Spain 1936-1939
Memòries d’una guerra / Memories of a war
A project in progress about individual memory

The testimony of three former combatants:
Artur Tomàs Mercader, Andreu Canet Català 
and Miquel Morera Darbra

At the moment (2020) I am following a Phd programme about Society and Culture: History, Anthropology, Arts, Heritage and Cultural Management  at the UB / Universitat de Barcelona. My proposal of PHD Thesis,  directed by Phd Xavier Roigé,  is about heritage commemorating Spanish Civil War in Catalunya.
In parallel, I am  working in a project about individual memory related to the Spanish Civil War collecting video interviews of the last witnesses to the Civil War: ex-combatants, exiles and victims.
At the end of  2019 I had the great fortune to contact three ex-combatants from the Spanish Civil War whom I was able to interview through a video recording.
These interviews are for me an excellent way to know first hand their experience as direct protagonists of the Spanish Civil War and a way to keep their memory alive forever.
Artur Tomàs Mercader was born in Tarragona on 18th August 1918. He fought in the 45th International Division and was an exceptional witness to the republican retirement of Cap de Pont de Seròs on 22nd December 1938. His biography was written by Carme Rodríguez Virgili in the book Memòries d’un quinto 1937-1939. Artur Tomàs Mercader , published in 2009.
The interview took place on 22nd October 2019 in the Cathedral of Tarragona. Artur Tomàs Mercader, at that moment 101 years old, is responsible for ringing the Cathedral Angelus bell every day from Monday to Friday at 12:00.
Andreu Canet Català was born in Barcelona in December 1920. In April 1938, he was forced to join the Spanish Republican Army.  He fought in the  18th Corps, 60th Division 224th Brigade and participated in the Battle of the Ebro. Founding Member of the Agrupació de Supervivents de la Lleva Biberó-41, he has written his memoirs but has so far refused to publish them. He only share them with his family. The interview took place on 5th November 2019 with the assistance of the cameraman Eloi Clemente Casamitjana at his home in Cardedeu. 
Miquel Morera Darbra was born on 26th April 1920 in the Sarrià district of Barcelona. In October 1936, at the age of 16, he joined the Macià-Companys Column as a volunteer, joining his father, in charge of the armory. Later they fought in the 30th Division of the Spanish Republican Army, fighting on the Aragonese front, and later on the southern fronts.
After the war he was arrested as a prisoner of war, so he had to go through the Model prison of Barcelona, ​​as well as through different concentration camps (Horta, Reus ...). He is currently the Press Delegate of the Agrupació de Supervivents de la Lleva Biberó-41. Miquel Morera Darbra wrote his war and postwar memories in his book Un noi al front, una joventut trencada. 1936-45, published in 2010. The interview took place on 19th December  2019 at his home in the Sarrià district of Barcelona.

“La Lleva del Biberó” was made up of young soldiers, aged between 17 and 19, called up in late April 1938 to fight for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War. Between 27,000 and 35,000 were enlisted in a desperate attempt by the army to turn a war they were losing. The term (something like “baby’s bottle draft” in English) was supposedly coined by the Anarchist leader Frederica Montseny in reference to their tender age. Many of those not killed were to spend their early twenties in Franco’s concentration camps.
In 1983 about 307 survivors and 412 relatives founded the Agrupació de Supervivents de la Lleva del Biberó-41. Every 25 July survivors and  relatives of La Lleva del Biberó meet at the Monument to Peace so as to commemorate the beginning of the Battle of the Ebro and to remember those who died during the Spanish Civil War.
More information:
-Rodríguez Virgili, C. (2009): Memòries d’un quinto 1937-1939. Artur Tomàs Mercader. Tarragona, Silva Editorial
-Morera Darbra, Miquel (2010): Un noi al front, una joventut trencada. 1936-45. Calafell, Llibres de Matrícula
-Caralt, Andreu (2017): 3.669 biberons : Agrupació de Supervivents de la Lleva del Biberó-41

Artur Tomàs Mercader. Tarragona Cathedral, 22 October 2019
                     Artur Tomàs Mercader. Tarragona Cathedral, 22 October 2019
                     Artur Tomàs Mercader. Tarragona Cathedral, 22 October 2019
                 Andreu Canet Català as a soldier of the Spanish Republic Army
Andreu Canet Català at his home in Cardedeu, 5 November 2019
Militiamen of the Macià-Companys column, by the river. From left to right: Joan Velilla, Joan Escofet, Agustí Barberà, Miquel Morera i Darbra, Josep Bisbal and the lieutenant and head of the armory unit, Lluís Morera i Argullol. Montalbán, 1937-1938 © Miquel Morera i Darbra 
Miquel Morera i Darbra at their grandparents’ home in Sarrià during the only permission he was        given after many months joining the Front of Teruel with the Macià-Companys Column. © Miquel Morera i Darbrà
Miquel Morera Darbra at his home in Sarrià district of Barcelona, 19 December 2019
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