Merchant, without university studies, member of a conservative family formed by seven other siblings: Miguel (1904-1976), Esperanza (1906-1998), Antonio (1908-1958), Luis (1910-1998), Carlos (1912-1914), Gerardo (1915-1968) and María (1916-2005). His father was Miguel Rosales Vallecillos, an industrialist who owned a family haberdashery, Almacenes La Esperanza, located in the Arco de las Cucharas, next to the Bib-Rambla Square; his mother was Esperanza Camacho Corona.
José, nicknamed Pepiniqui, has been linked to Falange, like most of his brothers, since the turbulent years preceding the military uprising of 1936 and played an active role during the years of the conflict and the first postwar period.
He is the only one of the Rosales brothers who speaks to Federico for a moment after being arrested and gives him a pack of cigarettes. After talking with him, he leaves peacefully, but the next morning, when he returns, Lorca was no longer in the Gobierno Civil.
José Rosales learns of Federico’s arrest on that same day, August 16, on his return from a mission in Güéjar Sierra. In his house in Angulo Street, he later told the journalist Eduardo Molina Fajardo, he finds his parents crying: “Valdés wants to give an example”.
The story of what happened there, in those key hours for the poet’s survival, is the following: “I wanted to see Valdés. In front of the civil governor’s office, an orderly told me that I could not pass. I gave a push and a kick to Valdés’s door and went in with a gun: ‘What happened in my house? Why has my house been invaded? Valdés tries to calm him down and assures him that Lorca was in another outbuilding. Pepiniqui is the only one of the Rosales brothers who speaks to Federico for a moment and hands him a pack of cigarettes. José Rosales, after talking with him, leaves calmly, but the next morning, when he returns, he was no longer there. “At that moment I stopped knowing anything about Federico García Lorca”.
Pepiniqui’s testimony appears in several books on the circumstances of Lorca’s death: Fear, forgetfulness and fantasy, by Agustín Penón; Marcelle Auclaire, Life and Death of García Lorca, and in much of Ian Gibson’s bibliography starting with his first title, The Nationalist Repression of Granada in 1936 and the Death of Federico García Lorca, published in France in 1971.
José Rosales died on August 28, 1978.