The Case of the Salamanca Blood Papers


Antony Strubell reports from Spain on an attack on history itself.


Did you know that many of the terrible injustices committed  by Franco have not been put right to this very day?  One particular case that is very much in the news (here in Spain) is the case of the Salamanca Blood Papers.

When Franco invaded Catalonia (1938-39) (as happened in other Republican areas), the archives of the Government and all left wing organizations were taken as war spoil to Salamanca, in C. Spain. There they were deposited in a police-monitored depot and scoured for years in search of names and information. Tens of thousands of Catalan democrats and left-wingers were to  suffer repression -death, confiscations, reprisals- on "evidence" produced in those documents.


Were these documents given back once democracy returned in 1978? No they were not. And not only were they not handed back, but the Spanish Government has some unwholesome plans for them. They are to be used in a "show" during this year's Salamanca European Cultural Capital celebrations. Needless to say, neither the Catalan Government nor the unions and parties which were looted have been consulted over this matter, nor indeed has their acknowledgement been sought for it. It is simply one further act of pillage carried out by a Government that has repeatedly refused to condemn the Franco regime. One ex-Falangist called out in a rally held in Salamanca recently to a manipulated crowd that the documents were not to be handed back because they had been taken "in an act of conquest".


What can you do about this affront? A Commission has recently been set up in Barcelona by archivists, historians and university staff etc. (called the Dignity Commission). They would very much like to receive support from abroad for their cause by sending as many messages as possible to stating name and profession of those giving support. We will be very grateful for this..


Antony Strubell is a member of the Dignity Commission of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Association. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was made up of American volunteers who fought for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).