Andreu Nin Pérez

  (Redirected from Andrés Nin)

Andreu Nin Pérez (4 February 1892 – 20 June 1937), was a Spanish communist politician. In 1937, Nin and the rest of the POUM leadership was arrested by the Moscow-oriented government of the Second Spanish Republic on trumped up charges of collaborating with Francisco Franco's Nationalists and tortured to death by Soviet NKVD agents.[1] On 17 June 2013, 76 years after his death, the Parliament of Catalonia officially paid homage to him and his work on politics with special emphasis to his work as the first Justice Minister of Catalonia.

Andreu Nin Pérez
Born(1892-02-04)4 February 1892
Died20 June 1937(1937-06-20) (aged 45)
Other namesAndrés Nin
Known forFounding the Communist Party of Spain and founding the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification

Early lifeEdit

Born in El Vendrell, Tarragona, to a poor family (his father was a shoemaker and his mother was a peasant), Nin moved to Barcelona shortly before World War I; he taught briefly in a secular anarchist school, but soon became a journalist and activist. In 1917, he joined the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE).[2]

Nin became a leader of the Spanish workers' movement, and was among the founders of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE). He consequently worked for the Comintern and Red International of Labour Unions (RILU or Profintern) in the Soviet Union. While in Russia, he was won over to the Left Opposition which confronted Joseph Stalin's ascending faction within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He briefly worked as secretary to Leon Trotsky while in Russia.[2] It was during this time he also began translating several Trotsky works into Spanish and Catalan.[3]

Returning to Spain, Nin was instrumental in forming the Communist Left of Spain (ICE), the self-designated Trotskyist group affiliated to the International Left Opposition (ILO). However, the ICE was a small group and largely isolated. Nin had a number of disagreements with Trotsky in this period, specifically when Trotsky advised the ICE leader that entry into the Socialist Youth of Spain would augment the forces at their disposal, while Nin advocated forming a united party with the Workers and Peasants Bloc (BOC), a group coming out of the communist movement but seen as being on its right wing.


Eventually Nin broke with Trotsky and the ILO on this question, and the merger went ahead. Together with Joaquín Maurín, he formed the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) in 1935, as a communist alternative to the Comintern-aligned PCE.

After the region of Catalonia saw its regional government, the Generalitat, reinstated by the Spanish Republic in the opening phase of the Spanish Civil War, Nin joined the devolved government headed by Lluís Companys, as regional minister of Justice. However, as Spain's communists gained sway in the Republican government, they moved to purge ex-communists and those independent of Moscow from the government, which would include POUM. Following a threat from Soviet consul Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko to withhold Soviet aid, Companys sacked Nin from his cabinet on 16 December 1936, concluding a controversial tenure.[2]

Arrest and disappearanceEdit

Plaque to Nin on the public library on La Rambla, Barcelona

Following the violent "May Days" of Barcelona, on 16 June 1937, the government, under PCE pressure, declared POUM illegal. On the orders of Alexander Orlov, Nin and most of the POUM leadership were arrested and sent to a camp at Alcalá de Henares, near Madrid.[2][4] Nin was tortured for several days under the supervision of the NKVD. Jesús Hernández Tomás, then a member of the Communist Party, and Minister of Education in the Popular Front government, later wrote:

"Nin was not giving in. He was resisting until he fainted. His inquisitors were getting impatient. They decided to abandon the dry method. Then the blood flowed, the skin peeled off, muscles torn, physical suffering pushed to the limits of human endurance. Nin resisted the cruel pain of the most refined tortures. In a few days his face was a shapeless mass of flesh."[2]

He was finally executed on 20 June 1937.[5]

Another account[citation needed] suggests German members of the (PCE-run) International Brigades killed Nin in a fake Nazi "liberation," but others have suggested he was taken to the Soviet Union for execution. Regardless, Nin's fate was kept secret by those involved, resulting in a POUM campaign asking Juan Negrín's new government: Gobierno Negrín: ¿dónde está Nin? ("To the government of Negrín: where is Nin?"). One of the first to raise the issue in public was Federica Montseny, Minister for Health.[6]

In reply, the PCE proclaimed: En Salamanca o en Berlín ("Either in Salamanca or Berlin"), elaborating the slander campaign alleging that Nin was a fascist. (Franco's headquarters were in Salamanca; Berlin was the capital of Nazi Germany).


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e "Andres Nin". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  3. ^ Argenteri1 Modotti2, Letizia1 Tina2 (2005). Tina Modotti. Yale University Press. p. 121.
  4. ^ Radosh, Ronald; Habeck, Mary. R; Nikolaevič Sevost'ânov, Grigorij (2001). Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War. Yale University Press. pp. 208–09. ISBN 0300089813. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Andres Nin". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  6. ^ Alexander, Robert J. (1999). The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, Volume 2. Janus Publishing Company. p. 987. ISBN 978-1857564129. Retrieved 1 November 2016.


  • Andrew Durgan, BOC 1930–1936: El Bloque Obrero y Campesino (BOC 1930–1936: The Workers' and Peasants' Bloc). Barcelona: Laertes S.A. de Ediciones, 1996.
  • Andrew Durgan, Dissident Communism in Catalonia, 1930–36. PhD dissertation. University of London, 1989.
  • Pelai Pagès, Andreu Nin: Su evolución política (1911–37) (Andreu Nin: His Political Evolution, 1911–37). Bilbao: Editorial Zero, 1975.
  • Pelai Pagès, Andreu Nin: Una vida al servicio de la clase obrera (Andreu Nin: A Life in the Service of the Working Class). Barcelona: Laertes S.A. de Ediciones, 2011.
  • Alan Sennett, Revolutionary Marxism in Spain, 1930–1937. [2014] Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015.

External linksEdit