Madrid, May 20 (EFE).- A group of activists for historical memory and relatives of victims of Francoism and Nazism have paid tribute this Saturday to the 449 people born in Madrid who were deported to Nazi concentration and extermination camps and they have asked the institutions to fight against their oblivion.
With this act, various organizations have commemorated May 5, the Day of Tribute to the Spaniards who were deported and died in Mauthausen and in other camps, and to all the victims of Nazism in Spain, at the Deportation Memorial, a sculptural ensemble in the center of Madrid made by the artist José Miguel Utande and inaugurated on March 2.
Through the intervention of relatives and activists, the interpretation of various musical pieces and the reading of the oath taken by the survivors of Mauthausen, around fifty people have asked to “honor, claim and promote the collective memory” of these victims and “recognize the place of privilege that corresponds to them”.
While those who “managed to survive the concentration experience were cared for and honored” in other countries, “in Spain, the victims were made invisible, and honors were reserved for the fascists who won the (civil) war,” the Platform denounced in Defense of the Memorial in its manifesto.
At the beginning of 1939, half a million Spaniards who fled into exile crossed the Pyrenees “in inhumane conditions”, “to end up crowded on beaches or dispersed throughout the French geography”.
Some 10,000 Republicans ended up deported to Nazi concentration camps as a result of their anti-fascist struggle, first in Spain and then in exile in France, fighting against the German occupation, the platform recalled.
One of them is Gregorio Rebollo García, whose nephew Julián always wears his photo around his neck to remember his time in the Mauthausen concentration camp and his death in Gusen.
“Their cataloging of ‘reds’ and ‘reds’ and enemies of Franco and Hitler led them to the death camps”, he has condemned, in this tribute in which relatives of the victims have also participated, the Amical de Mauthausen and others fields and all the victims of Nazism in Spain, the Largo Caballero Foundation and the Calles Dignas Platform.
The latter’s spokesman, Carlos Díez Hernando, has called for the “definitive elimination of all unworthy names that still survive” on the Madrid street map, such as Calle Caídos de División Azul.
“The names of the streets and squares build imaginaries (…). This square dignifies our city”, he said from the nameless esplanade behind the Plaza de la Villa, between Calle de Madrid and Calle Rollo, where the five bronze sculptures of the Deportation Memorial stand, where the names of the 449 Madrid citizens sent to Nazi camps are engraved.
Likewise, the activists have criticized the Madrid City Council and its mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, for the removal of the plaques dedicated to the Republican minister Francisco Largo Caballero and the socialist leader Indalecio Prieto, as well as the inauguration of “embarrassing monuments” such as the dedicated to “the last of the Philippines” and to the Legion, and their “collaboration in the replacement of the Francoist street map”.
And they have demanded from the political parties “the same firmness, forcefulness and speed” of Almeida, “but in the application of democratic memory policies.”
“Knowing the truth about history, learning and teaching its lessons is not an option, it is a citizen’s right and an obligation, a duty and it is our responsibility as a society”, they have concluded, after which they have placed flowers in one of the sculptures in memory of the victims.