Vol.09--No.2019
The nAbAt a ICC soApboX
Tuesday,Sep 24,2019 
3 Users Online
Franco’s gulag: 296 concentration camps where horror | By BlackRat | July 13, 2019 - 15:50 | Posted in CyberGuerrilla | No Comments

Prisoners making the fascist salute in the concentration camp of Irún, in Guipúzcoa. / NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SPAIN

The transfer in wagons of cattle, hunger, “the armies of lice, bedbugs and fleas” (which made the clothes move alone on the ground, evoked a prisoner), diseases (typhus, tuberculosis, mange …), the lack of healthcare and hygienic conditions, overcrowding, humiliation, freezing and heat …, beatings and lethal torture, forced labour in many cases, the fear of dying at any moment … “They took away their belongings and clothes as soon as they arrived, they shaved their hair and turned them into an amorphous and depersonalized mass that had to move by blow of the whip and deny their ideals and beliefs if they did not want to die. It was a global process of dehumanization of the prisoners, who were not considered persons and were treated as infra-men and slaves.

A former prisoner said that they treated them worse than dogs and beasts because they did feed them well, “explains journalist Carlos Hernández de Miguel, speaking of the result of the exhaustive research he has devoted to ‘The concentration camps de Franco ‘ (Ediciones B), which arrives this Thursday at book stores and where, through archives and testimonies of survivors, documents up to 296 concentration camps -14 of them in Catalonia-, considered as such by the regime and open during the civil war by that dictatorial “New Spain”. As the Falange of Cádiz warned on the cover of his newspaper ‘Águilas’: “We will create concentration camps for lazy and political crooks; for Freemasons and Jews; for the enemies of the Homeland, Bread and Justice “.

And between them they passed between 700,000 and a million men, and also women. According to the Francoists, “a horde of murderers and outlaws” that did not deserve the protection of the Geneva Convention, and that, according to the head psychiatrist of Franco, Antonio Vallejo-Nágera, were identified as “sick of the red gene”. On them “no charge or indictment or firm conviction weighed. They were republican prisoners of war, leftists (politicians and trade unionists) or the master of the people … “, recalls the author of another monumental and necessary essay, “The last Spaniards of Mauthausen” (2015), from which ‘Deportado 4443‘ emerged (2017), with the cartoonist Ioannes Ensis.

Republican prisoners captured by the Francoist troops / NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SPAIN

Run away from the shadow of Auschwitz
When speaking of concentration camps it is impossible not to think about the extermination of Hitler, with barracks surrounded by barbed wire, or in the gulags of Stalin. The penalties and conditions cited were similar, but “we must flee from the shadow of Auschwitz and avoid a direct comparison with Nazism,” says Hernández, “because it may seem that in the face of the barbarity of six million exterminated in the gas chambers, the victims of the rest of crimes against humanity are fewer victims. Franco had his needs, the wars were different and the fields of Franco were a system with its own peculiarities. I wanted to exterminate a few and reeducate the rest. ”

“They were improvised and there was disorganization but its creation was premeditated,” says the author, a correspondent in conflicts such as Kosovo, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. The first camp was opened on July 19, 1936, just 48 hours after the coup against the Republic, in Zeluán, in the former Spanish Protectorate of Morocco. “Already in April, General Mola had called to create that atmosphere of terror and to shoot anyone with links to the Popular Front.” The longest field was that of Miranda de Ebro (Burgos), which closed in 1947 and through which 100,000 prisoners passed. “They were one more leg, horrible and terrifying, of the Francoist repressive system”; the prisons would deserve another book. As the nationals conquered territories they opened fields in bullfighting areas, sports venues, convents and monasteries, asylums, factories, warehouses, racetracks …, whose conditions of life and death depended on the arbitrariness of each commanding officer.

The prisoners remember the fear of dying at any moment, they feared that the door would open, and they would come to look for a ‘saca’, which meant that they would be shot in any ditch

Republican prisoners in the crowded concentration camp enabled in the bullring of Santander / NATIONAL BANK OF SPAIN

Of the testimonies of the prisoners, Hernández highlights several features that defined them. “One, the fear of dying at any time. The panic to the noises at night, because if they heard that a door was opened meant that they came to look for someone for a ‘take out’ and be shot. ” And by day, to the visits of Falangists who sought revenge on former neighbours and widows to hunt the alleged murderers of their husbands. The fate was the same, to end up dead in any gutter.
Two, hunger and its effects, “which describe a stark manner”. Black water chestnuts, water with fish bones and worms, drink your own urine … “We get dazed to the point of losing all human dignity,” recalled prisoner José María Muguerza. As an example, the case that Guillermo Gómez Blanco told about the wolf dog he brought, “to impress”, “a lieutenant very much like the Gestapo, with whip and saddles without saddle”, and who in an oversight disappeared. “We had eaten it raw!”

The priests played an important role in indoctrination and re-education, and violated the secret of confession to obtain information from the prisoners

Prisoner minor, in a religious act in the concentration camp of Aranda de Duero (Burgos) / NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SPAIN

And, three, that in addition to “places of extermination were also re-education, to achieve ideological and mental submission”, because as Franco said, his goal was “not only to win, but to convince”, although his methods only managed to subdue and reaffirm the prisoners’ contempt for the regime. Sung the ‘Face to the Sun’ and other Francoist anthems, form several times a day and make the fascist salute, mandatory Masses and communion … The prisoners, if they left (impossible without endorsement of a Fascist priest, mayor or politician), should leave “reformed”. There also played a fundamental and disastrous role the Catholic Church exercising, denounced Hernandez, “forced and forced indoctrination by priests.” These “violated the secret of confession to obtain information from prisoners and use it against their peers.” Pistol to the belt, there were also executioner priests, like Father Nieto, on the island of San Simón, whom they remembered hitting with his cane an agonized executioner and shouting: “Die, die, impious red.”

The death toll is difficult to specify. The one of 10,000 that the historian Javier Rodrigo dared to give, who had stated in his day 188 fields, according to Hernandez, is very short. “Now, after documenting only the dead in 15 of the 296 camps, they add up to 6,000.” There are no data in registers or in cemeteries, the causes of the deaths were falsified, the majority continue, today, in mass graves and ditches, and many, those considered “irrecoverable enemies”, among them all the officers of the Republican Army, were shot after leaving the camp to be subjected to war councils and summary trials without guarantees.

Live with “fear and shame”
One of those prisoners, Luis Ortiz, released in 1943 and whose words close the book of Hernandez, died last week at 102 years . He said he wanted to die with his boots on and he did it, with the message of telling young people the true reality of the regime. “During the dictatorship, these men who had defended democratic ideas, lived with fear and shame because society identified Republicans with criminals and murderers of priests,” laments the journalist. Those who today want to whitewash the Franco regime must answer them with data so that it is remembered that in this country there was a democratic regime that was violated by a fascist coup with the support of the Nazis and Mussolini. ”

Humiliation and rape of women
There were no women’s camps but women in the fields, such as Los Almendros in Alicante or Cabra (Córdoba). Most were in prisons, but suffered hunger, overcrowding and abuse just like men. And humiliations: they gave them castor oil so that they had diarrhea while they forced them to parade with shaved hair. Extended practice in the fields, according to multiple testimonies, was the rape of the wives and daughters of the captives when they came to take them clothes and food. The prisoners knew that they had no choice but to “stoop”. In Castuera, when they took one to the wall, their companions sang: “Woman that I adore, how sorry I am / can not hug you anymore (…). I cry because everything is over / for saving your honor you have given / that I know too “. Almost 31,000 babies stole Francoism from the Republicans, according to data from the National Audience for the UN.

In Catalonia, from Horta to Reus and Puigcerdà
Of the 296 official concentration camps of the Franco regime, in Catalonia there were 14. After the fall of Barcelona, ​​on January 26, 1939, the rebels hacked the majority of prisoners in the Model Prison, the women’s prison in Les Corts and in the castle of Montjuïc, but then, in February, they opened the Casa de la Caritat de Horta, a stable camp with a capacity for 15,000 prisoners that operated until April 1940. Lleida was the Catalan province with the most fields, six, among them the Seminary Old in the cathedral and the Vilalta cannery, and the cemetery of Cervera (up to 5,000 prisoners). The convents of San Agustín de Igualada, del Carmen de Manresa, the Punxa in Tarragona, the Cavalry Barracks of Reus, the coal warehouse and the San Fernando Castle in Figueras were also used.

Discover in this interactive map where they were and what the 296 Franco concentration camps were like



This Post is Tagged with:

Leave a Comment (Anonymous).

Comment author must fill out name and e-mail. (Email will not be published).

NOTE - You can use these (HTML tags and attributes):

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Whoever you are, we are ungovernable! Whoever lays his hand on us to govern us, is a usurper and tyrant, and we declare you our enemy.