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Plans for Spain’s first national civil war museum stall over Franco era representation

 Loyalist forces attack Alcazar in Toledo, 1 September 1936
Loyalist forces attack Alcazar in Toledo, 1 September 1936 Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Garfield Myrie
Published on Updated
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Socialist government in fight to impose Historical Memory Law in region earmarked for the new museum.


Disagreements and disputes over the representation of Spain’s civil war years have slowed the development of the country’s first national civil war museum.

The hard-right Popular Party (PP) and Vox control the Aragón region, in north east Spain, where the National Museum of the Battle of Teruel and the Civil War is being built.

The Aragón regional government opposes the national Socialist government’s 2022 Historical Memory Law, which formally condemns the repressions of the Franco regime.

The governments are locked in a legal battle over the representation of the Franco era after Aragón politicians successfully overturned the Historical Memory Law and replaced it with its own version.

Franco's legacy continues to divide Spain over how, when and where he should be remembered
Franco's legacy continues to divide Spain over how, when and where he should be rememberedAP/1936 AP

Concord Law

The Concord Law, which has been adopted by three of Spain's Autonomous Communities – Aragón, Castile and Leon, and Valencia, could affect their obligation regarding human rights and the preservation of historical memory. 

Although Spain’s Constitutional Court provisionally suspended Aragón’s Concord Law, local officials plan to appeal against the decision.

Critics of the laws, including the national government and historical memory associations, described them as an attempt to play down, justify or eradicate the horrors of the Franco era.

As legal battles continue, concerns have been raised about how Spain’s civil war and Franco era past will be represented in the museum.

Last year, in a victory for Aragón's regional government, it was announced that a memorial on the museum site with the names of those who died in battle, would not differentiate between those who fought for and against Franco - in contravention of the government's Historical Memory Law.

In April, the United Nations urged the Spanish government to take all necessary measures to guarantee the strict respect for international standards governing the preservation of historical memory on serious human rights violations.

Additional sources • AP

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