Joined: 17 Feb 2003
|Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:30 pm Post subject: Asturias immigrants who returned for the Spanish Civil War
|My mom and I are wondering how common it was for Asturian immigrants in the US to return to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. Also, which side did those who returned to Spain fought for in the Civil War?
My mother's uncle Anselmo Fernández Álvarez returned to Asturias. He was a sculptor living in Bayonne, NJ, a city in the New York area. Anselmo was a very skilled soccer player who played on the Donora Pennsylvania soccer team (and very likely other teams). A family member told me that Anselmo was a leader in the CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, a national workers' party rooted in anarchist and labor union values) Anselmo died fighting for the Republicans. A family member told me that he was killed when the Fascists dropped a bomb on the train he was traveling in.
My grandfather's mother had a son on both sides of the war. Anselmo's brother Adriano Fernández Álvarez was jornalero (day laborer) in factory, possibly an iron works. Adriano was very right wing or conservative, and later became concierge for AP (probably Ángel Herrera Oria's Acción Popular, a conservative Catholic party, that later became CEDA, Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas). Adriano played soccer (ironically, his position was "extreme izquierda") in the Estadio Benestino for the team Real Avilés. I don't believe Adriano ever left Spain. His American family reported that he joined the Nationalists (Fascists) as a journalist, but that could have resulted from a misunderstanding of the term "jornalero," which means "day laborer."
Adriano was killed by a firing squad early one morning toward end of the Spanish Civil War, or possibly on Aug 13, 1936. My source reported that he was "assassinated by the Marxists (Republicans) according to the written orders of a Republican tribunal (juzgado de 1a Instancia del Partido)."
Several times my grandfather's mother was imprisoned, supposedly in an attempt to gain information about the sons (although more likely they wanted information about the leftist, Anselmo). The church, which was allied with the Fascists, asked my grandfather in the US for money in order to get her released. My grandfather was a painter how had substantial experience paintings for churches, so he sent a very large oil painting of Christ on the cross. The church wrote back to say they didn't want paintings; they wanted money. Years later one of my cousins had the painting returned. It had been left in a damp place, which resulted in a great amount of damage to the painting.
The intrafamilial tensions continued at least until the family members who experienced these events died. Even in 2010, a relative in Asturias told me that they believed Anselmo, as a very left wing leader in the CNT, either knew about or served on a tribunal that planned the firing squad for his brother Andriano. This family member claimed to have government documents showing this plan. I'm still unsure whether to believe that Anselmo would have assented to the killing of his own brother, Adriano, but the enmity decades later was obvious.
Does anyone have other stories about Asturian immigrants who returned to Spain to fight in the Civil War?