Monument to the Guerrilla Fighter
This impressive monument to the Spanish guerrillero stands in Santa Cruz de Moya in the province of Cuenca. It commemorates the maquis fighters and was inaugurated on 6 June 1991. For many, the Spanish Civil War did not end in 1939, as the Francoist repression which characterized the conflict continued into the post-war era – as did pockets of Republican resistance. While the Francoist victory was decisive, some of those who fled in the face of their advance joined the French resistance, known as the maquis. This word would subsequently enter Spanish as a more general term denoting those who, based either in France or in Spain itself, continued to wage military struggle against the Franco Regime. In 1944, several thousand attempted an ill-fated invasion of the Val d’Aran from the French Pyrenees, though this was easily repelled by the Regime. In 1991 this monument was erected to commemorate the maquis resistance at Santa Cruz de Moya, Cuenca.
In cultural productions of the dictatorship, the maquis tended to be presented as delinquents, although a heroic image was presented in the 1964 US production, Behold a Pale Horse, starring Gregory Peck. The film was inevitably banned by the Regime’s censors and first screened in Spain only in 1979. A shift in cultural representations of the maquis within Spain began with Víctor Erice’s 1973 film, The Spirit of the Beehive, in which the politically innocent young protagonist, Ana, helps a guerrilla fugitive. In post-transition Spain, a significant number of novels and films have sought to revisit the image of the maquis. Julio Llamazares’ 1985 novel, Wolf Moon, which recounts the tale of three Republicans hiding like wolves in the mountains of León after the end of the Civil War, would focus not on the political dimensions of maquis resistance, but on the impact on the human spirit of a desolate defeat.
The ‘boom’ in Spanish novels examining issues of memory which occurred at the close of the 20th Century brought a new framing of the maquis, now through the lens of intergenerational memory. Alfons Cervera’s Maquis (1997), for example, would consolidate a depoliticized view of the maquis as victims of daily repression, fear and silence, and thus as having little honourable alternative except to continue their military resistance. Montxo Arméndariz’s film Broken Silence (2001) would add to this vision the experiences of others affected by the maquis’ struggle, including the women and family who supported them and as a result also faced persecution.