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Prisoners of War Camps in Mallorca

In a blog entry a couple of years ago, I reported about a number of Concentration Camps in Mallorca. Perhaps that term was a bit harsh. Perhaps one should call them Internment Camps or Prisoners of War Camps. There were five or six of those prison camps on the island, with two of them in Palma. All of the camps were for male prisoners with one exception, Can Sales in Palma, where female detainees were kept.

In the Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant, at the foot of the Puig des Porrassar mountain, one can find the Campament des Soldats, a military camp now in ruins where the Republican soldiers were kept as prisoners between 1939 and 1943. By then the Nationalist and Fascist Falange movement of Francisco Franco had won the Guerra Civil, taking lots of prisoners who were kept in approximately 400 prison camps situated all over Spain. The soldiers at the prison camp near Artà were held captive and had to work on the construction of the Cami dels Presos. Four barrack-type buildings surrounded a large central courtyard. The beauty of the landscape nowadays belies its barren conditions then. There must have been some tremendous suffering. All of the prisoners had come from the Spanish mainland. In turn, Republican prisoners taken in Mallorca were sent off to prison camps on the Peninsula.

Not far from here, there is a watchtower known as Sa Talaia Moreia, not immediately related to the prisoners camp.

The Cami dels Presos was a road built to allow large canons to be transported up to the mountain top of Sa Talaia Moreia to install a fort with heavy defense artillery overlooking the coast. At that time, Franco feared an imminent attack by the Allied troops of Britain, France, Canada, Belgium and USA. That’s why we find the bunkers built along the coast between Alcúdia and Can Picafort, as well as the towers for submarine target practice along the same coastline. The attack never materialized and the road was in the end unfinished; the fort was never constructed and the canons were never mounted. Germany was on the way to its defeat by the Allies and Spain was by then safe from an Allied attack.

History is right under our noses, even to this day.

The photos were taken near Artà, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 18th, 2012. The time was 12:13:37 and 12:17:36, respectively.

2 replies »

  1. My dad was a war prisoner during the Civil war and he was sent to a Mallorca concentration camp (as he called) where he lived for a while. He has siblings that were sent to different places in the country and later were reunited in Ponferrada. I wish I qould know more about my father’s past and why his family was separated. I believe my grandfather belonged to one of the ‘partidos de izquierda’. They were an affluent family of iron workers in Ponferrada and they owned a iron atelier. Does the Spanish government have lists of war prisoners sent to camps? How can I know how long did my father live there and why he was sent? What were the circumstances of his arrest? His name was Andrés Quiles Fernandez. Later he immigrated to Brazil where I was born. He came back to Spain after retiring and died in Galicia where he chose to spend the rest of his days. My mom is also a civil war child with roots in Galicia. Her father was a war prisoner as well and was executed (fusillade) when she was 10. She has shared many memories from that time including barring books and hiding her last name. Crazy to think my parents went through this hell at such young age. I hope I can visit Mallorca one day.
    Dominique Quiles

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