History talks: political prisons of the Estado Novo

Historian Peter Kingdon Booker will be holding a presentation on the ‘Political Prisons of the Estado Novo’ on Friday, October 25 in Tavira Library at 11am, and on Tuesday, October 29 in Lagoa Library at 6pm.

It is suspected that many older Portuguese reminisce with longing over the stability and golden days of the Salazar era, when nothing much changed and life seemed to have a continuity. Such a view might be appropriate for the relatively rich, and perhaps for those who had not fallen foul of the PIDE, or political police.

But for those at the bottom of the social order, money was scarce, and life was hard.

Although Salazar did not wear a military uniform, nor was he obviously the Commander in Chief of the military forces, the Portugal of 1926-1974 was a military dictatorship.

The Portuguese military dictatorship lasted longer than the other more famous contemporary Fascist states in Europe, and was held in place by an efficient and widespread political police. What do we know of the repressive nature of the regime? Of the people who were imprisoned by the regime, and where they were held?

Portugal had more than a dozen prison establishments for political prisoners. Peter Booker investigates the secret police, their prisons and their victims, and sheds light on the successful longevity of the Estado Novo.

Algarve History Association, organiser of the talk, welcomes voluntary monetary contributions to help pay for the administration of the association and for speakers’ expenses.

For more information, email lynne.algarvehistory@gmail.com

By LYNNE BOOKER

Photo: Cell corridor, Peniche prison