Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spanish Maquis

The Spanish Maquis were Spanish guerrillas exiled in France after the Spanish Civil War who continued to fight against the Franco regime until the early 1960s, carrying out sabotage, robberies (to help fund guerrilla activity), occupations of the Spanish Embassy in France and assassinations of Francoists, as well as contributing to the fight against Nazi Germany and the Vichy regime in France during World War II.

Referring to the contribution of the Spanish Maquis to the French resistance movement, Martha Gellhorn wrote in The Undefeated (1945):
"During the German occupation of France, the Spanish Maquis engineered more than four hundred railway sabotages, destroyed fifty-eight locomotives, dynamited thirty-five railway bridges, cut one hundred and fifty telephone lines, attacked twenty factories, destroying some factories totally, and sabotaged fifteen coal mines. They took several thousand German prisoners and - most miraculous considering their arms - they captured three tanks. In the south-west part of France where no Allied armies have ever fought, they liberated more than seventeen towns."
Also during World War II, Spaniards assassinated the German generals von Schaumberg (commandant of the region around Paris) and von Ritter (a recruiter of forced labor). In October 1944 a group of 6,000 maquis including Antonio Téllez Solà invaded Spain via the Aran Valley but were driven back after ten days. Few details of the maquis' actions in Spain have been made public because of the secrecy of the Franco government, but fighters, including Francisco Sabaté Llopart were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) officers, and uncountable acts of industrial sabotage. Between 1943 and 1952, 2,166 maquis were reported arrested by the Civil Guard, nearly wiping out the movement.
A mural in Sallent, Barcelona, Spain commemorating the actions of the maquis.

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