Orive, Wenceslao Jimenez 'Wences', 1922-1950

Guerrilla - Wenceslao Jimenez 'Wences' Orive

A short biography of Wenceslao Jimenez 'Wences' Orive, Spanish anarchist who fought in the guerrilla resistance to Franco following the fascist victory in the Civil War.

Wenceslao Jimenez ‘Wences' Orive
Born Spain, 28 January 1922, died Spain, 9 January 1950

Wences was born in Gijon (Asturias) on the 28th January 1922. He was the oldest of four brothers. His father was a railway worker, ticket collector and activist in the anarcho-syndicalist union the CNT.

At the beginning of August, while he was working on the Zaragoza-Canfranc line, he was arrested on the train in the town of Jaca, and later shot with two other anti-fascists on the outskirts.

Wences started as an activist in the Young Socialists, but when he met Ignacio Zubizarreta Aspas he became interested in anarchist ideas. In 1946 he was arrested and brutally tortured. After three months he was released on bail and then he joined Jose Lluis Facerias’s guerrilla group.

In 1949 Wences formed his own action group, ‘Los manos’, with his childhood friends from Zaragoza. After undertaking various actions in Barcelona, the whole group moved to Madrid in order to organise an attempt on the life of Franco. When they were on the point of carrying it out, unforeseen problems cropped up and they had to abandon the idea for the time being. The group went to France.

Meanwhile, in Spain, a huge number of other activists were being shot down in the streets of Barcelona, among whom were close friends of Wences. The group of ‘Los manos’ left for Barcelona in December 1949 with the intention of investigating what had happened. However, traitors had penetrated his group as well.

On the 9th January 1950 Wences was shot down in the street without any warning, Seriously injured, he had just enough strength left to take the cyanide capsule, which he always carried with him, so as not to fall into the hands of the police alive. He was 28.

Edited by libcom the pamphlet The Anarchist Resistance to Franco - Biographical notes, by Antonio Tellez. £2, published by the Kate Sharpley Library, OCRed by Linda Towlson.