PODCAST: Behind bars: from model prison to overcrowded agony – the story of La Model

Filling the Sink visits the notorious Barcelona prison with a dark history

La Model prison in Barcelona
La Model prison in Barcelona / Pol Solà
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 30, 2024 09:27 AM

March 30, 2024 11:02 AM

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the opening of the notorious La Model prison, located in the Eixample district of Barcelona.

The facility closed in 2017 and has since become a site for Catalan historic memory, open to the public. Behind its high beige walls lies the history of a prison that sought to be exemplary, but during the Franco dictatorship held thousands of political prisoners, many of whom were tortured or executed. 

In this episode, Cillian Shields joins Lea Beliaeva Bander to talk about the history of La Model, from its construction as a model prison of the 20th century that sought to re-educate inmates through Catholicism and reintegrate them into society, to the agonizing time during the Franco dictatorship which included tortures and nightly executions of political prisoners, and its coming transformation to a place of life.   

We speak with Isabel Centeno, historian and tour guide at La Model, and we hear from Gemma and Carme Puig Antich, the sisters of Salvador Puig Antich, the last political prisoner to be executed at La Model, and their lawyers, Maria Servini and Magda Oranich who are fighting to hold to hold those responsible for his death accountable. 

The Catalan phrase of the week is “pagar justos per pecadors”, in English to pay for the sins of others.  

Get in touch with the podcast team: fillingthesink@acn.cat.   

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