Little music box

Children in the People’s Republic of North Korea, 2009

After the previous post our readers hurried to reassure us that not only the leaders of the two great laboratories of the brave new world dedicated special attention to the children, but the fathers of other nations did not turn their back to the children of their people either.

Mussolini, writes Effe, also emphasized his commitment to the children. I bambini: sono essi la primavera della nostra stirpe, l’aurora della nostra giornata, il segno infallibile della nostra fede. – “The children are the springtime of our tribe, the dawn of our day, the infallible sign of our faith”,  he declared already in 1923 in the Great Council of Venice. Nevertheless, he has not left to us many pictures – apart from this family photo to the left – where he let himself being photographed with children. He probably had his reasons for that. As Jenner Melletti recounts it in La Repubblica, based on the researches of Professor Umberto Sereni of Udine and of his student Eva Dorigo, the future Duce who in 1907 started his career as an elementary school teacher in Tolmezzo (Friuli), was an infamously bad teacher. He did not love children, hated to teach and was unable to keep discipline. “Signor Benito Mussolini” – wrote school inspector Sardo Marchetti in 1907 – “although we have to recognize his efforts, nevertheless has reached very modest results. It would have been much more useful if he dedicated a larger proportion of his not common intellectual abilities to the school.”

Julia sent from Argentina the primer for the secondary class of the elementary school entitled Little music box and published in 1954, which presents in detail the love felt towards Argentine children by General Juan Domingo Perón. During the rule of the General the day of 17 October was established as the Day of Loyalty and of the Peronist Child. The book naturally also dedicates an important part to his wife Evita who was immortalized for the non-Argentine public by the musical of the same name.

“The children dressed in white clothes of the same form begin the school year. Their laughter as so many crystal bells cherry up the school and makes it a wonderful music box. This is the music of a happy childhood, of the childhood of the Homeland, made free, righteous and independent by Perón, where the only privileged are the children.”

„– Look at that map. – How beautiful, Madam! What do these small Argentine flags mean? – Every little flag indicates a place where General Perón has erected a school. Obviously not all of them figure here. We would need many, many similar maps to have room for all of them.”

„The wonderful warrior.
The people who had to work for a living did not receive what they merited for their efforts.
Old people without a family did not meet anyone to receive any love.

Poor children had to work for food.
Life was so sad in our Homeland.
At the sight of such a great injustice, a man who loved the Homeland than his own life, swore to save Her.
He fought courageously and indefatigably until he fulfilled his promise.
This patriot, this wonderful warrior who made our Homeland Free, Righteous and Independent, is called: Juan Perón!”

Riddles. The first one: Who brought justice and happiness to a people which now lives in work, jolly and peace?

In Hungary there was no dictator from Béla Kun, friend of Lenin in 1919 through the Nazi Ferenc Szálasi of 1944 to the Stalinist Mátyás Rákosi of 1949 and the Communist János Kádár of 1957 who had a preference to develop a children’s cult around himself. Nevertheless, with the children they also had the same definite purposes as their colleagues from the East to the West:

Our reserves for the battles of the future, stamp, 1950

The battles of the future came soon, and the reserves played a decisive role in it, although not exactly as the Communist Party had imagined it.

Young volunteers fighting in Budapest in the Revolution of 1956

The regime, disappointed in its protégés, now turned away from these ungrateful snakes.

An article published shortly after the oppression of the Revolution of 1956 announcing
the decision of the tribunal of Budapest, in terms of which no maintenance
must be paid by the fathers to the minors who fled the country

And in Spain is easy to find a wealth of documents on the intimate relationship between Franco and the children. This poem in the Spanish primer of 1949 makes it clear that it was only for the children’s sake that Franco in 1936 had set out from his garrison in Morocco to liberate his beloved Spain groaning under the Republican yoke.

Hallábase Franco un día en una playa lejana.

Mientras las olas, tranquilas,
muerte en la arena buscaban,
él meditaba proyectos
de incalculable importancia.

Tendía de cuando en cuando
los ojos hacia su Patria.
Una vez se le nublaron
y le nacieron dos lágrimas
al pensar en tantos hijos
de su idolatrada España
que eran inocentes víctimas
de una educación malvada.

¡Pobres niños! –dijo Franco-;
niños hoy, hombres mañana:
¿qué españoles han de ser
si les mancillan el alma
con doctrinas pestilentes
y prácticas depravadas?,
¿si el manantial les cegaron
de divinas enseñanzas
y no hay una Cruz bendita
que dignifique las aulas?,
¿si a una siembra de virtudes
siembra de vicios reemplaza?

Nublan estas ideas
la limpísima mirada
de Franco, mientras las olas
muerte en la arena buscaban…


De súbito alza la frente;
ambos brazos adelanta
como queriendo abrazar
a los niños de su patria
y con acento rotundo
que pone Dios en su alma
dice:-¡No pereceréis,
flores del jardín de España,
lo mejor de su riqueza
su más risueña esperanza
pedazos del corazón
de patria madre abnegada!

Quiere el cielo que yo quiebre
las cadenas con que labran
vuestra eterna desventura
chacales de forma humana
¡Arriba España!, hijos míos,
rosas del jardín de España.


Desde las más altas nubes
una legión de querubes
bajó a llamar la cruzada,
mientras que un ángel guerrero
fulgor quitaba a un lucero
para dárselo a una espada…
Once Franco stood on the far away seashore.

While the calm waves
found their death in the sand
he meditated on projects
of incalculable importance.

From time to time he turned
towards his Homeland his eyes
which suddenly got clouded
and two tears fell from them
as he thought about the many
children of his adored Spain
which fell victims
to an evil education.

Poor children! – Franco said:
children today and adults tomorrow:
what kind of Spaniards they will become
if their souls are defiled
with pestilential doctrines
and depraved practices?
if the sources of the divine
teachings are blinded for them
and there is no holy Cross
to dignify their classrooms?
and if the seed of the virtues
has been replaced by that of vice?

These ideas clouded
the clean eyes of Franco
while the waves sought
their death on the shore…


He suddenly raises his head,
opens both arms forwards
as if he wanted to embrace
the children of his homeland
and with a resounding emphasis
poured by God into his soul
he says: “You will not be lost,
flowers in the garden of Spain,
the best part of her wealth,
the brightest among her hopes,
the beatings of the heart
of the devoted motherland!

The heaven wants me to break
the chains with which you are
sentenced to an eternal misery
by the jackals of human shape.
Stand up, Spain! my sons,
roses in the garden of Spain.


From the highest clouds
a legion of cherubs came down
to call to a crusade
while a warrior angel
took away the light of a star
and gave it over to a sword.

However, the ungrateful children did not appreciate the efforts of Franco, and in the primer from which the blogger of Paralelo Adn copied the poem, they scrawled on his head.

Another touching example of the responsibility taken by Franco for the children – this time already for the children of the whole world – is this Christmas video where he encourages his niece Carmen to send a “spontaneous” message urbi et orbi through the Spanish radio to the children of the world. Look how the dictator moves his lips like a ventriloquist by talking to his doll.

– Oye, nena. ¿Quieres decir algo a los niños del mundo? – Bueno, no sé qué les digo. – Lo que quieras. – Pido a Dios que todos los niños del mundo no conozcan los sufrimientos y las tristezas que tienen los niños que aún están en poder de los enemigos de mi patria.– Listen, my dear, don’t you want to say something to the children of the world? – Well, I do not know what to say. – Whatever you want. – I ask God that the children of the world may not know those sufferings and griefs that must be born by those children who live under the power of the enemies of my homeland.

But joking with these dictators can freeze the smile on our face. Speaking of the children of Franco, and leaving aside the more or less farcical or grotesque aspect of the topic, Spanish democracy has many hidden skeletons that have been only very recently reported. Few people dare to speak about them, and even fewer who consider that we should get rid of them to regain the balance of our severely injured collective consciousness. It is true that much time has passed since the Civil War and Franco died at an old age a thousand years ago, but there is so much pain accumulated in certain places where we do not want to watch that now already it is impossible to hide it. In Spain almost all families have stories that have been officially ignored or have been covered by the families themselves. But finally it is time to open the eyes, to clean the abscesses and to clearly expose our story. And one of the darkest forms of the repression was related precisely to the female prisons and concentration camps and to the treatment given to the children of those fighting on the Republican side (and a mere suspect or any other personal reason was enough to be counted among them).

It would be good to attend more documentaries like the ones below, composed without the desire of revenge and only trying to find a balance that has not been reached in so many years. Nowadays there is more fear on the part of those who have some kind of bad conscience than thirst of revenge on the other side.

The following report is divided into two parts. It contains the direct testimonies of prisoners, especially of women and children who survived those prisons where torture and killing knew no limits. The sinister figure of Dr. Vallejo-Najera, a psychiatrist of the regime and his eugenic theories on Marxism would have a comical tone, had they not been applied in a terrible practice. One cannot laugh while listening to these accounts of the systematic separation of the children from their imprisoned mothers and the subsequent erasure of their identity, the execution of mothers shortly after giving birth, the arbitrary punishment of women and children who wondered what could they have committed and for which unknown sin of the family they were purged, the boy whose head is burst against the wall in front of his mother at discovering that he is called Lenin, the hunger and diseases in these places of never recognized extermination… These testimonies shed a different and certainly sharper light on the images of the dictators with children that we saw in the previous and this post. And all this is something that until recently was never spoken about in Spain.

It is no coincidence that the film was made in Catalonia which is more interested in highlighting the punishment received after the war, as some Catalan historians including Ricard Vinyes have emphasized it. Here you can see an interview with him on the Spanish TV, made some years after the previous report.

Internet has become the place where the most information can be found on the topic. Lately the work of the Asociación para la recuperación de la memoria histórica (Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory) has also given greater visibility to the Francoist repression, together with the uproar around the figure of Judge Baltasar Garzón who launched an extensive collection of information on the victims of Franco, including the opening of mass graves preserving the bodies of those shot dead, both well known persons (like Federico García Lorca) or anonymous ones (several ten thousand people whose families had to keep silence for decades and decades). The story of Judge Garzón and of the historical memory is a convoluted one, full of contradictions and difficult to understand. At the moment, the Spanish tribunal at the behest of the far right – the Falange Española – has managed to remove the Judge from Spain and to paralyze the investigation opened by him on the crimes of the regime of Franco.