Dr. Dawg

Premature anti-fascists

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Will Jules Pavio, the sole survivor of the 1,546 volunteers of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion that fought fascism during the Spanish Civil War, get the official recognition he is due before he dies?

Conservatives have taken pains in recent years to rehabilitate Francisco Franco, the butcher who murdered untold thousands of his fellow Spaniards—including up to 50,000 after the war was over. In 1940, Heinrich Himmler pronounced himself appalled by Franco’s bloodthirstiness.

A system of concentration camps was set up for those who opposed the Francoist regime. Thousands died in those camps of overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and torture. Bizarre medical experiments were carried out on prisoners to prove that Marxists were insane. Until the early 1960s, anyone suspected of being a dissident was tried by a military court.

Franco’s Spain, in other words, was a conservative’s paradise.

Against this monstrous regime, 721 Canadian volunteers gave their lives in battle. Only in 2001 was an (unofficial) memorial raised to them in Ottawa. I was privileged to attend that ceremony, and my framed programme contains the autographs of two surviving veterans—including Jules Paivio.

[H/t Bob Stevenson, b/c]

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on May 27, 2012 10:43 PM.

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