Memoria Histórica

A strip cartoon about the bitter legacy of the Franco dictatorship

from April 9th through June 22nd

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Strip cartoon Jehanne van Woerkom. Click to see seven images.

During the Franco regime, many thousands of Spanish citizens were murdered because of their political or religious views.  Now, more than 75 years later, many of their descendants still do not know what happened to their family members and loved ones or where their bodies lie. Every Thursday, family members demonstrate, holding portraits of their lost loved ones, in the Plaza Puerta del Sol in Madrid. They only ask for the truth, for justice and for retribution. Artist Jehanne van Woerkom made a strip cartoon about this, calling it Memoria Histórica. It can be seen in the Resistance Museum Amsterdam from April 14th through June 22nd.

Between 1936 and 1939, a bloody civil war raged in Spain, set in motion by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. After Franco succeeded in winning the war, Spain became a dictatorship. The repression brought down upon the losing republicans and their families continued right until Franco’s death in 1975,

Based on an amnesty law enacted in 1977, the Spanish government cannot allow these crimes against humanity to be investigated. This law states that members of the Franco regime cannot be charged for political crimes committed during the civil war and the dictatorship that followed. Since the year 2000 however, several organisations have been striving for investigation, redress and the restoration of ‘Memoria Histórica’ or the historical recollection. For these organisations, it is not about revenge. Surviving relative Felisa Echegoyen: “We only want justice. We want clarity in exactly what happened during this period. The victims have a right to that.”

With Memoria Histórica, Jehanne van Woerkom draws attention to the bitter legacy of the Franco dictatorship: “I was present at the weekly demonstration in the central square of Madrid: the Plaza Puerta del Sol. Every Thursday, family members walk with the portraits of their lost loved ones, just like the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. Looking for truth and justice. I watch, listen, I ask questions, register answers and attempt to somehow illustrate the drama. The vast land of Spain is one giant mass grave. The silence about this must be broken.”

Giving account by Jehanne van Woerkom.

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