Miseries of Franco’s forced labour camps revealed

March 12, 2010

Graham Keeley in the London Times:

Ticket for two bottles of milk for a sick prisoner from a red camp on doctor’s orders”. So reads the brief, anodyne note, stamped with the seal of the military command at Fraga prison, in Huesca. The date: February 23, 1938.

It reveals nothing of the fate of the unknown Republican prisoner or whether the two bottles of milk were enough to save his life.

Instead, the note forms part of the accounts kept on one of the 132 concentration camps and 541 forced labour battalions over which General Franco presided during and after the Spanish Civil War.

Today, for the first time, relatives of those held in the camps will discover how an army of faceless civil servants made sure that the books were balanced — evoking comparisons with the efficiency of their Nazi counterparts — when hundreds of files go on display at the Historical Memory Documentary Centre, in Salamanca.

More in the London Times.