July 25 – DISAPPEARED IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
DISAPPEARED IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
Out of the 49 Brothers who were victims of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, 5 were executed in August (See 19 August) and 39 in November (See 29 and 30 November). The other 5 were considered as having disappeared: one on 25 July, two on 30 July and two others on 30 September. The first to disappear was French (the only one of the 49 victims), Br. Adrien Joseph. In July 1936, he belonged to a community of six Brothers (three Spanish and three French) who were working in the school of Viladecans, south of Barcelona. On Monday 20 July, he asked his confreres to hide themselves in the surroundings. He himself who had first decided to await the militiamen, carrying out searches in the city, chose to flee to the Brothers’ compound at Marina on the sea coast. Br. Onuphre, Assistant, then at Viladecans, met him there accompanied by a Belgian friend. Then all the three went to the Belgian’s house on the heights of Begas. On Tuesday 21, Br. Onuphre and the Belgian went down to see what had happened in Viladecans and found that fire had been set to the rooms of the Brothers. While Br. Adrien was awaiting their return, he saw towards 11 in the evening the militiamen arriving. They searched the house and took him to the regional committee of Viladecans. Interrogated about the hiding of his Brothers, he simply gave this admirable reply: “A religious does not betray his Brothers”. He was then referred to the revolutionary tribunal of Hospitalet de Llobregat, accusing him of hiding machine-guns at Gava near Viladecans. No doubt it was false. Once again interrogated at the tribunal of the court in Barcelona, he was released. Worn out, he looked for hospitality in the “La Verdad” guest house. From there he wrote a letter to the French Consul General in Barcelona to complain about his unlawful detention. Receiving no reply, he started off again the next evening, 23 July. The guest house was under surveillance by loose gangs. Taken hostage by them in order to make him speak, he returned to the guest house bruised and almost naked. Clothed again with something offered by the keeper, he preferred to get lost in the anonymous crowd of the great city. On 25 July, he met a friend at the station, a messenger, from whom he asked for the amount for a ticket to Barcelona-Caldetas and to whom he narrated his adventures. Thereafter he was never seen. However on 17 October 1936, Br. Anastase, General Assistant, from the ministry of external affairs in Paris learnt that Br. Adrien had been killed by knife stabbing. It can be affirmed that he was the first “martyr” Brother of Spain. ·
It was through Br. Gabriel Perboyre, Director of Caldetas, that we have some meagre information on the other four who disappeared. Those of 30 July 1936 were Brothers Javier Marfa and Felix Marfa of San Adrfan de Bes6s. On Sunday 19 July, coming out from Mass, the militiamen had announced to the six Brothers of the community about an imminent search of their school. Sensing danger they all ran away, except the Director. Nothing more was heard of Brothers Javier and Felix from 30 July.
Two months later, it was the tum of Brothers Fernando and Ireneo to disappear without leaving any trace. They had taken refuge at the main house in Caldetas. Their Provincial thought it better to disperse them with some others among friends in Barcelona. On 30 September, the two Brothers met together in a park in the city. They were arrested there. No one knows what happened after that.