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Laurencic was born in France as the son of Slovene immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Laurencic supported the Republican forces fighting Francisco Franco's Nationalist army in Spain. In 1938, he helped build Civil War jail cells intended to torture Nationalist supporters which resembled 3-D modern art paintings by surrealist Salvador Dalí and Bauhaus artist Wassily Kandinsky. According to Spanish art historian Jose Milicua, who found papers from Laurencic's 1939 trial by a Nationalist military court, Laurencic told the court the cells, in Barcelona, featured sloping beds at a 20-degree angle that were almost impossible to sleep on. They also had irregularly shaped bricks on the floor that prevented prisoners from walking backwards or forwards. The walls in the 6ftx3ft cells were covered in surrealist patterns designed to make prisoners distressed and confused, and lighting effects were used to make the artwork even more dizzying. Some of them had a stone seat designed to make occupants instantly slide to the floor, while other cells were painted in tar and became stiflingly hot in the summer. Laurencic told the court the cells were built after he heard reports of similar structures being built elsewhere in Spain.
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