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Post Death of Raoul Villain on Ibiza, 1936
Created by John Eipper on 09/27/13 1:35 AM

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Death of Raoul Villain on Ibiza, 1936 (Nigel Jones, -UK, 09/27/13 1:35 am)

Here's a curious footnote to the discussion on the history of the Balearic Islands during the Spanish Civil War, which harks back to the outbreak of World War I a century ago.

In July 1914 a right-wing Catholic nationalist named Raoul Villain assassinated the charismatic French Socialist leader Jean Jaures by shooting him through the open window of the Cafe Chope Croissant (which still exists) in central Paris. Villain feared that Jaures's internationalism would undermine France's patriotic zeal to fight and win the war.

Villain was detained in jail throughout the war, and only finally brought to trial in 1919. He was then, sensationally, acquitted, on the grounds that his crime had been prompted by "patriotic motives." Jaures' widow was forced to pay the costs of appealing this verdict.

Aided by a legacy, Villain emigrated to Mexico and then Spain, settling at the remote beachside hamlet of Sant Vicent de Carla on the north-east tip of Ibiza (then virtually deserted, but today of course a row of highrise hotels). He began to construct a concrete house, aided, bizarrely, by the French grandson of the painter Paul Gauguin, who was a neighbour.

After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in September 1936, a boatload of Republican militiamen, probably anarchists from the FAI, landed on the beach, entered the unfinished house and began to rifle the property/valuables that Villain had stored there.

Villain, who had been away visiting a Frenchwoman in a neighbouring village, ignored warnings, and returned to his house to protect his property. Under circumstances that remain unclear, he was shot through the throat--possibly because he resisted the theft of his property; possibly because the anarchists knew he was Jaures' assassin; or possibly because Villain was marked out as a Catholic because of a large cross he had erected on the hill behind the house.

Mortally wounded, he was left in agony for two days on the beach before he died; the anarchists having warned villagers against going to his aid. Just one small example of the many savageries inflicted during that war. Jaures was belatedly avenged.

JE comments: Intriguing! This Villain's fate is an interesting connection between WWI and the Spanish Civil War. Usually the parallels move in the opposite direction--the SCW and WWII.

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