Miners against Fascism: Wales and the Spanish Civil War

Miners against Fascism: Wales and the Spanish Civil War

Miners against Fascism: Wales and the Spanish Civil War

Miners against Fascism: Wales and the Spanish Civil War

Excerpt

It is now seventy-five years since the first Basque refugee children came to Wales, to be sheltered and sustained by the ‘Aid Spain’ Movement. The first group arrived at Swansea on 30 June 1937, to be welcomed by an emotional crowd of supporters at High Street Station. These innocent victims were a tangible reminder of the terrible consequences of the military rising against the democratically elected Spanish Republican Government. But they were no mere victims: they were defiantly undefeated, proudly showing this through their clench-fisted anti-fascist salutes and their pride in their footballing and folk-dancing skills.

Many people have asked me in recent years to re-issue my work Miners Against Fascism: Wales and the Spanish Civil War, which was first published in 1984. I believe that the anniversary of that poignant arrival in Wales would be an appropriate time to make the book available once again. For that reason I dedicate this edition those courageous children, and one in particular, Esperanza Careaga de Galindez. Appropriately named Esperanza (hope in Spanish), to us she was a warm, vivacious, charismatic person, who became part of the family of George and Gert Harris of Barry, the uncle and aunt of my wife, Mair. We had the honour of speaking at Espe’s funeral on 4 December 2004. We told the tragic story of her early years, which included the summary execution of her father by the Franco forces and the break-up of her family.

There are other reasons why I needed to reprint the book with a new preface. Firstly, whilst an earlier reprint, produced by publishers Warren and Pell in 2004, carried a new preface, I did not address in it some of the historiographical and factually impressionistic issues raised by Professor Robert Stradling’s Wales and the Spanish Civil War: The Dragon’s Dearest Cause? (2004). I wish to do so now.

As I stated in my 2004 preface, I welcomed Professor Stradling’s . . .

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