Lost & Found

Spain’s new historic memory bill aims to finally tackle the legacy of Franco

20 July 2021

Today, Spain approved a new Ley de memoria histórica (memory bill) to tackle the legacy of Franco. Here’s a summary:

School education

Children will learn what the Francoist repression did. Books will no longer perpetuate the idea of ​​symmetrical responsibility.

Nullity of Francoist sentences

Francoist courts brought 30,224 people to trial – 3189 were sentenced to death. These courts were only made illegitimate in 2007 but sentences weren’t annulled fearing compensation claims. Sentences will now be annulled but compensation is still not confirmed.

Exhumations

Thousands are still missing. Previously, it was up to families and associations to take responsibility for the process of locating the disappeared. The government will use public funds for exhumations.

Documenting the victims

An official census of victims will be created, and there will also be a digitised DNA bank to allow lost relatives to be traced. The State will now guarantee the right to investigate the truth about what happened to the victims of Franco, promote the search for the disappeared, and investigate violations of international humanitarian law that occurred during the war and the dictatorship. However, those responsible for the crimes have most likely already died.

Extinction of the Franco Foundation

This is still being fought for.

Removal of fascist symbols

Fines up to €150,000 will be handed out for destroying or defacing memorials to victims of Franco, and for failure to remove Francoist symbols and relics.

Granting Spanish nationality

Nationality will be given to the children of Spanish women who married foreigners during the dictatorship, and to all children of exiles.

Withdrawal of noble titles

Titles of nobility granted between 1948 and 1978 that praise the Civil War and the dictatorship will be withdrawn.

Valley of the Fallen

Any remains of Francoists that occupy a prominent place here will be relocated, especially José Antonio Primo de Rivera, whose remains lie next to the altar.

It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long to reach this point, but we must still push further.

Read more about the Spanish Civil War:

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