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Removal of Francoist symbols from public places to be obligatory

Catalan Justice ministry to put forward historical memory law



11 July 2018 11:20 AM


ACN | Barcelona

The Eagle of Saint John is still flying over some spots in Catalonia. It was one of the top symbols of the Franco regime, alongside badges with the yoke and a set of arrows.

And 43 years after the Spanish dictator's death, it can still be found on façades and public buildings in various spots throughout the country.

The amount of Francoist symbols has been reduced over the years, but some still persist, including a monument in the Ebre river in Tortosa.

The Catalan justice minister, Ester Capella, announced on Wednesday that her department will put forward an historical memory law that will make the removal of Francoist symbols from public spaces obligatory.

"The new historical memory law will be a tool to heal wounds and finish with the mourning," said Capella in Parliament.

The legislation will enable the Catalan government to withdraw Francoist symbols in streets and squares, annul awards and change names of streets paying tribute to people related to dictatorships or crimes against humanity.

This, even if town halls oppose the decisions.

Truth Committee

The justice department is willing to create the law taking into account the view of the civic organizations working for the recovery of historical memory, but also with local governments and academics.

One of the highlights of this legislation will be the creation of a so-called Truth Committee.


  • "The new historical memory law will be a tool to heal wounds and finish with the mourning"

    Ester Capella · Catalan justice minister

This body will analyze and clarify crimes against humanity, as well as informing the relatives of victims and  helping them in their right to justice.

Women, LGBT people, and the babies stolen during that era will especially draw the attention of this legislation.

The law will focus on the Franco period, beginning in 1938 – when the Spanish Civil War had not ended yet – and ending in 1978 –when the Spanish Constitution was approved three years after the dictator's death.

Exhumation of mass graves

Yet this is not the only measure related to historical memory taken by the Catalan government in the last few years.

In the past term former foreign minister Raül Romeva – now in pre-trial jail for his role in the independence case  – put forward a plan to exhume the some 500 mass graves from the Spanish Civil War still in the country.

A DNA bank collects samples from relatives of the disappeared and it was promoted by Roger Heredia.

The Catalan Parliament also passed a law last year nullifying the politically motivated death penalties and prison sentences handed down by summary courts in Catalonia during the Franco regime. Some 66,000 people were affected by these rulings.


  • Shield of Spain during the Franco Period on façade of public building in Lleida, western Catalonia (by ACN)

  • Shield of Spain during the Franco Period on façade of public building in Lleida, western Catalonia (by ACN)