The President of Diputació de Lleida, one of the AEPJ new members, has travelled all the way from Catalonia to Israel in order to deliver a long lost letter to relatives of the original recipient, a victim of persecution against Jews during the Second World War.
It had been written by Fanny Gewürz back in 1944 when she was residing in the northern Catalan town of Sort, and sent to her sister, Rachel Gewürz, in Palestine.
The letter passed from hand to hand, from Spain to Portugal to Egypt, but it never arrived at its ultimate destination. Finally, one year ago, more than 70 years after it was scribed, the letter was found back in the same town from where it was sent.
Crossing borders to save lives
Fanny Gewürz moved undercover from France to Catalonia during the war, when Jewish persecution was at its peak. She was detained in May, 1944, but later released. Her sister, Rachel, had immigrated to Palestine in 1939.
As part of the project "Persecuted and Saved", the historian Josep Calvet was in charge of localizing the Gewürz family in Israel in order to finally complete the delivery of the letter lost to history. All this time late, the 92 year old Rachel Gewürz, now Rachel Furstenburg, has finally learned how much her sister wanted to join her in what was then officially Palestine.
Joan Reñé, the president of the Lleida region council, delivered the letter to the Israeli city of Rishon Lezion, accompanied by the son of Fanny Gewürz. Reñé defined it as "an act of justice".
Rachel's son, Udi Firstenburg, was also present. "Today is a very happy day, as we have finally received the letter", he said. He regretted, however, that its delivery came ten years after the death of the writer.
"It's important to highlight a little told story, that thousands of people crossed the Pyrenees during the Second World War in order to save their lives", Reñé stated.
Persecuted and saved
The "Persecuted and saved" project is an initiative of the Lledida council with the main objective of recovering the memory of the thousands of Jews that crossed the Pyrenees as they fled Nazi persecution. On the terrain the crossing of some of the refugees with their descendants and the same survivors.