Ribera de Cardós
During the Second World War (1939-1944), thousands of Jews crossed the Pyrenees, fleeing from the persecution to which they had been subjected in Nazi-occupied Europe. Many of those who escaped from Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France crossed the mountain passes of the Lleida Pyrenees. In these epic escapes, they had to evade surveillance on either side of the French-Spanish frontier, defy hash climatic conditions, which included year-round snows, and overcome the rugged terrain along the way.
The Vall de Cardós was one of the main entry routes for refugees from the French department of Ariège. Hundreds of escaping Jews entered the territory via the mountain passes of Tavascan, Colax, Lladorre, Artiga and Boet. The majority of these refugees came from the French settlement of Aulus-les-Bains. It was from there that 636 Jews fled to El Pallars in 1942. They managed to do this this thanks to the help that they received from the evasion networks. Many people from the valleys of Garbet (Ariège) and Cardós (Catalonia) were involved in actions that supported and helped to save these escaping Jews. Between 1941 and 1942, some of these refugees were returned to France, but the majority were detained and taken to Tavascan. They then remained there for several days, held at the barracks of the Guardia Civil or at a local boarding house. Others stayed at the Hostal Cardós in Ribera de Cardós before they were transferred to the prison of Sort. For all these refugees, the Lleida Pyrenees were the penultimate obstacle separating them from freedom.