New Spanish Memory Law Invites IB Descendants to Apply for Citizenship

November 19, 2022

August 26, 2010. Matti Mattson (right) with Spain’s Consul in New York, Fernando Villalonga, in the Spanish Consulate, the day Matti submitted his papers to become a Spanish citizen.

Following a majority vote in the Senate, Spain’s new Law of Democratic Memory went into effect on October 21. Presented as an update to the 2007 memory law, the new legislation seeks to strengthen the support for victims of the war and the Franco dictatorship, including the exhumation of mass graves. The law also offers Spanish citizenship to those descendants of members of the International Brigades who have distinguished themselves through a “sustained effort to disseminate the memory” of the volunteers and “the defense of democracy in Spain” (“una labor continuada de difusión de la memoria de sus ascendientes y la defensa de la democracia en España”). The law stipulates a 2-year window for submitting an application. At press time, the Spanish consulates in the US are in the process of establishing procedures for Spanish nationality requests based on the new law. Until those procedures are set, the consular services will not respond to requests for information. At ALBA we will keep a close eye on developments and keep the ALBA community informed through The Volunteer and our email newsletters.