Social Action Now!

An objective view to worldwide social issues

Spanish refugees

Each day there are coming more and more refugees to our shores, now mainly in Syria. All these people were and are putting obstacles hindering their entry into Europe. Especially in Spain we should read what Alted Alicia has to tell to us in his book, “La voz de los vencidos: el exilio republicano de 1939, AGUILAR, 2005”, and compare the actual situation with our esperience during the Spanish Civil War.

Alted Alicia explains in his book, The voice of the vanquished: the Republican exile in 1939 that some 465,000 Spaniards fled to France but less than half returned to Spain later.

Here 106 Spanish immigrants coming to Venezuela is. These illegal Canary embarked on, traveling most of the trip in the hold. All these people were fleeing poverty and dictatorship that was in Spain at the time.

Paul Preston in his book The Spanish Holocaust and tells a part of history, “tens of thousands of men, women and Republicans children fled in Madrid on March 28, 1939, pursued by the Phalangist” down south “where they had them He promised that there would be boats that would take them into exile. In fact, such a thing was not possible. ”

Britons were far along some fishing vessels took 5,000 people of Spain. The boat was carrying more people could Stanbrook, with 2,638 refugees I overcome any expectation. This vessel went to Algeria, where France refused to let them in, just as he began the infectious disease risk transfer to the camps.

Mexico offered to host all those Spaniards who wished and, until the beginning of the 2nd World War, was host to many Spaniards who had fled to France.

The first boat that came to Mexico in 1937 was almost 500 children who came from France. Where they left as orphans were welcomed by Mexican families. These children could not return to Spain since the Republic had fallen and remained in Mexico as orphans.

It was feared that Mexico suffered a major crisis as it already had a big problem of unemployment. It was feared that with the arrival of the Spaniards, began to work cheaply.

It is estimated that less than 25,000 Spaniards came to Mexico. Although also they came to Argentina, Chile, Cuba, the Soviet Union, the United States, the Dominican Republic …

Spanish refugees were a big problem for France, economically and politically was as many people could not afford. Moreover, many French were against the Spaniards receive because they were considered a danger and a scourge for French society. For these reasons, France was very interested in the politics of repatriation of Spanish or they were sent to another country.

Many of those who fled to France returned to Spain, especially women and children, and in 1940 there were only about 160,000 Spanish immigrants in France. Most were forced to work for the French authorities, as laborers or fighting with the French military. They were involved in a new war, which affected the whole of Europe and many of them were taken to German concentration camps.

Later many of the Spaniards living in France joined the resistance and were killed or trapped by the Germans.

One of the most prominent cases was that the train departed in 1940 of Angouleme, a train was carrying 927 cattle but Spanish refugees. For days they traveled in the train without food or water, thinking that they were taken to an unoccupied area of ​​France. Finally they arrived at Mauthausen, one of the most tragic concentration camps that existed. Of the 500 men on the train, about 400 died in the camp, but women and children sent them back to Spain. More than 5,000 died in the Nazi concentration camps.


A. Alted Vigil (2005). “LA VOZ DE LOS VENCIDOS: EL EXILIO REPUBLICANO DE 1939”. Retrieved from the book.


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