Souvenirs of Spain
Hitler bombs on Children and Women
On August 5, 1936, three weeks after the beginning of the Spanish civil war, the port Gijon was bombarded by the warships of the rebels with heavy gunfire.
At large of Gijon, from a German ship, the cruiser 'Köln', the war correspondent of the 'Voelkischer Beobachter' Arthur Vogt observed the bombardment. A hit next to the hotel 'Savoy' killed a German named Heinz Voss and wounded five other Germans living in Gijon. Before starting the attack the rebels welcomed the German warship with the following cable message:
'Spanish cruiser Almirante Cervera. Heil Hitler!'
The Ministry of Propaganda gave on the next day a Communiqué, after which the German Heinz Voss had been shot in Gijon by 'the reds'.
On August 15, 1936 the bombardment was repeated on the open city Gijon. Forty habitants, among them a majority of women and children were killed, several hundreds were destroyed; countless families saw their home and their property destroyed.
The child murder of Getafé
On August 16, 1936 the 'leader'of the rebels, the general Franciscus Franco declared solemnly before representatives of the world press: 'I will never bombard Madrid - there live innocents.'
On August 29, 1936 for the first time bombs fell on Madrid.
With this bombardment of the open city Madrid Germans no more were only involved as observers and victims. German and Italian pilots threw German and Italian bombs from German and Italian airplanes on the capital of the Spanish republic, which had peace with Germany and Italy.
The Spanish rebel troops were not strong enough despite the intervention of the 'Moros', the colored colonial troops, in order to lead the putsch of the generals to victory. Franco called the 'White Moros' from Germany and Italy to assistance, the 'ordered volonteers'. With them and with the tanks and guns, the Junkers, Heinkel Messerschmid -, Caproni and Savoja airplanes Franco hoped to conquer Madrid within a few weeks and strike down the Spanish Republic.
The republican peoples militia expected the enemy in the open field, hardly armed, to resist or die. The planes throw bombs from an unattainable height. They came down and fired at the militia with machine guns. Only when the the defenders were killed, the 'storm sections' advanced. Before they engaged into a village, an air bombardment drove the habitants into the fields, into the mountains, into death. In October 1936 the Spanish government disposed of only one bomber aircraft. Franco had with the help of Hitler and Mussollini several hundreds.
The elementary school of Getafé near Madrid was attended by the children from several surrounding villages. 300 children from 6 to 12 years learned reading and writing in Getafé. They learned the essentials of geography and history: 'Spain is a democratic republic', they learned, which defends itself against the generals revolt. Italy and Germany, formerly countries of great culture, which are controlled now by fascism, support the rebels with soldiers, with weapons, with airplanes ...'
The 'Junkers Nacionales', those pilots sent by Hitler, were not long to give proof of these lessons. Within a few minutes, in the morning of October 30, 1936 their bombs killed 63 children in the school of Getafé.
The dead children were photographed in presence of English press correspondents. The 'Stuermer' of Nuremberg, who soiled every week all notions of honour, dignity and truthfulness, reproduces some these photographs and lies in addition, this were - victims of the 'reds'.
While the publication of these pictures of Getafé is strictly forbidden in the rebel area.
Madrid: 'No Pasaran'
Since the end of October the airplanes appear nearly every day over Madrid. Franco believes he can intimidate the city. But the streets remain crowded, curious people observe how the own combat planes attack the superior hostile airplanes. The 'Capronis' come down to the streets of Madrid. At a height of 100 meters they open the machine gun fire. The observers run away, into the houses. From a altitude of 3000 meters Hitlers Trimotor Ju 52 drop their 3000-Kilo-Bombs on the streets. At the edge of the deep funnels the torn tramway rails strain up. Many children, many mothers are among the victims.
On 30 October, in the afternoon after the child murder of Getafé, general Franco announces: 'Only a few days still and we will drink our coffee at the Puerta del Sol.' This was also reported by the 'Voelkischer Beobachter'.
By the bombardment, by which he tries to affirm its assertions, 125 persons are killed, more than 300 have been wounded. The whole city is excited, every habitant feels these wounds as if they were wounds of his own body.
In the next days the 'Moros' arrive at the river Manzanares before Madrid. They penetrate into the Casa del Campo, enter the university. They are a few kilometers before the Puerta del Sol. However in these days the defence of Madrid is organized. There are two words, which are stronger than all Bombs: 'No pasaran!' ('they will not pass!')
On November 9, 1936 Franco wants to march into Madrid. But the coffee gets cold at the Puerta del Sol. The place is abandoned, while the work of destruction of the 'Junkers' and 'Caproni' continues over Madrid. In the last eight days the citizens of Madrid learned that looking for protection is no cowardice. Nevertheless 80 civilians were killed and 400 injured. On this day the soldiers were all at the front.
Until today, Franco did not go further than the front line of Madrid of November 9, 1936. Every day German and italian bombs have been dropped on Madrid, but the republican fighter planes and the anti-aircraft artillery made the enterprise gradually more dangerously. In the meantime with the heavy artillery supplied by Hitler was installed in Getafé. The more closely parts of Madrid suffers most.
The Spanish women have the rescue of Madrid with victim courage and energy to protect to help. Many of these women were killed, while they were to queue around a ration beans, bread, rice or found oil many with the return its children dead, from bombs torn up.
After Christmas 1936 the heavy artillery takes over, served from soldiers and officers of the German army more and more the role of the planes. During two years their shells fall almost every day on Madrid.
On January 5, 1937 the airplanes appear again, 23 Junkers over the Plaza Cibeles. On 9th they come at night all half hour and drop indifferently their load over the dark city.
More easily than a certain target one meets into a mass of humans. It is not coincidence that the night bombardment begins on Sunday always at the end of the cinema and stage performance, before the visitors go home. Despite the mortal danger the demonstrations of the Chaplin film 'modern times' are overcrowded. (This film is forbidden in the Third Reich.)
A special target of the artillery is the Palacio Nacional. The front at the Plazza dela Lumeria is destroyed, the arcades are completely destroyed, the inside is darkened by the sand bags stacked before the windows. The republicans protect the historical monuments of monarchism. The paintings of Velasquez, Goya, Rafael Mengs, were transfered to secure places. The ceiling paintings and decorations of Tiepolo, which could not be secured, are perforated, partially destroyed. More than five thousand bombs were thrown by the 'nationalists' on the kings palace.
1937. May 11, June 7, October 11, November 27, 1938. February 21, March 22. In the chronicle these are the hardest days, which Madrid had to go through. For the population of Madrid these days hardly differ from the other thousand days. Madrid has choosen between enslavement and defense of the liberty: 'No pasaran!' -and the fascist planes revenge at defenseless children and women.
After the defeat at Madrid Franco directed his troops towards the most remote, most badly protected city, which had remained in republican hands. In Malaga there were no regular government troops, no republican airplanes, no air defense at that time in January 1937. There was not even ammunition, after the bridge to Motril was blown up several weeks ago. Betrayal and sabotage prevented the defense. Franco could have marched into Malaga without encountering any organized resistance. Malaga was the most open of all open cities.
People in Malaga were used of street-life during the day, except the hottest hours at noon. Confine dwellings, small shops, small windowless cafes. A curtain between the inside and the street. Whenever heat permits, everyone leaves the modest houses. Even in winter the street remains the collecting station of the life. Spring begins in January. Through the vapor of the streets and the fish smells ascending from the port fresh sea air penetrates.
On January 12, Franco's planes appeared. Warships fire from the sea-side. This assault caused the death of 300 persons and 1000 injured in Malaga, in the majority women and children.
The civilian population fleeing from Malaga was shot on the road to Motril by Junkers airplanes with machine guns.
Durango and Guernica
At the main fronts Franco did not progress. At Posoblanco and at Guadalajara the rebels and their auxiliary troops suffered heavy defeats. Hitler required urgently as payment for his supplies of soldiers and material the Basque ores. Thus, in spring 1937 began the strangling of the starving northern provinces.
The Basques were united in the fight for their independence. The catholic clergy was on the side of the fighting people. But it was missing everything that is necessary for the war. There were not enough weapons and not enough food. There were only people who wanted to defend their liberty.
The small city Durango had 10,000 inhabitants before the war. Several thousand men had gone to the front, in their place several thousand refugees had come to the city.
In Durango there are memories of Germany of former times, which were kept very high. A hundred years ago William of Humboldt came to see Padre Asterloa in Durango and studied with him the Basque language. Humbold supported the national independence of the
This memory was extinguished on March 31, 1937 by forty German Junkers planes. In the parish church Santa Maria abbott Morilla, a successor of the Padre Asterloa, the presently highest one of the Basque clergy, was smashed by a hundred-kilogram bomb when he raised the calice.
At the same hour in the collapsing chapel of the Jesuits the communicating Padre Villalabeitia with his ministers and many believers were killed.
The same afternoon in the Augustines monastery fifteen nuns were killed. After the bombardment the planes fired at the refugees on the fields with machine guns.
After two days, on 2 April, the parish church Santa Maria was completely destroyed, the monk monastery, which had remained intact so far, was hit by fifteen bombs. Durango deplored 300 deads, 2500 (two thousand five hundred) injured had to be transported to the neighboring places, because no more roof and no bed were available, in order to save her.
Like Durango Guernica was also situated at that time far behind the frontline and was military without any importance. Guernica is the national symbol of the Basques. Franco repelled the independence of the Basque people acknowledged by the republic. He pawned the treasures of the country.
The day, April 26, was well chosen: Monday is market day in Guernica, the streets are crowded from the inhabitants of the city and nearby villages; in the city of 7000 souls besides 3000 refugees from the area of Irun and Santander are accommodated. After the experience of Durango air defense measures had been introduced. But the refuge places were not enough for the overcrowded city.
At half past three the church-bells ring the alarm. Five minutes later a Junkers Trimotor bomber appeared, flying at low altitude ocer the city and dropped six heavy bombs. After another five minutes a second airplane came and threw six bombs on the city center. One quarter of an hour later appeared a group of three airplanes, which began the systematic destruction work.
The bombers could fly safely deep enough, in order to destroy accomodation on accomodation following the map. At first with light bombs, which killed the population on the streets. Then with three hundred and five-hundred-Kilo bombs, which destroyed entire house blocks and which cracked the ceilings of the protection cellars. Finally a rain took place from incendiary bombs and light fire shells, which developed heat, which fiery tongues hurled by air and set almost the whole city in fire with the explosion up to three thousand degrees.
As on the stakes of the Roman Imperators humans burn like living torches. The shouting, the explosions, cracking of the houses and showers of the fire mix themselves to a noise of hell. The destruction rage of humans exceeded the frights of the heaviest natural catastrophe.
Like vultures around the victim, around the burning city the fighter pilots hunt the defenselessly fleeing women, children and old persons with machine guns, into death.
At seven o'clock only a few particularly resistant old buildings are left from Guernica. The holy oak, the mark of the Basques, strains its bald black branches over a dead city. Of the ten thousand persons more than 800 dead, more than 3000 injured.
Thirty Junkers 52, fifteen Heinkel fighter aircrafts and five Caproni bombers have thrown thirty kilometers behind the front ninety thousand kilograms of bombs within three and a half hours. The fragments, which are found during the cleaning up among the burned houses and the charred corpses, carry the inscription: 'Berlin Rheinsdorf 1936. Heil Hitler!'
On April 27, Gandeguiz Arteaga is bombed, on April 28 Amorebieta is bombed, on April 29 Rigoitia, on April 30 the circle begins again: Durango is bombed.
In these four weeks the inhabitants of Durangos have accomodated themselves. 520 persons are killed, 750 injured by the bombing on April 30.
Almeria or the German Honour.
In the early morning of May 30, 1937, at about half past five, one battle ship and four torpedo boats appeared off Almeria coming from Carthagena. At a quarter to six the ships at a distance of 20 km of the port of Almeria.
The military commander of the city observed the approch from the old coastal battery, which is situated in the north above the port. When the ships arrive at a distance of estimated twelve kilometers before the city they opened fire. The gun shots woke up the city. The inhabitants are frightened. It was not a dream. A rain of shells hits the roofs. Before the people understood what happened, their houses had been destroyed.
Two hundred salvos were fired. The coastal batteries replyed. They got only one hit on one of the torpedo boats.
When at 6h50 the five warships, the cruiser 'Leipzig' and the four German torpedo boats moved to Roquete and cape Gata, leaving 19 deads, 55 injured and 32 destroyed houses in Almeria the German Honour had been reestablished, as mentions the third Reich.
The attack on Almeria was after assertion of Hitler 'a retaliatory measure to repair the German Honour' after the bombing of the cruiser 'Germany' by Spanish government bombers.
In accordance with the noninterference commission in London the cruiser 'Germany' in these weeks had to control ship routes outside the spanish territorial waters. The cruiser 'Germany' however had left this mission to some 'unknown' submarines, who for the simplification of the task sank trading vessels, if the flag did not please them, without any warning. The cruiser 'Germany' was meanwhile within the Spanish territorial waters, in the port of the Baleares island Ibiza occupied by the rebels.
On 29 May in the afternoon at five o'clock two twin-engine fast bomber aircraft of the Spanish government were flying to Ibiza. When they approached the port they saw a warship, which immediately opened fire on them. The airplanes dropped four bombs, without hitting. The anti-aicraft guns of the warship continue firing, but they don't shot high enough. The airplanes dropped four other bombs. The chief pilot Aragas asked: 'Did we hit them?' The flight engineer answered:
'Yes. We hit the Almirante Cerveras.' Only the next day, after the attack on Almeria, they learned that they had hit the cruiser 'Germany' and allegedly the German Honour.
It seems there are two German honours: the one, for the brothers Humboldt, Goethe and Schiller, the poets of 'Egmont' and 'Don Carlos', who are honoured in Spain, and the other one, the honour, which led the 'Junkers nationales' to Getafé, the 'the Moros', the honour of the label 'Berlin Rheinsdorf 1936'. However, there is only one German honour - the other one is the German dishonor, the 'dishonor of Almeria', the Hitler-dishonor.
Barcelona does not surrender
Since the installation of the German-Italian military base on Mallorca, Catalania was threatened by an attack from the sea-side.
For some time Catalania had been fewer afflicted by the horrors of the war than other provinces. Franco hoped long time to domoralize Catalania by diversion and provocations. But after the mai-rebellion of the agents of Franco the peoples front strengthened also in Barcelona. After strangling the North, Catalania became a main area of the destruction work of Franco.
Lerida, the second largest city of Catalania, was situated one hundred kilometers behind the front, when on November 2, 1937 the bombers came. In the early morning they appeared in unusual, uncounted quantity over the market place. Before it was clear whether they were friend or foe, the bombs struck the city. Those who were not killed instantly, ran for their life searching any protection.
The bombing took five minutes, 700 persons were injured, and 215 killed, among them 56 children. A whole school class was murdered by the explosion of a 500-Kilogram-Bomb. The birds of death had disappeared since a long time, before the cries of the children under the debris of the school ended.
Starting on January 10, 1938 at least ten Bombardements per day were executed from Fallorca against Tortosa, against Sagunt, against Castellon, against Alfambra, against Almazona, against Valencia, against Tarraona, against Lerida, against Barbastra, against Barcelona. On January 19 in Barcelona 138 persons were killed.
In February the quantity of material for the Bombardements was doubled, and trebled in March. Franco, Hitler and Mussolini believed to demoralize the Spaniards and Catalonians when they created the hell for the civilian population, to prepare the 'final victory'.
The three bombing on March 16., 17 and 18 should throw Barcelona to soil, but even in these three days Barcelona proved its steadfastness. Before the sirens gave alarm, the planes were over the city, let fall their bomb load and disappeared, before the anti aircraft batteries could fire. The Trimotor Junkers came at a height of 8000 meters from the sea. Far before the coast they turned off the motors and arrived gliding over the city. No noise announced them, only when the bombs exploded, people saw them, when they took off again to the east.
Three days every hour, every half hour, they were not many to come, often three of them, six at most, but the more frequently. They targeted mainly the popular workers quarters, where a sufficient air protection was not possible.
It was not important to hit strategic targets. In addition would have they down-push and dangers to suspend to have itself. That was not their job. Their job was: Mass murder of the population.
In the nearly two years of war experience the manufacturers of the bombs also have learned. The 1936 labels of Madrid and Guernica, the BWS 377 the DLG 336 and 450 A 161, the 49/69 BDF (all 50-Kilo-Bombs) and particularly the heavy 13 DLK and 14 RSK had proven their outstanding striking power, but among these solid bombs with electrical ignition there were too many dud. Additionally their production cost too much iron.
In the country of the 'God, who made the iron grow,' iron had become scarce under the Hitler slavery. However the Chemical-Trust, IG Farben, had become the largest industrial enterprise of the country. And after the 'united steel', Krupp, Mannesman, the Dresdner Bank, the steel plants of the Rhine the Junkers airplane and engine factories with 130 million Marks shared capital had conquered in the years 1936/38 the seventh position in the Trust-dominated wartime economy of Germany. Explosives and airplanes yield the highest profits.
The new bombs were thin-walled, but their explosive force was multiplied. They explode on impact. They made not so deep holes in the streets, but they kill persons in a distance of one hundred meters. They did not reach easily the cellars, but they destroyed completely the interior of a seven floor house, in which twenty families lived. They throw a car with three passengers off the road into the second floor of a house. They often killed persons only by the force, with which they struck them. A bomb, which hit a metro-station acces, into which many persons had escaped, killed more than 100 persons.
The shelters in Barcelona, created so far, yet were not enough for half of the inhabitants. In the mass residential areas there were not many cellars. The shelters, which were dug in haste by desperate people in the close yards and side streets, often became their graves.
Homeless people left the city to go on the mountain. The light bombers came down to a few hundred meters above the unprotected mountain. In this area the explosive effect of the new bombs was even more terrible than in the city. The fragments blew up flat over the ground. Those, who threw themselves on the ground, remained dead in their blood. Before returning to their base, the bombers dropped the remainder of their bombs over the sanatoriums and kindergarten, which were situated on the mountain.
Two theatres and 11 cinemas were changed into ruins. In the state opera a French troop performes. Bernadette Delpret of the Paris Opera sings Manon. The detonations over-roar the tender music: The hall is obscured. The singers remain on stage. The orchestra plays the 'Marseillaise'. The hall and the singers together sing the French liberty hymne. The Spanish national hymn follows. During one hour, while the bombs hit all around, the three thousand persons in the dark sing popular songs and combat songs. Then the performance continues.
Between the bombings during three days leaflets fall down.
Franco does not speak any more of the fact that there are 'innocents'. He wants 'to destroy them all'. But they do not surrender. They know: to give up means treason, means self-destruction.
But this inhuman, murdering bombing changed the city deeply. Not only because of the destroyed houses. The face of the city is changed, it became more calm and more decided to fight. In the broad Ramblas, wonderful promenades, banners are pulled from tree to tree, urging the men to enrol as volunteer. And in masses the volunteers enrol, in order to go to the front to combat this murderer fascism so that it does not continue to kill their wifes and children.
In the rubble of a house a worker cooperates in the search of the corpses of his entire family. The rubble buried his mother, his wife and his children. He works with an angry, decided face and when he has found the last dead, he says to the other helpers: 'Now I go to the front, fight against the murderers!'
In all factories the men unite, to go together from the factories on trucks to the front. They are accompanied by their wives, their children. Except a small bag everyone has a cover, otherwise they have their working dress. Car by car is leaving Barcelona, direction Taragone-Tortosa, where they fight against the fascists.
Franco did not succeed in demoralizing the Spanish people but more decided than ever to destroy this murderer fascism.
When the Greeks opposed 3000 years ago the persian invaders at the Thermopyles, the commander of the persian troops declared: 'Surrender. Our arrows will darken the sky. 'The Greeks answered: 'So we will fight in the dark.'
For two years the German and Italian airplanes darken the Spanish sky. And every evening at sunset the Spanish villages sink into darkness. The Spanish people fights in the dark. But it does not surrender.
In the March days in Barcelona almost 1000 persons were killed, more than 3000 injured. In the following time the Bombings did not diminish. They have rather increased in number and force.
During the air raids until August 1938 more than 15,000 children, more than 3000 women, a total of more than 100,000 persons were killed. Their crime was, as General Franco declared two years ago, to be 'innocent'.
The white Moros
'Died in an accident - died in the exercise of his duties - suffered pilot death' - announcements with such texts accumulate since two years in the press of the German Reich. Every week the 'black corps', the organ of the SS, deplores the sudden loss of young, German peoples comrade.
Put together, these all would result in the casualty list of the German intervention in Spain. The German reader understands the open secret. He reads with his breath coming to a hold. He is frightened, if he reads a well-known name. He is shocked, if he reads the name of his son - even before the ashes of the victim of the 'accident' arrive in his house.
Five years ago there was a column in the newspapers 'shot when trying to escape'. The victims were the so-called 'public enemies'. Today it reads within a black frame: 'died pilots death ...'the victims are the so-called 'elite'of the German youth.
The so-called 'public enemies' and the so-called 'elite' are victims of the same murderer system, which preserves its friends just as little as its enemies. Only the methods of destruction are different. And the form of the death notices.
The 70 German pilots, who were taken pow's of the Republic, were surprised that they were treated so decently. Some of them only by chance escaped from being 'killed by their fellow pilots'. Because there was an order to shoot fellow pilots without pity, who saved themselves by parachute jump from the falling airplane behind the republican lines. To be sure that they could not tell anything!
The depositions of the prisoners are different regarding their personal fate. Some came because of money, others hoped to make a career. A third one was looking for an adventure. The fourth one only wanted once to see the world outside of Germany. Most of them could not explain the true reasons, for which they had come. They had been told, it were a war 'against the Russians', several explained. Asked what the Russians had actually done to them, they already didn't know an answer. And they had to admit, that they had seen in the meantime, even on Francos side, that the peoples front does not consist of Russians. Most of them admitted, they had been forced to go to Spain. No one was a real 'volunteer' or acted because of idealistic reasons. All of them said they were under pressure of the Hitler government. Wether they needed the money for themselves or their family or by refusing to go they risked their career or even more. Nevertheless, many of them made a declaration that they would not again give way to such pressure, at any cost.
No one had a real sympathy for Franco's Spain. During their service in Spain they had a feeling of being in an enemy's country. They had felt that they were despised and been feared by the population and even hated by the rebel soldiers.
The moral condition of these mercenaries is reflected in the diary recordings of the second lieutenant Schulz, who was captured on May 5, 1937 by the Basque troops:
'30. January. Little drinking with Schlosser. I, officer in charge. Ruetsch and Schlosser come in very comradely mood to the brothel.It is understandable that such persons - who were killing during the day women and children with their bombs and who are looking in the evening for 'recreation' in the brothel, are surprised if they are decently treated when taken prisoner. The fighters of the peoples front have another understanding of honour as 'the heroes of Almeria'.
A German anti-fascist had the following conversation with the captured flight engineer Leo Siegmund from Neidingen in East Prussia:
'Are you actually a prisoner of war?'
'I don't know exactly.'
'Why don't you know that? Can you affirm that Hitler declared war on the Spanish people?'
'Actually you are right. Hitler did not declare the war. But I had to go to Spain. I was offered three to four hundred Marks per month, if I would go to Spain. I would have rather gone to Lufthansa. But after I had been solicitated by an officer, whom I knew, I could no longer refuse to go to Spain.'
'Why couldn't you refuse any longer?'
'The officer had power to remove me completely from working as a pilot. I have seven brothers and sisters in East Prussia. The youngest sister is only thirteen years old. I did not want to ba at their charge.'
'But Hitler says, in Germany today everyone can find work?'
'If I would have been dicharged from the Air Force, I would not have gotten any work. Except in the concentration camp. The officer could declare me as politically unreliable.'
'Who was this officer?'
'His name is Berger. He has the command on the airfield Celle near Hanover to organize the air fleet of Franco from Germany.'
'So you state that a German soldier today must obey blindly the agent of foreign high traitors in Germany?'
'Are you aware that you are nothing different than a high traitor, who participates in a rebellion against the legal Spanish government, and that you would have to be shot according to the law?'
'Yes, I feel the sad of my situation. Nobody cares of me me. Those who sent me, did it secretly. Now I am filed as missing. I do not even know whether my brothers and sisters have got a message about my fate. In the third Reich the life of the particular does not count very much.'
'As well as the life of the masses is not more estimated there.'
On the question, whether he is ready to write down these declarations he explains: 'Jawohl, I will write that. But first my lever and my hand must be cured, at present unfortunately I can not write. I will write that I committed great injustice. A second time I will not get involved in such things.'
Due to the conversations, which took place with them, a number of the caught pilots, made declarations, in which they condemned their 'mission in Spain'. One of them says: 'This is really my first volunteer action - since I was leaving Hamburg.'
Guenther Loehning, NCO from the fighter squadron Boelcke, based in Hanover, who had been shipped on January 15, on the steamer Nicea to Sevilla, wrote on February 27, as a prisoner of war in Valencia the following:
'At the start of a free declaration I would like to say here that I do not write something down, in order to obtain personal advantages thereby. On the contrary, I have the conviction, that the way, which I hereby begin, will be a more cumbersome, as the future would heve been waiting quietly.Second lieutenant Otto Polenz writes on July 7, 1938:
'... I was a witness of the fact that some bombs destroyed about five houses. I have hope that this war will take soon an end and commit myself not to come again as a soldier to Spain.'
The pilot Tonollo writes on the same day:
'... I consider it more correct, if the Spanish people regulates its affairs alone, and I acknowledge that I will not come a second time to Spain. War is always a misfortune...'
After healing of his lever the flight engineer Leo Siegmund wrote:
'... today I saw in Barcelona about seven or eight destroyed houses. The destruction is due to an air raid. During this attack several persons died. I consider an air raid against open cities and unprotected population as barbarian.'
The better insight does not always come to the ordered 'volunteers' when taken prisoners. From the Italian invasion troops in the battles at Guadalajara and at the Ebro hundreds deserted.
On July 29, 1938 an Italian combat aircraft escaped during an air combat behind the catalonian front and landed in republican area.
The pilot, Italian officer Giovanni Spelzi, explained that he had left the camp of the rebels because of his anti-fascist convictions. He was commander of a combat squadron, whose major task was shooting at the republicans on free field. Spelzi reported that at this time 150 Italian fighters were used in Spain. The bomber aircraft are usually of German origin.
In the German army also the resistance against the spainish adventure grows. In the last months more than one hundred German soldiers went abroad, because they did not want to be sent to Spain nor to take part in the threatening war against the Czechoslovakian people.
In the barracks one discusses. From a tank section in Berlin 15 soldiers have been sent to Spain. Five are already dead. When the message of the sixth death arrived, one of his friends said: 'What has he now from the nice cash. He cannot even buy a coffin...'
In a first time, the killed soldiers were returned in zinc coffins. Today zinc is no more released. The journey from Cadiz to Hamburg goes in putrifying wood coffins. In order not to smell the odor of decomposition, raw cattle skins are packed between the coffins
On the cemetery of Gotha the number of crosses of those returning home is growing, those who die in the military hospital as consequence of important injuries, without care, without being allowed the visit of their family.
Parents must conceal the death of their children. They do no more dare to look each other in the face. They may no more share their pain.
Peace to the Spanish people!
There was a time, when the Spanish people liked Germany and everything that was German as a high culture, was admired in Spain as exemplary and good.
Today there are German pilots, German bombs, which commit the mass murder at Spanish women and children, who devastate Spanish cities, who destroy Spanish art treasures and by doing so rob all the grandiose witnesses of human genius from the the entire humanity.
Today Hitler's Germany is for the Spanish people the country, from which come death and destruction, horror and infinite sufferings. And the Spanish people asks: Why do Germans shoot at us, to whom we never did any wrong? We never threatened Germany and its interests.
Yes, why do Germans shoot at Spaniards? We ask Hitler: Why do you force our sons to shoot at a people, that never threatened us, never attacked us, never did any injustice? Why do our sons have to die in a foreign country, where a courageous people fights against its oppressors, struggles with Heroism for its liberty and independence?
Hitler wants to conquer Spain, in order to rob its treasures and to get a base for the coming war, which he plans, a base against France and England. For that any means is good. For this reason he sends the airplanes and weapons to Franco, which are forged with our sweat, our money and our blood, for this he sends our sons to sure death and lets them murder defenseless women and children.
But we, the German people, we are not Hitler and not Krupp, we are no child murderers, we do not want our honest names damned and violated in the whole world. We are on the side of the Spanish republic, where the people against the Junker and generals, against which eliminator and exploiter fight, for its liberty and also for our liberty, because it fights against Hitler! We are on the side of those Germans, those best of our sons, who fight in the international brigades for the Spanish republic, in order to repair the enormous injustice, which -Germany forced by Hitler - does to the Spanish people.
German mothers, you who love your children, German fathers, you who fear for the well-being of your family, look once more at the photographs of the woman and child corpses, killed by bombs, look well at them, so that they will never disappear from your memory.Those who committed this crime, were Germans, Hitler is the author and responsable of this crime and therefore are it is an obligation and duty of each honest German, each German mother to protest loud and passionately and to stop the murders of the defenseless civilian population. Tell everybody: In Spain German soldiers are killing defenseless women and children!
Doe not close your heart, your eyes and ears at the suffering of the Spanish people. Doe not say: 'Spain is far, we are not concerned of what happens there.' It concerns you very much, because what happens today in Spain, can come tomorrow over Germany and the German people! Because the war, which Hitler by all means wants to provoke, would take place in Germany, Germany would be the place of the coming largest, cruelest of all wars. Then German cities and villages will be destroyed, -Madrid then will be called Berlin, Barcelona will be Frankfurt and Guernica a small town in Thuringia. Then German children on the way to school will be buried under debris and German women be complaining before the dead bodies of their kids, as you see on these pictures the Spanish women before their killed children.
Never this may be! Hitler may not begin the new world war!
In the name of humanity, in the name of justice, in the name of the German people we raise our voice and shout:
Do not accept any longer that Hitler continues the destruction war against the innocent Spanish people!
Do not tolerate any longer that Hitler sends millions of marks of German national treasure to Franco, taxes pressed out of the working people to be able to better destroy a courageous, liberty-loving people.
Do not bear any longer that you are in the need and must do slave work, so that Hitler can pursue his criminal aims in Spain!
Do not tolerate that one forces your sons to shoot at innocent people and that they are sacrified.
Enough of this inhuman mass murder of defenseless women and children!
German troops out of Spain!
No man, no penny for Franco!
Peace and liberty to the Spanish people, which has not done us any harm!
Each human, whom a feeling heart strikes in the
chest, will support this. But also for the sake of Germany, in order to
prevent a new world war!
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