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Liberto Sarrau Royes

In 2002 the IISH received from Joaquina Dorado in Paris the personal papers of Liberto Sarrau Royes, following his death in 2001. This collection joins a series of archives on prominent figures among the Spanish anarchist exiles acquired by the IISH since 1997, including the personal papers of Fernando Gómez Peláez, José Ester Borrás and José Peirats Valls.

Liberto Sarrau was born on 15 June 1920 in Fraga in the province of Huesca. His father, Antonio Sarrau, was a miner but moved with his family to Barcelona following a serious accident at work. There he joined the labour movement as a member of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT. After losing his job as a result of this involvement, his father opened a newspaper stand. So, as a young boy, Liberto learned about the press. He attended Juan Puig Elias's rationalist school 'Natura' opened by the CNT textile union and wrote two leaflets published in the series La Novela Ideal in 1937.

In 1936 he became a member of the Juventudes Libertarias (JJLL) and belonged to an agricultural collective during the early years of the war until he was old enough to join the 26th Division, which was known as the Durruti column. Upon the fall of the Republic, he fled to France; his father was executed in Barcelona. Following his internment in French concentration camps, he enjoyed a brief period of freedom before being recruited as forced labour for the Vichy government. Again he escaped, returned to Spain and reached Casablanca via Portugal. After the Liberation in France, he resumed his involvement in various anarchist publications and the JJLL, holding prominent offices. In 1946 he returned to Spain with his compañera Joaquina Dorado to organize the resistance.

In 1948 he was arrested and tortured. Both Joaquina and he were sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Following their provisional release - Joaquina in 1954 because of poor health and Liberto in 1958 - they fled to France. At this point Liberto helped organize a new resistance movement: the Movimiento Popular de Resistencia. While working for UNESCO as a translator and corrector, he continued to contribute to several anarchist periodicals and was involved in the 2e Union régional of the French CNT. In the late 1980s he founded the Asociación Cultural y Ecologista 'Natura' (ACEN), which aimed to run a centre for libertarian education. In vain they tried to purchase the majestic site on which the Natura school's Mon Nou (meaning new world) holiday camp was located.

His personal papers comprise correspondence from 1946 until the late 1990s, notes, circulars and pamphlets and other materials concerning the underground movement in Spain and the ACEN. In late 2002 Joaquina Dorado entrusted her own file of correspondence to the IISH as well.

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