Jaime Serra

22 January 2023

#Inthisday on January 22, Jaime Serra, the oldest living antifascist, celebrates 100 years.

Jaime dos Santos Serra was born in Alcântara, Lisbon, on January 22, 1921.

His father, a longshipman, was close to anarcho-syndicalist ideals, “The Battle” and revolutionary literature were early in his life.

After the early death of his father, he dropped out of school and began working at the age of 12, in construction, in Barreiro. That’s when he met a communist who introduced him to the Penicheiros’ library and esperanto teaching.

The arrest of a union leader in the CP workshops in Barreiro, following the Uprising of January 18, 1934, would be his first experience of protest in solidarity with the railway. Shortly thereafter he adesed to the Communist Youth and the Red Aid, and in 1935 to the PCP.

At the age of 16, he was arrested the first time, in a distribution of the “Avante!”. He attended a night course at the Marquês de Pombal Industrial School, and in 1939, he was admitted to the Arsenal do Alfeite, where he will stay as a laborer until 1947. At Alfeite, it helps organize the PCP clandestine cell, where 100 copies of “Avante!” were distributed among the more than 3,000 workers. He participates in the strikes of the shipbuilding of 1947, and because he is referenced by the police, goes underground. He is already married to his partner, Laura Serra, and with a daughter, the second would be born in the underground.

In 1949, Jaime Serra is arrested for the second time, refuses to make any statement to the PIDE and is savagely tortured. For months he was in the dungeons of Aljube at the mercy of torture sessions, while Inspector Gouveia prophesied that he would “see”. This did not happen, and Jaime Serra was transferred to Peniche, from where he escapes on November 3, 1950, with Francisco Miguel. He was arrested again in December 1954 and evaded from Caxias in March 1956. After a new arrest in December 1958, he will participate in the famous escape from Peniche, on January 3, 1960, with other communist leaders, Álvaro Cunhal, Carlos Costa, Francisco Martins Rodrigues, Francisco Miguel, Guilherme da Costa Carvalho, Joaquim Gomes, José Carlos, Pedro Soares and Rogério de Carvalho. He won’t be arrested again.

In 1962, he had the difficult but successful task of realizing the departure fromPortugal of the leaders of the liberation movements Vasco Cabral and Agostinho Neto.

In 1970 he was responsible for the creation of the ARA (Armed Revolutionary Action), an organization of the PCP that develops a set of actions against the regime’s war machine: the bomb in the Cunene ship, the destruction of more than 20 air force aircraft in Tancos, the interruption of communications during the NATO meeting in Lisbon.

After 25 April 1974 as head of the PCP he had various responsibilities, he was a member of the Constituent Assembly and a member of the Assembly of the Republic.

The Museum of Aljube Resistance and Freedom pays tribute to him and a life dedicated to the struggle for freedom.


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