80th anniversary commemoration of Guernica bombing rejected by Spanish senate

People Party votes against launching committee and international congress on the events, which inspired Picasso’s most iconic work


The plenary session of the Spanish Senate on Friday October 27, 2017 (by Tània Tàpia)
The plenary session of the Spanish Senate on Friday October 27, 2017 (by Tània Tàpia) / Guifré Jordan

ACN | Barcelona

April 10, 2018 01:15 PM

The Spanish Senate rejected commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Guernica bombings by Italian and German fascist air forces during the Spanish Civil War. The attack on the Basque town was one of the deadliest on civilians in the conflict, but the People’s Party (PP) –with a majority in Spain’s upper chamber– voted against launching a committee to investigate the events as well as organizing an international congress. “You forget one side,” said one PP senator to reject the petition made by the Socialist party. “Historical memory must never have a bias, it should be collective,” she added.

The main Basque party, PNB, and Catalonia’s pro-independence ERC supported the Socialist’s proposal. In his speech to set the party’s position, an ERC senator took the opportunity to say that in Spain, “democracy is suspended,” specially after the senate's decision and also the backlash of the German high court sentence on Puigdemont to the Spanish authorities.

Bombings that inspired a masterpiece

The Guernica bombings, executed by Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe Condor legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria, occurred on April 26, 1937, leaving hundreds of casualties. The international impact on the attack was immediate, with media reporting about the events worldwide. But what made the bombings timeless was painter Pablo Picasso’s painting of the same name, which has become iconic as an anti-war work over the years.

The work, painted in France, did not enter Spain until 1981. With Spain under Franco dictatorship for four decades, Picasso, who had lived for some years in Catalonia, stayed in exile until his death and refused to bring his Guernica to Spain until the restoration of “public liberties”.