Revived Voices:

Spanish Women’s Testimonies from

the Spanish Civil War



Rachel Schweich
May 5, 2000
Senior Thesis
Women’s Studies and Hispanic Studies
Mills College
Oakland, California, USA



Testimonial Literature and Women's Voices

Spain’s Civil War, like many heated internal conflicts, had a profound effect on the nation and its people, forever changing the course of their history. As often happens at the end of a war, those who won Spain’s Civil War maintained complete control, manipulating the telling of history for their own purposes. The defeated had to wait 36 years before their voices could be heard, by which time their passions had cooled. Many people who lived through the war had either grown accustomed to silence, died or just tried to put the experience behind them. But in the last 25 years some very special voices have emerged; those of women who fought for the Republic during the war and who, in their old age, have given their testimonies so that their experiences will not be lost forever after they have gone.

These invaluable sources inspire this paper and help form a complete picture of a complex time in Spain’s history. As the women themselves testify, some never got over the terrible anxiety that war brought them, while others grew stronger and participated politically for the rest of their lives. Many heroines of the war died alone in poverty and in exile while others became famous and are recognized today as important leaders. Every testimony is highly personal and often was written for purely personal reasons, rather than to provide a historical source or even a cultural study of the experiences of women in a particular time and place. As Mary E. Giles reminds us, the words of women come from their position as participants in the events they relate, not as historians or observers (Prison of Women, xix). Each woman’s story, however personal, has historical and social value that enlightens our perspective of the Spanish Civil War.

These memoirs should be viewed as experiences that women may simply want to express from a turbulent and difficult time in their lives and in the history of their people. I would like to take an uncritical stance in regards to the objectivity/subjectivity of such writing and assume that these testimonies contain important historical information. These authors lived through the war, out of which experience come the many interpretations of reality that always will be fact for these women. Although the reliability of memory and the inseparable aspect of imagination and its influence can be debated extensively, the question loses its importance in the absence of any ulterior motive behind the telling of the testimonies of the women of this project (Biography of a Runaway Slave, 205). Spanish women of the Civil War simply want their histories told.

By telling their stories, Spanish women find a historical voice and assert themselves against the effort to silence marginalized people (Throwing Like a Girl… 13). The very nature of testimonial literature of all kinds (novels, biographies, autobiographies) is to give voice to those whose reality has not been a part of the traditional historical canon. Kathy Taylor observes testimonial literature’s "focus on the popular classes and the people ‘without history’…to allow the ‘protagonists’ of reality to speak" (The New Narrative of Mexico, 30). More specifically, the testimonies of Spanish women under Franco, serve as the only evidence of women’s activities and prison experiences seeing as:

Sabemos que en esos datos presentados con parafernalias de rigor histórico-científico se ha olvidado la verdad/realidad de gran parte de la población (We know that those pieces of information depicted as historically-scientifically accurate do not include the truth/reality of a big part of the population ("Mujeres, escritura de resistencia y testimonios antifranquistas", 141).

Most women who are included in this paper wrote or told their testimonies to assure themselves that their suffering would be known and to prevent another historical tragedy such as the one they lived through. They exist to give voice to the defeated.

An advocate of giving voice to the silenced and the originator of the testimonial fiction genre, Miguel Barnet, believes that historical value is inherent in the testimonies of the voiceless, insisting, "History will always appear through the significant individual moments of marginalized persons" [The emphasis is mine] (Biography…, 204). Therefore, the memoirs of women who participated in the Civil War can be thought of as historical documents.

Women’s testimonies could even be thought of as a more reliable kind of historical documentation since they are written from the perspective of experience. Lived experience increases ones credibility and gives one a significant advantage over a scholar who has "merely read or thought about such experiences" as Patricia Hill Collins demonstrates in Black Feminist Thought (209). Another feminist scholar, Iris Marion Young, writes, "Experience often means knowledge that is more immediate and trustworthy than second-hand knowledge" (Throwing…, 12). While this seems to be common sense, it directly contradicts the accepted standard for knowledge-making in academia. When faced with the argument for an "objective" process, which includes measured distance between the researcher and his/her object of study and a complete denial of emotions, we must remember that such a procedure does not represent the marginalized (Black Feminist…, 203). This method could nev er produce the poignant words that flow from the inspiration of lived experience. Whether or not one accepts the women’s words as pure, untarnished history, they are undoubtedly wise reflections that we should honor and value in efforts to construct a fair history of the Spanish Civil War and postwar eras.

The actual words of women are the base of this paper, providing an insight impossible for those of us not present in 1930s Spain to replicate even after research and study. Not only are these testimonies valuable in the reconstruction of a crucial period in Spain’s history, but they also attest to the tireless activity and demonstrate the particular talents of the women of the time. Women’s own words exhibit the profound potential and creative energy of an entire generation of Spanish women which was stripped from Spain and the world, during the post war repression and resulting marginalization of women. We can see in their testimonies the tremendous fire these women had for life and for action within a cause that meant everything to them. We are left to imagine what progress they would have achieved had they been allowed to express their passionate creativity. Their potential for contributing to the community of Spain, and to the world, was compromised since their existence was reduced to an oblig ation to procreate and self-negate. However, as their testimonies teach us, it is never too late to revive a silenced generation or to learn from their courage, patience and resistance.


Political History of the Second Republic, The Civil War and Aftermath in Franco’s Spain

The women of Spain in the 1930s were just settling into a revolutionary and promising new era for themselves and their country when civil war broke out. The war not only caused the reforms of the progressive Republican government to cease as the conflict politically divided the country, but it forced all Spaniards into action. Antifascist women’s daily lives changed radically as they fought to maintain the freedoms they had gained over the previous five years under the Second Republic.

The Second Republic had granted women rights that asserted their status as human beings and gave them a sense of control over their lives. For the first time in history, married women were autonomous beings under the law and could divorce. They could not be fired for their marital status. All women had a political voice, were allowed to run for and hold government positions and could "legally act as witnesses and guardians, sign contracts, and administer estates" ("Women and Social Change," Spanish Cultural Studies, 101). Church and state were made separate and, as a result, education without the restrictions of the Catholic church was available. Children were taught modern, democratic, Republican values instead of conservative, Catholic morals in the ten to fourteen thousand new public schools that the Republic founded in its five years ("The Republican State and Mass Educational-Cultural Initiatives 1931-1936", Spanish Cultural…, 133). The Republic encour aged the working class, at that time the majority of the country’s population, to learn about literary and artistic culture in hopes that "culture would…enable all people to develop their capabilities to the fullest, and would improve their capacity to understand and transform the world" (Kenwood, 32). The government genuinely encouraged the intellectual and economic success of all Spanish men and women. Hope was growing among working women and their families that their exploitation and hardship would soon disappear.

Not only women benefited from the military, educational and agricultural reforms that the Republic put into place, but in theory, so did every working class family in the country. However, the gap between the ideals of the Second Republic and the daily reality of the people was wide and did not show signs of narrowing. By 1936 the working class had grown restless, desiring a true revolution instead of the promises and slow-moving reforms of a tiny middle class. Despite increasing disenchantment with the Republic, the entire country seemed to be in favor of its vast reforms, voting overwhelmingly for the left in a general election on February 16, 1936. All of this hope vanished five months later when fascist forces, spurred by the loss of the election, initiated a military coup d’état on July 17, 1936. The government that the people had voted for was in danger, and so were the progressive reforms that aimed to improve the lives of common Spaniards.

The Republicans saw the Civil War as a fight between fascism and freedom, and these visionaries with little or no military training fought vehemently and bravely for three long years. The Republicans consisted of socialists, communists and anarchists as well as people of leftist association with no party affiliation. On the other side of the conflict, the Nationalists supported either the monarchy, the Catholic religion as an institution, the military, or were rich landowners unhappy with the Republic’s reforms. This split clearly divided the country in two, more or less by socio-economic status as Republican reforms aimed to abolish feudal agricultural practices and change the corrupt nature and persuasive powers of the Church and the military. These reforms had been established to benefit the huge number of impoverished workers and naturally infuriated the wealthy who stood to lose property and power.

Since the split was along economic lines, the Republic had the masses working for them while the Nationalists had money, military power and other fascist states ready to help their cause. Hitler used the Spanish Civil War as a rehearsal to test the potency of his newly developed weapons before the Second World War, while Mussolini’s pride and determination got caught up in the conflict and he eventually ordered every Italian soldier to stay in Spain until the war was won (The Spanish Civil War, video). The Nationalists united early under Francisco Franco, an inoffensive leader chosen for his ability to satisfy all the factions of the right. Their military experience, focus and the high involvement of foreign armies won the war.

Although the USSR did supply the Republican forces with food and later with airplanes, by the time their military support arrived, the war had gone on for years and crucial ground had already been lost (The Spanish…, video). Other than the complete indifference of the Allied Forces in the face of fascism, the biggest obstacle for the Republicans was internal conflict. Politicians from the failed Republic fought to win the war at hand but did not share the concerns of the more numerous workers who, as communists and anarchists, fought for a true revolution. Each group had its own ideas about how to continue the war effort and even fought battles among themselves. Without the crucial support of other nations and under the strain of growing internal strife, the Republic inevitably fell under the attack of German, Italian and Spanish fascists on April 1, 1939.

The tragic nature of this loss was especially profound for Spanish women. The Civil War had given them the opportunity to participate politically, join women’s organizations, develop an ideology and discover self-purpose. Mary Nash asserts, "Self-esteem and greater confidence in their own capacity led women to further expectations regarding their own role in society and to a broader awareness of their rights" (Defying Male Civilization, 177). The positive results of their activism and the general direction of women’s liberation during the Republic were promptly reversed by the expectations of the dictatorship. Franco’s government demanded that they go back to the traditional roles of wife and mother, forcing them to terminate all liberated behavior, from participation in the political world to achieving economic independence (A Social History of Modern Spain, 214). All political activity was illegal and punishments were severe. A correspondent with the New York Times in t he 1940s wrote that Spanish women lived as they had in Medieval times, stripped of their civil rights by Franco and not allowed even to be seen in public without a male chaperon (Usos amorosos de la postguerra española, 30). Couples were encouraged monetarily and with special services to have large families to make up for the loss of human life during the war. Nash asserts that since their "primary social function" was motherhood, "women’s aspirations related to work, education and…emancipation were perceived as a threat" (Defying…, 183).

Franco also used the Catholic church to control women’s lives by demanding National-Catholicism which instilled morals consistent with his goals and visions of Spain (A Social History…, 234). He changed laws to prohibit women from working outside the home, made divorce illegal again, and obligated all women to complete Social Service, a Feminine Section program designed to "instill domestic values in Spanish women who were (all) bound to be mothers and wives (True Catholic Womanhood, 33). Under Franco, the educational system was once again controlled by the Church, an institution "deeply imbued with the spirit of the crusade and backed socially by the traditional right" ("Education and Political Control", Spanish Cultural…, 196). In her article, Alted also asserts, "Woman’s entire being was conditioned by motherhood, and her destiny was to live for home, husband and family" (198). These Catholic ideals were imposed in the name of tradition and of recapturing the true "Spain" that had been threatened by progressive revolutionaries before the war. It was impossible under these conditions to openly continue liberated behavior (which included communicating one’s creative expressions), let alone give any kind of testimony of her political experiences. The extreme repression would last approximately twenty years and the dictatorship, thirty-six.

Women’s Words: Experiences and Political Activity During the War and in Franco’s Prisons

Women’s testimonies relating to their activity during the Civil War range from exciting, inspiring and informative to horrifying, mystifying and disheartening. All show the incredible energy and potential contribution of women who actively took to the streets when faced with the reality of fascism. These memoirs, autobiographies, and spoken testimonies became their only outlet when, despite their hard work, their cause was defeated. Women wrote about their participation in political events, taking mail to the fighting republicans at the front lines, sewing uniforms and founding orphanages. The noticeable impact and inspiring speeches of women leaders such as Dolores Ibárruri, La Pasionaria, and Federica Montseny encouraged a wider range of participation among women. A major theme after the war is prison life, the poor physical conditions and emotional torture of being condemned to death, but also the support within a community of political prisoners.

During the war the experience of women depended heavily upon where they lived and how politically active they became. Some areas of Spain (Sevilla, Galicia and parts of Castilla- León) fell to the Nationalists right away and overt Republican activity was never possible. Many women participated in the Republican efforts in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia either by continued political activity through a specific party or union, or through new opportunities created by the war (Mujer y movimiento obrero en España, 113). Some young women of the working class became involved in communist or socialist activity through their work place as a means to gain rights as employees in factories and small shops. One of these women was Tomasa Cuevas who became involved when Communists leaders approached and explained their work to her. Soon she was running messages between comrades. She sympathized with their work because she understood the need to protect workers and was particularly useful at the beginning of the war because she was young and fairly inconspicuous (Prison of Women, 7).

Tomasa Cuevas came from a working class family and spent most of her childhood laboring long hours to assure that they could eat and buy medicine. Activism came naturally to her since she had long been fighting for her own fair treatment as a worker, and the communist cause became her life. She was imprisoned after the war for six years and was part of the resistance in Spain throughout Franco’s regime (Prison…, 6). An important part of her continued activism has been to record the testimonies of women, often old friends of hers, who fought against fascism and were political prisoners, which she published in her series of books called, Cárcel de mujeres.

Cuevas’ own personal testimony serves as the introduction to her compilation of the women political prisoners’ voices. She tells a detailed story of her whole life, from her initial involvement before and during the war to her continued resistance during almost 40 years of dictatorship in Spain. Throughout the war Cuevas "served wherever needed" which meant she was endlessly laboring for the cause. She proves her dedication with a partial list of her wartime activities:

I worked for a while in…hospitals of the International Brigades; helped organize sewing shops in Guadalajara making coveralls for the milicias; organized diversions for the troops…; set up laundries for washing the soldiers’ clothes; recruited men from villages for the front; and convinced women to take over men’s jobs (Prison…, 15).

This kind of intense participation was matched by many other women during the war, proving the high level of energy and profound impact women had, at least on the Republican side of the war effort.

In her autobiography, Constancia de la Mora writes about the work she did to rescue the children from the orphanages abandoned by the nuns who had maintained them before the start of the war (In Place of Splendor, 242). She became the director in charge of the well-being of hundreds of children and later worked with the foreign press as a censor to assure that no Republican military information leaked out. Her work was so important to her, as she fought against the fascist threat, that it impeded even the grieving process. De la Mora remembers, "We all made ourselves survive the agony of death. Work had to be done; there was no time to mourn" (In Place…, 328). Just like de la Mora, many women felt that their obligations to work on behalf of the Republican cause superseded all other activities; their energy had but one purpose. Sara Berenguer, a militant who followed her revolutionary father into combat notes that, "Solamente una cosa me movía…el anhelo de servir a l a causa" ("Only one thing moved me to action…a longing to serve the cause") (Entre el sol y la tormenta, 53). In her testimony, Rosario Sánchez Mora, "the Dynamiter," remarks, "I would like to emphasize that I could have retired from service after I lost my hand, but I continued in the army without pay in order to defend the Republic" (Prison…, 63).

Leaders of political groups, like Federica Montseny of the anarchists, encouraged this sense of impassioned obligation in speeches which reached thousands of women, "As women and mothers, we have to carry out our human, individual and collective duty by fighting against oppression, for freedom and justice…" (Defying…, 104). The communist leader, Dolores Ibárruri, cited in a speech the reason an anonymous woman gave for having joined the battle at the front lines after her brother was killed fighting for the Republic, "I have come here to join the ranks, to take the place he would have occupied…to show the fascist scoundrels that when men die, women take their place" (Speeches and Articles, 22). This unnamed woman was an example meant to impress upon women across the land the importance of their contribution. Casilda Méndez, a woman involved in combat, called participation imperative for every Spaniard, regardless of their gender, "If anyone says that fighting is not for women, tell them that discharging revolutionary duty is the obligation of all who are not cowards" (Defying…, 105). Spanish women received the message that their participation in the antifascist movement was to be of the utmost importance in their lives at the time, above all other responsibilities and activities. They responded with true devotion.

Women on both sides of the conflict became involved with whatever aspects of the war their leaders would allow. The participation of women on the side of the Republic was crucial to their cause and they fulfilled many important positions, both at the front lines and behind the scenes. Julio Alvarez del Vayo states, "It was the Spanish woman who dominated the magnificent mobilization of the people against the rebels, and it was she who for two and a half years kept the flame of resistance burning" (Memories of Resistance, 76). Although women supported the Nationalists, their role was much less active than the Republican women in the war effort, since the ideology of the right demanded passivity from its wives, sisters and daughters. Part of their crusade was to recapture femininity and traditional cultural values, so the most direct role of women Nationalists was to promote this model, especially after the war (Kenwood, 33). The Feminine Section (La Sección Femenina), the only wo men’s organization allowed under Franco, proclaimed women’s destiny to lie in childbearing and all women were forced to participate in this group’s "training" (Defying…, 183-4).

After the war had been won, Franco’s police did not turn a blind eye to the political activities of women. Republicans and their families, regardless of gender, were rounded up, accused of a wide range of anti-Nationalist activity and often executed without trial. Many women who served time in Franco’s prisons talk about men suffering more intense bouts of torture and enduring harsher conditions, and tell of sneaking their care packages of food to the men because they needed the nourishment more desperately (Prison…, 64). But there are also stories of women beaten to death or sustaining permanent debilitation as a result of sessions of torture and, as Cuevas testifies, "not a week went by without one or two women dying of hunger" (Prison…, 87). Cuevas, who was tortured three days in a row, testifies to being kicked in the ribs and kidneys and having her head hit against a wall damaging her spinal column (Prison…,153-162). Antonia García was only 17 when she was to rtured with electric shocks, and she suffered from blackouts and intense pain for years (Prison…,118). Josefina Amalia Villa begins her testimony by trying to set this issue straight, "Prison life for women was no different than for men" (Prison…, 109). It is difficult to know whether women received easier treatment because of their gender or they just expected they would. It seems to be an issue that many women commented on and have memories of, but that ultimately is difficult to prove and most likely varied by each woman and her situation.

While on a basic level prison can be defined simply as a place separate from everyday life, "for women, it is a reproduction and magnification of the hierarchy, authoritarianism, repressive mechanisms, and institutionalized violence operating in the social system as a whole" ("Prisons With/out Walls", 126). Since women are already marginalized in society, their imprisonment has added meaning. In Spain in the 1940s, prison symbolically signified women’s "return to submission" as they were locked up to restrict their movement in political arenas at the end of a period of greater freedom (Memories…, 103). This stifling of their energy and permanent confinement to an enclosed space mirrors the repression of women who were not imprisoned but still experienced a profound loss of movement and freedom at the war’s end. Foucault’s theory of the "carceral city" adds to the "understanding of the ways in which the boundaries between penal institutions and the ext ernal community…become blurred" in a society such as Franco’s ("Prisons With/out...", 122). Carlota O’Neill offers a personal account of the parallel between the conventional prison and that of the street. She recognized that she would continue to be a prisoner even upon her release from physical prison in 1940, "Dejaré esta cárcel…y pasaré a otra cárcel. Prisión con dimensiones; contornos de todo un país" ("I will leave this prison to go on to another prison. The prison that is the whole country.") ("Prisons With/out…", 124).

The pervasive effects of Franco’s prisons, both those with actual bars and guards, and those that were self-enforced in streets and neighborhoods across Spain, proved to stifle the creativity and marginalize the contributions of a generation of restrained women. Nancy Vosburg proclaims, "Women’s prison writings offer a unique perspective…as they present and contest the silencing and/or disciplining mechanisms practiced against women, both within and beyond the prison walls" ("Prisons With/out…", 121).

One way women found to express themselves in prison despite efforts to silence them, was to create and perform theater pieces, songs and poems. These often clandestine activities served as entertainment, protest, communication with communities outside the prison and were sometimes used to cheer up women who were feeling overwhelmed by their circumstances. Paz Azati remembers reciting poetry from memory in her cellmate’s nightgown, "I looked like a ghost, and we would giggle a great deal. We had tragedy looming over us, but…it was a time in which youth and the lust for life were more powerful" (Memories…, 117). In the Durango prison, Cuevas took part in a nightly mock trial in which they judged Franco, "The entire room had the right to speak and render opinions. It was like an army of devils rising up. No one can begin to imagine what tortures the prisoners dreamed up" (Prison…, 54). Victoria Pujolar believes that the many activities she participated in while in prison helped keep "solidarity alive" since "sometimes solidarity meant raising a woman’s morale". Pujolar lists some of their diversions, "We played basketball, performed plays and operettas, held poetry recitals, song fests and dancing…We also had a natural comic among us who improvised on texts with lines alluding to prison life" (Prison…, 177).

Women imprisoned in the Prisión Chalet Orue in Bilbao wrote many songs about prison life, four of which are included in Cárcel de Mujeres (125-132). "Amigo chimpancé" ("Chimpanzee, my friend") is a lengthy song which outlines a day in prison and intentionally serves as a testimony. The voice of the song says it aims to transcribe the reality of those without liberty:

Es tan sólo hacerte historia/ transcribir la realidad…/ de los que viven ahora/ privados de libertad. (Just to tell you the history /to express in writing the reality…/ of those who now live/ deprived of freedom) (127).

The rest of the song describes the living conditions, the extreme hunger and their desire that one day their experience be known. In "La ventana" ("The window") a woman sings of the view from her cell and how the stars help her retain the hope of freedom:

Al abrirla en la noche/ brillar vi las estrellas,/ y el ansia de la libertad/ me alienta y da valor. (When I open the window at night/ I see the stars shine/ and my longing for freedom/ encourages and strengthens me) (126).

The song "Lunita" ("Moon") also shows the strength of the imprisoned women as the voice asks the moon to tell her family that she is not terrorized by the prison experience:

Lunita ve a mi casa/ y dile a los que me esperan/ que ni muros ni cadenas/ a comunistas aterran. (Moon go to my house/ and tell those who wait for me/ that not walls nor chains/ terrify communists) (127).

Songs also helped fulfill the prisoners’ needs since creatively making a lot of noise turned out to be an effective method of protest. Cuevas testifies that instead of asking for water when they had been deprived, the entire group of prisoners would sing, changing the last word of the song from "desire" to "water." Even the town outside the prison could hear the women’s shouts for water and began to show up with bottles for the prisoners (Prison…, 27). In another instance, the women put ribbons in their hair, pulled up their skirts and ran around stomping loudly, hoping to direct attention to their request for bathroom access. Cuevas recalls, "Where demands had failed, a joke worked" (Prison…, 54). While living under extreme conditions, political prisoners were able to distract each other and even enjoy moments of their incarceration by creatively expressing their experience in a manifestation of continued resistance.

The Rest of Their Lives: After Prison, A Repressed Spain, In Exile

Some women experienced greater challenges after prison than they had before their arrest. They were forced to lie about their past in order to find a job and had to check-in weekly at the police station (Prison…, 143). They lacked family support because they were often exiled to another part of the country or their family members were in prison, exiled or executed. The Communist party helped form networks of ex-prisoners but often women survived in any way possible, working as prostitutes or stealing. Cuevas remembers an encounter in a holding cell with an ex-comrade turned prostitute. The woman "explained that when she got out of prison and reached Barcelona, she wandered around the city with hardly any clothes or money" until a man told her he would "take care of her" (Prison…, 160). He ended up being her pimp. This woman could not escape her destiny as an ex-prisoner living another form of captivity on the streets. Upon leaving the cell the woman told Cuevas, "I envy you and am ashamed of how I am, but now there’s nothing to be done" (Prison…, 160). Cuevas then insulted the woman instead of offering to help. Women in prisons banded together, forming tight networks among political prisoners but their community did not extend to include prostitutes and thieves even if they had previously been comrades. As Cuevas’ encounter proves, her political dedication was clearly to the anti-fascist movement, not to feminism or women’s liberation.

Even if women were able to avoid prostitution, the world that awaited many upon their release from prison proved just as stark and violent as had been the serving of their sentence. Esperanza Martínez attests to the difficulty of adjusting to life in the real world after 15 years in prison even though she kept up on the news while serving her sentence, "I felt very insecure, as if I were floating. I spent three years in that insecurity, not knowing little things like intersections with traffic lights…" (Prison…, 205).

After prison, many women continued their resistance and political activities without hesitation since the struggle was the only way they knew to live their lives. Cuevas never wavered from her dedication to the Communist party, becoming active again upon her release after six years of prison. She remembers, "I was a contact person between the party and the guerillas. It was risky business. I knew that if I was caught I would be tortured and could get the death penalty" (Prison…, 148). The only time Cuevas lessened her work with the guerillas was when she found out she was pregnant, and even then she did not cease to make the dangerous trips to the mountains (Prison…, 208). Her commitment is not a rare example among ex-prisoners; many women similarly devoted their lives to political action. Agustina Sánchez Sariñena, a woman who spent more than four years in prison herself, saw her husband imprisoned and eventually tortured to death and her mother-in-law executed, never renounced her beliefs as a Communist. As she tells Cuevas:

No pienses ni por un minuto, que voy a dejar de ser comunista, porque prefiero no tener nada, a renunciar a lo que he sido toda mi vida, y por lo que he luchado desde que tengo uso de razón (Don’t think, even for a minute, that I am going to stop being a communist, because I would prefer to have nothing, than to give up who I have been my whole life and all that I have fought for throughout my life (Carcél de mujeres, 220).

Her self-identity cannot be separated from political activism or her communist ideals.

Among the activists, there are conflicting opinions about the women who did choose to retire from politics after gaining freedom. Cuevas did not react kindly to her comrade who had become a prostitute, insulting her instead of understanding or trying to help her escape the situation. Women, who upon their release from prison abandoned their party, often feel like they let down others and are traitors. Blasa Rojo tells Cuevas, "Ever since prison I’ve done nothing except help my children. I know I’ve been selfish…Why?…Fear of going back to prison" (Prison…, 43). Excusing women who left the party, Esperanza Martínez, another ex-prisoner, expresses her disenchantment with the party even though she did continue the struggle throughout the dictatorship, "We say the party is for the masses, but in reality the few people who run it are interested in theories and lofty ideas rather than the everyday problems we women face" (Prison…, 206).

Possibly because the women who supported the Republic had worked so hard to protect their freedom, had participated so actively and in losing, lost even their status as humans, they have spent more time and energy since the war recording their activities in the form of memoirs. They lost the struggle against fascism but did not want their efforts to go unrecorded because of a biased and incomplete history. Also, writing was often the only way they were able to express themselves. Rosario Sánchez Mora hopes her story "will be a testimony to women’s equality" as she proved that it is woman’s determination and dedication to an ideal that makes her so great that she forgets even self-imposed limitations (Prison…, 65). María del Carmen Cuesta compares the telling of her testimony to a movie called "Fahrenheit 451" in which each person memorizes a book that is going to be burned, "in the hope that one day the books could be published again" (Prison…, 76). The first time she saw the movie was during the intense repression by Franco and she "thought we women were so tightly gagged that our stories would never see the light of day" (Prison…, 76). As she finally lets her story out she realizes that the imposed silence has had a lasting effect on her and other women, causing them to remain hesitant to share their testimonies with younger generations. Antonia García also wants to challenge the various versions of history and to "help (others) realize the fascist nature of this dictatorship." She asks "every person who realizes the need to change society to rise up and take the place of those we lost" and believes true success will be achieved "when the absence of those lost in battle is no longer noticeable" (Prison…, 124).

Many times the children and grandchildren of women political prisoners do not believe the newly expressed stories of abuse that come forth, since they contradict the careful history taught in Franco’s schools and the many decades of silence during which these young people were educated. Blasa Rojo, in her testimony to Cuevas, remembers her time on death row:

We lived in constant fear. Besides the hunger and other suffering there was always the thought: "Oh, God, what if they come for me!" When I talk about that time of my life with my children, my daughter will say: "Mother, it couldn’t have been so bad…" It’s exactly for that reason that we must speak about those times. The young people think we’re making up stories (Prison…, 41).

Both Isabel de Palencia and Constancia de la Mora wrote memoirs immediately after the war, in exile, and had their work published in Mexico and the United States respectively because the heavy restrictions and censor in Spain would not have allowed their publication. Carlota O’Neill wrote her memoirs four times, destroying the first three versions under different circumstances, but always to save her life. Her friends called the book "a lighted bomb that you carry around in your hands" and she herself said, "Its destiny was fire" (Memories…, 111). Just as the Republic had once encouraged the education of its people in arts and culture, Franco made every effort to rid Spain of intellectuals and their work. Isabel de Palencia remarks, "The objective pursued by the Fascists was to destroy culture by reaching down to its very roots…the objective desired was common ignorance" (Smouldering Freedom, 63). Although some of the residents of Spain in the 1940s were dis tracted by bull fights and the difficulty of feeding their family, exiled intellectuals were busy recording what those in Spain were forced to suppress.

Sometimes texts published in foreign countries were self-censored to prevent helping Franco’s government or causing harm to any family or comrades still living in Spain. Although Isabel de Palencia provides a detailed account of the horrors of the war and post war prison experiences, she refrains from using the name of a friend who had recently escaped from Spain, "since using his name might bring more trouble on his father…still in prison and on the rest of his family" (Smouldering…, 123). The author yearns to make known the clandestine activity that continues both within Spain and in exile but can only safely include a vague quote and must leave out the details, "The underground is working wonderfully. Articles for the several secret papers and for the groups in exile are written inside jails and circulate there before being smuggled out" (Smouldering…,128). The extent to which the author was able to discuss political activity against Franco’s dictatorship was limited by the need to protect the citizens still living within his grip.

Constancia de la Mora’s autobiography, apparently free from the need to self-censor, was published in 1939 adding immediacy and urgency to the tone of her work. De la Mora’s memoirs end in an attempt to bridge her new daily existence in New York with the reality of Spain at the end of the war. She finishes, "Even as I write these words, the firing squads are still shooting men and women who believe in democracy, at the rate of one every nine minutes, for twenty-four hours of the day" (In Place of Splendor, 425).

Another form of self-censorship arose because the pain of reliving some aspects of their experience was unbearable. These women’s stories are incomplete, leaving out the details that proved too difficult to tell. Nieves Castro refers to the sexual abuse she suffered to only as "it" when she expresses the difficulty of relating the experience, "After so many years, I find it difficult to recount it with the exact details that it deserves" (Memories…, 130). Mangini shows that some women also felt that their stories were not worthy of telling or were inhibited by their illiteracy. In Memories of Resistance she quotes Carmen Camaño, a woman who was a prisoner after the war as saying, "One more book of memoirs means nothing. I’m not capable of writing something of literary value" even though she had attended the university before her imprisonment (105). Part of this silence on the part of educated women results from years of the society’s devaluing the exp eriences and expressions of women. Women themselves then begin to believe that they have nothing to offer in the construction of cultural and political history even though they have first hand knowledge of a complicated time for which an unbiased history is still needed.

After Franco’s Death

"El día que más satisfacción he sentido fue el día que murió el Dictador"

("The day I felt more satisfied than ever was the day the dictator died")

(Salvadora Luque, Cárcel de mujeres, 85).

When Franco died on November 20, 1975, Spanish society had grown and changed despite the stagnant government, but women activists had still not begun publicly to put their stories into words. These women waited until after Franco’s death to write or give their testimonies to be written. They felt more free to express anti-Franco sentiments once his government had fallen and Spain’s democratic constitutional monarchy had been initiated.

But even then, the fear of some women had not yet dissipated. Tomasa Cuevas observes, while taking the testimony of Domi, "Tiene mucho miedo y tengo la impresión de que está deseando que salga de su casa" ("She is very scared and I have the impression that she wishes I would leave her house") (Cárcel de mujeres, 69). A woman falsely accused of murder who served six and a half years in prison, five months of which she was on death row, Domi still cannot shake the terror that was instilled in her and her family. Cuevas reports that the reason for their conversation has to be hidden from the family and the interview has to stop each time they enter the room. Unlike most women who continued to fight even under extremely dangerous situations as if they knew no other way to live, Domi shamefully admits complete political inactivity since her release.

Another woman still dealing with the trauma of danger and repression after forty years is Ana María Martín Rubio whose only war-time "crime" was belonging to a union. Mangini writes:

Unionized women were threatened with death unless they went home. The psychological effects of Nationalist terror were deep and lasting; Martín Rubio claims she did not venture into the center of town from 1939 until 1975, when Franco died (Memories…, 73).

Franco’s death released Martín Rubio and thousands of other traumatized women from imprisonment in their homes and allowed them to live the rest of their lives in freedom. However, as Carmen Martín Gaite explains, some could not believe he no longer existed as a threat:

(Franco’s) power was indisputable and omnipresent…, his reign was absolute. If he was ill nobody knew it, it seemed as though sickness and death could never touch him. So that when he died, my reaction was the same as that of many other people, I couldn’t believe it (The Back Room, 129).

The long duration of Franco’s control and his apparent immortality made it difficult to comprehend his death. People lined up for days to see the body that was available for public viewing so that there would be no doubt that Franco had died (The Back…, 131).

As a result of Franco’s death, Carmen Martín Gaite began her research on women of the 1940s and 1950s which resulted in her book, Usos amorosos de la postguerra española. In fact, it was the morning of his televised funeral that she began to fill notebooks with the thoughts and ideas that his death had unleashed. Martín Gaite explains, "The thought came to me that Franco had paralyzed time, and on the very day that they were about to bury him I woke up, with my mind focused on that one thought with a very special intensity" (The Back…, 130).

Many other authors also began to write, signaling their belief that Franco’s death allowed a new expressive freedom. In her article, "The Silent Revolution: The Social and Cultural Advances of Women in Democratic Spain," Rosa Montero asserts, "Women provide a particularly good illustration of the speed of change in recent Spanish society and of the unique vitality that has resulted" (Spanish Cultural…, 383). Literature and other cultural expression flourished in post-Franco Spain. Montero outlines women’s entrance into all cultural and literary spheres once the limitations Franco imposed upon them had been lifted and compares:

The Franco years produced a select number of important women writers, …but one of the most impressive socio-cultural features of the boom in new Spanish fiction after Franco’s death has been the emergence of dozens of new women writers…Spanish women novelists have…conquered the market as well as their creative freedom (Spanish Cultural…, 383).

While women within Spain were quickly adjusting to life after Franco, many exiled women returned to Spain in 1975. Most women simply mention their return that year in passing as if it had not ended what, for some, had been 40 years of painful separation. Since most everyone’s exile ended at the same time, the mass return home is simply factual and the testimonies do not include their feelings or experiences.

One exception is Dolores Ibárruri who writes extensively on her experience while trying to reenter Spain. Franco’s death was not enough to end her exile in the USSR and allow her return to Spain for the first time in almost 40 years. As a member of the Communist Party, Ibárruri thought her request to return would be granted when the party was legalized in April 1977, but she had to wait even longer before she was allowed to reenter the country (Memorias de Dolores Ibárruri, 732). She describes her emotional homecoming, "Era imposible contener la emoción. ¡Por fin! ¡Por fin iba a pisar mi suelo patrio, fundirme nuevamente con mi pueblo, con los trabajadores de mi tierra!" ("It was impossible to contain my excitement. Finally! Finally I was going to set foot in my country, to join my people again, and join the workers of my homeland!") (Memorias de…, 734). Politically involved in the communist party her entire life, people asked Ibárrur i why she did not retire and relax when she was finally able to live in Spain again. She answered that it would be impossible to stop after fighting for change her entire life, especially since, "El camino que nos toca recorrer es aún muy largo" ("The road that we’ve been chosen to walk is still very long") (Memorias de…, 749).

Tomasa Cuevas also strove for change her entire life, changing her focus as the time and situation required. She fought for workers’ rights during the Republic, the Republican/Communist cause during the war, prisoners’ rights during Franco, and finally listened to and compiled women’s voices after his death. After a lifetime of activism and resistance Tomasa Cuevas wonders:

Had we known (at the end of the war) that the struggle would last for thirty-seven years, would we have acted differently? Would we have settled into a regular family life? But we never really considered that possibility. We continued fighting, up to the very end (Prison…, 223).

Cuevas never considered the possibility of surrendering.

Women like Cuevas and Ibárruri, in their pure and unwavering devotion to a cause, are an awesome example to those of us who have never had to struggle for basic freedoms. Their testimonies enable future generations the opportunity to imagine unbridled devotion and ardent activism. They also teach us it is never to late to find your voice or to learn resistance and courage from a silenced generation. It is only through their written testimonies that we are able to benefit from their life example and experiences while at the same time, discovering the history that for so many years was concealed and forgotten.

This new look at history provides us an enlightened perspective of Franco’s Spain and of the lives of those marginalized under his power. During this historical period, "women’s voices were silenced" and "the new generations of Spanish women born and educated under the dictatorship lost the benefit of the experience of their foremothers" (Defying…, 185). In this paper I have shown that memoirs and autobiographies are the only way for us to hear the real voices of Spanish women during and after the civil war. This gift of knowledge, that many incredible women share with us, is still only a small part of the work to be done. We must assure that the memoirs that continue to be published are numerous, so that we continue to inherit the wisdom and strength of our foremothers. There are still more facts to be made public, and more voices to revive.



Alcalde, Carmen. Mujeres en el Franquismo. Exiliadas, nacionalistas y opositoras. Barcelona: Flor del Viento Ediciones, S. A., 1996.

Barnet, Miguel. Biography of a Runaway Slave. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 1994.

Berenguer, Sara. Entre el sol y la tormenta. Treinta y dos meses de guerra (1936-1939). Barcelona: Seuba Ediciones, 1988.

Carr, Raymond. Modern Spain 1875-1980. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Carr, Raymond and Juan Pablo Fusi. Spain: Dictatorship to Democracy. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981.

Cuevas, Tomasa. Cárcel de mujeres. (1.939- 1.945). Barcelona: Ediciones Sirocco, S. A., 1985.

---. Trans. and Ed. Mary E. Giles. Prison of Women. Testimonies of War and Resistance in Spain, 1939- 1975. New York: State University of New York Press, 1998.

De la Mora, Constancia. In Place of Splendor. The Autobiography of a Spanish Woman. New York: Harcourt, Grace and Company, Inc., 1939.

De Palencia, Isabel. Smouldering Freedom. London: Victor Gollancz Inc., 1946.

Dupláa, Christina. "Mujeres, escritura de resistencia y testimonios antifranquistas." Monographic Review 11 (1995): 137-145.

Flanz, Gisbert H. Comparative Women’s Rights and Political Participation In Europe. New York: Transnational Publishers Inc., 1983.

Foster, David William. "Latin American Documentary Narrative." PMLA 99.1 (1984): 41-55.

Gabriele, John P. "Towards a Feminist Reality of Women’s Prison Literature: Lidia Falcon’s En el infierno: Ser mujer en las cárceles de España." Monographic Review 11 (1995): 94-109.

Graham, Helen and Jo Labanyi, eds. Spanish Cultural Studies. An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Hill Collins, Patricia. Black Feminist Thought. New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, Inc., 1991.

Ibárruri, Dolores. Memorias de Dolores Ibárruri, Pasionaria. La lucha y la vida. Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, S. A., 1985.

---. Speeches and Articles, 1936-1938. London: Lawrence and Wishart Ltd., 1938.

Kenwood, Alun. ed. The Spanish Civil War. A Cultural and Historical Reader. Oxford: Berg Publishers, Inc., 1993.

Mangini, Shirley. Memories of Resistance. Women’s Voices from the Spanish Civil War. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1995.

Martín Gaite, Carmen. The Back Room. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.

---. Usos amorosos de la postguerra española. Barcelona: Editorial Anagrama, S. A., 1987.

Medio, Dolores. Diario de una maestra. Madrid: Editorial Castalia, S. A., 1993.

Ministerio de Cultura. Las mujeres en la guerra civil. Salamanca: Composición Técnica, S. A., 1989.

Morcillo, Aurora G. True Catholic Womanhood. Gender Ideology in Franco’s Spain. DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2000.

Nash, Mary. Defying Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War. Denver: Arden Press Inc., 1995.

---. Mujer y movimiento obrero en España, 1931- 1939. Madrid: Editorial Cambio 16, 1976.

Pescatello, Ann M. Power and Pawn. The Female in Iberian Families, Societies and Cultures. Westport & London: Greenwood Press, 1976.

Shubert, Adrian. A Social History of Modern Spain. London: Unwin Hyman Ltd., 1990.

Takaki, Ronald. A Different Mirror. A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993.

Taylor, Kathy. The New Narrative of Mexico. Sub-versions of History in Mexican Fiction. London: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1994.

Ulacia Altolaguirre, Paloma. Concha Méndez. Memorias habladas, memorias armadas. Madrid: Mondadori España S.A., 1990.

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Vosburg, Nancy. "Prisons With/out Walls: Women’s Prison Writings In Franco’s Spain." Monographic Review 11 (1995): 121-133.

Willis, Liz. Women in the Spanish Revolution. New York: Come! Unity Press, 1975.

Young, Iris Marion. Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1990.

Zevallos Aguilar, Juan. "Apuntes sobre la hipercanonización y negligencias de la crítica del testimonio." Revista de crítica literaria latinoamericana 48 (1998): 241-248.

The Spanish Civil War . Videotape. Granada Television International, Ltd. 1983.

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Songs of the Women of Prisión Chalet Orue: Bilbao, 20 II. 1941

(Source: Cuevas, Tomasa. Cárcel de mujeres. (1.939- 1.945). Barcelona: Ediciones Sirocco, S. A., 1985.)


Pasacalles en Ventas en el año 39


Cuando cruzo mi Madrid por la Cibeles
toda llena de alegría,
en el pecho un gran manojo de claveles
más rojos que la sangría.
Y las calles recorriendo muy airosa,
han de decirme los hombres:
No se nota en tu carita, que es de rosa
la cárcel ni sus dolores.

Mujeres de temple de acero
risa de cascabeles, ojos de lucero,
el sol de Madrid castizo,
no tiene brillo ni color.
Les faltan las presas de Ventas
que encerradas cumplen su sentencia,
aroma de vivos colores
España, jardín de amores.

Con el anisa que tenemos de alegría,
de cariño y de consuelo,
al mirar hacia la reja noche y día
no calma nuestros anhelos.
Y es que somos golondrinas de parleras
el vuelo nos han cortado,
Y forjando en nuestra mente una quimera
los días vamos pasando.

Mujeres de temple de acero
risas, de cascabeles, ojos del lucero.
El solo de Madrid, castizo,
no tiene brillo ni color.
Les faltan las presas de Ventas
que encerradas cumplen su sentencia,
Aroma que envidian las flores
España, jardín de amores.


La Ventana


Ventanita querida
de mi celda sesenta,
por la que contemplaba yo
del campo su verdor.
Al abrirla en la noche
brillar vi las estrellas,
y el anisa de la libertad
me alienta y da valor.

Pero al poco tiempo
mi ventana querida cerraron,
y de las bellas estrellas
y rostros queridos
a mi me alejaron.

Por eso en las horas
que a mi reja me pude asomar,
me sentí dichosa
tras los hierros
al verlos llegar.

Ventanita querida
de mi celda sesenta
al mirarte cerrada hoy,
me llena de dolor.
Tan solo la esperanza,
que mi sangre calienta,
de volver con los míos
me alienta y da valor.





La luna vino a mi reja
traía cara de pena
alegra esa cara luna
y dile a los que me esperan,
que cuando salga a la calle
seré más firme que era.

Ay, la la la
ay, la la la
ay, la la la
ay, la la

La luna hoy no ha salido
porque tiene mucha pena
Lunita ve a mi casa
y dile a los que me esperan
que ni muros ni cadenas
a comunistas aterran,

Ay, la la la
ay, la la la
ay, la la la
ay, la la



Amigo chimpancé


Bueno, amigo chimpancé,
dices que aburrido estás,
pues te voy a contar un cuento
que no has oído jamás.

No es el "El sueño de un burgués",
ni "Una leyenda oriental",
ni una "Estampa de costumbres",
ni un "Romance medieval"

Es tan sólo hacerte historia,
transcribir la realidad…
de los que viven ahora
privados de libertad.

Pues verás: En una sala
de un tamaño regular,
mide seis metros de larga
y cinco de ancha en total…

Algo mejor ventilada
limpia y clara nada más,
viven treinta y seis reclusas
en franca comunidad
y dándole a Dios gracias
si no entra alguna más.

Pero…¡no te asombres tanto!
lo que te digo es verdad.
De un escaso medio metro
disponemos cada cual,
y ese trozo de terreno
se tiene que habilitar
para comedor y alcoba
cocina y sala de estar
ocupado de utensilios
de pura necesidad.

En tan escaso terreno
allí tienes que instalar:
el armario de la ropa,
los cacharros de fregar,
el lecho en donde duermes,
el hornillo de guisar,
y si quieres distraerte
novelas para hojear.

Pero… en fín, se sobrelleva,
es cuestión de habilidad.
Más… ¡me pones cara rara!
No trato de exagerar…
Yo quisiera convencerte
que lo que digo es verdad.
Pero escucha, que ahora viene
lo que más te asombrará,
la cuestión alimenticia
que es algo trascendental.

A las siete, al ser de día,
dan orden de levantar
y de recoger las camas
o petates, que es igual.

Después, a formar la fila,
formalitas, sin hablar,
y a bajar por el almuerzo
"rico Moka-vegetal",
un caldito casi negro,
medio tibio y sin colar,
sin azúcar casi siempre
que se agarra al paladar.

Pero algunos días falta
¡es triste de lamentar!
aunque malo, nos sería
para el cuerpo calentar.

Más, peor es la naranja
que nos dan en su lugar,
pequeñita y casi seca
vieja y dura de pelar,
que nos deja frío el cuerpo
y el estómago aún más.

Pero, escúchame, amiguito,
que lo mejor ahora va:
La "paella valenciana"
que es digna de comentar:
Un cazo de arroz partido
con gran gusto a pimentón,
algunas veces cocido,
las más de las veces no.
Unos días sabe a sebo,
otros, te huele a humedad,
pero puedo asegurarte
que a carne… nunca sabrá.

Más, el caso más curioso
que yo te debo citar
es el caso del reenganche
¡Vaya batalla campal!,
allí gritos y atropellos,
disgustos que lamentar,
en fin, chico… ¡la caraba!
por eso plato infernal!

Y a la hora de la cena
se repite casi igual
el dicho menú y la escena
que te acabo de contar.

Bueno, y el menú citado
le tienes que acompañar
del rico pan de moyuelo,
de un sabor tan especial
y es la ración tan pequeña
que, para que aumente más,
¡hay que mirarla con lupa!
pero se te queda igual.

Es que, amigo, diez raciones
que tenemos que sacar
de un pan de kilo escaso
no se pueden estirar…

Y hay que ver luego las caras
que ponen cuando lo dan:
Que si "a mí me tocó menos",
que si "a tí te tocó más",
y es esta la eterna lucha
del hambre y necesidad
¡Como el rancho es tan escaso
y el hambre te acosa igual
hay que comer ciertas cosas
que nadie creyó jamás!

Las cáscaras de naranja,
porque tienen "vitaminas"
son sin igual complemento
a tan escasa comida.
¡No queda una nota alegre
que amenice nuestra vida
como no sea algún chiste
o algún "bulo de salida!"

Hay días que no se resisten
con tanta y tanta sorpresa,
pues parece que las presas
tienen que estar sometidas
a vivir muy arregladas
y a ordenar la habitación
porque anuncian la visita
de alguien de la Dirección.

¡Y se oye cada cosa,
buen amigo chimpancé!
A ver, ¡esconda esa bolsa
porque afea la pared!
Y usted, ¡guarde esos zapatos!
Y tú, ¡tapa aquella caja!
¡Que esten limpios los balcones!
¡Que esté ordenada la sala!
y llevarse esos cajones…
y ahora… ¡todas a callar!
y mejor será rezar
para calmar las pasiones.

En tanto, llega la noche,
y esto es ya trágica escena,
¡no hay que pensar en dormir
si no quiere el centinela!
porque el podre, en su garita
canta y canta sin cesar
tan sólo para ahuyentar
el frío que le acompaña,
y mientras, tragando quina,
seguimos sin descansar,
esperando que el relevo
nos permita dormir ya.

Cuando, por fin, nos quedamos
libres ya de los moscones,
en tan estrechos colchones
el más santo se desvela.
Y sientes un picotazo:
"alguna pulga será"
o quizás "algún piojo"
que te viene a molestar.

Así te amanece el día
¡otro más de reclusión!
¡Cuándo llegará la hora
de nuestra liberación!

Pero la gran aventura
es querer salir de noche
a cierta necesidad,
es que es casi una locura
entre tanta oscuridad,
pues despliegue en derroche
de equilibrio y discreción
y que alguna te reproche.

¡Y se oye cada lamento!
¡Ten más cuidado, mujer!
¡Casi me arrancas el pelo!
¡Que distes un tropezón!
Pero… ¡cierra bien la puerta!
(Si puedes…das media vuelta,
¡paciencia y resignación!)

¡Te espera una perspectiva
cuando vuelven a llamar!
Estar dos horas en fila
para poderte lavar,
y darse prisa a peinarte
y nada de alborotar
porque enseguida te avisan
de que vienen a contar.

Más te admiras ¡no te asombres!
porque algún día los hombres,
cuando sepan esta historia,
buscarán en su memoria,
razón que la justifique.
¡Pero no es que critique!

Esa es la vida en prisión
que media España vivimos.
¡No sé cómo resistimos
a tanta y tanta opresión