President Companys and Tarragona

Today is precisely the 82nd anniversary of the execution of Lluís Companys, the only democratically elected president who died in these circumstances in Europe, in the context of World War II. The bibliography on the character is extensive, but there are very few references to the personal and family ties between the president and Tarragona, as well as other cities in Camp or Terres de l'Ebre. In 1916, Companys founded in Barcelona the newspaper The strugglewith Francesc Layret and Marcel lí Domingo, from Tarragona, born at number 6 Plaça de la Font and whose mother was from Cambrils, the most prominent figure on the left here and throughout the State in those years, future Minister of Education and Agriculture , during the Republic, and fellow student at the historic Rambla Vella Institute of Antoni Rovira i Virgili, from whom he heard the first purely republican speeches.

In the elections to the Spanish parliament on April 9, 1916, Domingo stood for Tortosa and obtained the act of deputy, but Companys, who, encouraged by the man from Tarragona, was also a candidate for the neighboring district of Roquetes, did not succeed. Ten years later, several republican groups met to make possible the union of the Catalan lefts and a committee was created with Domingo as president and Companys as secretary.

Before, in 1906, Companys, with Francesc Layret, Laureà Miró i Trepat and Eduard Micó, was from the Unió Republicana group that joined the Solidaritat Catalana, and this made it easier for him to meet Mercè Micó y Busquets, the sister of 'Eduard Monkey. This lawyer, born in Tarragona in 1887, was elected deputy in the Commonwealth of Catalonia, repeatedly, in 1911, 1915, 1919 and 1923. He was the son of Daniel Micó Pérez, an employee from Xàtiva (la Costera), and Dolors Busquets Boxeón , born in Montevideo (Uruguay), both residents of Tarragona. His paternal grandparents were Josep and Teresa, while his maternal grandparents were Joan, from La Selva del Camp, and Inés Boxó Ferrés, from Tarragona. Eduard Micó, together with the Republican Generalitat, will be one of the six magistrates of the Court of Cassation of Catalonia presided over by Montblanquín Josep Andreu i Abelló. His sister, Mercè Micó i Busquets, was born in Tarragona on March 24, 1882, at 4:30 in the morning, and was baptized in the church of Sant Francesc, on Rambla Vella, by Mosén Norbert Llauradó on April 10 of the same year, where she received the names of Mercè, Inés and Encarnació, with her maternal grandparents as godparents. Lluís Companys and Mercè Micó were married on October 16, 1910, in the Church of La Concepción on Carrer de Aragó in Barcelona. On the marriage certificate, Companys is listed as a journalist by profession. They were both the same age, 28 years old, she was five months older than him, and the vicar Mosén Martí Vall officiated at her ceremony. The couple had two children: Lluís, born on November 5, 1911, and Alba, on February 1, 1915, however, in recent years, they no longer lived together and the marriage was officially dissolved in 1936, when Companys carried out the paperwork to be able to marry Carme Ballester, whom he had met three years earlier.

Returning from the Puerto de Santa Maria prison, he had to get off the train to Móra la Nova to greet those who cheered him

On the day of Santa Tecla in 1936, already in the middle of the war, the divorce came, by which the first wife received the house that had been built in Sabadell and regular financial support, while the president reserved custody of the son, who had a mental illness. On October 9 of that year he married his second wife, Carme Ballester i Llasat, fifteen years younger than him, independentist and leftist, with the poet from La Selva del Camp and Minister of Culture Ventura Gassol and his brother, Manuel Companys, as witnesses of the ceremony, before the municipal judge of Barcelona Sever Gibert Piera. In the Companys marriage certificate, being already president, he appears as a lawyer by profession. The wife's parents are Marian Ballester, from Benicarló (Baix Meastrat), Valencian like the father of the first wife, and Jacinta Llasat, a native of Santa Bárbara (Montsià).

Sentenced to thirty years in prison for having proclaimed the Catalan State on October 6, 1934, Companys was not pardoned but amnestied, after the elections of February 16, 1936, and in that March, when he was returning to Barcelona from prison from Puerto de Santa María, the huge crowd that was waiting for him in Móra la Nova forced him to get off the train to greet those who cheered him, having already entered Catalan territory, to offer him an unprecedented massive welcome, a prelude to what he had to occur shortly after in Barcelona and where he pronounced the famous phrase «We will fight again, we will suffer again, we will win again».

In the dungeons he coincided with the Reus psychiatrist Francesc Abelló, who had treated his sick son

The president's basic concern was his adult son Lluís, Lluïset, suffering from severe schizophrenia, who was hospitalized between January 1936 and the start of the Civil War at the Institut Pere Mata in Reus. Once captured by the Nazis in France and brought before the Spanish police in Madrid, Companys coincided in the dungeons, where he was vilely tortured and harassed, along with the Reus psychiatrist Francesc Abelló, who was also detained and who had treated his sick son. .

Companys witnessed the wedding, in Montserrat, between his sister Alba and Ramon Puig, a Catalan industrial engineer residing in Zaragoza, where he had founded the company Frío Industrial Aragonés, in 1917. He had a special affection for this sister, so who named his only daughter María de Alba, who died in Mexican exile, and when the vehicle that was taking him handcuffed from Madrid to Barcelona shortly before he was shot stopped in Zaragoza, Alba and Ramón went to see her at the police station .

This sister liked Tarragona a lot, so with her husband they built a two-story house called Vil·la Montserrat, where they spent every summer and made getaways for a few days throughout the year. Located in front of the amphitheater, down the stairs of the Miracle right at the beginning, the house still exists, it no longer belongs to the family, but it still has an image of the Virgin of Montserrat on the façade, surrounded by mountains, made with blue ceramic tiles .

At the end of the summer of 1958, Alba, who had been in poor health in recent years, began to feel ill during a family outing to Poblet and asked to return to Tarragona immediately, instead of going to Zaragoza as she was advised. He died in our city on September 14, 1958 and that is why in the Tarragona cemetery there is a niche, always clean and often with a bouquet of flowers that accompanies it, always renewed, with an inscription bearing the same surnames as the martyred president It is yours: Alba Companys Jover, without another clue or detail.

Alba Companys's grandson, Ramon Puig, from frequenting Tarragona so much, ended up marrying a Tarragona resident who lived in the Ciudad Jardín, an area of ​​the city close to the Miracle: Maria Rosa González. Her children, both Aragonese and residents of Zaragoza, are called Alba, like their great-grandmother, and Ramón, like their father and great-grandfather. The latter speaks Catalan and is a mattress maker, a casteller with the Children of Tarragona shirt. He rolls the wheel and life...

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