Skip to comments.REVISITING DE LIFE OF SPAIN'S FIRST FASCIST
Posted on 11/21/2001 2:09:56 PM PST by Dqban22
FORWARD.- NOVEMBER 16, 2001
Revisiting the Life of Spain's First Fascist Voices Outside the Academy Hail Franco as a Benefactor of the Jews
Hitler Stopped by Franco
By Jane and Burt Boyar
Marbella House, 323 pages, $19.95.
By ROMAN BRACKMAN 'Hitler Stopped by Franco" is an unusual and timely book. It starts with a prologue elucidating the horrors of what would have happened had General Francisco Franco not "stopped Hitler." The reader is confronted with the nightmare of Adolf Hitler's triumph in World War II, Britain and the United States subjugated by the Nazis, the Jews totally exterminated, the blacks deported to Africa and the world sinking into darkness.
With this book, Jane and Burt Boyar have made a great contribution to the search for historical truth. For too long, Franco has been demonized as a "reactionary" and a "fascist dictator." Yet it was his "buying peace with words" and his refusal to allow Wehrmacht to reach Gibraltar through Spanish territory that in part prevented the German invasion of Spain.
Even though Franco was a dictator, the authors argue that he was a relatively benevolent one. According to them, he deserves credit for the outcome of the Spanish Civil War, which prevented the Stalinization of Spain and stopped the orgy of murders, assassinations and kidnappings by Soviet "advisers" and their duped Spanish allies. Spaniards were thus spared the fate of captive peoples of Eastern Europe who were trapped for decades in the clutches of the Soviet empire.
Moreover, he presided over the reconciliation of combatants in the bitter civil war, refusing afterward to take revenge and persecute his opponents. In a magnanimous gesture of reconciliation, Franco ordered a splendid monument to be built in the Madrid cemetery in memory of the fallen soldiers on both sides of the war. He presided over the resurrection of Spain and led the nation to prosperity, freedom and democracy, restoring legitimacy and stability to the government by grooming the future king and ensuring his ascendance to the Spanish throne.
Although not trained in writing historical accounts, the Boyars who are best known for their biography of Sammy Davis Jr. became interested in Franco after befriending his daughter Carmen Franco Polo in 1970. The result is a reliable history supported by interviews and enough research to do credit to professional historians. In an author's note, Mr. Boyar acknowledges that he and his wife "are virtually assured of being called 'apologists' and accused of 'whitewashing' Franco. But the facts are the facts."
Thoroughly documented, these facts also spell out Franco's effort on behalf of Jews, an effort that saved perhaps as many as 60,000 from the Nazi concentration camps. In 1940 he refused to submit to Hitler's demand to institute anti-Jewish legislation in Spain. Instead, several months after meeting Hitler on the Spanish border of occupied France, Franco facilitated the founding of Instituto Arias Montano, a scholarly organization devoted to the study of Hebrew, Sephardic and near-Eastern cultures in Madrid, as well as the establishment of the scholarly journal Sefarad (Hebrew for Spain and the Iberian Peninsula), one of the world's finest Jewish publications. He opened the Spanish border to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution, ordering Spanish embassies and consulates to provide asylum and Spanish passports.
Furthermore, beginning in 1945, Franco helped the Jewish Agency smuggle the survivors of concentration camps to Palestine, against the wishes of the British. Starting in 1956, he opened the way for Moroccan Jews to travel en masse to Israel via the Spanish Sahara. He signed the document of abrogation of the 1492 Edict of Expulsion of Spanish Jews. During all the wars that Arabs states waged against Israel, Franco personally intervened with Arab governments to save Jews from persecution.
The authors have countless positive things to say about Franco, yet one should not overlook a questionable fact about his background that they include. The family name Franco is rare in Spain. Some Spaniards with this name believe that they are descendants of Spanish Jews, the Marranos, who converted to Catholicism in 1492 to escape expulsion from Spain. Whether this is true and whether Franco believed this, as the authors maintain, is impossible to ascertain. What is certain is that further historical review of the man is long overdue, both to prove that he was not only a Spanish patriot of great wisdom but also a friend and benefactor of the Jews.
Mr. Brackman is the author of "The Secret File of Joseph Stalin: A Hidden Life" (Frank Cass, 2001).
"Hitler stopped by Franco" by the Boyars is a fascinating and well-written historical novel with an extraordinary scholarly research and first hand sources that put into question many of the generally accepted myths about the Spanish Civil War. It is a must read book for those interested in that convulsive period. The recent available Soviet Union Archives corroborates Boyars thesis over Stalins plans to take over the Spanish Republic creating a Soviet puppet state on the strategic Iberian Peninsula, a plan that was defeated by Franco. Franco also resisted Hitlers pressure to add Spain to the Axis alliance. Franco neither allowed the German troops to cross Spain in order to throw out the British from Gibraltar. With the German in control of both sides of the Strait, the Allies would have been unable to fight the North Africa Battle successfully.
Boyer's book also brings forward the extraordinary role played by Spain, under Francos direct orders, in saving the lives of more than 60,000 Jews by giving them refugee in Spain at a time when the Western democracies were ignoring the Jewish tragedy. It should be noted that Spain was at the border of starvation after a bloody civil war and suffering a Western commercial blockade. Spains behavior contrasted with the United States policies that accepted a total of 10,000 15,000 Jewish refuges throughout the war, a truly scandalous figure. The reaction of the British and French governments, even at the time when knowledge of the concentration camps existed, was not in solidarity for the persecuted Jews, in fact Britain closed the doors of Palestine to the Jews.
The "Guardia Civil" was established by Hitler! Honest!
Franco's regime was obviously not the repressive dictatorship it is so often described to have been.
Based on my reading of history, Franco's "regrets" to Hitler at Hendaye in 1940 doubtless insured that Britain could maintain the war.
From experience, I can attest that there are few decent histories about Franco or Spain from this period. I've looked for them...and will buy this one.
Spain Betrayed, The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War by Ronald Radosh, Mary R. Habeck and Grigory Sevostianov, brings to light until now unpublished Soviet records that corroborate many of the assertions made by Boyar in his book.
I guess there are fair-minded Leftists after all.