This Week in Spanish Civil War History – Week 34: 5 – 12 March 1937

March 5


The Nationalists, fuelled with Spanish, Moorish and Italian soldiers, are preparing to attack Guadalajara, 60 kilometres north-east of Madrid. After all the failed attempts to take Madrid, and the collapse of battle at nearby Jarama, the Nationalists are keen to engage again. The Italians, fresh from taking Málaga, are ready to fight. The Nationalists have gathered 35,000 men, hundreds of artillery supplies over 100 tankettes, 32 armoured cars, 3,600 vehicles and 60 planes. Much of the tank, car and plane equipment comes from the Italians, as Mussolini strongly supports the offensive.

The Republicans are the 12th division of the Republican army with only 10,000 men, but only 5,900 rifles, 85 machine guns and 15 artillery pieces. They do have a few light tanks on their side. Guadalajara, until now has been peaceful, so no trenches, road blocks or defensive have been set up, but the Republicans know (assume), a Nationalist attack from the south is imminent. Meanwhile, the Nationalists are preparing to attack the 25 kilometre stretch of the Guadalajara-Alcalá de Henares road, south of Guadalajara, which will cut off the main road, and five other roads which stem from the area.

March 8

The Nationalists attack the front lines at Guadalajara at 7am with both air raids from 70 planes and artillery fire. They break the front lines within half an hour. The 50th Republican Brigade are broken by a barrage of 250 tankettes, extensive artillery, machine guns and trucks and heavy fire. The Italians take the towns of Alaminos, Catejon and Mirabueno on the first day. They capture 12 kilometres of ground, only slowed by heavy late winter fog, not yet at their planned locations of Brihuega and Guadalajara. They have taken the hills, and have a straight downhill roll towards Madrid, and the Republicans are overwhelmed and call for extra men and tanks.

Nationalist machine-gunners in Guadalajara

March 9

Italian tankettes with flame throwers continue the advance to Guadalajara, but the fog has not lifted, making visibility almost zero. The weather allows the surviving 5oth Republican Brigade members to escape the advancing Italians. By midday, the XI International Brigades arrives at the front – the Thaelamnn, André and Commune de Paris Brigades, all German, French and Balkans volunteers. But the Nationalists are using the Blitzkrieg technique of bombarding the enemy with short, sharp attacks on multiple fronts, which means the enemy slowly becomes surrounded. The Republicans have neither the manpower or firepower to fight this technique. By nightfall, the Nationalists have captured another 18 kilometres and the towns of Almadrones, Masegoso and Cogollor. The Nationalists are now outside the town of strategic Brihuega.
More Republican reinforcements start to arrive, with the arrivals of the Republican 49th and 12th Divisions. Between them and the XI International Brigades, they have 1850 men, 1600 rifles, five tanks and 34 machine guns. War hero General Lister arrives with the Republican 11th division at Torija, on the Madrid-Zaragoza road between the front and Guadalajara. He also places the 12th division to the west and 14th to the east of this main road to take on the Nationalists the next day.

March 10

The Republican forces have grown – 4350 men and 26 tanks when the XII International Brigades arrive – the Italian Garibaldi and the Polish Dabrowski battalions. The Nationalists start the day by bombarding the XI International Brigades on the ground and by air. They have no luck breaking the IB’s, despite having 26,000 men on the ground, 900 machine guns and 130 tankettes. They do capture the towns of Brihuega and Miralrio without any trouble.

Both the XI and XII International Brigades are bombarded by the Nationalists all day. The Italian Garibaldi battalion come up against Italian Nationalists at Torija, and the IB’s try to get their countrymen to defect away from the fascists. The fight stops for the day as both sides dig in, three kilometres north of  Torija, and defend themselves as leaflet drops and loudspeakers try to convince Italians not to kill one another.

Republican General Lacalle of the 12th division is forced to resign and Nino Nanetti of the Italian Communists takes over. He cites health (possibly injury) reasons, but he has been clashing with General Jurado, which has been weakening the already overwhelmed Republican strength.

March 11

The Italian Nationalists attack the XI and XII International Brigades again outside Torija and break through, taking the town and main road as the IB’s have to retreat to survive. The Spanish Soria division break through and take both the towns of Hita and Torre del Burgo to the west. Italian planes are halted due to the bad weather, the sleet and fog jamming their planes in soaking airports.

Republican T26 tank

March 12

The Republicans are finally in a position to launch an offensive. A midday offensive sees 100 Soviet Rata and Chato fighter planes launched along with two squadrons of larger Katiuska bombers, which have arrived from Albacete. The Italian Nationalists have had their planes grounded due to the fog and sleet water-logging their aircraft. Albacete is 260 kilometres south and has not suffered weather troubles.

As the planes bomb the Nationalists, the Republican divisions are able to attack on the ground with light tanks. Nationalist tankettes get jammed in the mud and are destroyed, easy targets. The Republicans fight back all through the day and forced the Nationalists back to Trijueque, seven kilometres north of Torija. The Nationalists will never regain this ground, and most of the Nationalist XI Gruppo de Banderas are killed, including their commander.

Franco had promised to start a western offensive from Jarama, launching Spanish Nationalists to support the Italians, but this offensive has not appeared. This is allowing the Republicans to have a little breathing space as they fight. The stalemate and killing at Jarama is one possible reason for the lack of support, but another is Franco’s lack of enthusiasm. It is critical in how to battle will play out. Propaganda is also beginning, with the Spanish not pleased that the Italians are launching attacks in Spain, and the Republicans, calling the International Brigades all Jews and Communists (that’s a quote from Germans in Spain, not my opinion), could beat Italians. There is still another 11 days of this battle to play out, but both military and propaganda moves are being created and setting precedents, and numbers are swelling, with the Nationalists about to peak at 50,000 men and the Republicans at 20,000.

Republicans with a captured tankette


This is not a detailed analysis, just a highlight (lowlight?) of the week’s events. Things get lost in translation – Feel free to suggest an addition/clarification/correction below. The more the world remembers, the better. All photos and captions are auto-linked to source for credit, and to provide further information.

This Week in Spanish Civil War History – Week 6: 22 – 28 August 1936

Week 6: 22 – 28 August 1936

August 22

With Republicans constantly attacking with multiple militias in different areas with different affiliations, the number fighting on their side is still unconfirmed. They have around 90,000 in total, with 33,000 paramilitary, and 7,000 officers, 22 generals and their 50,000 soldiers. Meanwhile, the Nationalists have around 130,000 men – 40,000 soldiers including the Moors from Morocco accompanying 50,000 metro army and Guardia Civil. They are commanded with 17 generals and 10,000 officers. They have 60% of all Guardia Civil guards and only 40% of the assault guards, meaning the Nationalists have far superior trained men, a situation making itself clear in fighting all over the country.

August 24

Italy and Germany join the Non-Intervention agreement officially, which means they can be part of the official blockade of arms and equipment into Spain, and to the Republicans. But because both the Germans an Italians have warships in Spanish waters, they can prevent anyone else from entering Spain and helping the Republicans, while the Nationalist still have them as allies.

August 26

The Catholic Church and the Pope are behind the Nationalist cause, despite their brutal killing. With the Republicans burning churches and killing priests (many priests are ‘second sons’ of wealthy families in their area, making them even more of a target), they are being cited by international media as barbarians. The unsubstantiated claims of nuns being raped has circulated to vilify the Republicans cause, though nothing was ever proven. Meanwhile, Nationalist troops are told via radio announcements that raping women is a perk or bonus and it should be done as often as the chance arises. The soldiers have not needed any encouragement.


August 28

The fifth regiment, based out of Madrid, is now at about 6,000 men. Set up by the Antifascist Worker and Peasant Militias (MAOC), the regiment is the only one that is well organised and running efficiently, with the Communist leaders well trained. The fifth regiment is open to people other than Communists and is gaining popularity in Madrid fast, after beating back the Nationalist north of Madrid city earlier in the month.


This is not a detailed analysis, just a highlight (lowlight?) of the week’s events. Feel free to suggest an addition/clarification/correction below. All photos are linked to source for credit

SPAIN BOOK REVIEW: January – ‘The Exile’ by Mark Oldfield

The Exile

1954: Comandante Guzmán is out of favour and in exile. Franco’s one-time favourite secret policeman has been posted to the Basque country, a desolate backwater – in his eyes – of simmering nationalism, unlikely alliances and ancient vendettas.

Guzmán was last here during the war, at the head of a platoon of bloodthirsty Moorish irregulars. Personally, he’d rather forget all that – but up in the hills, he’ll find that he hasn’t been forgotten at all.

2010, Madrid: Forensic Investigator Ana María Galindez has been sent to the Basque country where, sealed in the cellar of a ruined building are three skeletons, each bound to a chair, each savagely hacked to death. In the debris surrounding them, a scimitar, stamped with a name: Capitán Leopoldo Guzmán.

Guzmán is the key that will unlock Spain’s darkest secrets. Guzmán’s name, she’ll discover, is a death sentence.

cover art and blurb via


Here we are at last: The sequel to Mark Oldfield’s The Sentinel. If you are new, the Vengeance of Memory trilogy is based around Guzmán in the 1950’s, and Ana María Galindez in present day, with a few 1930’s war-time chapters for added plot twists. Sounds tricky? Keep up.

The Exile takes a slight leap forward from the end of The Sentinel which (potential spoilers ahead), left Ana María  in a messy state, and Guzmán surrounded by dead bodies. In 2010, Ana María is reinstated in the Guardia Civil, to continue her work as a forensic investigator. Off to the Basque country in northern Spain, she has to examine a scene of a multiple slasher-type killing spree from the 1930’s. The murder weapon is found – and it’s Guzmán’s. Ana María finally feels as if she is getting close to the man. But the bones are quickly forgotten when Ana María is put in charge of an investigation into the stolen babies of the Franco era, which started during the civil war and outlived Franco until around 1991. All the while, she is still suffering from past injuries thanks to Guzmán’s chamber of secrets and not at all over the murder of her father by Basque terrorists, something her memory has blacked out. Ana María believes in science, and with her new assistant Isabel, they come up with statistics – not only were a large majority of babies stolen from private clinics, most of the parents who complained were then killed. When a mother claiming to have had a daughter stolen at birth winds up dead, Ana María finds this old and vicious crime is still going on. The corruption and cover-ups run deep, and has the ability to kill anyone who pokes into fascist business.

Meanwhile, Guzmán is tramping around the wilderness of the Basque country in 1954, with his sidekick Ochoa. Guzmán has freshly killed a terrorist cell, but more remain at large. El Lobo (The Wolf), a mysterious bandit is riding through the forests, killing people and robbing banks. Guzmán has to kill him in order to go home to Madrid. Flashback chapters to 1937 show Guzmán and Ochoa have been north before – and straight away, faces in the small town are very familiar. Everyone wants to be Basque, speak Basque, but it is illegal. No one can be trusted and traitors lurk everywhere. Guzmán has full powers over everyone. With insane killers in power in the region and running loose in the forest, Guzmán needs to fight for his career and his life if he is see through all the murders, terrorists, special informants, inept Guardia Civil men, stupid-hat wearing French smugglers, and traitors on both sides of the political divide. He meets Magdalena Torres, beautiful daughter of a general, and while she seems perfect for Guzmán, with lives on the line and missions to complete, literally no one is who they seem.

I have waited three years to read The Exile after the release of The Sentinel. The format, chapters alternating timelines is the same as I have written, as is the stolen babies of the Franco-era storyline, along with Brigada Especial men like Guzmán. I have finished my series and it is fun to see someone else taking the ideas down a very different path. There is only one side to Guzmán – perverse and savage. Whether he is thinking, talking or acting, he is cruel. He hates everyone, especially himself. So when he is taking a dinner break rather than murdering or intimidating, he hooks up with Magdalena, who is ready to jump into bed with this emotionless man. She too is cold and emotionless. The spark between them doesn’t exist, they instead gravitate toward one another, similar beings in a land of haters. Every speaking male character in this book (almost the entire cast) are perverts. They look every woman up and down with sexual ideas. Women are kept in cells, raped and tortured. Every woman is a whore. A general holds parties where local girls, keen to avoid jail time (for invisible crimes) attend parties naked, there for gratification, to be raped, tortured and/or murdered. One is there purely to be placed naked on a garrotte machine. Women as entertainment for the depraved and over-empowered. Guzmán spends little time on anything except thinking or discussing murder or what’s under a woman’s clothing. I kept telling myself that women where treated poorly under Franco and that was part of the story, but still, the level of violence to women is explosive. Women are only good for two things in Guzmán’s world. Sex and death. One character, a young Basque woman Nieves, someone Guzmán should respect, is still watched naked, and exists for gratification, for torture, beatings, sexual assault by the whole damn world. The constant leering by every male character at every woman is truly evil. Men are in power; women are only whores. There is no other way.

In the 2010 storyline, things are no better. Ana María, a lesbian (which is not made a big deal of in this book, covered in the first installment) is leered at by men everywhere she goes. Every step and a man seemed to be leering or making a sexual innuendo. Ana María attacks a man early on; she shouldn’t be popping painkillers (addiction in disguise), she should be in therapy and on antidepressants. The crime scene early on in the book gets forgotten as the stolen babies take priority, and it takes a long time for her storyline to run parallel with Guzmán’s – almost the end of the book, but it all makes sense over time. One thing Ana María is – BADASS! Going for babysitting and ending up in a gun battle is no problem for fearless Ana María. Her storyline suggests baby stealing continued well into the 1990’s and parents were murdered; let’s hope that part never turns out to be true!

The storylines move nice and quick – accidentally skip a paragraph in 1954 and Guzmán’s body count has risen or another person has turned traitor.  In 2010, in a matter of 2-3 pages, Isabel is introduced, decides to be author, Ana María agrees to work with her, and both are hired by the government. Fast work for life-changing decisions I thought. People with little in common come together in brisk writing so the juicy details can emerge. There is a dam-full amount of juicyness, too. The first 200 pages set the scene, Guzmán being the book’s leader. After that, both 1954 and 2010 battle for supremacy. Guzmán’s end turned out just as I expected, but the twists and turns of Magdalena, Nieves and Bogeña left me feeling flat. In 2010, poor Ana María gets insanely accused, threatening her entire life, stumbles upon an old film reel laden with coincidence (and I mean insane levels) and yet, in the final sentences, ends as I expected – and (almost) hoped for (I had imagined her at least wearing undergarments and/or pants).

I would recommend this book to anyone. There is no detail on Spain’s situation in either periods, the book jumps straight in and readers get pulled along. Reading the first book would definitely be an advantage. I re-read it before picking up The Exile. The violence against women, the leering and innuendo, and the sexually frustrated losers of the book are hard to stomach, yet with all that, the twisting plot, the traitors and unlikable characters like Guzmán and Ana María, the author has produced a hell of a novel. While I liked The Sentinel, The Exile is so much better again, worth the wait for sure.

One tip – Don’t get attached to anyone (that’s easy, everyone’s horrible), because the body count is so high, the Game of Thrones writers should take notes. No one is safe. How the third book winds all the dangling storylines together will be a treat to read. I really don’t know how I want the series to end.

Read my review of the first installment – The Sentinel by Mark Oldfield

A LITTLE JAUNT TO SPAIN – REVIEW PART 7: Valle de los Caídos: A trip to Franco’s tomb to see a divided Spain


You know how Germans dress in their best every Sunday and go to leave flowers and prayers at Hitler’s grave? Oh wait, they don’t, they opened up about their past, dealt with their issues and moved on as a people decades ago. So why are Spaniards having family picnics near the tomb of fascist dictator Francisco Franco? I packed my best possible neutral opinion and set off into the Madrid forests to find out.

“The moment you move the soil over shallow graves, the agony of Spain will pour out, like fresh blood from a wound. All that pain and hatred is covered by a thin layer. Don’t stir up something you can’t understand” – Blood in the Valencian Soil

I’m no ignorant tourist. I’m aware of the tensions that surround El Valle de los Caídos, the Valley of the Fallen. Some say it shouldn’t be open at all, and for a time when the PSOE was in power, it was closed to the public. It was one of the few places on my trip where I was the only foreigner, trying to quietly pass between families of all ages inside a macabre and eerie Basilica inside a mountain.

What is Valle de los Caídos?  It is a giant memorial to those killed in the Spanish Civil War, but ended up as a monument to only the Nationalist side, headed by ultra-conservative war winner Franco, who is buried there. Even the history surrounding the place is murky. ‘Official’ records say it was built by approximately 2,600 workers, and a handful of them were Republican (left-wing anti-Franco) prisoners. (Long story short, Republican prisoners were basically anyone the new dictatorship didn’t like. Proof that ever committed any crime, against the public or the State was tough to find, unless being a Republican soldier counts as a crime, and it was back then). It was commissioned in 1940 and finished in 1959, but a more accurate report was of 20,000 Republican prisoners taking part, and the number  killed in the process is unknown, some say dozens. You can get an idea of how touchy this subject really is.


Franco inspects the site of Valle de los Caídos in 1940


Republican prisoners building the cross


Remains of soldier killed in Toledo arrive to be reburied in 1959


Watching the opening of Valle de los Caídos in 1959

(click to enlarge the photos will launch an amazing slideshow of pics)

Franco created Valle de los Caidos in the Sierra de Guadarrama, the mountains outside Madrid city. Nearby is San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the once summer palace of the royal family (I visited, and the golden tomb is WELL worth the visit – for another post).  The trouble is, Valle de los Caídos was filled with the bodies of killed men, Nationalist (Franco) soldiers and sympathisers. It was a civil war, Spaniard against Spaniard, but those who opposed the rebel army takeover of the Republic were simply forgotten. José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the fascist Falange party is buried there, and Franco was also placed inside a tomb under the basilica in 1975. The exact number of bodies laid to rest inside Valle de los Caídos is unknown, and could be anywhere from 30-35,000. In the last 10 to 15 years, a large number of Republican families and organisations have found the strength and courage to dig up their relatives who were murdered and thrown in mass graves around Spain. However, some have been removed from these graves and placed in Valle de los Caídos without family permission, which only serves to give this place an even more heartbreaking feel.


View while driving up the mountain

Political views aside, the sight of this location is incredible on its own. You can see it while driving along the motorway, sticking out of the otherwise peaceful mountains the surround the north side of the Madrid province. We went through an innocuous gate off the main road to El Escorial and made our way several kilometers up the mountainside on a bright and beautiful Sunday morning. You constantly catch glimpses of the behemoth through the trees, but until you are standing below the enormous cross  built on the hillside (152 metres, the worlds’ tallest), you cannot grasp the size and scope of the this place.




The carpark was filled with cars and buses, and I suspected I was about to turn into another touristed location. Not so! Once at the arch doors to the entrance, the only people in sight were the Guardia Civil. The place itself is situated in a beautiful location and the quality of work done is exquisite. The place could have been built as a place to honour those lost in the war and the healing of a great nation. But given that the crypt is a basilica, and that the church oppressed the Spanish population and the Republican (or left-wing if you prefer) side didn’t support the church, there was never the possibility that the monument could honour both sides of the nation.


Entrance archway


View of the Sierra de Guadarrama


Statue over the entrance – The Pietá

I stepped inside, sadly unsurprised that there is gift shop (After all, what child doesn’t want a gift of a colouring book and pencils from a crypt, or a fan with Franco’s grave printed on it?) I put my camera in my satchel, as photos were forbidden, but I had my iPhone in my pocket, just in case. Then I entered the nave.




Ceiling over the altar

From the moment you go inside, the overwhelming and solemn feel of the cold and dark place takes you over. Giant gloomy and menacing angels brandishing swords bear down on you. The nave is filled with masterpieces of religious painting and tapestries. The attention to detail is second to none. I paused to take in them and the angel statues, but the foreboding sense of the place had already sunk into my bones. Mass was finishing up as I arrived at the altar, and I sat down quietly to listen to children sing in the choir. Children were singing in this place that spoke of death.


Altar angel

Mass ended and the faithful began to wander around the altar, me included. The first thing I noticed was not the menacing  angels, or the elaborate golden Jesus, but the grave of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, which someone had left flowers. Now, can I judge those who come here? No, I can’t. I don’t know why they come. Perhaps their loves ones were buried here,  as Nationalist believers to the Franco cause. It was a civil war and everyone lost one way or another. Can I, or anyone, look down on these people for coming  to pray? No. Whether it’s for a loved one, to feel closer to the history of Spain, or even if they supported Franco, that’s their decision. But what about the people who came to leave flowers on the grave of the founding father of Spain’s fascist party? What was the motivation there? A grieving loved one, or someone with old evil ideas that haven’t been forgotten? It was shiver up the spine stuff.




As priests wandered about and nodded hello, I found what I had (kind of) came for – the tomb of Franco placed on the opposite side of the altar below the semi-circle of wooden stalls made for the monks and the choir. There lay flowers on the grave, and this time I saw no reason why anyone would place them there. There are many reasons why people continue to support Franco (and it’s a discussion too long for this post) and I don’t see the merit in any of them. Just to the right lay more floral tributes – dozens to be precise, which had been placed to one side presumably because of the sheer volume. A few people were taking photographs, under the watch of a guard. These people had laid the flowers and wanted to capture the moment, no mistaking their alliances in this case. I asked if I could also take a photo with these people and got permission. Why take it? I don’t know, it’s like watching a car crash, it’s awful but you can’t look away.

I was surprised by the state of the place. Perfection? No. Built into a mountain, they must fight their own war with damp, and you can see that in the granite stonework. Water seeps in here and there, which only gave the place a more unearthly and morbid feel. After all, we were all underground, surrounded by graves…

To the left and right are small rooms, with rows of seats and monuments to Spain’s fallen. People lit candles and families laughed and chatted with priests. What says family day out more than this? I sat in the right room, the entombment, which featured an alabaster Jesus statue. I sat and looked at the wall.  Caídos – Por Dios y Por España. Fallen – For God and For Spain.  All of Spain? Many disagree. Republicans denounce this place, and many here on this random Sunday wore Falange symbols on their lapels.


Inside the chapel of the emtombment

I will admit it – I silently cried as I sat there, which drew the attention of a priest who thought I needed comfort, and the ‘comforting’ hands of old ladies on my shoulder. Me, the young Catholic attending Mass here? Oh boy, that couldn’t be more untrue.

I headed back through the place, fairly certain I wouldn’t ever be back. I stopped by the gift shop to buy a book on the place, in Spanish, about how the place has reconciled Spain. Hmm. I also grabbed an excellent copy of a collection of civil war photographs. The crypt trinkets and religious adornments could stay where they were. After all, who would wear a Valle de los Caídos t-shirt? Why would you, and for what purpose?

The shining moment came as I left the crypt and stepped out in the sunlight. There stood a group of men, all aged 70 or more, hailing a fascist salute at the cross above the entrance. It was well and truly time to leave.


Panoramic view from the main entrance after the fascist saluters said hello and went inside

If there is one thing, it’s that this place is full of emotion. Good emotions? Not all of them. No good ever came from a fascist salute, but it would be too simple to label everyone who visits there, whether they’re crying at Franco’s tomb or having a picnic outside in the sunshine. I am not a religious person and I am not going to tell Catholics how to pray to their God in that Basilica. The books I bought there, their glossy pages gloss over Spain’s history entirely – after all this time, the war and the subsequent dictatorship is not talked about like it should be. Spain shouldn’t have to hide its past. It has been 74 years since the end of the war and yet its presence still lives in Spanish life, whether people say so or not. In 2011, it was decided that moving Franco’s body would be a way of restoring Valle de los Caídos’ image and making it a truly impartial monument to Spain’s fallen, however as the crypt was elevated to Basilica status, the church can decide, and their opinions are not so easy changed.


Franco’s burial in 1975  I wonder who the crying  guy is on the left (click to enlarge and view slideshow)

My personal opinion? The place is worth the visit, despite being a pain to get to if you don’t have a car. I travelled alone, and would I want to take my young family there? I’m honestly not sure. It’s not something you will find in the Spain brochures during your Ryanair flight to the beach in Benidorm or Malaga. But if you’re into Spain history, or have a personal or familial connection to the civil war (as have I) you really should visit. Just leave your camera behind and hush your opinions while you’re there. I know what side I stand on, and I took the bus back to Madrid, convinced more than ever of my opinions. But they remain mine. The other people there were very polite, and believe in what they love – that Spain was better under Franco. Nothing I stumble out in Spanish will make the slightest bit of difference. Check out this photo of a wedding over Franco’s tomb though, that was a surprise find. Just goes to show how divided this place can make people.

Photos by – protesters waved Republican flags and supporters gave out fascist salutes when Valle de los Caídos reopened. The salute seems to be pretty popular


Want to visit for yourself? – Valle de los Caídos website

Up next, Part 8 of A Little Jaunt to Spain…. Learning to be a tourist in Spain

Click here for past editions of A Little Jaunt to Spain – Spain 2013 in Review

All photos are author’s own, or linked to original sources