Festival of Stiffs (Le Festival des macchabées) is the second of Héléna’s ‘Occupation’ novels in which he portrays a gharish vision of the period, exposing the close relationship between organised crime and France’s pro-Nazi collaborators. The story hits the ground running with the two unlikely ‘Resistants’, Maurice Delbart and his friend Bams, in Vichy France in the winter of 1943. Their intelligence-commissioned task is to obtain plans of German fortifications around Leucate in advance of possible Allied landings in Provençe.
A 2004 BBC Radio 4 documentary on the role of the Spanish maquis in the French Resistance, an episode in the ‘Ramblings’ slot with excerpts of interviews with Nancy Wake, Peter Lake and Francis Cammaerts. Listen HERE
This compelling and moving book, first published in Spanish in 1972 (and in English in 1974, and now republished for Kindle), examines the life of one of the best-known of all the Spanish resistance fighters — Francisco Sabaté Llopart, known as El Quico, General Franco’s ‘Public Enemy No. 1’. But it is more than this, for the author, Antonio Téllez, traces in detail what has been called ‘a little-known period of Spanish history’, the period that saw the development of the Anarchist resistance to the Fascist regime following the tragic end of the Spanish Civil War, a resistance that continues to this day (1974). It paints a striking picture not only of the development of resistance in Spain, but also of its too-long ignored influence on contemporary (1960s and 1970s) urban guerrilla movements in South America and in Europe.
It is a sad story: of a man who would not compromise his ideals nor treat with a system he found tyrannical and vile, a man who devoted his adult life to freeing the most openly oppressed people in Europe. But Sabaté ‘s story does not end in 1960, as did his life, in the dusty street in San Celoni surrounded by Militia and Guardia Civil and broken by their bullets. His struggle was taken up by men and women throughout Spain. As Téllez demonstrates, Sabaté proved by his selfless battle that the individual is never helpless; there is always a possibility of rebelling and defending an idea one considers just. Francisco Sabaté, unquenchably brave, undismayed by failure, unmarked by treachery, gave to his people and to the free world the knowledge of the rightness of his cause.
January 5, 2010 was the 50th anniversary of the death of Francesc Sabaté Llopart, ‘El Quico’, the legendary urban guerrilla who resisted the Franco regime for 24 years, 14 of them in the mountains, towns and villages of Catalonia. The story of ‘El Quico’ (briefly outlined here in this short biopic – in Spanish) is one of a man who would not compromise his ideals nor treat with a system he found tyrannous and vile, a man who devoted most of his adult life to challenging the last of the fascist dictators in the most openly oppressed country in Western Europe. By his selfless battle ‘El Quico’ demonstrated that the individual is never helpless: there is always a possibility of rebelling and defending an idea one considers just. Francesc Sabaté Llopart, unquenchably brave, undismayed by failure, unmarked by treachery, gave to his people and to the world the knowledge of the righteousness of his cause.
See FILMS (in SPANISH)
|DOSSIER: GENERACIONES Y MEMORIA DE LA REPRESIÓN FRANQUISTA: UN BALANCE DE LOS MOVIMIENTOS POR LA MEMORIA 2. ¿Política de exterminio? El debate acerca de la ideología, estrategias. HISPANIA NOVA, Revista de Historia Contemporánea (No 6 – 2006)
The study of the historical phenomenon of the guerrilla against Franco, as well as different aspects of the Spanish civil war, has been affected until today by a misunderstood instruction of oblivion, tacit or expressed, with a consequence of academic marginality. However, the Spanish maquis was the equivalent of the antifascist European movements of resistance, with the only difference that in Europe the maquis won and in Spain they were defeated. The political aim was the same: to restore the democratic system. However, in Spain, as it was a history of the defeated,the interpretation and the rare studies of this phenomenon have been deformed and falsified, mainly because the specific archives still belong to the repressors’ heirs.
|The Partisan – Le Partisan (1969 – Leonard Cohen)|
|When they poured across the border I was cautioned to surrender, this I could not do; I took my gun and vanished. I have changed my name so often, I’ve lost my wife and children but I have many friends and some of them are with me. An old woman gave us shelter, kept us hidden in the garret, then the soldiers came; she died without a whisper. There were three of us this morning I’m the only one this evening but I must go on; the frontiers are my prison.
Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing, through the graves the wind is blowing, freedom soon will come; then we’ll come from the shadows.