Police Agreement Between Nazi Germany and Franco's Spain
Repository: Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica, Salamanca, Spain
Date Created: 1938-01-30
Extent: 1 item
Geographic Region: Burgos, Spain
During the Civil War, police ties were established between “Nationalist” Spain and the Third Reich, specifically between the Ministry of Public Order run by General Severiano Martínez Anido, who was in charge of the police, and the Reichsführer of the SS and head of the German Police, Heinrich Himmler. There had already been relations between the Spanish and German police in 1935, but it was 1937, shortly after the Civil War broke out, when Franco requested the dispatch of a commission of German experts to instruct the Francoist police in the "fight against communism." This commission, made up of experts in police administration, political police and criminal police, was added to the Ministry of Public Order, created on January 30, 1938. Relations were facilitated by the fact that, when he was responsible for the Spanish police during the Primo de Rivera dictatorship (1923-1930), Martínez Anido had developed close police contacts in Germany.
The Nazis were interested in obtaining information about communism tactics and operations in Spain with a view to monitoring and eventually capturing anti-fascist Germans most of whom belonged to the XI Brigade of the International Brigades, also known as Thälmann Brigade.
The agreement of July 31, 1938, negotiated at Himmler’s suggestion, included an exchange of information on general experiences and details regarding communism, anarchism, emigration, and other supposed dangers to the State; the nationals of each country of these ideologies acting in the other; a commitment to mutual help in the investigation of people who were also outside the two national territories; and, notably, the direct and systematic delivery by the fastest means, of communists, anarchists and affiliates to other dangerous tendencies without any diplomatic intervention whatsoever and without extradition. In practice, this included multiple deliveries of detainees. First German members of the International Brigades captured by the Francoists were sent to Germany. Later, after their defeat of France in 1940, the Germans sent Republican exiles captured in the Occupied Zone back to Spain. Among the most notable were Lluís Companys Jover, president of the government of Catalonia, and Sociaist deputy Julián Zugazagoitia, both of whom were executed.
After the signing of the agreement, specialized members of the Gestapo took charge of interrogating German prisoners, while at the same time instructing their Spanish colleagues in interrogation methods, including torture. During the rest of the Civil War, groups of Francoist police would travel to Germany to take courses in policing techniques as well.
SS and SD member Paul Winzer was head of the Gestapo in Spain during the Civil War and World War II.