Born in Tarròs (Urgell County) in 1882, he was the only elected head of government to be executed during the Second World War. A labour lawyer and one of the leading members of the ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia), he participated in the local elections which would put an end to the Spanish monarchy. In 1932 Companys was elected speaker of Catalonia's Parliament, succeeding Frances Macià as president of the Generalitat one year later when he passed away. Companys was president of the Generalitat during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and went into exile when rebel troops occupied Barcelona, in the winter of 1939. The occupation of France in 1940 to Nazi Germany led to his arrest by the Gestapo and later extradition to the Spanish authorities, who executed him on October 15th in Barcelona's Montjuïc Castle after torture and a kangaroo trial.