Comenius

Comenius
Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

BASQUE CHILDREN REFUGEES IN THE CIVIL WAR

That was the name given to the children that had to leave Spain to other foreign countries during the civil war in 1936-37. The reason of this name is that the children had to leave on a boat from the basque country and also because a lot of the children were from there but, they were also known as: “Los Niños”. Seven countries offered help for this children: England, France, Belgium, Soviet Union, Switzerland and Mexico.

Around 4.000 basque children were taken to the UK on the aging steamship “SS HABANA” from the Spanish port of Santurtzi, this boat was designed to accomodate 800 passengers but in this trip there way more passengers, the exact number of 4.057 passengers.


All these refugees were moved to a camp at North Stoneham, that was constructed two days before their arrival but there was a problem, this camp was built for only 2.000 refugees. The camps were overercrwoded, sanitation was a problem, in the beginning as the children had been living through war hygienic habits had been disrupted by their turbulent lives.

So the plan was to move the refugees out of the camps and disperse them into villages throughout the UK, in a few months all these children were actually moved into these villages, mostly into residential homes. A few were taken to the salvation army the catholic church, and other volunteers. After the war was over this children were allowed to decide whether or not they wanted to leave the country, some did and others didn’t. 250 kids still remained in britain by the end of the second world war in 1945

This case was similar in almost all the countries that helped, after the war the children could decide if they wanted to return or not, except in the Soviet Union. There, the children were sent to communist families and they were not allowed to come back to Spain. The ones who forbidden this were Stalin and Franco.

But actually these children had the opportunity to leave the Soviet Union in 1956, 3 years after Stalin’s death.
This kids lived in soviet orphanages and they were constantly transfered from one orphanage to another according to the progress of the Second World War. These children experienced the war and its effects on the Soviet Union at first hand.

The nationalists side also arranged evacuations of children women and eldery from war zones. Refugee camps for these civilians were set up in Portugal, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium

Its incredible what all this children, now adults have been through, this is just basic information people should know from a really important story in the history of Spain.

                                                                                

                                                                                   RICHARD SIE MIRANDA 



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