Evasion routes via the Lleida Pyrenees
Jewish refugees used many different routes to pass through the Lleida Pyrenees; these included customs offices and escape routes.
The first evading Jews arrived at the two customs offices established in Lleida province: at Eth Pònt de Rei, in the Val d’Aran, and at La Farga de Moles, in L’Alt Urgell.
Eth Pònt de Rei
Located just a few kilometres from Les, this was the point of entry for travellers from the French department of Haute-Garonne. It was also the natural communications route followed by the people of Aran travelling to France, particularly during the months in which winter snows effectively cut the Val d’Aran off from the rest of Spain.
La Farga de Moles
Located at the entry to La Seu d’Urgell, this office also made it possible to monitor movements of people and goods into and out of the Principality of Andorra.
These were mountain paths that could only be followed on foot and which connected the comarques (local districts) of the Lleida Pyrenees to France and Andorra. Below, we provide details of the routes that were most used; they have been organised by comarca (local district).
El Pallars Sobirà
The department of Ariège and the comarca (local district) of El Pallars Sobirà are connected via the numerous mountain passes that stand at the heads of the three valleys that form the northern part of the comarca: the Aneu, Cardós and Ferrera valleys. Throughout history, these passes have served as the main points of communication and interaction between the two sides of the Pyrenees with respect to commercial, social, military and family matters. They include:
– Routes between Saint-Girons (Ariège) and Alós d’Isil
– Routes between Aulus-les-Bains (Ariège) and Tavascan
– Routes connecting the Principality of Andorra and the municipality of Alins de Vallferrera
La Val d’Aran
Toulouse de Languedoc and Bagnères-de-Luchon were the two main points of reference for the concentration of Jewish refugees who sought to enter Spain via the Val d’Aran. From 1940 onwards, many Jewish families arrived there. These routes include:
– Routes between Luchon (Haute Garonne) and the Val d’Aran
– Route leading from Arlòs and Fòs (Haute Garonne) to the Val d’Aran
– Routes between Sentein (Ariège) and the Val d’Aran
The majority of those escaping from France who entered Spain through L’Alt Urgell, did so via the Principality of Andorra. They had arrived in Andorra from Tarascon, Vicdessos and Auzat (Ariège) by crossing the mountain passes of Siguer and Fontargent. To reach Catalonia, they then used paths that took them to the valleys of the rivers Segre, Llobregat and Noguera Pallaresa. The main routes followed were:
– Routes between Sant Julià de Lòria and the Valls de Valira
– Routes between Les Escaldes and the Valls de Valira
In this comarca, the main routes included:
– Routes leading from the Principality of Andorra to Lles de Cerdanya