Erasing the Fear from the Eyes: A Micro-Narrative on Emotions in Spanish Migration to Cold-War Switzerland

In: Emotions: History, Culture, Society
Moisés Prieto Institute of History, University of Bern

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In the summer of 1964, Miguel Soto, a Spanish immigrant to Switzerland, was arrested and imprisoned during his summer vacation in Spain, due to his participation in an anti-Francoist demonstration in Switzerland. This incident is the starting point for an inquiry into the problems – denunciation, political surveillance, xenophobia and anti-communism – that politically committed foreigners were confronted with in their home country and in Switzerland, and into the strategies they used to overcome them. Soto’s experience, including an oral history interview with him and archival material, reveals the regime of fear under which such immigrants lived, and questions the quality of democracy in post-war Switzerland.

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