On 30th January 1933, Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany. Nationalism and anti-Semitism had taken hold of a country still traumatised by its defeat in the First World War and the aftereffects of the economic slump of 1929. The NSDAP soon began to persecute its political enemies and the Jews. Before the Second World War began, thousands of German, Austrian and Czech Jews managed to flee to France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Palestine.
The situation of the Jews who had sought refuge in France changed in June 1940, following the signing of the armistice between France and Germany. On the initiative of the Vichy regime, they were considered enemies and orders were given for their detention in internment camps. Those with most foresight decided to seek refuge in Switzerland or to emigrate to America, Palestine or the USA from either the French ports or the Iberian Peninsula.
At the same time, the mountains of the Pyrenees became a place through which many of those facing persecution chose to flee in search of salvation. The overwhelming majority used the Iberian Peninsula as a point of transit in order to travel outside Europe.
In order to make their escape quicker and safer, a support structure was organised based on evasion networks guided by the allied secret services and Jewish resistance organisations. This secret movement through the Pyrenees received the support of many Catalan guides and the Principality of Andorra also played an important role in this process.
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