Friday, September 24

The Captain of the Machine Guns

Lost the war against Franco and his great love in the Battle of Brunete. Encarnacion Hernández Luna, nAcid in Beneixama in 1912, she played a leading role in the Civil War as a machine gun captain on the Republican side. In the middle of the conflict in the Sierra de Madrid he fell in love with the Cuban Alberto Sánchez Méndez, Commander of a brigade of 3,000 soldiers who came to Spain to fight against fascism. They were married at the front in February 1937, after the victory of the Republican Army in Guadalajara, and it was General Lister who declared them husband and wife in the name of the Republic. The wedding lasted until the next morning, and four months later the handsome Cuban officer died at the age of 22 in Brunete by an enemy bomb. His death inspired one of the most heartbreaking poems by the writer Pablo Neruda: “The smoke and the blood have blinded him. And there he falls, and there his wife, Commander Luna, defends at dusk with her machine gun the place where her loved one rests… ».

With her husband, who died in the Battle of Brunete four months after getting married. | INFORMATION

She had then 25 years And, torn by grief, she reported the tragic death to the relatives of her loved one in Cuba, assuring them that: “The machine guns that I command will know well how to take revenge on those who have destroyed my life forever.” In november 1937, in another of the letters that are preserved in the museum of the Cuban city of Pinewood of the river, explains that he was injured by a bullet in the head. She was transferred to the military hospital in Beneixama and two months later he was discharged, rejoining the ranks after admitting that “since Alberto’s death, I am worth nothing.” He just wanted to keep the promise that they both made to each other. «The most loved one has been taken from me forever. My life, all our illusions … », he commented in another letter, revealing that, in moments of rest, the couple had promised each other that if one died under fascist shrapnel, the other would continue fighting until the end. And so did the captain, becoming the senior woman of the 31 soldiers of the Popular Armyr. Merits achieved by his toughness in combat, his tactical vision, his courage and his leadership skills at the head of the machine gun company.

At the end of the war fled to the Soviet Union and worked for the Communist International. Years later he moved to Canada with a false identity possibly to perform spy functions. He never married and passed away in Quebec in 2004 at the age of 92.

In his memory, the Beneixama City Council He dedicates a tribute to him this Saturday in the Auditorium. The day will begin at seven in the afternoon with an exhibition and the screening of the documentary “La Teniente Remedios” that will be presented by historians Esther Gutiérrez Escoda and Boni Navarro Poveda. Then Ernesto Viñas will speak about the 11th Division in Brunete and the historian Luis Antonio Ruiz Homemade, from GIGEFRA, will offer the “Encarnación Hernández Luna. Recovering lost memory ». It will be the own descendants of the honoree who are in charge of closing the act in memory of Capita Luna and her life marked by war, love and death.

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