TWO Mauthausen survivors are the first Spanish nationals to give evidence in a trial of Nazi SS officers.

Republicans Ramiro Santisteban from Cantabria and Jesus Tello from Zaragoza, spent five years in the Austrian concentration camp.

They say they welcome the chance to tell of the reality many Republicans faced at the hands of Mauthausen guards.

“We lived for five years thinking each day could be our last,” said Santisteban. “Yet hundreds of survivors have died with no recognition whatsoever.”

They put their survival down to luck, saying they were just fortunate that they didn’t get ill and that no guard took a dislike to them. They also claim the solidarity between the Spaniards, something which was envied by other prisoners, kept them going.

“There was never an informer or collaborator among the Spanish,” said Tello.

The survivors have asked for Spaniards to show a similar loyalty to their countrymen by abolishing the many symbols of Francoism that still remain in Spain today.

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