Professor Lee Congdon merits applause for a thoughtful review of two books on Francisco Franco (October 1988). I might raise the point of a number of significant omissions, but this would be unfair. I do, however, take exception to one commission, namely the assertion that Federico Garcia Lorca was shot by the Nationalists in 1936.

This was the propaganda claim of the Loyalists in the early days of the Spanish Civil War, but it has never been substantiated in any way. In point of fact, all the evidence adduced to date points in the direction of a murder by a gang of toughs led by personal enemies of Garcia Lorca. In the early days of the Nationalist uprising, there were many instances of this kind of nonpolitical killing on both sides.

In Loyalist Madrid, a gang broke into the home of a distant cousin of my father, slaughtering him, his wife and children, and even his servants. The cousin was a physician and totally apolitical.

It should be added in any comment on Francisco Franco that he saved far more Jewish lives than any of the leaders of the West by restoring Spanish citizenship to the descendants of those driven out by the Inquisition, thereby allowing those in Central Europe to escape the death camps and take their property with them.

        —Ralph de Toledano
Washington, DC