By Steve Herrick Don Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta
(22 April 1915 – 29 November 1976)
Don José María was born in Markina (Biscay) in the hamlet of Iturbe, in the neighborhood of Barinaga.
His parents were José Luis and Tomasa, owners of a good farmhouse with its own hired hand.
His father was known as man of peace among their neighbors: good-natured, with a social life centered on fairs and brotherhoods; cheerful and decisive.
His mother, a housewife on the model of a Biblical woman, was the true teacher of don José María: intelligent, orderly, industrious, and self-sacrificing, she carried the weight and style in education of their children and the administration of the hamlet.
Don José María, the first of three brothers and one sister (José María, Francisco, María and Jesús), at twelve years old, renounced the title and privileges of the firstborn in the interest of his religious vocation, which led him to the Seminary of latines in Castillo de Elejabeitia.
His teacher, doña Patrocinio Uranga, head of the rural school, prepared him thoroughly for this step.
In 1931, in the midst of republican effervescence, we find him in the famous Seminario Mayor de Vitoria to study Philosophy and Theology.
From the seminary to the barracks
The Spanish Civil War surprised him in Markina in the middle of a vacation. At military age, he joined the Basque militia, and was assigned journalist duty.
He was stationed at the General Barracks of Abando. He participated in the founding and operation of two newspapers: Gudari and Eguna.
From this observation point, with first-hand documentation, he followed all the vicissitudes of the Euskadi Government and the bloody events that devastated the Basque Country.
The 19th of June, 1937, he was taken prisoner in Bilbao. Following a brief attempt to escape to France (he made it as far as Lazcano), he was hunted down in Bilbao after being betrayed
From:: Grassroots Economic Organizing