The Republican exile

We finish with those who fled into exile from Franco’s Spain. With the fall of Catalonia in February 1939, some 500,000 defeated Spanish and Catalan Republicans fled across the border. We will follow the mountains roads and paths trying to recreate the experiences of these defeated men, women and children. On arrival in what was still democratic France, the French government treated these people worse than animals herding them into makeshift camps particularly on the beaches near Perpignan. As the months wore on many were released to work or to return to a very uncertain future in Spain. Some of the more fortunate managed to get passage to Latin America, where they had a significant cultural impact, particularly in Mexico. Tragically, others were swept up when the Nazis invaded France, who deported some 10,000 Republicans, above all to the hell of Mauthassen in Austria,  Those who weren’t captured formed together with French and foreign International Brigader veterans the initial backbone of the French resistance. There were other journeys into exile: 4000 Basque children were sent to the UK in the summer of 1937, while other Republican children were sent to the USSR.


Exile and camps in France