A short biography of the anarchist Dolores Prat
Dolores Prat Coll was born on 8th March 1905 into a poor Christian family in Ripoll in Catalonia. When her mother died when she was seven, she was sent to live with nuns, who treated her abysmally and made her work as a housemaid.
Ripoll was almost completely dependent on the textile industry and at the age of fourteen Dolores witnessed a bitter nine week strike for the eight hour day. As a result she developed a lasting hatred of scabs. She decided she would become a textile worker, rejecting her father’s suggestion to become a teacher because she had had a bellyful of nuns or running a fruit and veg stall because she would end up giving the food away to hungry workers.
At the age of fifteen she started work as a textile worker in Ripoll and she soon joined the CNT. She was later to say that she had joined the CNT “because they were real revolutionaries”. She served on the factory committee at work. She had a prominent role in the fight for the eight hour day. She became known as “the little Montseny” because of her indomitable character , after the anarchist Federica Montseny.
Between 1936 and 1939 she was secretary of the textile workers union of the CNT in Ripoll. With the defeat she escaped over the Pyrenees into France with her family. They were interned in the concentration camp at Magnac-Laval. She was deported back to Spain in February 1940 but then secretly climbed back over the Pyrenees to France via Prats de Mollo on May 15th of that year. She worked in a quarry in Prades. She subsequently lived in Toulouse and continued her activity within the local federation of the CNT in exile and within International Antifascist Solidarity (SIA). At the age of ninety one she became involved in supporting immigrants without documentation (Sans Papiers).
She can be seen in the film by Lisa Berger Road To Freedom/Chemin de Liberté (English-French versions) in 1997. She also appeared in the documentary Living Utopia made in the same year by Juan Gamero. She died on 12th September 2001 in Toulouse. After her death her son Progreso Marin wrote a book about her : "Dolores : une vie pour la liberté"(2002).This was translated into Catalan from French in 2007.
Every year since 1996 a group of people (caminodelibertad.com) takes the same route between Prats de Mollo and Ripoll to remember Dolores’s journey over the Pyrenees.
Ackelsberg, Martha A. Free Women of Spain(1991)