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Synopsis

Mercedes Núñez Targa was born in Barcelona in 1911. She served as secretary of the poet Pablo Neruda, and fought in the Civil War with the Catalan socialists. Following the collapse of the Spanish Republic, she was imprisoned under the Franco dictatorship in Madrid. Unexpectedly released in 1942, she fled to France under a false identity and joined the French Resistance. In 1944 she was arrested by the Gestapo, subjected to a brutal interrogation, and transported to Ravensbrück, the Nazis' infamous all-female concentration camp. In April 1945 the camp was liberated by American soldiers, just days before her scheduled execution in the gas chambers. Bearing Witness is her moving and illuminating account of two totalitarian regimes and the brave women resisting them.

The book opens in Ventas prison in 1940, as Mercedes Núñez Targa begins a 12 year prison sentence for 'aiding the rebellion'. Made up of a series of brief vignettes that vividly depict the prisoners' lives, Núñez Targa highlights the contrast between the horrific conditions in the prison and the prisoners' incredible spirit and endurance.

The second part of the book – Destined for the Crematorium – consists of more detailed chapters. She describes the violence of the SS guards and their own pitiful conditions, but as before, shows how their appalling treatment only unites the women further.

  • Publisher: Pluto Press
  • ISBN: 9780745349084
  • Number of pages: 240
  • Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 17 mm

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