A Basque refugee

Eighty years ago, Spain was mired in a civil war that pitted the Republican government and its allies against the Nationalist forces of Franco. As Franco’s forces gained ground in the Basque Country, thousands of people, mostly children, fled to other lands, becoming refugees. Britain alone took nearly 4000 children. This is the story of one of them, Maria Patchett (nee Incera).

6 thoughts on “A Basque refugee”

  1. Is known as the Civil War, but in reality, it was a military coup, since the Republican government was democratically elected at the polls.

  2. What a great story, my ancestors came from basque country to Brazil on the 19th century, I’m discovering fabulous facts and a little more about this incredible people which impresses me in each new story I hear.
    Thank you for this one!

  3. Great story but it was a Whole different era back then there was not the huge terrorist threat like now so please do not try and compare it to what is going on now it i like comparing an apple to a watermelon. I thin the President is not strict enough for the short term. Thanks

    1. I have read many comments from Basques who were sheltered in England! this is a wonderfully complete one!

  4. A fantastic story. A member of my mother’s family was also a Basque child refugee and came to England in 1937 and was sent to live with a family in Scarborough in Yorkshire. He never forgot the family in Scarborough and kept in contact with them until he passed away in 2015 at the age of 93.
    His daughter married a Yorkshire man and they also live in Scarborough.

    As for other members of my mother’s family they had to flee Bilbao in 1937 when the Nationalist forces broke Bilbao’s Iron Ring of defence.
    The family ended up in a refugee camp in France where my 2 young uncles (who were babies) died of measles.
    I always remember my auntie Celia who passed away in July 2014 aged 82 telling me the story of how our family crossed the Pyrenees on foot.

    1. Hello James, my uncle Anastasio Quinzanos departed from Santurzi in the Habana. When he returned had some many “sweet butter and marmalade stories” memories of his stay with the families that sheltered him. Upon his return to Basque Country, he was so overcome by the misery he saw, that he gave away all the clothes and gifts that the English families had loaded him with. When my mother when to pick him up in Bilbao and scolded him for giving away all his belongings for they were indeed in want of everything. He responded, “had you told me I would never have returned”. He was forced to serve in the Spanish navy and finally emigrated to America via New York where he was detained at Ellis Island. Once his immigration visa was in order, he did not want to leave Ellis Island as he considered it the BEST HOTEL in the world with three meals a day unrestricted visit to the kitchen in between. Clean bed, free cigarettes, candy, coffee, cakes. He taught the guards “MUS”. He was the most generous person (uncle) you ever saw. He always wanted to feed you and take care of you.

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