Saturday, July 24

The Longest Camp, a sound report by Nando Ochando


In July 1936, a group of scouts from Zaragoza was preparing to enjoy two weeks of camping in the Pyrenees that they organized every summer.

They could never imagine that this camping trip would be the longest of his life. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the Ordesa Valley, where they planted their stores, was left in a republican zone, and their city under the side of the coup plotters.

This story narrates the journey that the young scouts made from Ordesa to France, passing through Aínsa and Barcelona. A getaway for survival in which they could not have direct news from their families. Clashes with the militiamen, a shortage of provisions, rumors of a possible flight to Russia and a pleasant coexistence with French nuns would mark their last official camp before, with the arrival of the Franco dictatorship, scouts were outlawed in Spain.

With the voices of survivors, family members and historians, we reconstruct this journey that the youngest of the group of explorers lived as a true adventure.


Families on the other side

With the country split into two camps, all possible communication between the Scouts and their families was disrupted. It was not until they arrived in Barcelona, ​​two months after leaving Zaragoza, that their parents only managed to know that they were still alive.

While the war rages on in our country, in October the procession manages to leave Barcelona and reach France. It is then that the boys manage to have the first direct communication with their families, which, saving all kinds of difficulties, send them letters, packages and up to 100 kilos of nougat for Christmas.


Rumors of a possible transfer to Russia

On several occasions there was speculation that the government of the Republic would send the younger scouts to the Soviet Union.

These rumors were finally dispelled after the intervention of the International Red Cross and the International Bureau of Scouts, who organized, together with a French bishop, the reception of the little ones in a convent in Lourdes.

Despite this, it is not clear that there was a real intention to proceed with the transfer to the USSR. The Republic needed parental permission, something impossible to achieve in the peculiar case of this group of scouts from Zaragoza.



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