“MY MOTHER REMAINED ACTIVE, SYMPATHETIC AND MILITANT EVEN AFTER THE WAR. SHE CONTINUED TO FIGHT FOR THE FREEDOM OF NATIONS, AND ABOVE ALL SHE GAVE HER DAUGHTERS A DESIRE TO CONTINUALLY FIGHT AGAINST INEQUALITY, RACISM, SEXISM, FOR FREEDOM AND MANY OTHER VALUES.”
She was born in Spain and later lived in France. Thanks to her working-class background, she was proud of her revolt and was involved in the young communist movement. While still very young, she joined progressive, anti-fascist movements (red aid, the girls’ union in France, trade unions…). Subsequently, she became a member of the “National Front” resistance organisation with the rank of sergeant. During the German occupation of French territory, she participated in secret meetings, distributed leaflets and magazines and engaged in other prohibited activities.
On 23 March 1941, she was arrested by the French police after someone informed on her and sentenced to two years in prison. Instead of being released as expected, she was later deported to the indescribable Ravensbrück Nazi camp, which she never spoke to us about and which she forbade us to visit
She arrives there on 18 May 1944. From now on, like her comrades, she is just one “Stück”, a piece, that has number 39144. She must memorise it in German in order to avoid being beaten during roll call. She experiences humiliation, dehumanisation and fear, but also solidarity and dignity in degradation. She carries out exhausting work, assigned to transport stones for road construction.
She was later transferred to Zwodau, a sub-camp of Flossenbürg concentration camp. In March 1945, as the Soviet troops were approaching, she was sent to Graslitz, then back, on foot. She worked for Siemens, which used the deportees to produce weapons at the lowest possible price. My mother was often punished because she sabotaged work on machine parts and delayed production.
She was liberated by the Red Army on 8 May and arrived in Paris on 19 May 1945. Her family seemed to be inhibited by her return. No one dared tell her that they had suffered in France too. She was cared for by the National Federation of Deportees and went to a sanatorium in Haute- Savoie to recover and socially adapt.
She kept in contact with her friends from the time she was deported. She occasionally took part in meetings and rallies.
Marie-France Cabeza Marnet
Angela Cabeza’s daughter