Frenchman was waiting for them there with a van; loaded the genre and took it to Barcelona.

On the way up, they did the same operation in La Reula with goods that the French used to go up from Barcelona to Andorra.

He always passed through the same place, with small variations, so that from the more than 20 conversations I have had with him, we know with absolute certainty the path he and many other guides took, and that it coincides with what I propose in the present work and which I call “Camí d’Andorra”.

H.- Fenollet and Ares: Two resting places(9)
To finish this chapter, we attach two witnesses who certify the frequency of the passage of fugitives through this area.

a) Eugeni Coll i Campà, from Fenollet
Eugeni was born in Fenollet on January 24, 1925, although the civil registry says February 24, 1925. He died in Fenollet on May 10, 2007, at the age of 82. He was 12 years old in 1937 and remembers what was happening at home around those days.

He explains that for more than two years, from the end of 1936 to the end of 1938, almost every week there was an expedition of fugitives headed for Andorra. After 1939 they also had refugees in their house.

The house of Fenollet was well known in the area, due to its strategic location on the road from Bòixols to Organyà, and towards La Seu d’Urgell. Indeed, the road that went from Pallars Jussà (Salàs de Pallars, la Pobla de Segur, Isona, les Conques, Tremp) towards Alt Urgell (Organyà and la Seu d’Urgell), passed through Sallent, Montanissell and Fenollet, which was the last house on this road before reaching Organyà.

Especially during the famous cattle fairs of Organyà and Salas de Pallars, this road was very busy. When there was a fair in Organyà, for Sant Andreu on November 31, the people who came from the districts of Pallars, Bòixols, Tremp, etc. they passed through Fenollet. As this house is the last to be found before arriving in Organyà, some stayed to sleep in Fenollet during the 9 days that the fair lasted.

When the Spanish war broke out in 1936, some FAI militiamen wanted to kill Fenollet’s owner because they considered him to be right-wing. He had relatives who were priests and nuns, and both he and his wife were distinguished by their bonhomie.

As they were well known in the area, and especially by the people of Bòixols, the 5 militiamen of this town determined that no one should touch the people of Fenollet for anything. So, throughout the war, Fenollet enjoyed special protection.

The path that passed through Fenollet was a horseshoe path, that is to say only animals could pass through it or it could be done on foot. It had nothing to do with the road that is there now. It was a path that went over the current road (you can still see it now) and when you passed through Fenollet on the way to Montanissell, it left the house on the left, so if you didn’t want to enter the house you could pass by, more or less as it happens today.

Between the protection they had of the people of Boixols and the difficulty of accessing it, it is understood that militiamen or people with the specific intention of carrying out inspections did not pass there. Certainly, being a thoroughfare, people usually passed by: some stopped to say hello, or stayed to eat and even sleep, or simply passed by.

During the 1936 war, about 14 people lived in Fenollet: 6 of the family, two nuns who were in hiding (the mistress’s sister and a friend of hers), a pastor, two young men and 2 or 3 relatives who were also there hidden In addition, as we have said, every week or every 15 days there were expeditions of 20 to 40 people on their way to Andorra. In the winter months – December, January and February – there were usually no expeditions.

To feed so many people, Eugeni went down twice a week to look for bread and other groceries in Organyá and Coll de Nargó. He was alternating so as not to arouse suspicion.

b) Paco Bullich and Bentanachs, from Ca l’Esparrica d’Ares
Paco Bullich was born in Ares, in Ca l’Esparrica (masoveria del Fiter), on November 11, 1917. They were the masovers of Cal Fiter, since they had gone to live in the Headquarters of Urgell. Manel Fiter, lawyer of the Headquarters, moved to Andorra at the beginning of the war.

The Bullichs were from the Guard of Ares and Paco’s grandfather had moved to the town of Ares a few years ago, as Cal Fiter’s masover. Paco’s father’s name was Albert Bullich i Llach and his mother Maria Bentanachs i Oliva, who was the sister of the Baridà owner whose name was Francesc Bentanachs i Oliva. In Cal Baridà they were also dedicated to ferrying people to Andorra.

In the village of Ares, in addition to the church and the rectory, there were four houses: Cal Nadal, Cal Duric, Cal Rei and Cal Fiter, with their corresponding corrals for the cattle and hay fields.

In Cal Fiter lived the Bullichs and called it Ca l’Esparrica. It was the largest house in the village and has some corrals and hay in front, in the part located further west, and which are therefore the buildings closest to the access road from the Vall de Cabó. So, the first buildings found by the expeditions arriving from Cabó were precisely the corrals of Cal Fiter.

In 1937, Paco Bullich was 20 years old and remembers perfectly that fugitives often passed in front of his house. Most of the expeditions, when they arrived at Ares, rested in the hayfield tired by the steep climb from the Vall de Cabó, and some even ate something. He remembers that on one occasion there were more than 30 at lunch and that they were divided among the other houses in the village. They had lambs, chickens, etc. And very good potatoes were made in that area, as Josep Cirera has also reminded us.

From September 1937, when he was called up, and until the end of the war, Paco was hidden in the woods almost all day. However, he remembers that many expeditions passed there. One guide in particular is remembered: Bitllà de les Anoves, who is otherwise well known, especially for his professionalism and honesty.

These two testimonies, along with those given to us by the descendants of Vilaró, Empordanès, Arçosa, Mora, Torrent, Juncàs, Baridà, . . . and of the other houses along the Camino, the Bordes del Fuster and the River, . . . , and further on Cal Roger and Mas d’Alins, already in Andorra, clearly show that the route we propose is certainly a route heavily traveled by fugitives and smugglers.

(1) Information provided by Josep Maria Torrabadella
(2) Information provided by Joan Molleví i Viladoms, who has provided us with the Escape Diary written by his father, Francesc Molleví Serra.
(3) Information provided by Isidre Gabriel Riba and Pere Benet Ponsich, from Isona.
(4) The heavy rains in Andorra in October 1937 are well known
(5) Newspaper “Pro Deo et Patria” (year 1937), by Antoni Dalmases
(6) Pere Oromí Riart, from Cal Ton del Peret, explains it to us. Born in Coll de Nargó in September 1918.
(7) Information provided by Amadeu Rocamora i Ramonet, son of Josep Ramonet i Espar.
(8) More than 20 conversations with Josep Cirera over three years
(9) I quote the testimonies of Fenollet and Ares for their direct involvement in the escape routes.
The information was provided to me by the protagonists themselves.