January 4 marks the commemoration of this date in 1960, when 300 officers of the Civil Guard and military troops ambushed and assassinated four anti-Franco anarchist guerrillas of Quico Sabaté’s group when crossing the French-Spanish border, including Rogelio Madrigal Torres, Antoni Miracle Guitart, Martín Ruiz Montoya and Francisco Conesa Alcaraz.
At 17, Quico Sabaté joined the anarchist action group Los Novatos, a part of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI). The group was involved in insurrections against the government of the Second Spanish Republic in late 1933 and fought against the army’s coup attempt at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. In 1935 Los Novatos carried out its first expropriation to fund a prison relief group.
During the civil war, Sabaté fought with the CNT-FAI’s “Young Eagles Column”. Sabaté and two of his comrades shot dead a Stalinist commander forcibly assigned to the column. Deserting to Barcelona, they carried out missions on behalf of the FAI against the Stalinist authorities. Eventually Sabaté was arrested by the Communists, but with the help of his wife, he and other militants broke out. When the war ended he was in the Durruti Column and crossed the French border. In France during the Second World War, he spent time in concentration camps and fought with the resistance against the Vichy regime. In 1945, Sabate continued fighting in Spain clandestinely as part of a large guerrilla movement.
After the end of the war, Sabaté returned to Spain to carry on insurgent activities against Francoist Spain. His first action was the freeing of three anarchists from police custody. He carried out expropriations from wealthy businessmen and large banks to fund anarchist activities and assassinated Falangists and Civil Guard members. After an attempted assassinataion failed, Quico fled back to France, but was arrested and jailed for six years.
On January 4, 1960, he and his group were besieged by the Civil Guard at a farmhouse near Gerona. Antonio Miracle Guitart, 29; Rogelio Madrigal Tories, 27; Francisco Conesa Alcaraz, 39; and Martin Ruiz Montoya, 20 were assassinated by the Civil Guard. ‘El Quico’ still managed to escape, crawling through three lines of Civil Guards and shooting a lieutenant on his way out. The next day, Sabaté was also assassinated by the Civil Guard and the fascist Falangist militia.
We take this moment to commemorate his actions, and the example they set for the struggle.
“We are not robbers, we are libertarian resistance fighters. What we have just taken will help in a small way to feed the orphaned and starving children of those anti-fascists who you and your kind have shot. We are people who have never and will never beg for what is ours. So long as we have the strength to do so we shall fight for for the freedom of the Spanish working class. As for you, Garriga, although you are a murderer and a thief, we have spared you, because we as libertarians appreciate the value of human life, something which you never have, nor are likely to, understand.”
- Francisco Sabaté Llopart, ‘El Quico’