Alcalaino. Popular Front member of the Council of Alcalá de los Gazules.
Shot in the cemetery of Algeciras, Good Friday 1937.
He was a Popular Front member of the council that was set up on 21st February 1936; the newly elected councillors could not take power until the restrictions had been lifted after the elections.
He formed part of that council, headed by Don Antonio Gallego Visglerio, a significant number of whose members would be shot. We remember the names of Andrés Jobacho Benitéz, second deputy Mayor; Domingo Ortega de la Corte; José Sandoval Moreno; Manuel Fernández Romero. The following councillors completed the council: Juan Delgado Barroso; Antonio Barea Medina; Rodgrigo Delgado Salas; Fernando Valle Ortega; Francisco Barrera Archidona; Gaspar Muñoz Márquez; Sebastián Tizón del Puerto and Francisco Domínguez López. (1)
After the coup d'état, on 22nd July, in an extraordinary urgent session presided over by the lieutenant of the Guardia Civil, and special Delegate of Civil Government, Don Manuel Martínez Pedré, the Comisión Gestora (tr - management commission) was formed, headed by Don José Fernández Montes de Oca, as president, and Don Luis Ahumada Vázquez, Don Andrés Márquez Álvarez, Don Domingo Puerto Gómez, as assistants to the Mayor, and as community representative, Don Miguel Blanco Sanchez. (2)
Doc. 1. Signature of José Pizarro Torres. Corresponding to the minutes of the session of 18th July, 1936. Said session was presided over by Domingo Ortega de la Corte, in the absence of the Mayor, Don Antonio Gallego. Both, together with the Auditor and other councillors would be arrested, moved to the prison in Medina, and shot.
Doc. 2. Written by the Provincial Instruction Court of Political Responsibilities, led by the Local Chief of FET (tr - Falange Española Tradicionalista) and JONS (tr - the fascist Falange) of Alcalá de los Gazules, in which was reiterated the request for the report asked for in writing on 11th November 1941.
Between the days of 18th and 22nd July 1936, the first arrests took place of, crucially, the Mayor, some councillors, and the Auditor. All those, as we already know, were shot along with other citizens.
José Pizarro Torres, together with his father-in-law, an old man in his 80s, hid during those first days in a garden near Alcalá.
According to testimonies collected by his own son Antonio, some undesirable who no-one wanted to identify and who was by now already dead, denounced his grandfather as a communist. The motive for the denunciation, and anything might have been counted, in this case seems to have been a court judgement that he lost concerning a cow. Which just shows the baseness and human misery which the coup shletered and empowered.
Antonio's grandfather didn't have anything to do with political responsibilities nor unions of any kind. I met Antonio Pizarro Montes de Oca, the son of José Pizarro Torres, personally a little while ago thanks to Mari Santo Delgado who introduced me to him and made it possible for me to collect his testimony. (3)
At almost seventy years of age, Antonio found out that his father had been shot, that he had been a councillor in Alcalá de los Gazules. His brother told him, perhaps because he himself was gravely ill and he felt the need to pass on "that secret to his brother". It seemed it was something that ought to happen. They never spoke about their father, his death, and the circumstances of his death. Antonio told me this with tears in his eyes at that moment, with a sadness accumulated by his brother's death, his father, his life and the ignorance and obligatory forgetting, in which he had lived for more than seventy years.
Doc. 3. A written copy from the Court of Instruction of Public Responsibilities in which was solicited a report on the accused.
Doc. 4. Written by the Local Chief of FET and that of JONS of Alcalá de los Gazules in response to the request for a report from the Provincial Judge Instructor of Political Responsibility in which it is reported that:
"that the accused appeared during the Republic affiliated to the Socialist Party, being an important member, trusted in the locality and as a representative of the party and as a member of the council during the control by the Popular Front; his activities are not known during and after the Glorious National Uprising (tr - the coup) - he went into the marxist zone at the beginning."
His testimony makes me more sure of an idea. The repression of the Franco dictatorship, its systematisation, its day-to-day reality, was honed to perfection. Testimonies, after more than seventy years are still united by fear and terror. It's clear to me that, ever more broadly, the repression from 1936 right up to the 70s, was extraordinarily effective. It convinces me that the repression in all its scope was "brutal". Fortunately, for the good of generations to come, it is becoming thoroughly well-understood.
Not only the shot, the executed, the disappeared, prison, the punishment battalions, prison slaves, humiliations, hunger, poverty... denial of the most basic rights of people to be or have been related to each other; simply to be friends was cause to be considered "reds": sons, mothers, widows, brothers, girlfriends, friends...
Antonio Pizarro Montes de Oca, son of a man shot, grandson of a prisoner, suffered together with the rest of his family a good part of that repression.
After being hidden for some days and seeing the situation around him, he chose to head for La Sauceda. He was accompanied by his old parents-in-law, his wife and children. The eldest of the boys, Pepe, 12 years old, Manuel, 6 and Juan, 3. Antonio still had not been born. His mother made the trip pregnant with him.
Doc. 5. Written from the Prison of San Simón to the Council of Alcalá de los Gazules communicating the death of prisoner José Montes de Oca and his burial in the cemetery of Pereiro, Vigo; the same communication said that 10 pesetas would be sent by postal order and that it should be given to his son Francisco Montes de Oca. Dated 16th July 1940.
Antonio says he had known after seventy years that they were in the Sauceda several weeks in the Hoyo del Moral, then they met there a family that was also going towards Málaga and they were invited to go with them together. They didn't share the road because in his father's view, going with some old people, his children and his pregnant wife, they would have slowed them down.
Days later they came across that same family shot at the foot of the road. Everyone had been shot.
In Marbella on the 15th November 1936, Antonio was born. The elder brother became ill and he would die in Alcalá.
José Pizarro Torres committed the same mistake as many other people. Once the worst was over and it was being said that nothing would happen to those who returned who hadn't committed any crime, they chose to go back.
They imprisoned him as soon as he arrived in Alcalá. His son Pepé went to visit him in prison in Alcalá accompanied by his mother. He remembered that the Guardia Civil didn't allow women to cry. They threw them out saying they should go elsewhere to cry. From that prison, the same as many others, he left never to return.
Since then we have found out that he was shot in Algeciras, in the cemetery, on Good Friday, 1937, together with other alcalainos, Richarte Huertas among them, after a pantomime summary trial. This is how it is recorded in the "History of Algeciras", Volume 2, Modern and Contemporary History:
"... in Algeciras were shot people from the area of the Comarca and in nearby towns such as Casares, Alozaina, and Alcalá de los Gazules; that was the case for dozen shot on Good Friday 1937 at 7.30pm with the processions through the street, and the Levante wind bringing the din of the discharges from the walls of the cemetery to the frightened town. Those victims were natives of La Linea de la Concepción, Banalauría, Casares, Vejer de la Frontera, Alcalá de los Gazules, and Ubrique." (4)
His name appears in connection with victims of the reprisals in Algeciras during the civil war and is archived in the Municipal Archives of the town.
Antonio says: "my mother died at ninety years of age and she died frightened because she feared the reprisals. She never told us anything of what she knew."
The widow and orphans remained in Alcalá. "The only option remaining was to put all of us into an orphanage but my mother refused. The family and relatives didn't help us. Imagine how we lived. My brother Juan at 4 years old was already in the Carrascales tending bulls and I remember that he was just six years old and was playing in the street, and my mother came with a large basket and a hoe. She said I was to go to the Corrascales to collect thistles in order to sell them the next day. (...) At eleven, I was already tending animals. I went with Pepe Reyes and I was also working like that in the marsh. They took advantage of me. I was then fourteen years old. I was paying for the shoes I had with the work. When I said I was going, I had to leave the shoes behind and come back barefoot to Alcalá."
"No school, nor anything, I didn't go. The only thing was that I was the eldest. We went to live on the little land my mother had. We had a dozen goats. I would've been fifteen years old and already we were pulling up vines on El Búho and in Summer we were going blind... In '63 we went to live in Ibiza. Some years before, my eldest sister had been to Valencia and from there went to Ibiza. My brother Pepe remembered that they said to him that he was the son of a communist."
"When the Guardia Civil was going down the lane, the uncle didn't know where to put himself. Everyone was frightened. He hid the dogs so that they wouldn't bark. My uncle died frightened. With reason, because they gave him a beating that almost killed him. In order that he would tell where his father was (my grandfather). He didn't know. That beating nearly killed him. It was the Falange or the Guardia Civil. I don't know. He was called Francisco Montes de Oca, my mother's brother. My grandfather died on the Isla de San Simón, a prisoner."
Juan Carlos Perales Pizarro
Graduate in History
(1) Book of Minutes, Municipal Archive, Alcalá de los Gazules
(3) Testimony of Antonio Pizarro Montes de Oca. Handwritten.
(4) History of Algeciras, VA Volume 2. Diputación de Cadiz, 2001
(5) Photos supplied by family
(6) Municipal Archive of Alcalá de los Gazules. Various files.
Publicado por Andrés Moreno Comacho
Traducido por Bob Lloyd
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