It is worth publishing this first article as a preview of a series of historical recreation reports related to the Maresme region that will be published periodically by the local edition of La Vanguardia digital del Maresme in collaboration with the recently created cultural entity Astaracum.
This summer the Astaracum cultural association has registered, which in fact has already participated in several historical-cultural works in the Maresme area, specifically in Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, Sant Vicenç de Montalt, Caldes d’Estrac and Arenys de Mar, as two books published by the La Muntala library, related to houses with history in Sant Vicenç de Montalt, exhibitions related to embassies and houses used by republican dignitaries in this area, as well as local talks.
It all started with the study by Jordi Sellarés, professor of international law at ESADE, on the atypical situation that occurred in the Civil War (1936-39), when the advances of Franco’s troops forced the Republican government to leave Madrid to settle in Valencia. The President of the Republic, Manuel Azaña, went from Madrid to Barcelona, correctly thinking that the government would also end there. Many foreign powers thought that Barcelona was not the ideal place and sought the Maresme area, between Vilassar and Arenys, but highly concentrated in Caldes, Sant Vicenç and Llavaneres, to set up embassies, consulates and the residence of their officials.
There was a coincidence of powers in Catalonia, between authorities of the Generalitat, the Spanish government, the Basque government and international diplomatic representations. This area of the Maresme was, in fact, a certain oasis, perhaps agreed between the contenders and the main international countries, to have a certain calm and limited war security.
Sellarés has studied the presence of American, French and British ships on the Maresme coast and has verified the presence of President Azaña on a large property, where he ordered the construction of an anti-aircraft shelter.
Many of the chalets on the Paseo de los Ingleses and its continuation, the Paseo del Marqués de Casa Riera, which had been taken over by the local authorities during the war period, had foreign flags at their doors, representing Great Britain, Sweden, etc.
Minister Irujo also resided in one of them.
All this investigative work has opened up many other avenues that this group, made up of various people from diverse backgrounds, architects, lawyers, economists, and other liberal backgrounds, is working on and that will soon see the light of day, specifically, what happened on the estate of the Gabrielistas brothers, who had been the object of an anarchist assault in October 1936 with the unfortunate result of 40 priests shot in Montcada after passing through the San Elías checa, and, in January 1938, became a temporary refuge for 550 citizens Spaniards opposed to the Republic, who had entered the French embassy in Madrid and who the French representatives managed to take by bus from Madrid to Tembleque, province of Toledo and a working railway junction, to Valencia and from there to Sant Vicenç de Montalt, then called Llavaneres de Montalt.
These citizens spent 60 days in the Gabrielistas building, diplomatically and de facto protected by assault guards, until they were embarked on the beach by two French warships and taken to Port Vendres. This bizarre journey, of objective importance, is a fact that must be known by the new generations.