The objective of Herencias del 36 is to record and disseminate the memories of the victims of Francoist repression. This is part of a project led by Dr Ruth Sanz Sabido (Canterbury Christ Church University, UK) with the collaboration of memory associations, survivors and victims’ relatives. Both the archive and a documentary film, also called Herencias del 36 (see a trailer in the Documentary section), aim to offer a platform to break away from the decades of silence and repression.
The roots of this archive lie in my research into memories of the Spanish Civil War within local communities. In my book Memories of the Spanish Civil War: Conflict and Community in Rural Spain (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), I use the concept of ‘local memories’ to emphasise the importance of events that happened within small communities (for example, events that took place in one specific village), which can be narrated by individuals and passed on to future generations within that community. These very concrete events are, at the same time, part of a much wider scenario of conflict at a national level, which produces collective memories at a more abstract level. The focus on local memories transmitted through oral testimonies forms the basis of this online archive of testimonies.
Herencias del 36 is a map of memories that seeks to recover the voices of those more specific events that took place in smaller communities and are still remembered locally. They are memories about what happened to relatives, friends and neighbours, according to what they can recall. The number of people who can still narrate these memories is inevitably becoming smaller, so archiving what is still available and making it accessible for present and future generations is becoming increasingly urgent.
The archive seeks to engage members of the public in two ways: first, by providing a platform for them to participate in the project, a safe place for them to remember and record the experiences of their relatives and neighbours; and, secondly, by enabling an online archive of oral testimonies about the Spanish Civil War for a wider audience, which can be accessed freely by everyone.
In addition to their testimonies, participants are encouraged to submit photographs or any documents that they may wish to contribute.
Ultimately, these local accounts about how the conflict was experienced by people in different villages and towns show us that the Civil War was far from the monolithic event that we are told about in history books and official statements. This growing body of testimonies also helps to counteract the imposition of the victors’ history and the myths they sponsored for decades.
How can I participate?
Testimonies are classified by provinces and municipalities (villages, towns, cities). They can be text-based, photographs, audio or video files, or brief accounts with factual information about particular cases. What happened to your relatives? What took place in your street or your village? The site also has a section to publish articles, news and related events.
To submit testimonies, articles or any comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org