Carchuna Castle Controversy

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Courtesy of:

The 24th of May will see the 80th anniversary of the rescue of Republican prisoners of war held captive in Carchuna fort.

Franco’s advances in the North of Spain had led to the collapse of the Asturían front resulting in 308 Republican prisoners being held in the before-mentioned, location.

On May the 23rd, 1938, a daring amphibious operation was planned and carried out by 35 Republican soldiers under the command of an American, Lieutenant William Aalto, one of many foreign volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.

ECO William AaltoThe mission was successful and 308 prisoners were taken back over the front line to Castell de Ferro. Lt. Aalto was promoted to Captain for this action.

Eighty years later, relatives of those rescued prisoners from Asturias, together with an association based on the Costa Tropical, have been preparing several public acts to commemorate the event and analyse that historic episode during next weekend.

The idea was to hold the talks etc. in very same building where the prisoners had escaped from; i.e. El Castillo de Carchuna, where many public events are held. However, the conservative First Councillor of Carchuna and Calahonda, Concepción Abarca, refuses to give permission for this.

She says that she had denied permission for this monument, which doubles as a sort of casa de la cultura, because she doesn’t want it used for political acts.

So, if she doesn’t want the fort used for this event, she is 100% against it being used as a permanent exhibition of the Desbandá of 1937, as requested by the Asociación 14 de Abril, de la Costa Granadina.

The Desbandá is the name given to the thousands of refugees that fled along the coast in front of the advancing Franco forces. These civilians and retreating militiamen were harassed by the fascist vanguard, from the air and from the sea.

It was the presence of the Brigadas Internacionales that managed to halt the rout and establish the new front in Castell de Ferro.

“Yes, it was used as a prison camp, we know that, and they can put up a plaque show this, no problem, as long as they don’t come bearing flags nor upset anybody,” said the First Councillor, adding, “I don’t want to reopen old wounds.”

(News: Carchuna, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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