Wednesday, October 5

Bolaños pays tribute to the Spanish Republicans who liberated Paris: “Their example is more relevant than ever”

Together with two republican flags – Spanish and French – the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, has attended with the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, the official acts organized on the occasion of the 78th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris, on August 24 of 1944, and in homage to the Spanish republican fighters. “We carry them in our hearts and their example is more relevant than ever”, said Bolaños during the ceremony held at the Garden of Combattants of the Nine, a public space adjacent to the French capital’s city hall building.

The route of the liberation of Paris

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The mayor of Paris, the socialist of Spanish origin Anne Hidalgo, has lamented the death of the last testimonies of Spanish participation in the French resistance to Nazism and the oblivion of the Spanish combatants (“everyone from the left: anarchists, communists, socialists, all republicans”, he has riveted). “These men came to fight for the ideal of freedom with the aim of liberating Paris”, recalled the first mayor of the French capital.

Anne Hidalgo has also lamented the oblivion to which French official memory subjected the combatants framed in ‘La Nueve’, the company made up of Spanish Republicans. “The role of foreigners in the Liberation of Paris has not been the one in which post-war France has turned”, Hidalgo acknowledged, who has not missed the opportunity to criticize the statements of the pseudo-historian Pío Moa in a controversial interview published by the supplement of the French newspaper The Figaro. He has branded Moa a “falsifier of history.”

The mayor of Paris has assured that “the men of ‘La Nueve’ are the ones who connect the history of Spain with the history of democracy and European values”.

For his part, Bolaños praised those Republicans as “brave Spaniards who fought for the ideals that we take for granted today.” “Every day we must fight for the values ​​that inspire the Spanish and French democracies,” he added.

The Minister of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Democratic Memory has also referred to the future historical memory law: “It connects us with international law and with Europe and brings us a little closer to France, where memory is part of identity,” he said.

Bolaños and Hidalgo have participated in the opening of the exhibition ‘Faces of exile 1939-2019’, at the Halle des Blancs Manteaux. The exhibition includes the exhibition Chemins d’exile, with photographs by Philippe Gaussot and ‘Blood is not water’, by Pierre Gonnord. The events were also attended by Fernando Martínez López, Secretary of State for Democratic Memory, and the communist Laurence Patrice, responsible for memoire et du monde combattant of the Paris City Council.

The combatants of ‘La Nueve’

It was not until August 24, 2014, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris, that France officially recognized the leading role of the Spanish Republicans in the battle against the Nazi invader. The Spanish Republicans of The nine they were the first to penetrate Paris”, acknowledged the then French president in his speech, Francois Hollande.

Erased from the official French history of resistance against Nazism, very present in the streets, schools and public institutions, the Spanish republicans culminated in 1945 a war that for them had begun in 1936, with the coup d’état led by General Francisco Franco against the democratic legality of the Second Republic. After the end of the war, Spanish anti-fascists who were able to escape Franco’s repression crossed the Pyrenees and joined the Free French Army, commanded by General De Gaulle, and the French resistance. Others ended up in Nazi concentration camps.

Despite its internationalist role in the future of Europe, France completely blurred the uncomfortable Spanish guest from official historical memory, who also intended to continue the war on his own against the Franco regime south of the Pyrenees.

The official ceremony for the 78th anniversary of the liberation was also attended by journalist and historian Evelyn Mesquida, author of La Nueve, the Spaniards who liberated Paris (Ediciones B, 2019), one of the reference works on the vanguard company of the 2nd Armored Division of the Free French Army made up of Republicans.

Amado Granell (Borriana, 1898 – Swedish, 1972), the Valencian soldier who headed the armored division that included the Republicans who entered Paris during the Liberation from Nazi occupation, symbolizes the trajectory of the Spanish anti-fascists.

Granell, who has a street and a metro stop in his name in Valencia, became commander of the 49th Mixed Brigade of the Popular Army during the Spanish Civil War. At the end of the conflict, he was able to embark on the Stanbrook ship in the port of Alicante to go into exile. Enlisted in the French Foreign Legion, Granell continued to fight against fascism along with 7,000 republican soldiers. Thus, the man from Castellón joined the 2nd Armored Division under the command of General Philippe Leclerc.

in the newspaper edition liberation On August 25, 1945, the Valencian who liberated Paris is photographed together with the Prefect of the Seine, head of the Gaullist resistance. Half a century after his death and almost eight decades after the end of World War II, Amado Granell has at least some official recognition on both sides of the border.