António Carlos de Carvalho Ferreira Soares
(Viana do Castelo, 5-02-1903 – Nogueira da Regedoura, 4-07-1942)
António Carlos de Carvalho Ferreira Soares, son of the writer and judge António Ferreira Soares and Inês Ferreira Soares, was born in February 1903 in Monserrate, Viana do Castelo.
A medical doctor, Ferreira Soares was also an intellectual who made the transition from rationalism to Marxism and communism. He joined the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) in the 1930s, taking part in the Douro Regional Committee and the Portuguese Popular Front.
In the early 1940s he worked on the reconstruction of the PCP and the International Red Aid in Porto, which lead to his persecution by the State Surveillance and Defence Police (PVDE). Successively escaping the political police, he was tried in absentia, having already been identified as the Secretary of the Regional Committee of Douro of the PCP, and sentenced to four years in prison and the loss of political rights for five years. Forced into semi-clandestinity, he hid at his sister’s house in Nogueira da Regedoura, Santa Maria da Feira. There, he helped stimulate local cultural and associative life and provided free medical appointments, which granted him the esteem, admiration and support of the local population.
From a series of arrests of elements of the PCP, in April 1942, allegedly involved in the murder of an industrialist in the North, the PVDE obtained new information about the organisation of the party in the Porto region and the whereabouts of Ferreira Soares, who was murdered on 4 July 1942 by members of that police. He was 37 years old.
The different versions of this incident, namely those provided by the PVDE officers who shot the victim, are contradictory. What they have in common is the fact that it was a trap. Someone (a PVDE agent or a woman, depending on the versions) posed as a patient requiring medical assistance and went to the office of Ferreira Sores. There, an officer of the PVDE shot the doctor, casting doubt about the intentionality of the murder. However, the family believes it was a premeditated and cold-blooded death and not the result of a hand-to-hand struggle or attempted arrest.
Then, still alive, on his way to a health house in Espinho, he was again shot fourteen times with a machine gun.
The PVDE officers involved in the case, Leonel Laranjeira, António Roquete and José Coimbra, were acquitted in Military Court, although it appears that more members of the PVDE were involved.
The death of this anti-fascist man, considered by the member of the Portuguese Legion Silva Leal as the “most dangerous individual of the North”, was remembered in several works, namely by José Dias Coelho, Pedro Ramos de Almeida and in the novel A Casa Abatida Quadros da Vida Aldeã, by his father, António Ferreira Soares.
Despite police intimidation, thousands of people attended the funeral of the “Doctor Prata”, as he was known.