HUMBLE HERO: Smerdou saved hundreds during Spain’s civil war

THE forgotten villa of Spain’s own ‘Schindler’ has been torn down despite more than 500 people finding refuge there during the civil war.

Villa Maya was owned by the honorary consul of Mexico in Malaga, Porfirio Smerdou, who hid both nationalists and republicans under threat of assassination.     

The villa, in El Limonar, was torn down this week and did not have any protection despite its historical value.

“Porfirio Smerdou was a very important character, a human being who tried to avoid what was happening on both sides and who even suffered reprisals from the fascist troops when they entered Malaga despite having helped many of their own,” historian Francisco Espinosa told Malaga Hoy.

REFUGE: Villa Maya before being demolished

The consul used his contacts to help people in hiding escape, leading journalist Diego Carcedo to name him the ‘Schindler of the Civil War’.

Oskar Schindler saved 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories and bribing Nazi officials.

When Smerdou died in Madrid in 2002 at the age of 97, his son Luis said: “Greatness without reward, honor without fame, dignity without brightness, that was his life.”

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