The model reconstruction of the town was carried out by a 100% pro-Franco organisation. Its work was praised by an exhibition held during the socialist government of Felipe González.

The persistence of manipulations about the Spanish Civil War is irrational, more than 80 years after its end and when hundreds of truthful books and articles have been published on the most diverse aspects of that tragedy.

The latest to take part in such nonsense was the mayor of Guernica, José María Gorrroño, who last April organised a tribute to the son of the British journalist George L. Steer, who in 1938, in his book The Tree of Guernica, manipulated the circumstances of the destruction of the foral village.

There were neither more than 1,500 dead, nor was the population the target of the aerial bombardment, nor was it a peaceful market day, nor were the planes exclusively German (there were also Italian planes), nor did the attack last several hours, nor was the destruction the direct result of the bombs, but of the fire that the Bilbao fire brigade, which took hours to arrive, was unable to put out.

The testimony of a civil guard who went in to pick up corpses

A few days ago, by chance, I met the grandson of a civil guard who went in with the first troops, forty-eight hours after the bombing. He was ordered to count the bodies and came up with 123, which is practically the same figure as the 126 estimated by Jesús Salas Larrazábal and other authors who provide a nominal list of victims. The difference of three deaths may be due to seriously injured people who died in later days. The civil guard also noted that many of the victims were due to the collapse of a shelter that was half built.

To finish off the tribute to Steer’s son, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, an expert in clowning around, turned up in Guernica. He spoke of hundreds of dead, of considering the population as a target of the bombing and announced that it would be the first place to be recognised as the first historical “place” of “democratic memory”.

Bolaños thereby confirmed that such a “memory” is a distortion of the true History. The memorialists, under the command of the government of Pedro Sánchez, overlook the fact that in Paracuellos del Jarama lie, unidentified, the remains of some five thousand religious and right-wingers who were murdered by militiamen, mostly socialists, six months before the 126 dead of Guernica, collateral victims of the aerial bombardment.

Guernica after the bombing, 1937

Guernica after the bombing, 1937

The Sanchist minister, naturally, considered the bombing “Francoist”. Nor, of course, did it cross his mind to attribute the Paracuellos massacres to the socialist Francisco Largo Caballero, who had presided over the Council of Ministers of the so-called Republican revolutionary side since September 1936.

Nor did the tribute to Steer mention the most positive thing that had happened in Guernica over the last 85 years: the exemplary reconstruction of the town carried out by Regiones Devastadas (Devastated Regions). This was a 100% pro-Franco organisation whose work was praised in an exhibition held in the Nuevos Ministerios in Madrid during the socialist government of Felipe González. It was not memory, it was history.

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On This Day

1085 Reconquista: Alfonso VI enters Toledo, which had surrendered 3 weeks earlier.
1664 The captain-general of the province of Neiva, Diego de Ospina y Maldonado, founded the city of Purificación (Colombia) under the name of Villa de la Purificación de Nuestra Señora.

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