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-“That 18 July was a hot day, just like today.”

-“Yes. And Barcelona was one big party. It was bubbling. There were 60,000 sportsmen and women on the streets from all over Europe and America. In the afternoon of 19 July, the People’s Olympiad was due to open, the working-class response to Hitler’s Games. Pau Casals was rehearsing in the Palau concert hall. And my brother Ferran, the Catalan swimming champion and sub-champion of Spain, the pride of my family, was due to participate in two events.”

-“Meanwhile, the uprising was triumphing in Melilla.”

- “Africa was so far away. That night, my brother went off to train at the Picornell Baths. When he got back, he told us that Plaça de Espanya was full of assault troops. We went to bed assuming it was because of the Olympiad and dreaming of the chicken that mother would cook for Ferran if he did well in the race.”
“They weren’t there for that.”

- “No. At six in the morning, we were woken by the sound of shots. Mother was the concierge at number 56 on Carrer Balmes. The flat was below the rooftop. We went up. The shots were coming from the Pedralbes barracks.”

- “The rooftops were vantage points.”

- “That’s where we stayed. Except for my brother, who went off to the club at the Industrial School. He came back so disappointed. The Olympiad had been cancelled. I think that what upset me most that day was seeing him so frustrated, the frustration of one still so young…!”

- “You were more upset for him than afraid?”

- “Yes. My brother went down to Plaça Catalunya, the Rambles. There were lots of people and lorries on the move. The radio said there had been a military uprising and that people were going off to quell it. Above all the CNT and then later the FAI. On 20 July, a group of bully-boys with red and black headscarves grabbed books out of the library at the Seminary and burned them.”

Interview with  Maria Salvo, founder of Dones del 36 (Women of 36)
El Periódico de Catalunya, 18 July 2006

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