Gervasio Puerta (1921-2013)

August 17, 2013
Gervasio Puerta García (1921-2013)

Gervasio Puerta García (1921-2013)

From Spain we have received the sad news of the passing of Gervasio Puerta, vice-president of the Asociación de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales (AABI), who dedicated his entire life to the struggle for justice and against fascism.

As a fifteen-year old boy, Gervasio lied about his age in order to join the Republican army. By 17, he was a lieutenant. He lost his father and best friends in the war.

During the Republican retreats, Gervasio crossed the French border and was interned in the concentration camps at Argelès-sur-mer, Saint Ciprien, and Barcarès. He spent World War II fighting with the French army and the French resistance. By 1943 he slipped back into Spain to organize the Communist resistance against Franco. He was detained in 1946 and spent the next four years in a Francoist prison. In 1961 he was arrested again, and not released until 1965. While in prison he continued his political work.

After Franco’s death, Gervasio joined the Association of Former Prisoners and Victims of Retaliations, serving as its president for twenty years. In 1990 he helped found the International Brigade Association and five years later the Association of Friends of the International Brigades (AABI), serving as its vice-president. His autobiography, Palomas tras las rejas (Doves behind Bars) appeared in 2011.

ALBA’s Bob Coale writes:

As vicechairman of the AABI, Gervasio was instrumental in organizing the many IB reunions in Spain from 1996 on.  In April 1997 he was thrilled to be part of the “Amigos” delegation to the VALB-ALBA New York event, along with Ana Perez, Marcos Ana and the many younger volunteers from Spain. With his passing, Spain loses a determined anti-franquist and anti-fascist fighter, and IB Associations across the globe lose a dear friend.

For more, see the obituary on the AABI’s website, and the one published yesterday in the newspaper Públicowhich interviewed him in 2011.