The official document of the Spanish Traditionalist Falange and of the JONS remained abandoned in the Municipal Archive of Manises (Valencia) until two local researchers recently rescued it. “On behalf of the national delegate of the Women’s Section, Comrade Pilar Primo de Rivera, I have the pleasure to convey my gratitude for all the attention you have had with our comrades from the Hitler Youth, who have spent a few days among us.” This is how the provincial secretary of the Women’s Section, Isabel de Castellví, addressed the local chief of Manises on June 3, 1941.
The historians Salva Espí and Pepa Moraga have cataloged for almost three years more than 4,000 documents of the party of the yoke and arrows in the Valencian town, the cradle of ceramics. The documentation – “fabulous”, according to Espí – covers the entire period of the dictatorship, including the immediate postwar period in which the Falange holds enormous power, as the archive’s catalog shows.
The “German girls”, according to the newspaper I raised On May 14, 1941, they were received by Adolfo Rincón de Arellano, Isabel de Castellví’s husband, and they visited the Commanding School of the Women’s Section in Godella, in a ceremony that was also attended by the “head of the National-Socialist Party in Valencia, Mr. Tarrach “and a representative of the archbishop, as well as other local leaders of the Franco regime. “The Spanish male and female sections of the Foreign Youth of the Reich also attended,” he says. I raised, a newspaper in the hands of the Falangists after the Francoist troops entered Valencia two years earlier. German girls are greeted with “great displays of sympathy, manifested in cheers and applause.”
Antoni Morant, professor of Contemporary History at the University of Valencia, is author of a comprehensive doctoral thesis on the links between the Phalanx Women’s Section and German Nazi women’s organizations. “This visit, lasting almost seven weeks, is one of the most important between the Women’s Section and the women’s organizations of the Nazi party between 1937 and 1943,” Morant explained to elDiario.es.
The Nazi representatives were welcomed by the top leaders in Valencia of the male and female Falange, the marriage formed by Adolfo Rincón de Arellano and Isabel de Castellví y Trenor, of noble lineage (Casilda de Castellví, sister of the Falangist leader, was shot in Barcelona during the Civil War for its role in Franco’s espionage). For their part, the German girls were part of the Hitler Youth Command Academy: “It was a high-ranking visitor,” says Morant.
The historian highlights the “context of the undeniable dominance of Germany over continental Europe” in which the exchange takes place. “The visits,” adds Antoni Morant, “are a demonstration of ideological affinity.” “Falange is the Spanish representative of the fascist universe, they share the belief of being part of a common transnational political and ideological culture beyond their own borders,” says the researcher.
The “German comrades” also visited the library of the University of Valencia, which guarded the books seized from the republican intelligentsia, and the headquarters of the Central Nacional-Sindicalista. In Manises they were able to visit a ceramic factory, “being presented with precious samples.” The delegation also visited the castle of Sagunto and an exhibition organized by the Press Association. In the temple of the Virgen de los Desamparados they were presented with a drawing by the painter José Segrelles of the dictator Francisco Franco.
The third day included a visit by the young Nazis to Alzira, Sueca and Albufera, where they had lunch invited by the Valencia City Council. In the afternoon, they went to the Museum of Fine Arts and, in the evening, they attended the performance of the opera Madame Butterfly at the Main Theater.
The visit also included contacts with compatriots from the German colony in Valencia. In fact, on a visit to the newspaper’s newsroom I raised The then German consul in Valencia, the businessman Máximo Buch (grandfather of the ex-minister of Economy of the PP of the same name) participated. During the wine of honor offered by the director and deputy director of the newspaper, he toasted “to the greatness of Germany and Spain.”
The last day in the city, the delegation passed through the Lonja and the Valencia Cathedral and, after lunch, they left Valencia in the direction of Alicante. The Falangist newspaper described the departure as follows: “They were fired by some authorities, hierarchies of the Movement, all the heads of the Women’s Section and affiliates, German Youth in Valencia and compatriots. When the bus started, they were given alive to Germany and its Führer “.
A “sincere token of friendship”
The historian Antoni Morant analyzes in his doctoral thesis the exchanges between the Feminine Section of the Falange and the cadres of the Nazi organizations and highlights the clear preference of the party founded by Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera for the Germany of Adolf Hitler. “Pilar Primo de Rivera visits Germany six times in five years and fascist Italy twice,” he says.
“She was probably the Falangist hierarch who visits Germany the most times, many more than the foreign ministers,” adds Morant, who stresses that the trips are not “a diplomatic paripe” but a “sincere show of friendship and ideological affinity.” Researcher Salvador Espí highlights, for his part, the “chauvinism and pro-Franco paternalism” that emerges from the documentation on Falange that they have cataloged in the funds of the Municipal Archive of Manises.
The visits also take place in the “broader framework of foreign cultural policy” of the National Socialist regime, explains the historian. In the exchanges between the two organizations, Clarita Stauffer, of German origin and a close friend of Pilar Primo de Rivera, had a very relevant role, whose role is “very little studied”, according to Morant. Stauffer participated in the route of the rats that allowed, through Spain, the escape of Nazi war criminals (and also of Croatian fugitives, among other nationalities). In fact, she was the only woman whose extradition was demanded by the allies in 1947 (a request that the Franco regime rejected).
The researcher tracked files in Spain, Germany and Italy and recovered abundant graphic material from the magazine AND of the Feminine Section, available in the newspaper library of the National Library, including the crossword puzzles with swastikas that it published. Although Falange had its greatest influence in the Franco hierarchy in the postwar period, “it never had absolute power” and the blue shirts were forced to share it with the military and ecclesiastical estates, with the minister Ramón Serrano Suñer as a strong man.
The most compromising documentary collections for Falange were partly destroyed during the dictatorship (from 1943 on bonfires). After the fall of Mussolini in Italy, “there was enormous fear and in the days that followed there are conversations of the Falange trying to see which was the fastest escape route from Madrid.” It was not necessary: once part of the trace of collaboration with Nazism had been eliminated and the Falangists neutralized, the Franco regime remained until the death of the dictator.