Bitter Justice: Bitter Justice: The Penitentiary of El Puerto De Santa María and Its Basque Dimension, 1936–1949
Incarceration of political enemies was a principal strategy for repression by the Francoist regime during the Civil War and Franco’s early rule and the Puerto de Santa María, in Andalusia, was a major prison. Bitter Justice tells the story of some of these prisoners, focusing on the Basque dimension and based on newly cataloged prison files, interviews with family members of prisoners, research in Basque archives. The book tells the story of these prisoners: their charges, sentences, and conditions of release, which were generally more stringent for Basque prisoners than for others. And El Puerto contained more Basque prisoners than all the other Andalusian prisons put together. In addition, Bitter Justice considers important interrelated issues: El Puerto‘s background including conditions and treatment of its inmates; Basque prisoners’ conditions; a presentation of collective memories of Basque relatives of the prisoners, relating to their life before, during, and, perhaps as important, the way they were treated after their return to their communities; and case studies of “offenders”; and, an analysis of any inconsistencies of sentences, charges, and release conditions that affected Basque and Cádiz prisoners. The research shows that irregularities and discrimination against those convicted from the Basque Country were normal. This history, the first of its kind, sheds a new light on the terrible early repression of the Franco regime and its effect on many lives.