FROM NORMANDY TO BERCHTESGADEN. The Spanish Republicans in France 1939-1955 by Louis Stein

Faustino Solana’s ‘La Nueve’ Half -Track, “Santander”, nº 410621, entering Paris. Photo by Robert Capa

THE SPANISH GUERRILLAS in the north were not as numerous as their comrades in the south, but their presence was clearly felt in the battles of liberation that began in June 1944. In this theater, however, they were joined by their brothers who fought in French uniforms, those who had joined the Foreign Legion or escaped to England after the defeat of France in 1940. These men had battled General Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps and had then prepared for the invasion of France. They were to return to France in mid-1944, help to liberate it from the Nazi army, and then to push into the heartland of Germany itself.

In the summer of 1943, sixteen thousand soldiers, twenty percent of them Spaniards, were activated in Africa as the Second French Armored Division, under the command of General Philippe Leclerc. They were drawn from diverse sources but all had seen considerable action in the African campaigns. Equipped by the Americans, the division possessed the most modern armor. At about the same time General Brosset assumed command of the First French Armored Division and General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny was named commander of the French Army B.1 These units were to become the visible symbols of the resurgence of French military vitality and the instruments through which France would rejoin the contest against Hitler.

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SPANISH GUERRILLAS IN THE RESISTANCE AND LIBERATION by Louis Stein

22 August 1944: Spanish Republican guerrillas liberate Toulouse

GENERAL CHARLES DE GAULLE was fond of asking Maquis how long they had been in the Resistance. Since the question was ritual in nature, he wanted and expected a ritual response: “Since June 18, 1940, General,” the date of his famous appeal to the French nation to continue the struggle against Hitler. In Limoges, in September 1944, the General asked the question of a colonel of the Francs Tireurs et Partisans (FTP). “With all respect, General,” came the reply, “before you.” Seeing de Gaulle’s surprised reaction the colonel continued, Yes, I fought against the Germans during the war in Spain.”1

Perhaps the fact that the FTP was the communist arm of the Resistance motivated the Colonel’s reply, but the Spanish saw the war against the fascists as a continuing struggle dating from July 1936. It was true, as General de Gaulle said on another occasion, that the participation and sufferings of Spanish refugees in the Resistance had made them heroes of France and Spain.2 The sense of solidarity felt by Spaniards with Frenchmen in the common combat was expressed by Cristino Garcia Grandas, an outstanding Spanish guerrilla, when he noted that men and women of both nations had fought together for four years. “If I am proud of being a son of Spain I am not less proud of having helped in the liberation of France.” Cristino Garcia’s own career gave powerful affirmation to the basic Spanish idea that the war against fascism would not end until the victorious Allies helped the Spanish Republicans oust Francisco Franco. After the defeat of Ger-many, Cristino Garcia returned to Spain to organize a guerrilla campaign to achieve this end. He was captured and executed by the nationalist government.3

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Dionisio EROLES BATLLÓ by Agustín Guillamón (Originally published in Catalan in issue No, 194 of ‘Catalunya (CGT), July-August 2017). Translated by Paul Sharkey.

Left to right: Josep Xena, Dionisio Eroles Batlló (1900-1940), and an unidentified journalist in the grounds of the Generalitat Palace waiting to be received by President Companys during talks to resolve the government crisis of 1937. Photo: Josep Maria de Segarra.

Born in Barcelona on 2 November 1900. His father, Valentí, was born in a little village, Pla de Sant Tirs, in the Upper Urgell comarca, from where he moved to Barcelona. His mother was a native of Barcelona, born in the Sants barrio. Dionis was born in the family home at No 35, Calle Manso, fifth floor.

He was no more than 8 years old when he started working in a glass factory, joining the CNT at a very early age. In August 1919 he was jailed, as he was again in May and November 1920. On 30 November 1920, he was banished to the fortress of La Mola in Mahón, remaining there until October 1922.

The vessel Giraldo set sail from Barcelona with 35 anarcho-syndicalists plus Lluis Companys, a Barcelona city councillor on board. Those 35 were the CNT élite at the time and had been sentenced for their roles in the La Canadiense strike in 1919. They were: Salvador Seguí Rubinat, Manuel Salvador Serrano, Camilo Piñón Orihuela, Francisco Comas Pagès, Viçenç Botella Moya, Narcis Vidal Cucurella, Eusebio Manzanares Barrera, Martín Barrera Maresma, Miguel Abós Serena, Antoni Soler Cuadrado, Josep Viadiu Valls, Enrique Rueda Lopez, Aniceto López Dalmau, Emilio Albaricias Descarga, Manuel Núñez García, Saturnino Meca González, Dionisio Eroles Batlle, Antonio Ocaña Martín, Josep Soler Guillemat, Manuel Casterienas Domingo, José Francàs Jarquin, Josep Roigé Redondo, Guillermo Vales Brugera, Daniel Rebull Cabré, José Antonio Gómez Vicente, Eusebio Jorge Sánchez, Salvador Pascua Mascaró, Antonio Calomarte Costa, Salvador Caracena Díaz, Ramón Recasens Miret, Francisco Arsia Simón, Jesús Vega Fernández and Antonio Amador Obón.

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Dionisio EROLES BATLLÓ por Agustín Guillamón (Publicado en catalán en el núm.194 del Catalunya (CGT), julio-agosto de 2017)

Left to right: Josep Xena, Dionisio Eroles Batlló (1900-1940), and an unidentified journalist in the grounds of the Generalitat Palace waiting to be received by President Companys during the talks to solve the government crisis of 1937. Photo: Josep Maria de Segarra.

Nació en Barcelona el 2 de noviembre de 1900. Valentín, su padre, había nacido en el pueblecito de Pla de Sant Tirs, en la comarca del Alt Urgell, de donde había emigrado a la ciudad de Barcelona. Su madre era barcelonesa, nacida en el barrio de Sants. Dionisio nació en el domicilio familiar, en la calle Manso número 35, quinto piso.

Empezó a trabajar con solo 8 años en una fábrica de vidrio, ingresando muy joven en la Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). Fue encarcelado en agosto de 1919, y también en mayo y noviembre de 1920. El 30 de noviembre de 1920 fue desterrado a la fortaleza de la Mola, en Mahón, donde permaneció hasta octubre de 1922.

El barco Giralda salió del puerto de Barcelona con 35 militantes anarcosindicalistas y el concejal del Ayuntamiento barcelonés, Lluís Companys. Esos 35 sindicalistas eran la élite cenetista del momento, y habían sido condenados por su intervención en la huelga de la Canadiense en 1919: Salvador Seguí Rubinat, Manuel Salvador Serrano, Camilo Piñón Orihuela, Francisco Comas Pagès, Vicenç Botella Moya, Narcís Vidal Cucurella, Josep Vidal Cucurella, Eusebio Manzanares Barrera, Martín Barrera Maresma, Miguel Abós Serena, Antoni Soler Cuadrado, Josep Viadiu Valls, Enrique Rueda López, Aniceto López Dalmau, Emilio Albaricias Alorda, Jaime Albaricias Descarga, Manuel Núñez García, Saturnino Meca González, Dionisio Eroles Batlló, Antonio Ocaña Martín, Josep Soler Guillemat, Manuel Castarienas Domingo, José Francàs Jarquín, Josep Roigé Redondo, Guillermo Vales Bruguera, Daniel Rebull Cabré, José Antonio Gómez Vicente, Eusebio Jorge Sánchez, Salvador Pascual Mascaró, Antonio Calomarte Costa, Salvador Caracena Díaz, Ramón Recasens Miret, Francisco Arsia Simón, Jesús Vega Fernández y Antonio Amador Obón.

Al día siguiente, cuando el barco llegó a Mahón, uno de los oficiales de la tripulación comunicó a los deportados que el abogado laboralista Francesc Layret había sido asesinado en Barcelona.

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THE GOLPISTA SLAUGHTER OF ANARCHO-SYNDICALISTS IN CADIZ (1936-1937) by José Luis Gutiérrez Molina (Translated by Paul Sharkey)

JOSE BONAT ORTEGA (Cádiz, 1890 – 1936)

In July 1936, the coup-makers (golpistas) were clear that their success would be bought at the cost of the physical elimination of the leading members of the republican and workers’ political parties, as well as of the trade unions. In addition to members or organisations like the freemasons which were held to be hostile to the golpistas’ clericalism and unreconstructed version of Catholicism. This repressive approach resulted in a policy of extermination once the golpistas woke up to the fact that their coup attempt had failed across the country. So that during the summer and the months that followed there occurred in the occupied territories what has been described as “Francoism’s foundational massacre” or “the Spanish Holocaust”.

The rebels were trying to stop the changes in economic relations and in in Spanish society as a whole, these having gathered pace after the proclamation of the Second Republic in April 1931. Both the moderate changes pushed by the republican groups and the more far-reaching changes pushed by anarcho-syndicalism. The defeat of the coup was a boost to the spread of the revolution which it was supposed to have been meant to prevent. The number one enemies to be eliminated were those who represented the greatest radicalism: the libertarians.

This essay means to describe how the policy of extermination was applied to the anarcho-syndicalist constituency in Cadiz. A city where the main economic sectors – metalworking, transport and construction – were dominated by the CNT. I shall focus upon a few of the more prominent militants, whilst not forgetting that the repression encompassed the bulk of the city’s anarcho-syndicalists.

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