José Adelino dos Santos

(Santiago do Escoural, Montemor-o-Novo, 25-10-1912 – Montemor-o-Novo, 23-06-1958)

José Adelino dos Santos was born in the parish of Santiago do Escoural, in Montemor-o-Novo. The son of rural workers followed his parents’ footsteps, exercising the functions of harvest overseer. In the early 1940s, he joined the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP).  He excelled in the organisation of the party in Montemor-o-Novo, in the dissemination of clandestine press, in cultural activities, protests demanding higher salaries, improvements in living conditions and better support for the family members of political prisoners. He was arrested for the first time in 1945, and spent three months in the prisons of Aljube and Caxias. He returned to these prisons when he was arrested again in July 1949. Tried in February 1950, he was sentenced to 20 months in the prison of Peniche. However, because security measures were applied, he remained in probation until 2 August 1956.

José Adelino died in June 1958, following a demonstration, which he helped organise, against the electoral fraud, that had taken place weeks earlier, the cost of living and demanding better wages. He was shot in the back of the head, while he was among the protesters who cried out “we want work and bread”, by a shot fired from the balcony of the building of the City Council of Montemor-o-Novo.

The funeral, despite the police surveillance, was attended by many people and constituted an occasion to protest against the dictatorship.

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