Today in 1936

From Molly’s Blog


It was not a dark and stormy night, but the atmosphere in the streets of Barcelona was just as electric. On July 14, 1936 General Mola had summoned military commanders to his headquarters in northern Spain to finalize the details of a military coup against the Popular Front government. On July 17 General Franco flew to Morocco where the military uprising had already begun. The Spanish government dithered and proclaimed the situation “under control”. The government censored a notice in the CNT’s paper Solidaridad Obrera warning the workers of the impending coup, but the anarchists considered it important enough to reprint and distribute by hand. The local government of Catalonia refused to turn over arms to the CNT’s Defence Committees, and anarchist longshoremen stormed ships carrying arms on the night of the 17th and turned them over the the CNT. The government tried to recover the arms but failed. Throughout the 18th the workers in Barcelona obtained what arms they could while the government issued paper decrees in the absence of any real authority. […]

The Last of the Durruti Column

From Francis Sedgemore:

Last of the Durruti Column

last of the Durruti Column

It’s not the usual kind of character portrait you see on the BBC News website, but yesterday there was published an article on Antonio Garcia Baron, who is the sole surviving member of the Durruti Column. Baron and his anarchist comrades held Franco’s fascist forces at bay in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39.

Baron fled Spain following the defeat of the Republicans. In 1940 he landed in Dunkirk, and there was captured by the German army and imprisoned in the Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz in Austria. After World War II, Baron, who was by now stateless, relocated to Bolivia. There he briefly did psychological battle with a local catholic priest before settling down and founding a libertarian community in a remote jungle location 60 kilometres from San Buenaventura.

During his interview for the BBC article, Baron told Alfonso Daniels about his time in Mauthausen, including an exchange with Heinrich Himmler. The SS chief agreed with Baron that the Roman Catholic Church was a fine ally of the Nazis:

“He replied that it was true, but that after the war I would see all the cardinals with the Pope marching there, pointing at the chimney of the crematorium.”

Read the rest of the story of this fascinating man.

See also: NY Brit