How a Small Spanish Beach Town Became a Haven for Nazis

When an 80-year-old diary – written partly in code – turned up in a pile of rubbish on the Costa Brava, Marçal Font Espi resolved to unravel its mysteries. The bookseller has connected it to an entire Nazi subculture in Spain, during and after World War II, and to Francisco Franco’s dream of a Spanish A-bomb

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Ferran Barber
Ferran Barber

This story begins in August 2021 in a small coastal town a hundred kilometers north of Barcelona. Buried among the papers and useless objects found by a French scrap dealer in an old building in the town of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, in the Girona province of Catalonia, was a diary, apparently handwritten by a German. The Frenchman immediately sensed its value, and decided to phone a well-known Barcelona bookseller named Marçal Font Espi. The latter is fascinated by dusty, moisture-stained documents, and loves a good mystery. He did not hesitate for a second to acquire it “for a reasonable price.”



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