War, Dictatorship, and Memory: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Spain

Permanent URI for this collection

Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 12
  • Publication
    Panel IV: “Nazi Apostasy and the Market: The Intellectual Alchemy of Spanish Economic Liberalism”
    (2011-10-15) Ban, Cornel
    During the 1970s and 1980s a small elite of economists based in the central bank and economic departments have been credited with embedding economic liberalism in Spain. Their ideas about state-market relations can be traced back to their graduate education in the UK during the postwar decades or before the Civil War. Yet my research also reveals that what is equally important for the triumph of economic liberalism in post-authoritarian Spain has been Friedrich von Stackelberg, an ex-Nazi economics professor recruited by the Franco regime in 1943 through the transnational epistemic networks linking the authoritarian regimes of Spain and Germany.
  • Publication
    Round Table Discussion
    (2011-10-15) Gundermann, Christian; Remmler, Karen; Silberman, Neil; Stavans, Ilan; Urla,, Jacqueline
    The wrap-up round table discussions will be held with senior faculty members from the Five Colleges who are experts in the politics of memory and will place Spain in comparative perspective.
  • Publication
    Friday Keynote: “The Trials of Judge Garzón: Legal Remembering and Societal Forgetting in Spain”
    (2011-10-14) Golob, Stephanie
    Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón burst onto the international scene in October 1998, issuing an audacious international arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, at the time recuperating from surgery in a London hospital. Transcending space and also time, Garzón’s “Warrant Heard ‘Round the World” – based on the principle of universal jurisdiction – let it be known that not only were there no places to hide for leaders who abused the rights of their citizens, but there were also no statutes of limitations for these crimes, no amount of time, or domestic amnesties, that could render their criminal responsibility extinguished. No less audacious – and, it should be added, no more immediately successful – a decade later was Judge Garzón’s short-lived attempt to launch a judicial investigation in his home country into the crimes of the Civil War and the Franco regime. In two detailed and passionately argued judicial decrees, or Autos, at the opening and the abrupt conclusion of his investigation in the fall of 2008, we see Garzón engage in a public process of “legal remembering” that at once reflects a narrow but deep societal awakening to the corroding effects of impunity, as seen in the growing “historical memory movement” within civil society and its campaign to locate, exhume and identify remains from mass graves; while it also confronts the broad persistence of “societal forgetting” legitimated by appeals to the Transition’s forward-looking “culture of consensus” and enforced by a positivistic and conservative judiciary wielding the 1977 Amnesty Law. By remembering the franquista past through the lens of international law and globalizing anti-impunity norms, Garzón’s Autos proclaim that Spain is not different: its mass graves share their horror with those of Baba Yar and Srebenica, its “stolen children” resonate with Argentina’s “Dirty War,” and its dictatorship’s eliminationist spirit and actions against civilians can be excused only insofar as we can excuse the “excesses” of the Khmer Rouge. International law, then, becomes the language of, and vehicle for, memory in a society whose own laws – including the “almost-but-not-quite” “Law of Historical Memory” of 2007 – appear designed to protect citizens from their own history, while also protecting the democratic state from its responsibility to confront the crimes of the past. That Judge Garzón currently stands accused of judicial misconduct for opening this investigation only further underscores the incomplete and ongoing nature of the legal-cultural transformation taking place in Spain today. Even as Garzon’s legal remembering confronted societal forgetting, it may just be that for change to come, it will ultimately be up to societal remembering to confront and overturn the edifice of legal forgetting that protects the Spanish state from its international obligations – and from its obligations to generations of its citizens still seeking justice.
  • Publication
    Panel IV: “Representations of Mauthausen at the Crossroads of Spanish Memory”
    (2011-10-15) Brenneis, Sara
    Over 7,000 Spaniards were captured as political prisoners and held in the Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen between 1940 and 1945; some 5,000 of them died in the camp. Since its liberation in 1945, Mauthausen has continued to resonate as a symbol of Spain’s historical memory – or lack thereof – of its role in World War II through a body of memoirs, documentary films and novels authored by survivors and non-survivors alike. In this presentation, in addition to providing a historical background of Spaniards in the camp, I will discuss the variety of written and cinematic representations of the Spanish experience of Mauthausen. In their evolution over the decades, these representations have become indicative of the cultural and political relevance of the Mauthausen of 1940-45 in questions of historical memory in the Spain of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.
  • Publication
    Panel III: “Bones, buttons and photographs: objects for remembrance in the exhumation of mass graves of the Spanish Civil War”
    (2011-10-14) Leizaola, Aitzpea
    In 2000, the exhumation of mass graves of people executed during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) opened up an interesting debate in Spain on the memory of the Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship, bringing to the public arena questions that had been silenced for over seventy years. The debate over the convenience of opening up the graves or leaving them as they are for future generations to remember what happened is still open, underlining the existence of different points of view over the role of sites as places of remembrance. Exhumations constitute a unique moment to observe debates over the appropriate forms of remembrance in action. The materiality of corpses, together with personal items found in these graves have a strong impact on all those attending the exhumation, from archaeologists to families and members of the associations working for what has been called the “recovery of historic memory.” Ordinary objects, such as buttons, shoes, pencils or glasses found in mass graves acquire thus a huge importance: they may be central for the identification of the bodies and/or they may become the very materialization of remembrance in the hands of the families. Drawing from a four year fieldwork conducted in different exhumations all through Spain, this paper intends to explore the links between memory and material culture, focusing on the objects found in mass graves of the civil war as well as on different artifacts (photographs, documents, flags, flowers) brought to the exhumations.