Eusebio and Maria are a wonderful couple who lived most of their lives in the Extremadura area of Andalucia. Maria worked as a teacher and Eusebio was a veterinarian. After offering me a cold drink and a huge platter of bread, Iberic cheese, and chorizo sausage, they told me of their experiences during the dictatorship of Franco.
Eusebio could remember soldiers entering his small village towards the end of the Spanish Civil War. He remembered the hunger that was unavoidable in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. What stood out most for me during this interview was when Eusebio spoke of an incident in which a few children in their early teens were killed publicly for violating a law, most likely stealing food or being involved with the black market. While recounting this memory, Eusebio began to weep softly, repeating over and over again how young they were to have lost their lives in such a way.
Maria gave me a different perspective on this time period. As a teacher starting in the 1950’s, she had to deal with extreme censorship of teachers. The Regime was especially concerned about leftist propaganda that could send Spain back into Civil War. Because of this, Maria had to deal with an added level of fear as teachers found “promoting” leftist ideals would face imprisonment and possibly torture.
This amazing couple not only were able to tell me about their experiences in another part of Southern Spain, but they also shared there home with me in a way that I will never forget. They were so excited to have the chance to talk to me and I really appreciated their openness.