p. 9

The Spanish Civil War

p. 11

Durango and Guernica

At the main fronts Franco did not progress. At Posoblanco and at Guadalajara the rebels and their auxiliary troops suffered heavy defeats. Hitler required urgently as payment for his supplies of soldiers and material the basque ores. Thus, in spring 1937 began the strangling of the starving northern provinces.

The Basques were united in the fight for their independence. The catholic clergy was on the side of the fighting people. But it was missing everything that is necessary for the war. There were not enough weapons and not enough food. There were only people who wanted to defend their liberty.

The small city Durango had 10,000 inhabitants before the war. Several thousand men had gone to the front, in their place several thousand refugees had come to the city.

In Durango there are memories of Germany of former times, which were kept very high. A hundred years ago William of Humboldt came to see Padre Asterloa in Durango and studied with him the basque language. Humbold supported the national independence of the basque people.

This memory was extinguished on March 31, 1937 by forty german Junkers planes. In the parish church Santa Maria abbott Morilla, a successor of the Padre Asterloa, the presently highest one of the basque clergy, was smashed by a hundred-kilogram bomb when he raised the calice.

At the same hour in the collapsing chapel of the Jesuits the communicating Padre Villalabeitia with his ministers and many believers were killed.

The same afternoon in the Augustines monastery fifteen nuns were killed. After the bombardment the planes fired at the refugees on the fields with machine guns.

After two days, on 2 April, the parish church Santa Maria was completely destroyed, the monk monastery, which had remained intact so far, was hit by fifteen bombs. Durango deplored 300 deads, 2500 (two thousand five hundred) injured had to be transported to the neighboring places, because no more roof and no bed were available, in order to save her.

Like Durango Guernica was also situated at that time far behind the frontline and was military without any importance. Guernica is the national symbol of the Basques. Franco repelled the independence of the basque people acknowledged by the republic. He pawned the treasures of the country.


Last change: 22 Jun 2000