Under French colonial rule, Oran had become a city with a very strong Spanish population. During the Spanish Civil War, a number of exiles migrated to Oran to escape the war and political persecution. José Marti, interviewed by the Ecomusée Val de Bièvre, is the son such migrants, about whom you can read heree. In 1962, practically the entire Spanish community, regardless of political affiliation, and their descendants made the trans-Mediterranean migration once again, with many choosing to return to Spain rather than resettle in France.
Between April and August 1962, around 50,000 Spanish origin pieds-noirs left for Spain, 70% landing in Alicante. A large proportion were political supporters of both the OAS and, during the 1966 referendum, turned out en masse in support of Franco.
This 1969 news report on the Spanish-origin pieds-noirs of Oran, tracked down the children of those who had resettled in Spain rather than France, noting their distance from their Algerian origins:
Nonetheless, compared to the notoriously frosty welcome of pieds-noirs in Marseille, Alicante has been remembered as a site of welcome for the pieds-noirs. In October 2014, the Maison de France d’Alicante and Alicante municipality unveiled two statues representing the welcome of pieds-noirs migrants toAlicante, following their departure from Algeria in 1962.
The statue by Toni Marí Sart represents two tall figures, at 2.30 metre high: one arriving with two suitcases, representing the pied-noir, the other opening him to Alicante with open arms. The title of the piece is simply "Gracias Alicante".