About the Project

Civilians flee Teruel, December 1937, Keystone View Company The digital Archive of the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist Dictatorship is an initiative of UCSD in collaboration with several Spanish civic associations, such as the ARMH (Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica), the Asociación de Ex-presos y Represaliados Políticos, the Federación Estatal de Foros por la Memoria and others. With the assistance of these human rights organizations, since the summer of 2007 several teams of graduate students have been recording audiovisual testimonies of militants, witnesses, and victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist repression.

As is widely known, General Francisco Franco, together with other generals, and with the military support of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, headed a coup d’état in 1936 that interrupted the democratically elected government of the Second Republic (1931-1936). Since the coup d’état faced stiff opposition from many loyalists to the Republic, it gave rise to a civil war that lasted from 1936 to 1939. After the victory of the rebellious generals, Franco took power thus inaugurating the longest dictatorship in the history of Europe (1939-1975). Mañana el mundo, hoy Espana

In the seventy years since the end of the Spanish Civil War scholars of the period have studied the conflict from several perspectives using different methodologies. Although some of these studies refer to the political repression implemented by Franco and the Falange (the Spanish Fascist Party), the magnitude and the scope of the repression is not yet fully documented. This absence in the historical record is the result of a “pact of silence” established by the Spanish policymakers in charge of the transition to democracy. The legal expression of this “pact of silence” was the Amnesty Law of 1977. This law grated amnesty to political prisoners, but also explicitly prohibited any legal proceedings against perpetrators of human rights violations as well. It also blocked the formation of Truth Commissions as was common in other post-dictatorial societies, such as in Argentina, Chile, and South Africa. In addition, during the transition to democracy, Francoist officials destroyed thousands of written documents pertaining to the implementation of repression both during the war and the dictatorship.

Asturias, Octubre 1934-1937. Hoy como ayer el Socorro Rojo de España cuidará de vuestras familias Since the year 2000 an increasing number of human rights organizations have attempted to reverse this process of amnesia and impunity through the exhumation of mass graves and other initiatives. The Spanish Civil War Memory Project seek to join forces with these organizations in order to create an audiovisual record with the testimonies of those who suffered and resisted the systematic violence implemented by the Francoist regime. As such, it aspires to constitute itself both as an archive of the repression and as an archive of the multiple political cultures (communism, anarchism, socialism, republicanism, etc.) that opposed the fascist politics of Francoism. Accordingly, the objectives of the archive are the following:

The interviews included in the Archive are based on a protocol that tries to empower the witnesses by listening emphatically and actively. This implies that the interviews are open-ended and that the interviewers are historically informed so that they can assist the interviewees in the process of reconstructing their memories. For this reason, the testimonies are minimally edited to “clean” external interruptions, noises, and other irrelevant footage. In sum, we understand the recording of testimonies as a “story telling” process that, as such, involves pauses, repetitions, and a non-linear approach to history.

Sample Interviews
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History Project
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Report from the Field
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We hope that you find the stories included in this archive a useful and inspiring resource to further your knowledge of the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist dictatorship. If you or any of your relatives are interested in donating your testimonies to the collection, please contact us at: scwmemoryproject@ucsd.edu.

Spanish Organizations Collaborating in the Project
ARMH (Association for the Recuperation of Historical Memory)
Asociación de Ex-presos y Represaliados Politicos Antifranquistas (The Association of Former Political Prisoners and Anti-Francoist Fighters)
Asociación Memoria y Justicia, Andalucía (Association Memory and Justice, Andalusia)
Federación Estatal de Foros por la Memoria (State Federation of Forums for the Recovery of Memory)
Psychologists without Borders (Spain)

Advisory Board
Ángel del Río. Anthropologist, University Pablo Olavide, Seville (Spain)
Francisco Ferrándiz. Anthropologist CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), Spain.
Cristina Moreiras-Memor Romance Languages (University of Michigan)
Pamela Radcliff. History (UCSD)
Güenter Schwaiger. Filmmaker and President of the Collective Images Against Amnesia
Emilio Silva. Spanish Journalist President of the ARMH, Spain.
Carlos Aguero (ARMH)
Guillermo Fouce (Universidad Carlos III/PSF)

UCSD Researchers
Scott Boehm (Literature)
Jessica Córdova (CILAS)
Andrea Davis (History)
Jodi Eisenberg (Literature)
Viviana Macmanus (Literature)
Elize Mazadiego (Visual Arts)
Omar Pimienta (Visual Arts)

UCSD Undergraduate Student Collaborators
Viviana Bazan
Elizabeth Diaz
Natasha Flores
Cristina Gonzalez
Karina Gutierrez
Caitlin Krull
Doug Willcox
Silvina Yi

Volunteers in Spain
Miriam Duarte
Guillermo Izquierdo
Jessica Plautz
Daniel Rojo
Jorge Rojo

Coordinator of the Project (P.I.)
Luis Martín-Cabrera, Assistant Professor of Literature