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Human Rights, Democracy, and Historical Memory in Spain. Sonia Foroudastan , Ranni Tewfik, and Emily Williams Summer 2013. Spanish Civil War ( Cazorla -Sanchez 65). 1936 – 1941 Republicans – loyal to the Spanish Republic Nationalists – loyal to Franco’s ideology and regime.

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human rights democracy and historical memory in spain

Human Rights, Democracy, and Historical Memory in Spain

Sonia Foroudastan, Ranni Tewfik, and Emily Williams

Summer 2013

spanish civil war cazorla sanchez 65
Spanish Civil War (Cazorla-Sanchez 65)
  • 1936 – 1941
  • Republicans – loyal to the Spanish Republic
  • Nationalists – loyal to Franco’s ideology and regime
post civil war and franco
Post-Civil War and Franco
  • 2003 – U.N. included Spain in human rights violation for all that were forced to disappear (Sanchez)
  • 2nd highest number of forced disappearances in the world, after Cambodia (Sanchez)
fight for historical memory
Fight for Historical Memory
  • “We must look into the past to understand the present.” – Bonifacio Sánchez
  • “This [Spain] is the only country in the world that does not look into its past and has made no attempt to confront the past.” – Bonifacio Sánchez
  • “Democracy’s duty is to give closure to the past.” – Soledad Luque
politics and religion
Politics and Religion
  • A common theme found throughout this course was the combination of politics and religion
  • Many of the unjust acts carried out during the Franco Regime were done in the name of the Catholic Church
mass graves garces
Mass Graves (Garces)
  • Mass graves were common throughout the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s Regime
  • The existence of mass graves was essentially unknown during Franco’s rule
  • Basically no records were kept on the identities of the graves or where they were located
mass graves garces1
Mass Graves (Garces)
  • Mass graves did not give family members of those who had died a chance to morn
  • Death and morning should be public and visual, however this was not an option for families
valley of the fallen
Valley of the Fallen
  • “The dead demand of us…that we keep alive for all the generations the lessons of History thus making the blood they so generously spilt fecund,…that their blood be the last shed in wars among Spaniards.”- Franco (Valis 425)
  • Spain’s new government attempted to reconcile the country and honor those who died on both sides of the war (Valis 425)
controversy over monument garces
Controversy over monument (Garces)
  • Bodies were moved from other mass graves to the Valley of the Fallen without family member’s permission or knowledge
  • Many are upset that Republicans, murdered for fighting for their beliefs, are buried in the same place as Franco
  • People still attempting to remove Franco’s grave from the Valley of the Fallen
valley of the fallen1
Valley of the Fallen
  • At entrance inside, two arch angels that were placed to protect and warn over the church
  • The long walk to Franco’s grave creates a solemn atmosphere and anticipation
  • Jose Antonia Primo de Rivera’s tomb, founder of the Falange Party, found opposite Franco
religion and politics at the monument
Religion and Politics at the monument
  • Clear Catholicism influence – crosses, Christian images, statues of Christ, Mary, angels
  • Political controversy over Republicans being buried next to Franco
  • Many are currently fighting for historical memory for those fallen
  • “The question arises: ‘Is it best to leave the structures in their spaces, or would it be better to remove them?’ Those in favor of the removal of these testimonies to the past argue that they only serve to ‘perpetuate the discrimination between winners and losers’ of the civil war.” (Stofleth 12)
spain during the franco regime luque
Spain during the Franco regime (Luque)
  • Franco dictatorship after coup in July 1936
  • National Catholic ideology in Spain – you´re Spanish and you´re Catholic
  • Niños robados – children who are alive but stolen and given to other families
  • 1940´s to 1990´s: ~300,000 stolen children
justification for kidnappings luque
Justification for kidnappings (Luque)
  • Scientific investigation – believed dominant Republican gene needed to be researched and eradicated – Dr. Antonio Vallejo-Nájera
  • Religious salvation – Church needed to save children from ungodly Republican families
  • Women were believed to be against Franco ideology and did not deserve to have children
1940 to early 1950 s luque
1940 to early 1950´s (Luque)
  • ~30,000 stolen children
  • Children could be adopted by families of Franco ideology – within Spain or abroad
  • Others put into orphanages
  • Families aware that children were being taken
late 1950 s to 1970 s luque
Late 1950´s to 1970´s (Luque)
  • Peak of kidnappings
  • Women were not aware of children being stolen
  • Believed children died right after birth or were still-born
  • Positions of power (doctors, nurses, nuns) were responsible for facilitating kidnappings – manipulation of powerful against powerless
how was this possible luque
How was this possible? (Luque)
  • Mothers entered hospital alone – men not allowed
  • Children taken away right after birth to another room to receive ¨medical attention¨
  • Always moment where doctor would announce the baby´s death
  • Children were separated from parents for long periods – allowed time to arrange transfer to other families
  • Baby boom during economic prosperity – many opportunities to kidnap
refusal to accept the truth luque
Refusal to accept the ¨truth¨ (Luque)
  • If parents insisted to see dead baby, they were informed that it was already cremated/buried, or they were shown a frozen baby that had already been dead
  • If questions continued, the medical staff would increase intimidation to prevent further investigation
  • Families would feel that something was wrong and doctors would say that they suffered from a mental breakdown
breaking the silence luque
Breaking the silence (Luque)
  • Stealing of children did not end after Franco´s death in 1975
  • 2008 – children learn from adoptive parents on deathbeds about their origins
  • Children begin to investigate biological parents but not sure if they are niños robados
  • Sense of solidarity in society - all children robbed are also my children
  • Government forced to recognize the stealing of children in Spanish history
seeking justice for the families luque
Seeking justice for the families (Luque)
  • Documents and DNA tests may help uncover truth, but high costs and distrust of government
  • No one has been prosecuted for kidnappings
  • Government does not see connection between stolen children and crimes of Franco regime
  • Justice system adopted from Argentina to label kidnappings as crimes against humanity
  • Association for Recuperation of Historical Memory works with other human rights organizations and 52 local governments to seek legal justice