For the 79th anniversary of the liberation of Paris, a tribute to the Spanish Republican fighters of the 2nd DB was organized on August 24 in front of the garden that bears their name, at 1 rue Lobau (75004).
Organized by the association of August 24, 1944, the ceremony in honor of those who were the first to enter the occupied capital, was chaired by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo a Spanish delegation led by the Minister of the Presidency of relations with Parliament and democratic memory, Félix Bolanos, as well as Léonor de Récondo, writer and violinist.
The guests of the co-organizing association gathered at 5:30 p.m. at the entrance to the garden. The speech of Mr Félix Bolanos opened the ceremony. at 18 o’clock. It was followed by the speech of the Mayor of Paris then Léonor de Récondo, granddaughter of a Spanish Republican exiled in France, read a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca.
The ceremony ended around 6:45 p.m., with the laying of wreaths in front of the plaque in the Jardin des Combattants de la Nueve, rue Lobeau (75004).
What is the New?
During World War II, the 9th Regiment Company of Chad, attached to General Leclerc’s 2nd Armored Division, received the nickname “Nueve” (9 in Spanish).
On August 24, 1944, 160 fighters entered Paris and had to reach the Hôtel de Ville, then occupied by German troops. Among them were 146 Spanish Republicans, which is why the “Nueve” is associated with the events of the Liberation of Paris as the vanguard of the Allied forces.
The origins of the “Nueve”
Originally, the “Nueve” fighters fled to North Africa after Franco’s victory in 1939; they joined the French Forces after the Allied landings in 1942 and participated in the fighting against the Africa Korp in Tunisia, from December 1942.
The battalion landed on the Normandy beach of Utah Beach on the night of July 31 to August 1, 1944, it participated in the end of the Battle of Normandy and distinguished itself in violent combat against the Waffen-SS divisions Adolph Hitler and Das Reich. The strong character and the courage of the men of the 9th company are saluted.
Integrated into the 2nd DB and placed under the command of the Frenchman Raymond Dronne and the Spaniard Amado Granell, the “Nueve” was composed of anarchists, socialists, communists, etc… It bears the colors of the French flag adapted by the Second Spanish Republic and gives names reminiscent of the Spanish Civil War to their vehicles: “Madrid”, “Guernica”, “Teruel”, “Ebro” (which fired the first shots against the German machine guns), etc…
The different steps
After the uprising in the capital on August 20 against the German occupation, the Allied General Staff preferred to bypass Paris to the east, unlike Leclerc who preferred to rush towards Paris with the support of General de Gaulle.
The company sets off for Paris on the 23rd with the whole division
On August 24 around 8 p.m., the 9th company entered Paris by the Porte d’Italie, accompanied by a platoon of tanks. The section of Lieutenant Amado Granell, ex-captain of the Republican Army but also one of the leaders of the “Nueve”, is the first to reach the center of the capital shortly before 9:30 p.m. with its armored vehicles (the Romilly, Champaubert and Montmirail as well as the half-tracks, lighter armored vehicles armed with machine guns, piloted by the Spaniards from La Nueve”). He was the first Allied officer to be received that evening at the Hôtel de Ville by the representatives of the National Council of resistance.
On August 25, awaiting the capitulation of the enemy forces, the “Nueve” received the order to secure the Palais Bourbon, the Hôtel Majestic (headquarters of the German military high command avenue Kléber- 75016, now disappeared) and the place de Concord.
The “Nueve” after the liberation of Paris
After its triumphant entry into Paris, the “Nueve” became General de Gaulle’s escort during the descent of the Champs Elysées, wearing the colors of the Second Spanish Republic.
Victories on the charts
- September 12: Victory at Andelot (Haute Marne) where it takes 52 German prisoners
- September 15: she crosses the Moselle and establishes a bridgehead
- September 26: Presentation in Nancy of decorations by General de Gaulle, personally, to Captain Dronne and to several officers and non-commissioned officers of the company.
- November 23: La “Nueve” takes part in the liberation of Strasbourg, the last French city to be liberated.
- January 1, 1945: Tribute of Captain Dronne to “his” Spaniards.
- May 5, 1945: Capture of Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest” in Berchtesgaden
- At the end of the war, there were 35 dead and 97 wounded in the ranks of the “Nueve”. Only 16 active Spaniards remained in the “Nueve”.
Recognition after oblivion
After 60 years of oblivion, we start talking about the “Nueve” again on August 25, 2004 when the City of Paris pays tribute to the Spaniards of the “Nueve” by placing a plaque Quai Henri IV (75004) in the presence of Bertrand Delanoë, mayor at the time; Francisco Javier Rojo, President of the Spanish Senate; Francisco Villar, Spanish Ambassador and 2 survivors, Luis Royo Ibanez and Manuel Fernandez. Other plaques have been placed on Square Gustave-Mesureur (75013) and in the center of Place Nationale (75013).
In addition, the City of Paris presented on February 24, 2010, the Great Medal of Vermeil to the survivors Manuel Fernandez, Luis Royo Ibanes and Raphael Gomez. In 2015, the garden of the Hôtel de Ville was renamed “Jardin des Combattants de la Nueve”.
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