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Story of Isabel Aillon Testimony

Published onApr 25, 2023
Story of Isabel Aillon Testimony

Isabel Aillon

This story will tell about the life of Isabel Aillon and her experience during the Spanish Civil War and had to go through her family was messed up. When exiled to France in the late 1930s, she was shocked that her husband stayed in Spain. She knew the politics of the Socialist Party of Catalonia. She supported the socialist party because the government of Spain was just simply neutral until the Republic and The dictatorship of Franco came. This story goes from to start to the end of her life.

The beginning of Isabel's life was neutral. She was born in Spain on July 15, 1917, to her parents: father as a lawyer and mother as a dressmaker. Her generation was known as Veterinarians. Her great-grandparents were Veterinarians. Her great-great-grandparents were veterinarians. She had a brother and a sister. She was the middle one of three. She had an everyday happy childhood life until adulthood. She went to elementary school and learned some languages, such as French and Spanish. She learned about trade and sewing for work. When she was 18 years old, she started working with clothes sewing. Her parents were a working family. During Republic, her father Isabel met her husband Juan en Socialista Unificadas when they had political propaganda. Isabel sewed for the army and met him there before the Spanish Civil War. Event the Spanish Civil War came in 1936.

By this time, the Spanish Civil War came; Isabel was a refugee in France when the Republic came. She heard the booming in Spain. When Franco came, she left on foot; she went with General Enrique Lister's column. Her husband stayed in Spain because he chose to stay to fight for his rights for the government. She was afraid of the communist party taking over. The Germans took over and dropped the bomb, and the Civil War Army began the war and came down, shoot, boom, boom, bang. "At the same time, on January 26, the French government—after hurried exchanges between the Minister of the Interior, Albert Sarraut, and a handful of other ministers and prefects—ordered to close the border. To enforce this decree, numerous gendarmes, mobile guards, and colonial troops were sent to cordon off the significant entry points along the French-Spanish border. “Once the refugees arrived in France, the official reception was hostile. The French authorities opened the borders until Franco’s troops, pursuing the Republicans, reached Le Perthus”1

Meanwhile, Franco’s forces, with the aid of German and Italian aircraft, continued to bomb the crowds of civilian refugees and retreating soldiers as they fled through Catalonia"2[1]. This quote in fact, she had an experience similar to Spain when the bombing was dropped in Spain while she was exiled to South France. While in Catalonia, she found herself walking, she almost arrived in Figures, a town in Catalonia, and she screamed because there was a considerable bombing that she had never talked about, this bombing. While in Catalonia, there were refugees, including Isabel, exiled to France. But the refugees were caught up and sent to concentration camps after Franco's victory in 1939.

Isabel's husband stayed in Spain but was sent to a prison camp similar to a concentration camp. Isabel realized her husband had lost his arm and was imprisoned in Spain. Isabel says they went to the captaincy, Passeig de Colon, and Captaincy General. She arrived there. That was terrible. Then they brought out the white flag, the Captaincy, because they marched with the nationalists. Isabel must know that the nationalist was possibly a communist party. She heard the news of the poor people who came from Barceloneta and Avenida d'Icaria; she believed that when they walked to the front doors, communist soldiers machine-gunned them; she said it was a terrible massacre. Also, she heard of her friend's cousin being killed there in Catalonia.

On the way to France, Isabel feels concerned that she might not allow to come to France. Around getting to France, Isabel said, "The French needed to prepare to take us in. They didn’t know 1.5 million of us could go. Then the French, nothing, went to look for them, those Moors, the Senegalese were brought there, and they put us on a beach. Nothing was on the coast of Saint-Cyprien: beach, land, sable. At the moment, we had to be stretched out on the ground and be around there. And our necessities, well, go to the beach, outdoors, to do everything because we had nothing". She was pregnant at this time with her eldest child. The eldest child was born, and tried to fight to raise her eldest child. Around seven months later, she was devastated that her oldest child had died of starvation in the shelter. She was alone, and her husband was in Spain.

By the 1940s, she had to return to Spain and find her husband, where his right arm was cut off. She tells the story of her husband and how his right arm was cut off. "Juan was in the Propaganda, but he left as a pure volunteer to the front of Granada. And he left with a comrade from the Juventud, Lina Odena, who had a lot spoken about her Lina Odena, and they went to the front of Granada where Juan had his right arm cut off and lost his right arm". After he lost his right arm, he was hospitalized in Montjuic.

Lina Odena was a woman who was a Spanish communist that she committed suicide due Francoists wanted to arrest her. Isabel heard about her. Then Lina Odena killed herself with a shot in her head by a pistol. Isabel was concerned that her husband might kill himself, like Lina Odena in front of Juan, where an unseen weapon attacked Juan and cut off his right arm.

After returning to Spain, Isabel reunited with her husband Juan; they had two more children: Her son was born in 1941, and her daughter in 1942.

In 1945, her husband was captured and executed. Isabel said, "When, no, no, I was in Barcelona, yes, and a nun came from the prison. A nun came from the prison, and I opened the door. They told me that my husband had been taken away at 4:00 in the morning and was executed". After her husband was executed, Isabel had to visit the grave that noticed many mass graves where each person in Montjuic was killed or run there. Isabel said, "-I said, “I’m going to the cemetery to take care of the body.” And he didn’t want me to go in any way because, at that time, it was terrible what they did. After all, everyone executed was executed in Montjuïc. Isabel grieves that her husband was executed. Her daughter (later life) found some writing letters from her father, Juan that helped her know about her father. Isabel tells the story of the Montjuic people who were executed there and buried in mass graves. "In Montjuic, it is the mountain, and here in the hill, there are two floors of elevation, no, yes more, twice as much as this, and then they would throw them away. Down in the wood, they would throw them into the mass grave, but when they lowered the boxes, they would break wooden boxes that were very poorly made. And there you could see the head and feet of the other. It was terrible". Then my father (Isabel's daughter told), when she saw it, was a very intellectual man, found something in the papers: He said, “I am going to write a letter to Spain, to Franco, and the governor and the bishop of Barcelona; how do they, those who are so religious, allow them to throw a corpse from above so that everything breaks, and everything can be seen there?” He wrote to him, Franco, and everyone, and they fixed that and lowered them differently in the end; they could; it was terrible." During the interview, she was questioned about the snitch and found nothing that had happened to him. She said, "He made it look like he wasn’t a snitch for the police. Yes, I already knew he was the snitch because Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (the CNT was the trade union where the laborers worked in the International Workers' Association). Isabel told the story of the snitch where the snitch betrayed Isabel's husband and denounced and arrested him. Cause when my husband was imprisoned there, he would tell me that I would go down to talk and talk to him. And I was saying, who allowed him to go down and speak to a political prisoner? And I said a search at this one’s house. It had to be there, the police. And then he hid two of the CNT in his house; they did the drill and arrested them. Then since the CNT is not stupid, you can see that they found out once he was going to the Plaza del Buen Suceso, a square that is in front of the Rambla, and he saw that he was followed, and he stood inside a staircase, and those two killed him on the stairs shot him ten times and left him dead there. For being a Snitch, The CNT came down from France to kill him. Yes, they did well because he was a flawed individual and probably the one who denounced my husband." Isabel knew that a relative was a taleteller, and being the snitch to the Police when the relative was responsible caused her husband to be executed. Isabel said, "I’m sure because he was a relative. He was a cousin, a nephew of an aunt of my husband, but a nephew on the part of this aunt’s husband".

After her husband was executed, she left Spain with her children and lived a good life. She made a memory that she did not forget about the Spanish Civil War and the events of the refugees, camps, shelter, loss of her one child at the top, and execution of her husband. She had good benefits and good economics that she traveled for free. She was the director of the workshop room and worked for life until she retired. By then, she discovered that the executioner, Moscardón was in Barcelona; he signed the last death penalty was Isabel's husband. She felt confused. She thought her husband was executed in Montjuic. She found evidence that he was committed in Modelo, not Montjuic.

Isabel decided to try to sue Executioner. She said, " The only thing I could appeal is that they wanted to kill him by garrote vil, and I told them they wouldn’t kill him by garrote vil. And the executioner was here in Barcelona, the executioner. Because there is no longer an executioner in Spain, we don’t know which town it is because it is covered. You can’t see; they say it is a farmer or anyone in the countryside. And he was in the Modelo to be executed by garrote vil; I told the lawyer nothing. I took the train and went to Madrid. And when the sentence came that it was commuted, Executioner signed. But the lawyer told m that you can’t do anything against the executioner because Moscardón, their hero, of Spain, saved the Alcázar de Toledo. What are we going to do? It wouldn’t help. It shamed Executioner because he was responsible signed the last death penalty on her husband. But the lawyer didn't do anything to help the Executioner.

After Franco died in 1975, she tried to find anything that might appear to help her remember events. She could make a political change in history. She added the last thing to say to the interview: "These fascists should change. Now they’re calmer, but let the world never go through all these things again. Let us all be more humane and do things right. Let there not be so much egotism and let the rulers that we have work well, who run everything, including money, use it well because there is a lot of poverty. A lot of people who suffer, this is what they see. I wish we could all live better."

Concluding the story, the events of the story made the people in Spain would not be forgotten because the survivors, including Isabel, were significant memories and experiences through horrible times.

Andrea Davis:

It doesn’t seem like the concentration camps are the focus of this essay, so much as the experience of being a refugee and going into exile. That is fine. Just make sure your title reflects that. I also encourage you to go to the writing center or find someone to proof read for you, sometimes the grammar hinders comprehension. I also recommend if you identify specific people, places, or events, you go and do research to find out more about them. For example, why is Lina Odena important?

Takyia Warren:

I think giving a bit more information on the actual terrors of the concentration camps could give the reader a visual of how terrible the conditions were, and how Isabel may have been in panic mode after finding out her husband was in one of those camps. Try giving a little more statistics on the prisoners of war that died as well as how was life inside the concentration camp for people like Isabel’s husband. I say this because the title/ topic of your blog post is Isabel’s life/ concentration camp, so you have to make sure you give light to both without making them sound unrelated. Try restructuring the blog post starting with Isabel’s life, her meeting her husband, the things she’s done for the socialist party/the terrible things she’s seen during the war, what her husband's imprisonment and the loss of his arm meant to her, and the conditions of the concentration camps. I don’t think your blog post has to be super long but when you leave out important thoughts and emotions it comes off as just a summary.  Overall, I can clearly see where your blog post is heading, you have a very interesting testimony, and you may have already planned to reconstruct the format. I think as a reader your blog post could really give them an insight into the war’s effect on families as well as the inhumane treatment of people. I hope these few pointers can help with your final draft. Good Luck!