ROTEIROS para o coñecemento da Memoria Histórica de Vilagarcía

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Translation by JOHN THOMPSON

Here at this site of Os Martices on 21 January 1937, the following people were murdered: José Ramon Roo Pérez, an agricultural unionist of Despertad Campesinos [“Wake up Campesinos”], Luis Iglesias Galáns (from the UGT*), and Juan Aragunde Alfonsín who, like Roo, belonged to Despertad Campesinos.

Here on 15 Febrary 1937, after catching him in the mountains of Bamio, they executed by firearm

Enrique Mariño Barreiro, who was a communist.

And here on 19 March 1937, they also murdered Josefa Barreiro González, from the Working Women of the CNT.* She was arrested three days earlier at her house in A Torre.

*The UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores) was (is) the labor union connected to the socialist party PSOE.

*The CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo) was (is) the anarchist labor union.

Enrique Mariño was a boy who lived in O Piñeiriño (Vilagarcía), and he was from Padrón where he was born. Enrique was a cobbler by profession, a member of the Communist Party, and he escaped to the mountains when he knew his life would turn into something worthless.

In the mountain he would join the Gypsy’s group. They had several hideouts; one of the last ones was Pilar’s house in Trabanca Badiña, which they abandoned under fire on 10 February 1937.

They caught Enrique because his feet were crippled and he couldn’t run. They put him in the basement of city hall and took him out three days later to execute him by firearm at this location of Os Martices. He wrote a letter to his mother, which you can read on this plaque.

Guillermo Fernández and Joaquín Franco, witnesses of that despicable incident, say that he died with is fist raised while shouting “Long Live the Republic!”

We were in Pilar’s house. I had 22 revolver—one of those old ones—and I also had a rifle. One morning we faced them when they came to the house (Pilar’s house); they came, they knocked on the door:

“Who is it?”

“The Civil Guard…!”

The Gypsy had been in Africa and had a white 44 revolver; I had the rifle. We started firing at the door… Bam! Bam!

We also jumped through a shed. We covered our comrades’ backs and were the last to stay behind, the Gypsy and I; then we caught up with the others and Pilar was crying…

“Oh my daughters!”

She had two daughters, I urged her to get herself together and said:

“Be quiet! Nothing is going to happen!”

I helped her go up and from there we left for the mountain. Suddenly a comrade “O Campanas,” realized that he had forgotten his shoes and there …Crack!… one who had hidden shot at him and hit his arm. With his arm hanging and running with us, we reached Meda. There we got together; there were twelve of us and we decided to look for someone to give medical treatment to O Campanas’ arm (his name was Ángel Buceta) and we went down. There we had big clash; four of us went down the hill, you couldn’t see anything, a foggy morning, ten steps away you couldn’t see anything. [A comrade] from Bamio went to look for the wife of one who had also escaped to see if she would give us something to eat. Sure enough, she told us to wait and that she’d make us a tortilla [Spanish omelet]. While we were waiting, we heard speaking and it was an immense row of falangists; at that moment there were just two of us, José Torres and I, there were some twenty of them and they say…

“The Falange of Vilagarcía!”

I said to Torres:

“Let’s get down and run!”

We tumbled down the mountain and they Bam! Bam!, fired on us… We were able to escape but they got Campanas and another comrade who was crippled; three days later they executed him by firearm in Los Martices. His name was Enrique Mariño. He was a communist.

Juan Gil, “O Linterneiro” from Rubiáns, or “The Mole” given that after this incident, he holed up in a hideout fashioned in his house.

Cornazo was perhaps the parish of Vilagarcía that suffered the most from the fascist coup d’état of 1936. Thereafter, left-wingers were persecuted relentlessly. Jose Ramón Roo and his brother-in-law Luis Iglesias were hidden in Cornazo by a neighbor in a house that was uninhabited; it was owned by Agustin Romero, a rich emigrant in Uruguay whose housekeeper was Juan Aragunde. They resisted a few months until 18 January when they were captured. Three days after (on 21 January 1937) they were executed at this site by firearm. [The fascists] took the two brother-and-laws’ lives and also the neighbor’s, who was so generous to them. Years later when Roo’s and Aragunde’s wives were planting potatoes, a funeral march passed by. Contrary to what customary at that time, no one walked behind the coffin; it was just the deceased and the priest, who was one the main culprits of the murder of their husbands, their loved ones. With their hoes they [the wives] started to make noise. Later that night they were arrested and taken to jail.

When they exited the door, one of them told my mother:

“Elvira, don’t worry because tomorrow morning you’ll have these plucked birds at home.”

Manolo Aragunde, Juan Aragunde Alfonsín’s son

The anarchists affiliated to the CNT allowed women to attend cultural centers, unions, and organizations where they had the opportunity to educate themselves. One of these women was Josefa Barreiro, born in Carril. She married Pascual Tobío and they had two children. Pascual was the nephew of another anarchist woman, Otilia Tobío, who was very active in workers’ demonstrations at the time. Thanks to Otilia, Josefa hid a young man in her house at A Torre. He was 22 years old and an anarchist from the area of Rubiáns. His name was Urbano Tarrío Montero.

On 16 March 1937, the falangists and the army got to the San Miguel plaza. They entered Josefa’s house, they saw a hatch on the kitchen ceiling and started to shoot. Blood immediately began to come out of the ceiling. It was Urbano’s body, a good man and innocent like all those whose lives were taken by those people. They arrested Josefa. “She left with her hair neat, with her blue coat on her shoulders, and white flowers on the lapel… she was beautiful.” That is how Uxa da Torre, a girl at that time, described how they took [Josefa] to the headquarters of the Civil Guard. According to peoples’ memories, in order to murder her they had to sit her down on a chair.

My aunt was a housekeeper in Ramal; there was a house there, I don’t know if you remember, and the owners left to Madrid and my aunt took care of the house.

She would go a lot into town. The falangists came, there was a kneading-trough and above that some stairs that went up to the attic. They shot at the door and blood appeared right away… And then they arrested her.

Manuel Eiras Barreiro, Josefa Barreiro’s nephew

They hid in that house over there; they were there quite a while and here there is (there was) a vine all across from here to up there. And forty thousand came here to the house to look for them, and even neighbors who came to spy to see if their clothes were being dried, eh? And they would come around here… even relatives… cousins, sons.. they were falangists. They even took my mother and my aunt away at night. But at night with a lantern and the others down there along the river we would work on very big farm that, at that time, was watered at night with a lantern because it was necessary to do this at night and to water you needed a lantern. One night at 2 a.m. they arrested them [my mother and my aunt] and they took them down there; my mother was pregnant… my deceased father and my uncle were hiding in the garden and they jumped over to another garden where there is a tall wall, and on top of that they could see everything.

You understand? They made them [my mother and my aunt] shout at my father and my uncle who would hear them up there. They spent a while there without saying anything until someone… [the witness points at his mouth] someone talked, and it was one night. I always remember that night! Because my grandmother, my mother, my aunt (making cornbread), and us (we were kids) playing soccer in front of the school—because now there are no people here, but at that time there were many children to play soccer with. In my house, there were four of us, and in that house there were five; Arangunde had six. And all of us would get together there. We were playing there until all the cars, a truck, and others arrived… it was the army. We fled running, each to his own house and right here, there at the entrance, my mother came out because they had heard all the racket… My mother suffered dizziness and fell right there, and they took them I believe for three days, I can’t remember. They took my aunt, my mother, and Aragunde’s mother. I can remember it as if it were today because my uncle… My father was my father, but my uncle was a bachelor and I was a kid and so he spent a lot of time with me. I remember he took me in his arms and said: “Look, I’m going to give you some advice: when you see a bird that’s captive, open a window and let it go, give it freedom because here we can never have freedom.” Those were the words that my uncle said to me.

I was told that when they executed them by firearm in Los Martices, they gave a blindfold to each one to cover his eyes, and my uncle and my father refused; they blindfolded their friend because he didn’t have the courage to endure that, but they [my uncle and my father] didn’t want one. That’s life and I was five years old.

Andrés Roo, José Ramón Roo’s son

From left to right, the news article on the execution of Luis Iglesias, José Ramón, and Juan Aragunde at this location of Os Martices. The editor highlights the “religious fervor” that the soon to be murdered discovered in their last moments. To the right of the article, Josefa Barreiro González from Carril when she still lived in A Torre with her sons Valentín and Julio, who were orphaned of their mother at the age of 6 and 4 respectively. To the far right, Juan Aragunde Alfonsín from Cornazo. Below, the letter Enrique Mariño sent his mother to bid her farewell moments before his execution. Enrique was from Padrón and lived in O Piñeiriño. He was a cobbler by profession.

To my mother

Today they are going to execute me by firearm; I’m not afraid. Mom, what I ask of you in this world is to look after Carmen who is good, she’s good, and will be good for you. I ask you provide her with a stall in the city square next to yours, don’t abandon her because she’s alone in the world and she doesn’t have a father or mother or any shelter other than yours. I’m not afraid. Goodbye forever

Your son

Enrique Mariño

The house in Cornazo on Revelle Street, which belonged to Agustín Romero, a prominent man from Vilagarcía who was born in Cornazo. He made his fortune as an emigrant in Uruguay. Here behind a false wall, he hid Juan Aragunde and his comrades Andrés and Luis for six months, waiting for better and more peaceful times until a betrayal ruined it all. The three were executed by firearm at this location of Os Martices.

The burgundy house is the place where Josefa Barreiro González’ house was, the plaza of San Miguel of Trabanca Badiña. Today all of this is very changed. In fact, that house had only one floor. There she hid the young man Urbano Tarrío until he was discovered on 16 March 1937. Urbano hid in the attic, which he accessed with a hand ladder. They say that he was shot through the ceiling and his blood began to fall through the wood joints.
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