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Francisco Sabate; source:
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Francisco Sabate Llopart (known as El Quico) — Guerilla Extraordinaire — (1915-1960). Born 30 March 1915 in Barcelona; died 5 January 1960.

Francisco Sabate joined the CNT in 1931. In 1932, following the events of Fijols, he started the action group "Los Novatos" which aligned with the FAI. In 1935, they carried out their first expropriation to provide funds for a prison relief group.

On July 18 & 19, 1936, the fascist uprising in Barcelona was defeated, signalling the beginning of a libertarian revolution.

On August 27, 1936, Sabaté & his brother José joined a CNT-FAI column which fought on the Aragon front.

With the defeat of the Republican forces, Sabate was interned in France at the camps in Vernet. Once free, Sabate continued fighting in Spain clandestinely, & on August 20, 1945, succeeded in freeing two comrades. His group then began striking against the Franco regime & its supporters, as well as robbing companies & banks to finance the underground movement. On March 2, 1949, they killed two heads of the phalange.

While many of his comrades were arrested or killed over the years Sabaté succeeded in slipping through the various police dragnets. But on January 5, 1960, after having slipped across the border with four companions, they were encircled by army & the civil garde, & were shot down. Still, Sabaté managed to escape, before succumbing a few hours later to bullet wounds.

  • Sabate figures in at least two movies:
    Behold The Pale Horse, with Gregory Peck as a character very closely based on Sabate, the Spanish anarchist guerilla.

    Antonio Tellez cites in the Spanish edition of his biography of Sabate another film — Metralleta Stein by Jose Antonio de la Loma.

  • See The Rattle Of The Thompson Gun
  • Forgotten Heroes: Spanish Resistance in France 1939-45
  • See Antonio Tellez, Sabaté, guérilla urbaine en Espagne 1945-1960, translated by Stuart Christie & published as SABATE: Guerilla Extraordinaire

An example that sums up the mentality & spirit of the guerrilla movement of the time is provided by the veteran fighter Francisco Sabate Llopart (El Quico). On their return to Spain after the end of the Second World War one of their first missions was the 'expropriation' of money & valuables in a series of robberies of local big-businessmen. On completion of 'business', those 'visited' would be left a note like the following one, left at the home of a wealthy big-store owner, Manuel Garriga:

FAI poster

"We are not robbers, we are libertarian resistance fighters. What we have just taken will help in a small way to feed the orphaned & starving children of those anti-fascists who you & your kind have shot. We are people who have never & will never beg for what is ours. So long as we have the strength to do so we shall fight for for the freedom of the Spanish working class. As for you, Garriga, although you are a murderer & a thief, we have spared you, because we as libertarians appreciate the value of human life, something which you never have, nor are likely to, understand."

Graphic: Book cover by Costantini, 1976. Published by Cienfuegos Press.

(Click on image for larger version)

Costantini: Francisco Sabate

Related links:

Hand-made objects by Francisco Sabaté Llopart; © IISH Hand-made objects by Francisco Sabaté Llopart ("Quico") during his imprisonment in France in 1958

A wooden box with lid & plastic basketwork.
A coffee filter with lid made of two cans.
A card made of plastic with cut out plastic figures.


Sabate's grave stone

page updated October 2004

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