Speaking in the Algerian city of Oran, Spain’s Minister for Justice Dolores Delgado recalled the memory of the 15,000 Spanish republicans traveled from Spain in 1939 to the north of Africa to save their lives from siege and repression by Franco’s troops.
It is a “little known” and “very dramatic” exile, recalled the Minister, both because of the conditions under which the refugees left and arrived in Africa and their harsh reception by the French authorities.
During an event held at the Chamber of Commerce in Oran, at which the Director of the Instituto Cervantes, Luis García Montero, and the Director-General for Historical Memory, Fernando Martínez, also took part, the Minister stressed that the Government’s homage to Spanish republican exile on its 80th anniversary “repays a debt that was pending by the State because a democratic society cannot allow itself to continue to look the other way and silence a trauma that split our country in two.”
Delgado referred to the exile as an “indelible mark on our history”, and during her speech called on the need to remember the hundreds of thousands of people who in the course of the Civil War and the Dictatorship “paid with their freedom and lives to defend democracy.” “Wars do not end until all the wounds are healed,” she said. “Commemorating the exile of yesterday means combating the totalitarianism of today,” she added.