Ángeles Flórez Peón, Spanish Civil War’s Last Militiawoman, Dies at 105

In 1946, she married Graciano Rozada Vallina, a miner and Socialist militant who had been seized by Franco’s police while serving with Republican forces but who managed to escape and flee to France the next year. She soon joined him there, in Saint-Éloy-les-Mines, where they lived until his death in 2003. That year, after 56 years in exile, she returned to Gijón to bury his ashes.

She is survived by her two children, María Ángeles Rozada and José Antonio Rozada, two grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Ms. Flórez Peón, who in her 90s was described by El País as “petite, smiling, charming, and walking with a firm step,” was delighted to pose for selfies at the Madrid book festival, where she presented her memoirs, “Memorias de Ángeles Flórez Peón: Maricuela” published in 2009, and “Las Sorpresas de Maricuela” (“Surprises of Maricuela”), from 2013.

“She wrote her memoirs in France,” Mr. Rozada, her son, said. “It was during those years after we had grown up. I think she started at the end of the ’70s. We got her a typewriter, and she learned how to use it. She was a woman with a lot of energy, and she had a strong desire to write. She wrote pages and pages. She thought it was important to write the memoirs of those who had died, so that today’s youth could share the memory.”

Ms. Flórez Peón remained committed to socialism, gender equality and gay rights. Her son recalled, “She always said: ‘Be careful. If we’re not united, the extreme right will come back.’” And she remained proud of her role as an essential guardian of Spain’s memory after decades of state-imposed forgetting during the Franco years.

“A country without a memory is a country without a soul,” she said. “Spain was soulless. We can’t forget, and we can’t resent. Because if we did, we become like them.”

Rachel Chaundler contributed reporting from Madrid.

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