A few days ago, we published an article about how the Sabino Arana Foundation had republished a book by Basque Passionist, historian, and patriot Gregorio Arrien, about whom we’ve spoken on more than one occasion.  One of this historian’s leading fields of research was the Basque children who had to leave their homeland to escape from the attacks of the Francoist insurgents.

The book focuses on a specific part of that matter: the children who were taken in in Great Britain.  The book is called ¡Salvad a los niños! Historia del exilio vasco en Gran Bretaña, 1937-1940 (Save the Children! History of the Basque Exile in Great Britain), which, as we said, the Sabino Arana Fundazioa has just republished, this time digitally.

We decided to go through other books this author has published on the topic of the Basque war children, though it was hard going as many were published and went out of print years ago and are hard to come by.

We did manage to come across two of his books at a second-hand shop, and we’ll upload them as .pdf files as soon as we can, to make sure they don’t disappear.

Both were published by the Asociación de niños evacuados del 37 (Child Evacuees of ’37 Association), now dissolved.  One was about the refugee children in Great Britain, and the other offers an extraordinary collection of photographs of the boys and girls who left the Basque Country to take refuge in different parts of Europe.

Flicking through the latter book, we came across a section dedicated to those who were sent to Ukraine: to Kherson, Kharkov, Kyiv, and Odessa.

Seeing those children who were taken in to protect them from the war in a place that is now going through something similar to what we suffered 85 years ago made us feel we needed to write this entry on our debt of solidarity.

Whenever we cover this part of our history, we try to remember that we have a “debt of honor” that should reinforce the inescapable solidarity that our society has to show as we too have suffered the disasters of war.

More specifically, we’ve commented in two articles, linked below, where we point out that we cannot look away.  Turning a blind eye is something that we cannot do as a people who feel that solidarity, and as a society that found support and humanitarian collaboration from others when we were dealt such terrible cards.

In addition to some of the images which included in Arrién’s book of our children in what was then the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine, shared here, we also got in touch with Basque–Ukraine solidarity organizations Ukrania SOS andEutsi Ukrania, who helped us prepare this entry by giving us some photos.

We’ll leave you with the photos found in Gregorio Arrién’s book, and a video we’ve prepared with these images along with those given to us by the solidarity associations.  We hope they help us all to understand that the Ukrainian children suffering the disasters of war are our very own boys and girls.



“I only ask God to not let me be indifferent to the pain” (Article and video)


Last Updated on Dec 3, 2023 by About Basque Country

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