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Spanish Refugees in the French Resistance
During the German occupation of France, thousands of French citizens took up arms against the Germans. What is forgotten in pages of history however is that almost 60,000 Spanish refugees fought in the French Resistance. The Spaniards who lost to fascism in there homeland began to fight it in France, in and effort to fight fascism as a whole. The fact that the Spaniards get overlooked in an historical sense due to the large contributions made by them. Most Spaniards brought with them knowledge they learned while fighting Franco. Serge Ravanel, a member of the French Resistance gave credited to the Spaniards by saying, "During the War of Spain our comrades had acquired the knowledge that we did not possess; they knew how to make bombs; they knew how to set ambushes: they had a profound knowledge of the technique of guerrilla warfare" By many accounts the Spaniards fought with an intensity and bravery that was unmatched.
The Spanish MaquisBy far the greatest contribution came in the form of the Spanish Maquis. The Spanish Maquis consisted of Spanish guerrillas who had been exiled to France and continued the fight against Fascism in France. In The Undefeated Martha Gellhorn wrote, "During the German occupation of France, the Spanish Maquis more than four hundred railway sabotaged destroyed 58 locomotives, dynamited 35 railways bridges cut 150 telephone lines attacked 20 factories, destroying some factories totally, and sabotaged 15 coal mines they took several thousand German prisoners, and most miraculous considering there arms. They captured three tanks. In the south-west part of France where no Allied armies have ever fought, they liberated more than seventeen towns. No other Spaniard in France came close to matching The Maquis in terms of aiding the French Resistance.
AftermathAfter the liberation of France in 1944, the Spaniards fighting in France found a renewed hope in the international fight against Fascism. The Spaniards hoped that the allies would turn there attention towards Franco in Spain,alas that was not the case. Disenchanted by the Western powers failure to deal with Franco, many Spaniards, some 15,000, took matter into there own hands and returned to Spain in an attempt to overthrow Fracno. Unfortunately for the guerrilla fighters, the Spanish population was too war weary to rise up against Franco.Very few people gave the Spaniards the proper credit they deserved, even when they marched threw the streets in post-liberation parades, people would stop and stare and wonder why there was Spaniards in the parade.All in all a total of 25,000 Spaniards died fighting in France or in camps after they were captured.