The Nazis on the coast jump into the novel


On the left, the Bremer complex, built by a former Nazi hierarch in Dénia, in the fifties.  On the right, the main facade today.

On the left, the Bremer complex, built by a former Nazi hierarch in Dénia, in the fifties. On the right, the main facade today.
ARXIU DE DÉNIA / A. RUIZ

The novel The Red Days, by Miguel Herráez, revives on the plane of historical fiction the presence and complicity of high Nazi officials in late Francoist Spain to be able to talk about “repression, memory, denunciation and a certain lyricism, within the disgusting thing that was the Franco dictatorship “.

This fictional account, published by the Editorial Skin of Zapa, part of the connivance of the Franco regime with Nazi leaders who, after the defeat of Berlin in World War II, fled Germany to find refuge in Spain.

Some of these Nazis took refuge in Valencia and, above all, in the coastal area of ​​Alicante (Dénia, Calp or Xàbia). «They received permission to live quietly here. That permission – he affirms – was promoted not only by the Regime, the Vatican also collaborated in the escape of part of those murderers and many were left without persecution in Germany itself or in Austria. In the novel, of course, I am in tune with all these data ».

With an action set in the seventies of the twentieth century, the characters in “Los Días Rojo” are people committed against the dictatorship, as “the protagonist himself who, even though he is very clear about the side on which he is, that of the good ones, sometimes hesitates due to the excess of ideological rigidity of some parties of the left of that time”, highlights the author.

“In the seventies, even more so at the university level, it was very clear where to hit”, affirms Miguel Herráez, who adds: “It was not possible for a European country to still be governed by an authoritarian, reactionary system.”

Although it is a fictional story, Herráez, who is a professor at the Cardenal Herrera-CEU University, comments that there are documentary sources that serve to establish the historical framework. “What I would have as a personal testimony is the fact that I lived the late Francoism as a teenager and I recognize myself in the social and cultural winks that I establish.”

The plot takes place in a time, the decade of the seventies, marked by the transition, in which, according to the writer, “what was done was done after a tunnel of forty years of darkness. They were extremely complicated years, times of shaking and destabilization by some of the sectors that did not believe in the democratic system. ”

«The polarized situation obviously occurred. The difference is that the action of the extreme right was very active in the street at the beginning of the TransitionWhile the revolutionary principles of the extreme left used to stay on paper. Still there? The truth is that it seemed that in the last twenty years that trauma had been overcome, but for a while now it beats again, although fortunately only in the field of verbal dialectics. It does not go beyond there ».

Written in the first person, The Red Days begins with the voice of the protagonist, a young anti-Franco militant university student who lets himself be captured by a clandestine political organization. His job is to monitor and control the movements of a famous Nazi so that he can be captured.

“At first he feels disoriented, because it is a type of task that goes beyond sowing pamphlets or protesting in the street or in the same faculty against the regime. It is a different action, in which he accommodates himself because he knows that he acts from the side of good, ”says Herráez.

With a touch of irony and sometimes even a certain melancholic humor, the novel explains the investigations of this young anti-Franco militant to persecute a character like Otto Skorzeny, engineer and SS commander, accused of war crimes and that in the actually ended his days living in Alcudia (Mallorca).

Scholar of the Argentine novelist Julio Cortázar and author of essays such as The Strategy of Postmodernity in Eduardo Mendoza (1998), Miguel Herréz has also cultivated fiction with works such as Click (1994), Trust me (1999), Under the rain (2000), Behind the linden trees (2007) and Cellular life (2014).

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