From Guernica to slavery, Spanish vet recalls war horrors

Luis Ortiz Alfau is one of the last surviving witnesses of the atrocities of the Spanish civil war, from the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica to the forced labour campsLuis Ortiz Alfau was 19 and working at a food warehouse when Spain’s civil war began in 1936, as general Francisco Franco led an uprising against a democratically elected Republican government. Today almost 100, Luis is one of the last surviving witnesses of the atrocities of that conflict, from the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica to the forced labour camps. “I joined a battalion of the Republican Left in the first days of August in Bilbao,” he recalls at his flat in his hometown of Bilbao in northern Spain, surrounded by his archives and his computer.

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