Cintruénigo

When the Republic came, Cintruénigo had no schools and hundreds of children who needed them. There were no homes, and many families lived crammed together while most of the communal corralizas were in the hands of a few. The first Republican City Council had to deal with these problems while waiting for the Agrarian Reform, and at the petition of 210 residents, the corralizas of Nevera, Plana, and Camelia, among others, were also made subject to the Reform law. In December 1931, Cintruénigo jumped the gun and started building “Inexpensive Homes”, and thanks to that program, many Cities from around the country came asking for action plans. In July 1934, the old folks’ home was opened, and the following month, the schools.

Despite the defeat of the local left in the 1936 elections, the left loudly celebrated the triumph of the Popular Front with a music band and flags. It was at that time that leading figures on the right starting carrying around weapons in a threatening manner. On Sunday, July 19, at four in the afternoon, a truckload of civil guards arrived shouting “¡Arriba España!” to which 16-year-old Francisco Pérez cries back, “¡Viva Rusia! ¡Viva el Comunismo!” Young Francisco is chased down and shot, but he managed to escape. His death later would be cruel. That same Sunday, July 19, inspections were carried out throughout the town, with the excuse of searching for weapons. They were only found in the homes of those on the right.

On July 23, the insurgent army created the “National Defense Corps” in Cintruénigo, made up of 50 volunteers paid by the insurgent city council, 5 pesetas a day with a bonus for those who’d signed up on July 18 itself. Guard Juan Álvarez, watchman Julián Rández, and bailiff Pío Igea are all removed from their posts and replaced with others. Midwife María Fernández and slaughterhouse manager María Ramírez were also sacked.

By then, news of the first deaths in Alfaro, including the town’s old doctor, had arrived, and that’s when the first arrests took place, with ex-mayor Victoriano Navascues, Julio Liso, and Antonio Esparza taken to Tudela, and teacher Toribio Laínez, educational inspector beloved by his students thanks to his methods (and also the inventor of the copying machine, as the patent bearing his name shows) and socialist, was murdered in Valtierra on August 3, 1936.

The first murder was of socialist Eugenio Aliaga. On August 3, he was taken from Tudela jail, and, alongside fellows townsmen Antonio Esparza, Nicasio Aracon, father of six, Santos García, and the aforementioned Toiribio Laínez, and taken to Valtierra to be killed. Some residents were arrested and released on parole, while others tried to flee, like Antonio Chivite, who spent a month hidden in a hedge, or Uncle Eusebio, who was sneaked out in a manure cart.

There were more shootings in Alfaro on August 13: Pablo Yanguas; Eulogio Chivite, postman with four children; Pedro Lacarra; Manuel Montes; Simón “El Barbero” Peña; Felipe Ramírez, President of labor union UGT; José Pérez, dayworker and father of five; and Román González, farmer. The homes of José Pérez and Román González were attacked, and lambs and wine were taken so the fascists could celebrate after the shootings.

The morning after those eight men were murdered, a group of women was taken out of the prison, including Pascuala Trincado, married to one of the dead. Angeltia Yanguas, Socorro “Badra” Virto, Clementa Serrano, Rita “Mera” Martínez, Rufina “Capota” Izquierdo, Hilaria “Consa” Jiménez, Lorenza “Tía Cazola” Lozano, Encarna Fernández, and Rosario Delgado were all made to drink castor oil, and their hair was cut off and they were made to march through the town playing a drum, while vomiting in the streets. Luis “El Mai” Cornago” was whipped all the way from Cintruénigo to the cemetery, where he was left broken and under threat of being killed.

In addition to all the violence the fascists caused, they also seized the property of those on the left, and fined them between 300 and 500 pesetas. Those who had worked for risky labor unions were made to return the raises they had achieved, and the insurgent City Council was forced to feed over a hundred boys and girls in a canteen with the money they had taken from those on the left.

On August 18, ex-mayor Victoriano Navascues was taken out of jail to be shot. In addition to the murderers, some from the town also came out to watch him die. Afterwards, they took off everything he had on him, shoes, trousers, watch, while his family members watched. The murderers in general were all from the town, and most of them were Carlists. The Cintruénigo War Council was made up of Faustino “El Botero” León, Nicolás Ayensa, Manuel Ortega, Crisanto Peréz, Luis Gonzalez, and Valentín “Tatín” Chivite, among others. The leaders of the local Falange were Juan Solano, Serafín Garbayo, and José María Peréz Oscoz.

Eusebio Pérez and his 16-year-old son Francisco (the one who had shouted “¡Viva el Comunismo!” had been living in Castejón for a while, but because of what had been happening and the fear of reprisals, they hid in Sotos del Ebro over the summer.  Eusebio’s 13-year-old daughter took them food to their hideout in a switchman’s hut, and they came out at night to pick it up.  At the end of August, they returned to Castejón and hid. Someone saw them when they came out to do their business and they were reported. Fascists came down from Cintruénigo and Corella and took them to Tambarria, between Corella and Alfaro.  There they died, in each other’s arms, father and son.  Before being shot, young Francisco’s tongue was cut out and stuck in his pants pocket.

Raimundo Martínez was also killed in Castejón, and Luis Ruiz in Cintruénigo, also at the end of August. The last townsman to be killed was Manuel Martínez Estrada, in June 1938. He had managed to escape in the mass breakout of San Cristóbal Fort, and in one of the bloody raids they carried out, they killed him as he was walking toward freedom.

In addition to the murders, thefts, and tortures of women, other cruelties were meted out which we’ll probably never know about, because many of the witnesses have died, and all we have left is what was passed down to us in our families. But even then, not all families shared it as mum was the word, because knowing too much made you suspicious, and there had been many large purges.

Specifically in Cintruénigo, Faustino León, acting as mayor and as the president of the War Committee, issued a report about the local teachers with the following wording: Toribio Laínez, “unrepentant communist propagandist, missing” (he’d been shot), Juilán Millán “dangerous leftist”, María Camaño (dangerous, sketchy lefist”, Luisa Varea, “unrepentant leftist”, and Mercedes Ramírez, “who had been a leftist but was now neutral”.

In September 1939, Ángel Ortega became the new mayor, and an order was issued by the Insurgent Governor to not renew the Music Band’s contract, according to the Governor, because they were all sympathetic to the Popular Front. Mayor Ángel Ortega fired them all, and the Director, Guadalupe Rincón, was unable to find musicians sympathetic to the National Movement, so he was replaced with Daniel Zamora, who finally admitted defeat: “despite all my hard work and great interest, I have not been successful and consider my mission terminated.”

An order was issued in Cintruénigo to prohibit walking on the street without stockings. The women of the town protested, demanding that the price be brought down or there would be no way to comply with the order.

Four years ago, on November 2, 2016, the removal of all Francoist symbols, comments, signs, and coats-of-arms in Cintruéngio was agreed on by absolute majority with the favorable vote of all municipal groups. It was also agreed to change the name of the school. Previously, it had been named for Antonio Martínez Caracciolo, who had been in charge of playing the drum (which was on display in the city hall meeting room) while making the recently-shaved women walk down the street after having been forced to drink castor oil in order to make them so sick they vomited on themselves, thereby increasing their shame and humiliation.

The City Council also informed residents of the Francoist references on apartment building doors and façades, as well as of the presence of the National Housing Institute sign with the fascist symbols, which was required to be installed on any homes that received grants from Franco’s government, and of the presence of tiles showing the version of the coat of arms Franco forced on Navarre.

In the last point, memorial places were declared, including the cemetery (location of mass shootings and burials) and the Loygorri House, which was used as a prison in those days. It took 80 years for this municipal agreement to happen: 40 years under the Dictatorship, and another 40 years under a Constitutional Monarchy.

In Germany in 1949, the Constitutional Court made the Nazi Party illegal as it was contrary to democratic order, despising fundamental rights, raised up in the principle of tyranny with leaders that were closely linked to Adolf Hitler’s party. In Germany, today, the German right is forbidden from making pacts, in all 16 länder (states), with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) as a partner in Government in any of the 16 State Parliaments. The leaders of the German Right, Angela Merkel’s CDU, have labeled the far-right AfD as an anti-German party, in the words of its Secretary General, Paul Zinemak.

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