Earlier this week I wrote a little post about the short text A Young Mother in Franco’s Prisons (1939) written by the little-known Pilar Fidalgo. After searching online, I have really struggled to find any information about her, but here is a brief summary of her life.
Pilar Fidalgo Carasa was born in 1903 in the town of Benavente, near Zamora and the border of Spain, Galicia, and Portugal.
Her parents were Tomas Fidalgo, a leather worker, and Hilaria Carasa, a teacher. Pilar went on to study teacher training in Zamora, and helped out her mother in Benavente School. She was widowed by the age of 26 after her first husband (name unknown), who was gravely ill, died on their wedding night.
Pilar met Jose Almoina Mateos (b.1903, Lugo, Galicia) in Benavente; they were married on 12th October 1932 and shortly thereafter had a child named Pepito. Jose was a postal worker and member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, the PSOE. In 1933 they moved to Jaen, where they had their first daughter, Pilar.
When Franco’s military coup began the Spanish Civil War on July 18th 1936, Jose joined the Republican front-line to fight with the Asturian miners. Pilar, however, was heavily pregnant and remained in Benavente. She was arrested on 6th October 1936, for being the wife of a militant socialist. She was sent to prison, carrying with her her new-born child, Helena. Pilar spent the next seven months enduring the brutal conditions of the prison of Zamora. She was later released in exchange for the Semprun family.
Upon her release, Pilar fled to France with her three children and her mother and was joined by Jose. Once there, she wrote her text A Young Mother in Franco’s Prisons, denouncing the brutal discipline she had endured in Spain. Whilst in Paris, Pepito contracted diphtheria and died in 1937. In 1938 they had another son, named Ulises before they left Europe for exile in the Dominican Republic in October 1939 about the boat the ‘Flandre’. After they arrived Pilar gave birth to their final child, Leticia on 6th December, 1939. In the Dominican Republic, Jose worked in the university in the department of Humanities. He later became involved in politics and the anti-Trujillo movement, whilst still continuing to work as an academic and an author.
In 1947 the family left the Dominican Republic and moved to Mexico, where they remained. Jose was shot in the street in Mexico City in 1960 and later died in hospital. Pilar also died in Mexico (date unknown).
The information about Pilar Fidalgo in this blog post has been constructed from the following two articles, in Spanish: