Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Archive find undermines claim Franco helped Jews

It was the list that would have sent thousands more Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz and other extermination camps run by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime during the second world war, but this time the victims were to be Spaniards.

The Spanish dictator, General Francisco Franco, whose apologists usually claim that he protected Jews, ordered his officials to draw up a list of some 6,000 Jews living in Spain and include them in a secret Jewish archive.

That list was handed over to the Nazi architect of the so-called "final solution", the German SS chief Heinrich Himmler, as the two countries negotiated Spain's possible incorporation into the group of Axis powers that included Italy, according to the El País newspaper today.

The newspaper printed the original order, recently unearthed from Spanish archives, that instructed provincial governors to elaborate lists of "all the national and foreign Jews living in the province ... showing their personal and political leanings, means of living, commercial activities, degree of danger and security category".

Provincial governors were ordered to look out especially for Sephardic Jews, descendants of those expelled from Spain in 1492, because their Ladino language and Hispanic background helped them fit into Spanish society.

"Their adaptation to our environment and their similar temperament allow them to hide their origins more easily," said the order, sent out in May 1941.
Read the rest of the article in the Guardian

Original article in ElPais (unfortunately I do not understand Spanish, and although google translate could help me out here, I believe the Guardian summary will be sufficient for now.)

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