IN HIDING by Ronald Fraser


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You may remember newspaper stories several years ago about Manuel Cortes, mayor of Malaga in Republican Spain who escaped Franco's execution squads and survived a generation of manhunts and terror by hiding until amnesty was decreed in 1969. With his wife and daughter, he made several attempts to escape to France or emigrate through the port of Barcelona, but snags, and one suspects, acclimatization to withdrawal always supervened. ""The days and the months went on the same, without a break. . . . Being in hiding seemed normal in the end, one year after another until thirty in all had passed."" The ordeal, narrated by Cortes and his family, includes their life histories and experiences during the Civil War. As a Socialist Party member Cortes was an activist in the peasant reform movement and an organizer in the farm workers' unionization struggles. His commitment gives him a doughty contempt for the Republicans who shunned revolution and the anarcho-syndicalists who lacked a program but were big on impotent rhetoric. His glimpse of the war is personal and narrow; his wife and daughter Maria were touched by the war only insofar as it affected him, which makes their view of the conflict even more insular. But for those seeking individual closeups of a hounded man and his family, this is a worthwhile addition to the Spanish Civil War literature.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1972
Publisher: Pantheon