Guillen, Manuel Lozano, 1904-1945

A short biography of Spanish anarcho-syndicalist militant Manuel Lozano Guillen, who was executed by General Franco's government in 1945.

Submitted by Steven. on September 25, 2003

Born in Belver de Cinco into a poor peasant family in 1904, Manuel emigrated at an early age to Catalonia, working as a labourer in various jobs. As a militant in the anarchist trade union the CNT he was persecuted by the police and exiled in France during the Primo de Rivera dictatorship.

Renowned for his honesty and responsibility in anarchist activities, he returned to his home town after the proclamation of the 2nd Republic. Working as a day labourer and on the family plot, he was in contact with the CNT of Albalate, who included Felix Carrasquer, and was encouraged by them to set up a similar cultural group. He was the first secretary of the Belver CNT, taking part in a massive propaganda work with the comrades Valero and Sierra. He served on the Committee of the Comarcal Federation of Cinca, which counted 4,000 members in 1931, as a substitute for Carrasquer. He bought a car to assure communication between the different sindicatos (syndicates, or union sections) of the Comarca. The insurrections of 1932 and of December 1933 led to persecution and the shutting down of the sindicatos.

With the crushing of the fascist rising in the Comarca in 1936, which was the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, he was at the forefront of the Revolutionary Committee and of the Belver collectives, serving as delegate for the Comarcal of Cinca at the Regional plenary of the Aragonese syndicates in August 1936. He became coordinator with the anarchist teacher Jose Alberola (father of Octavio, later murdered in Mexico) and Justo Val Franco of Albalate, of the United Assembly representing 21 villages of the comarca which discussed a new proletarian economy. He was a volunteer in the Rojo y Negro column, in the 14th Century Ayerbe-La Pena, in which fought 30 cenetistas (CNT members) of Belver, among whom were the three brothers Manuel, Antonio and Jose Lozano Alegre. He fought on the Huesca front. With the Mays Days of Barcelona in 1937, in which the Communists assumed control of the Republican side, he jointly led, with Maximo Franco, the 28th Francisco Ascaso Division in place of Gregorio Jover, who was reconsidering his position.

From June 1937, with the militarisation of the militia columns, he was commissioner of the 127th Mixed Brigade of the 28th Division till the end of the war, fighting on the fronts of Aragon, Levante and Extremadura. With the Division he was jointly decorated for the defence of Castelfrio, Cedrillas and Sarrion on the Teruel front in April and May 1938 that prevented the collapse of Valencia. In March 1939 he disarmed the Communist troops of Negrin, who had risen against the Defence Council of Casado in Madrid. Trapped with thousands of others in the port of Alicante, he was captured by the fascists and imprisoned in Albatera and Barbastro. He was sentenced to 20 years and sent to the Huesca prison. He received support from the underground Ponzan network, which supported him with correspondence and money. The CNT militant Francisco Ponzan was wounded in a failed attempt to free him and spent several months hiding in the mountains before escaping to France.

He was moved to Santona and then Madrid, judged anew and sentenced to death. The Francoists offered him a post in their Vertical Unions, in return for clemency, which he refused. He was shot on 24th April 1945.

By Nick Heath, edited by libcom