Victims of the civil war: beyond the dead

80 years have passed since the civil war, but we still do not know how many victims have remained. The Center of Contemporary History of Catalonia has conducted a relationship between the dead in Catalonia, Catalan and non-Catalan, on the one hand and on the other, for more than three decades, and currently has 55,170 dead or disappeared. It is estimated that at the end of the study the figure could reach 80,000. But if we understand by victim all the people who have suffered the consequences of the conflict – surviving soldiers but traumatized or mutilated, widows in unfavorable economic conditions, orphans, sick due to hunger and epidemics, homeless refugees, exiles for life, people with lost legacy forever – the figure could multiply several times. Of all these losses he speaks Victims 1939-1945 at the Democratic Memorial, an exhibition that can be visited until March. The Memorial Museum of Exile (MUME) mainly shows exile. Authorized to leave. The exodus of 36 explains the escape, in the summer of 1936, of people linked above all to the most benevolent bourgeoisie, to the Church and to the Catalan right. The exhibition, which can be seen until February 3, highlights how the Catalan authorities have facilitated their departure from the country.

Maps that speak

"A victim is a person who suffers from an evil he does not want, and from there not only the dead, but also the survivors," says historian Jordi Barra, who cured Victims 1939-1945. The Democratic Memorial exhibit has a uniqueness that explains the impact of war on unprecedented maps with many figures, photographs, personal stories and objects: from a piece of old metal that was part of the field enclosure & # 39 ; Argelers up to a suitcase. It's the big story on a small scale. "The map tells you: Through you you see many things and many other problems, but you do not empathize, that's why we also bring personal stories," explains Barra.

The map of the wells helps to visualize the clashes and their consequences: by following them it is easy to imagine where the Battle of Ebro or the front of Segre was. Among the visitors, the map is particularly important with the reception of refugees in the counties. A couple of years ago, Europe promised to host 160,000 refugees. It was not realized, and it was very difficult to reach the compromise. Perhaps this is why the figures shown on the map are: La Segarra, with 22.044 inhabitants, has hosted 7,744 refugees (35.12% of the population); Osona, with 73,956 inhabitants, received 11,265 (15.32%); and the Vallès Oriental (64.685 inhabitants), 10.466 (16.18%).

"Many times, at the end of the exhibition, many visitors leave and ask us why we still ignore so many things, how many graves have not been opened yet or the number of dead is not known," says Barra. The speech speaks of the victims of both sides. "We talk about victims without going to evaluate ideological issues," explains Oriol Dueñas, historian of the Democratic Memorial. It is the first time that we speak directly in the Memory of those who were persecuted in 1936; It was necessary to do it rigorously and without fear ".

The other exiled

In February 1939, while about 450,000 people crossed the border to take refuge in France, more than 30,000 Catalans who fled to Spain in the summer of 1936 returned to Spain, Catalans who are the protagonists of the MUME exhibition. Most managed to escape thanks to the benefits provided by the Generalitat and about 15,000 left the ports of Barcelona by boat to the south of France and Italy (especially in Genoa). The historian and curator of the exhibition, Rubèn Doll-Petit, estimates that the number of uncontrolled killings in Catalonia, between July 19, 1936 and the end of the year, was 6,400; 30% were ecclesiastical But unlike what happened to the Francoist party, the Republican government publicly insisted that the violence be stopped. Helping the escape of the persecuted was a way to fight those murders. "What the Generalitat did was an unprecedented humanitarian act, the government was overwhelmed by everything that happened on the streets, but it made it impossible to save more people," says Doll-Petit. When they returned, most of the exiles joined the Burgos government. Many young people have illegally crossed the border to join the Francoist side.

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