Page 1, 4th September 1936

4th September 1936
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Page 1, 4th September 1936 — WHAT I SAW IN BARCELONA
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WHAT I SAW IN BARCELONA

Heart-Breaking Scenes in the Streets

By I. J. BOWEN [We give below an account of the Spanish Civil War, with particular reference to Barcelona. by a resident in the city, who has just returned to England. Though a British subject. he was horn of a Spanish mother and has lived all his life in the country].

In Barcelona, on the outbreak of fighting, the government of the " Generalitat " asked the F.A.1. (the Spanish Anarchist Federation) to help them. They promised the anarchists all the guns and ammunition they might need and all sorts of things if they would help to smash the common enemy. This appeal was broadcast all day on Saturday, August 18.

Then began what we may certainly describe as the most cruel war that ever took place in Spain. I have seen people of Ow Right being shot dead by the Left, while waving a white flag as a sign of surrender.

I have witnessed most atrocious crimes, such as the killing of all the nuns of a convent. This crime was committed by a number of children, the majority of whom were not over 17 years old. The corpses of the nuns were then exhibited, naked, at the door of the convent.

It was heart-breaking to sec that the most dreadful and cruel of all are the children, in many cases girls out-numbering the boys.

However, this is not yet the final fight. Everybody in Spain feels that t/ie. real fight would begin, should the Government forces win; because if they did. it would then split into another war between the united left and socialism (the latter also called the U.G.T.) and the anarchists or F.A.I. (also known as C.N.T.).

Night Scenes

The situation in Barcelona is much more serious than it is anywhere else. The present quiet is only apparent. The city— nay, the whole of Catalurfa—is virtually ruled by the anarchists who every night commit the most atrocious murders under cover of darkness and the help of frightened citizens.

For instance, the day before I left, I witnessed the following scene: at about 12.15 a.m. a motor car with five anarchists in it stopped in front of a house at the Gran Via, asked the night watchman to open the door and went upstairs; a few minutes later they brought down a man of about 50 who was forced into the car.

A couple of hours later the man was returned to his home, with fourteen bullets in his body. According to the " portera" the anarchists took the body up to his flat and put him back into his bed before the horrified eyes of his wife. This is not done by any other party than the anarchists. It may, perhaps, give a clear idea of their power if I mention here the incident that happened at the Government House (Generalitat) between the President of Cataluna and the anarchists.

Anarchists and the President

It seems that Mr. Companys was trying to shield the rebel Generals Goded and 13urriel as they had surrendered to him, and Goded had obeyed the President's request to speak by radio to the rebel forces in Barcelona and ask them to cease fighting.

The anarchists were trying to locate the prison where Goded was locked up. They finally went up to see the President and I asked him to kill these generals at once. When the President objected, pointing out that he had guaranteed the general's life when he surrendered, the anarchists replied : " Tell us, camarada, who guarantees your own life . .

The members of the Anarchist Federation numbered last January about 2,000; now it is estimated to be over 30,000—all ready to kill and die.

Meaning of the Struggle The growing utterance of the Left has caused continued unrest in Spain since the foundation of the Republic and the murder of Senor Calvo Sotelo by the official• "Assault Guards " precipitated the present outbreak.

But the war which began as a conflict between Right and Left, has now developed into a grim struggle between order and disorder, law and anarchy.




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