Comenius

Comenius
Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP)

Friday, 7 March 2014

HOW DID MY GRANDFATHER LIVE THE CIVIL WAR AND THE POST WAR.

The Civil War was a political, social and military revolt against the Republican government of Spain, supported by the conservative party within the country. The War broke out the 19th july 1936 when the initial military coup d’etat carried on to take control of the entire country failed. A bloody Civil War which was fought with great ferocity on both National and Republican sides. The Nationalists, were named as the rebels, and received aid from the fascist Italy and the Nazi Germany. And the Republicans received support from the Soviet Union, as well as from International Brigades, composed of volunteers from Europe and the United States.

The Spanish Civil war finished the 1st April 1939 with the last war guilt signed by Francisco Franco. Who declared his victory over the Republicans and established a dictatorship that lasted till his death, in the year 1945.



Meanwhile, in a small village called Las Navas del Marqués, located in Avila, the Guardia civil concentrated its forces in the Mayor Square. The village was summed up into a warmongering atmosphere and caos took control of it.
As hours passed by, tensions between inhabitants increased.

July 20th the bad news were reinforced, Avila declared the General war state.

In that moment, the Republicans had the power, concretely ruled by Alejandro Grande, nicknamed “Pepe el Corruco”. When the Nationals came near the village, Alejandro gave the order of carrying all the cows they owned to Madrid. Alejandro saw in advance that if his family stayed there, they would not survive. Therefore, he sent them to Madrid. His family was composed of:his seven sons, his wife and two of his aunts which lived with them. Luckily Las Navas del Marqúes shares borders with Madrid, more precisely by the Cofio river. That is why they could run out of the village and escape to Madrid.

In Madrid the war continued. The National side took over Madrid as well. My family moved to Valencia as it was still a Republican community. Furthermore, Valencia was the only possible way to flee from Spain. In the last moment, when the whole family had left Madrid and were going to Valencia, Alejandro had cold feet and stayed in Madrid. The reason he gave to stay there was that he had not done anything in violation of law.


Eventually, the Republicans lost the war and Alejandro had stayed in a National side province, Madrid. Unlukily he was found guilty. Because he gave the order to carry the cows out of his village. He did not have an alternative option, either the Nationals caught him before escaping or he was caught when returning to the village. Alejandro was judged and he went into prison. He was convicted to death and he was shot in the main square.

Alejandro's family, which remained in Valencia, lost every good they had. Their house, their dairy farm and their soda plant. They could not come back to Las Navas del Marqués, nor staying in Valencia. They did not have a house and they were afraid of the possible displacement of the children to Russia. My great grandmother, her seven children, including my grandfather: Angel Grande and the two aunts went to Madrid. Which was the only place in which they could live.

Their conditions were deplorable, they could not have three meals a day. Nor even two. Consequently the older brothers made use of their wit to feed the rest of the family.

Once, a merchant gave them a box full of rotten peaches. Pitches were their dinner, in spite of the aspect, the family turned off the lights and ate them.

Also, in that time, it was said that children who did hold communion had lunch and a pair of shoes that day. It is for that reason that my grandfather held it four times.

All in all, the Civil War was an extremelly hard time. In which around 500.000 people died. And families had to survive as they could. As Jean-Paul Sarte said: “When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die”.

MARIA STERLING GRANDE


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