Author: Ruiz García, José María “Pepín”

Title: Testimony of José María “Pepín” Ruiz García, Interview with Viviana MacManus and Jodi Eisenberg; July 11, 2008.

Published: Sevilla, Spain, Spanish Civil War Memory Project, 2008.

Description: 5 tapes

Notes: José María “Pepín” Ruiz García’s testimony is in Spanish without subtitles. The testimony was recorded in Sevilla, Andalucía.

Summary: José María “Pepín” Ruiz García was born in 1936 in Toledo. Pepín recounts that his family traveled to Alicante to board a French boat and flee the Civil War. The boat was not allowed to dock in Spain and the majority of those who intended to escape, including his uncles, were sent to concentration camps. Pepín tells that his grandfather was prosecuted in Córdoba, was imprisoned in Burgos until 1945, and died in 1953 due to severe psychological trauma and complications from torture during his incarceration. His family moved to Sevilla and struggled to survive. Although they were forced to practice Catholicism, Pepín’s family was very anticlerical and he continues to uphold those convictions. He relates becoming a train operator for Renfe (the Spanish national railway network) in 1956 and joining the Communist Party of Spain. In 1963 Pepín was arrested, convicted, sentenced to two years in prison, and fined 23,000 pesetas. He recalls being released provisionally with the agreement to finish serving his sentence later. Pepín was denied his previous employment and sought work outside of Sevilla. In 1977, he was forced to complete his sentence in Sevilla while his wife was pregnant. Pepín discusses being a founding member of Andalucía’s Comisiones Obreras (Labor Commissions) and, with other former political prisoners, of the association Memoria, Libertad y Cultura Democrática (Democratic Memory, Liberty, and Culture).

Cite as: Ruiz García, José María “Pepín.” Testimony of the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist Dictatorship. University of California, San Diego, 2008.