In the 1960s, Spain became a home to hundreds of survivors of the Mauthausen camp. Isabel, a young Spanish woman, is one of them. She is looking for Skorzeny, Europe’s most dangerous man, but she is not alone. Fact: The series’ true value lies in the little-known history it brings to light: the incarceration and murder of thousands of Spanish Republicans in Nazi concentration camps, and dictator Francisco Franco’s Spain having given safe haven to hundreds of Nazi war criminals after World War II.
FACT: The members of the Nazi-hunting group in “Jaguar” represent survivors among the half a million – Yes! – Spanish Republicans who fled Spain following the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and found themselves at the mercy of the Vichy government after Germany occupied France in 1940. The nationalist-fascist Franco regime in Spain refused to recognize their Spanish citizenship and classified them as enemies of the state – unbelievable. As a result, several thousand Spanish Republicans joined the French Foreign Legion or French resistance groups.
Thousands of these Spanish refugees were forced into French detention camps, and 48,000 were deported to Germany. Of these, 9,161 were deported to Nazi concentration camps, with 8,000 going to Mauthausen and Gusen. About 2/3rds didn’t survive and about 450 were gassed,.
The first train contained entire families that rolled into a German concentration camp — Mauthausen in 1940. The train was filled with 927 Spanish Republican refugees from southern France, but only the men were processed into the camp. The women and children were sent back to the French-Spanish border.
Spain carefully cultivated a myth that it remained neutral during WWII. The truth is that Franco’s fascist government played both sides: it was both an open sympathizer of the Nazi cause and a cautious nonbelligerent country trying to gain the favour of the Western Allies (‘Spain and the Holocaust: Contested Past, Contested Present’ by Baer & Corres). After the war, Spain welcomed Nazi war criminals (possibly hundreds) and allowed them to live freely within its territory – many of them found refuge in the houses of Spanish families, and others remained in hiding with the help of the Franco regime and the Catholic Church.
Great casting, once again, for another Netflix series. Liked the characters and the historical side of the story, although some of the what I call ‘action-bordering-on-slapstick’ at times did tend to trivialise the seriousness of the adventure.
I must admit, I hadn’t checked how many episodes there are, so from the abrupt ending, I assume there will be a Jaguar 2.