This morning, just before dawn, in the Spanish city of Salamanca, a controversial cargo of historic documents was sent off to Barcelona. The 499 boxes contain papers seized by General Franco during the Civil War between 1936 and 1939. Authorities in Salamanca, backed by the opposition conservative party, have fiercely opposed the files being moved.
They argued they do not all belong to the Catalonian government and they should stay in the western city as part of its wider collection of Civil War archives. General Franco had seized the papers and sent them to Salamanca as part of a wider plan to crack down on the opposition when in power. He hoped to build a database in order to suppress communists and freemasons. The Catalan government wants to put the documents on display at the end of this month. The row surrounding the papers is part of a wider debate in Spain, as the country continues a process of soul-searching about its past, and regions like Catalonia try to win more autonomy.