Category Archives: dataset-en

posts directly related to new datasets included in our database – en

New search engine for birthplace

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Seguimos explorando maneras diferentes de comunicar información sobre las víctimas de Guerra Civil y la represión posterior durante la dictadura de Franco. Hoy publicamos un buscador geográfico que incorpora registros de diversos conjuntos de datos.

Anunciamos la publicación de este recurso durante la mesa redonda Datos abiertos y patrimonio documental en el XVIII Congreso de Archivística y Gestión Documental de Catalunya y lo publicamos poco antes del Día Internacional de los Archivos el 9 de junio para destacar la importancia de que se publiquen datos históricos en formato abierto.

Martin Virtel y Guillermo Nasarre han ubicado en un mapa los más de 82.000 registros de personas muertas, desaparecidas o represaliadas de quienes conocemos su lugar de nacimiento para facilitar búsquedas geográficas. Se puede buscar por apellidos y por lugar de nacimiento. Para los apellidos, se recomienda probar diversas grafías, especialmente con o sin acento.

“Nos gustó especialmente trabajar con Datasette de Simon Willison –dice Martin–. Es una herramienta excelente para publicar datos: muy bien pensada, fácil de comprender y de adaptar”.

“El tiempo que ahorramos usando Datasette lo pudimos invertir en publicar un paquete de R que bautizamos como limpyr –añade Guillermo–. Incluye varias funciones de limpieza, como convertir nombres de lugares, a veces con más de una versión, en coordenadas geográficas .”

Búsqueda geográfica por lugar nacimiento

En el enlace, que quedará en nuestra página principal, veréis un mapa y a continuación un listado de nombres. En el mapa se sitúan como máximo mil puntos. La ubicación no es necesariamente exacta y puede haber más de un punto por persona si consta en más de un conjunto de datos. El lugar de nacimiento se ha calculado automáticamente para ampliar las posibilidades de resultados. También hemos creado un tutorial sobre ¿Cómo buscar geográficamente en nuestra base de datos?, con música cedida por Piano Accompaniment.

En el listado constan los resultados y desde el número de identificación a la izquierda (columna ID) se enlaza directamente a toda la información de qué disponemos en nuestra base de datos. Clicando en Referencias desde cada registro, podéis ver cómo acceder a la información o documentación.

Al poder buscar por apellidos y lugar, creemos que muchas personas van a poder descubrir a familiares represaliados de los que no se tenía conocimiento. Para buscar por nombre y apellidos, es mejor hacerlo en ihr.world, donde hay más de 1,2 millones de registros, y en el Nuevo Buscador de Represaliados de la Guerra Civil del que os hablamos en nuestro artículo anterior.

Suscríbete a nuestra newsletter / boletín de noticias para conocer nuestras novedades. Si este artículo te resulta útil, considera la posibilidad de hacer una donación aquí para que podamos continuar nuestro trabajo. ¡Gracias!

The making of the Ministry of Education records

If you read this article and find it useful please consider making a donation to enable us to continue our work by following this link Thank you!

La base de datos de los expedientes del Archivo del Ministerio de Educación que incorporamos a ihr.world es útil para el objetivo por el que se creó: encontrar en el Archivo el expediente solicitado entre más de medio millón. El Archivo pasó años elaborándola.

Hemos querido calcular cuánto tiempo se tardaría únicamente en teclear la información que contiene.  Los casi 30 millones de caracteres que la conforman suponen un mínimo de tiempo de 340 días laborales tecleando a un ritmo de 36 palabras por minuto, la velocidad media para acceder a un puesto de la Administración Pública que implique esta tarea. Es decir, solo introducir los datos habría ocupado más de un año de trabajo. No estamos teniendo en cuenta la tarea de traslado de los expedientes para su consulta y laboriosa descripción. El trabajo con esta documentación histórica se llevó a cabo de forma adicional al trabajo diario del Archivo.

Igual que cada registro se refiere a una persona -y nunca olvidamos esto-, quien introduce cada registro desde un archivo también lo es, y todas las personas podemos cometer errores. 

Limpiar los datos nos permite analizarlos y extraer nuevas conclusiones. En ihr.world asignamos género a cada uno de los registros, aunque este trabajo no es visible en la base de datos. 

Para asignar género a cada uno de los nombres, hemos utilizado una base de datos de uso interno, elaborada por Carla Ymbern con datos del Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) y el Institut Català d’Estadística (IDESCAT). Esto nos permite concluir que es muy superior el porcentaje de hombres con un expediente de titulación, mientras que el número de expedientes de depuración a hombres y mujeres es paritario.

Porcentaje de expedientes por género

La descripción del siguiente trabajo de limpieza de los datos no tiene como objetivo la crítica, sino explicar una parte de la actividad de ihr.world con los conjuntos de datos que integramos en la base de datos centralizada de la Guerra Civil y el franquismo. 

El número de registros era inicialmente 565.218, y acabamos con 562.298. Se eliminaron casi 3.000 porque se detectó que eran duplicados. Nadie sería capaz de crear una base de datos uniforme  La tecnología avanza rápidamente y los criterios pueden cambiar, así como las personas que dirigen el trabajo y quienes lo llevan a cabo.

Errores tipográficos que no tienen importancia en otros contextos cobran importancia en el caso de una búsqueda en una base de datos con tantos registros.  Por ejemplo, existían nombres con caracteres imposibles, como números o símbolos diferentes al guión o el apóstrofe, o bien espacios y signos de puntuación adicionales.  También había palabras incompletas o escritas incorrectamente. 

Se reemplazaron expresiones como  “Mª” o “Antº” por María o Antonio, aunque a veces no fue posible por su ambigüedad. Por ejemplo  “Fº” podría ser “Fernando” o “Francisco”, incluso otros, y se optó por transformarlo en “F.” 

Las máquinas que nos ayudan a limpiar los datos tenían que recibir instrucciones claras. Por ejemplo, 

  • Todos los apóstrofes deben tener caracteres alfabéticos antes y después. 
  • Todos los puntos deben ir precedidos por una mayúscula y seguidos de un espacio. 
  • No puede haber mayúsculas en el interior de una palabra. 

Asimismo, en el campo de nombres y apellidos, no puede haber ni dígitos, ni interrogantes ni guiones sueltos para indicar que “no consta”,  ni espacios extra en blanco, porque esto dificulta la búsqueda. 

Nombre y apellidos con mayor número de expedientes

Núm totalDepuraciónTitulación
josegarcia garcia33231
manuelfernandez garcia27423
josesanchez garcia25223
josemartinez martinez25124
franciscogarcia garcia25223
maria del carmengarcia garcia21021
maria del carmengarcia fernandez16016
josefagarcia garcia14212
maria del carmenperez garcia11011
maria de los angelesgarcia garcia11110

Utilizamos la existencia de la serie de caracteres “depura” en Tipo de expediente y Especialidad para separar los datos del Ministerio de Educación en

Hemos creado un notebook para explicar este proceso de limpieza y está disponible aquí.

We hope you liked this article. We keep a database of 1.2m records of the Spanish Civil War and Francoist Spain and help promote access to information in Spain. Please consider making a donation to enable us to continue our work by following this link Thank you!

IMAGEN: Título de Maestra de primera enseñanza elemental de Tomasa Sevilla Aranda (1913). Cedido por su bisniesta Raquel Herrera, quien estudia la depuración de sus bisabuelos en el proyecto difundido como #maestrosyrehenes en la red social twitter.

Correction: Ministry of Education data

In our work we value highly the accuracy of information and therefore we consider it important to correct mistakes. The following is a correction to our previous article entitled Data from the Ministry of Education – our database now has over one million case files .

We have discovered that the files containing more than half a million personal records from the Ministerio de Educación which we received described as records of teachers screened for their political reliability and – in some cases purged from the teaching profession – are, in fact, mainly records of those awarded teaching or professional qualifications.

This was discovered by making a request for the file of a person who had, supposedly, been politically screened to the Archivo General de la Administración (AGA). 

The Archive of the Ministerio de Educación has provided this explanation: “When the databases of records of screened teachers and qualifications were merged, they were mixed in a way that made it impossible to separate both categories” (*)

In the original database the word “depuración” (screened) appears in a total of 49,045 personal files, usually in the field listing “Tipo de expediente” (category of file). Therefore, from now onwards, you will be able to find in our database two sets of datasets:

Both types of personal file may be found in the Archivo General de la Administración (AGA), where they were transferred from the Archivo Central del Ministerio de Educación (ACME). 

50% of those names against which there is at least one record of political screening refer to people for whom there is also a record of a teaching qualification.  

According to the Archive, in some cases the records of screening and of qualification may be included in the same personal file. We have only retained personal files covering both screening and qualification in a dozen cases, where we have established that the first names, family names, folder number and file number are the same and where the record covers both screening and qualification.   

We think that it is a good idea to continue to provide access to all of these personal records in order to facilitate the work of anyone who has an interest in reconstructing their family roots. 

(*) Text has been modified after obtaining further information from the Archivo de Educación (27 April 2021)

 “He who has made a mistake and doesn’t correct it makes an even greater mistake.” 

Confucius

Data from the Ministry of Education – our database now has over one million case files

If you read this article and find it useful please consider making a donation to enable us to continue our work by following this link Thank you!

To mark the fourth anniversary of the establishment of Innovation and Human Rights we have added a total of 562,298 personal files from the Ministerio de Educación to our database. We have divided them into two separate datasets. 49,045 are records of teachers who were screened for their political reliability in the Francoist repression and – in some cases – expelled from the profession, and 513,253 are the records of people who were awarded teaching or technical school qualifications This means that the ihr.world database now includes 1,282,626 personal records which may be accessed by first name and family name. 

[Note 9 March 2021: In the previous version of this article a higher number of people was given and reference was made to only one dataset. For an explanation of this change follow the link to this article]

The personal files of people purged in this process is now much more accessible than previously. The dataset itself is the result of the efforts, over a period of many years, of the staff of the Archivo Central de Educación (ACME) . The files themselves were subsequently transferred to the Archivo General de la Administración (AGA) in Alcalá de Henares, where they are now housed. 

The purge was not restricted to teachers at primary and secondary levels: it also included staff in the Universities, the Colleges of Engineering and of Architecture,  the Technical Colleges, the Business Schools and the Escuelas Taller (Vocational Training Centres). Neither was it restricted to the teaching profession as it also covered teaching assistants, auxiliary staff, administrators, caretakers and anyone else involved education, all whom were liable to be removed from their posts and to have a file opened on them. 

In total there are over half a million personal files and they include people from a variety of professional backgrounds: not only teachers but also industrial experts, teachers of commerce, engineers, architects, veterinary surgeons, fitters, machinists, overseers and many others. We are carrying out an analysis of this data and hope to be able to provide more information soon.  

The importance of education for the early governments of the Republic was pointed out in a previous article The Mission of the School is to Transform the Country. A generation of teachers identified with this mission and with the Republic. The key aims of the early Republican governments, namely freedom of the individual, teacher’s initiative, solidarity and citizenship were reflected in the educational system. The rebel military officers and their civilian allies were determined to prevent the promotion and encouragement of these aims in the educational system.

The Spanish Republic was a pioneer in promoting two reforms which at the time were very controversial but which today are taken for granted not only in Spain but also in neighbouring countries: an educational system which is public, secular and mixed; and the equal role of women in society.  As a result the dictatorship was particularly brutal in its treatment of the educational profession.

As Maria Antonia Iglesias explains in her book Maestros de la República. Los otros santos, los otros mártires (La Esfera de Libros, 2006), an unknown number of teachers were executed, above all during the Civil War but also during the early postwar period, often in the cruellest and most arbitrary fashion. These include the following:  Argimiro Rico Trabada (Baleira, Lugo), Ceferino Farfante Rodríguez, Balbina Gayo Gutiérrez (Cangas del Narcea, Asturias), Bernardo Pérez Manteca (Fuentesaúco, Zamora),  Miguel Castel Barrabés (Sant Bartomeu del Grau, Barcelona) José María Morante Benlloch (Carcaixent, Valencia),  Gerardo Muñoz Muñoz (Móstoles, Madrid), Severiano Núñez García (Jaraiz de la Vera, Cáceres), Teófilo Azabal Molina (Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz), Carmen Lafuente (Cantillana, Sevilla) and José Rodríguez Aniceto (El Arahal, Sevilla). 

During the Civil War, as the rebel military forces advanced and occupied new territory, they imprisoned not only soldiers but also leading local political and social figures. In addition they sacked teachers and other educational staff, initially banning from the classroom all staff who had been involved in teaching in the Republican Zone during the Civil War. 

Decreto 66 , a decree issued as early as 8 November 1936 established Committees for the Purging of Educational Staff (Comisiones Depuradoras del personal de la Enseñanza). There were four types of these committees, specialised as follows : (1) University Staff; (2) Colleges of Engineering and Architecture; (3) Secondary teachers, Teaching Inspectors, Teacher Training College staff and Administration Department staff; and (4) Primary Teachers. For each of the last two categories there was one committee for each province, while for the first two there was one nationwide committee. 

A landmark in the historical study of the purging of the Spanish educational profession was achieved in 1997 by the doctoral thesis of Francisco Morente Valero, currently Professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Entitled La escuela y el Estado Nuevo. La depuración del magisterio nacional (1936-1943), this included an appendix which listed 20,000 names, although this was only a sample of the total number of staff affected.  More recently, in 2017, in his thesis on the purging of the teaching profession in A Coruña entitled La depuración del Magisterio nacional en A Coruña, Jesús Manuel García Díaz provided a summary of the historical studies of the purging of the educational system at both national and local levels up to the date of publication  (pages 24-62). 

This dataset is the largest so far to be included in the ihr.world database. All of the files in the database can be accessed by inputting first name and family name.  Among the other datasets included in the database are:

If you read this article and find it useful please consider making a donation to enable us to continue our work by following this link  Thank you!

Photograph: A school in Spain before 1936, showing a teacher with her pupils.  Photographer unknown. Wikipedia. 

485,136 military proceedings opened against so-called «reds»: the big data of the repression

At the not-for-profit organisation Innovation and Human Rights  we think that access to information is a fundamental right. Recognised as such in international law, as well as by many constitutions  and in the national law of over 80 countries across the world, it implies that everyone has the right to request and receive information from public organisations. 

Today we are announcing that we are making available access to the data on nearly half a million summary military judicial procedures which were opened in a total of eleven Spanish provinces  between 1936 and 1975, during the Civil War and under the Franco Regime, according to data from the Ministry of Defence.  We are working on making available this kind of data for additional provinces.

«Access to information is of fundamental importance in order to break the silence and the lack of knowledge which still exist in relation to our recent history.»

Since 2016  Innovation and Human Rights   has been compiling and republishing data which has hitherto been scattered across different sources and integrating this material into a Central Database on the Civil War and the Franco Regime.  This may now be searched merely by the click of a mouse.

Our database now consists of over 700,000 case files, each of which provides a reference to the documentary source on which it is based as well as a page which outlines the source of the dataset, its authorship and how to acquire access to the original documentation or other source of information.  Usually, the datasets are based upon indices assembled by the archives themselves, but we also include data from historical research which has been carried out in some regions of Spain, namely La Rioja, Aragón, Catalunya and Madrid, and which their authors have generously shared with us for this project (For more details search the section Datasets on our home page). 

«A lot of people do not even know that their relatives were victims of reprisals; they are surprised to find their relatives’ names in the database and, as a result of discovering this, request the source documentation. »

So far we have included data about eleven provinces from the following Territorial Military Tribunals (into which Spain was divided at the time): 

  • From the First (Primero), data about Madrid, Albacete, Alicante, Castellón and Valencia; 
  • From the Third (Tercero) data about Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona
  • From the Fourth (Cuarto)  data about León and Zamora

These were already available to the public via the pages of the following archives, respectively: the Archivo General e Histórico de Defensa, the  Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya and the Archivo Intermedio Militar Noroeste.  

Searches may be carried out by first name and surname. Each case file provides information on how to gain access to the original documentation and also clarifies whether the source is in an archive, or is contained in a reference in a book,  doctoral thesis or academic article. In the case of data on the repression in Catalonia, Innovation and Human Rights has also produced a virtual exhibition on Summary Military Proceedings Against Women which you may consult.  

Important:  485,136 refers to the number of case files of military proceedings which were opened, not to the number of individual people. An investigation could group together dozens of people. Equally, one person could have been the subject of 2, 3, 4, 5….proceedings. In the majority of cases the records do not specify what the result of the prosecution was or the sentence imposed.

Innovation and Human Rights has an interdisciplinary team of workers, mainly female, with  professional backgrounds in journalism, computer science, history, archivism and statistics.  

Our work, which has been disseminated at conferences in Spain like International Symposium Traumatic Past, History and Collective Memory in the Digital Society, at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, has three objectives:

  1. To provide access to information on people who were victims and/or were subject to reprisals.
  2. To publicise the work carried out by archives, in order to increase understanding of their importance as well as of the importance of access to documentation.
  3. To contribute to historical research, by means of sharing and cross-referencing data.

«One of the users of our database wrote to us to say that, while searching for data on one of their relatives, they found data on six. Another user told us that they wouldn’t find anyone in their family, until they typed in the family name, which was an unusual one, and found someone.»

In addition, the database includes – among other things – the names of the following:

Photograph: Surrender of Republican militiamen at Somosierra, Madrid province, following the Battle of the Guadarrama in July 1936. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía [Google Arts & Culture].

Human Rights, the case of La Rioja: the database continues to grow

Our database has recently grown with the addition of a dataset which is very special because it includes data about all of the people killed in an entire autonomous community, that of La Rioja. For this we are grateful for the generosity of Jesús Vicente Aguirre, who has contributed the data gathered in his three-volume study, which began under the title  Aquí nunca pasó nada. La Rioja, 1936 (Editorial Ochoa, Logroño). In this work of over one thousand pages he summarizes the events, village by village, with names, personal records, documents and, wherever possible, photographs, of the two thousand people killed in La Rioja, most of them between the months of July and December 1936.  The entire work is based on  extensive documentation and oral testimony.  His study is of particular importance because La Rioja was not at any time in a war zone,  having fallen into the hands of the military rebels within hours of the military coup of 18 July 1936.

His study covers both people born in La Rioja and residents of the province born elsewhere;  it includes not only those killed in the province but also those who died at the battlefront “the great majority of them in the ranks of the national army [ie the Francoist army], in which it was their fate to serve (in most cases merely because of where they were living, though some of them due to their right-wing convictions, while others were attempting to escape the fate for which they had already been identified by their past republican or left-wing sympathies,” in the words of Jesús Vicente Aguirre.  Also included are those people from La Rioja who died in the Republican rearguard, obviously while in other provinces, and those deported to the Nazi camps.  

We should always remember that behind every item of data there is a person and a family. We should also bear in mind the contrast between the official account of these events and the reality. The photo which illustrates this article shows a scene from a military ceremony in Logroño, the provincial capital of La Rioja, on 2 October 1938 at which Franco decorated the Italian Legionary troops which, along with the German forces, made such an important contribution to the triumph in the Civil War of the forces which had provoked the outbreak of the conflict with their attempted coup d’etat in July 1936.  By October 1938, when –as seen in the photo– Franco’s daughter, Carmencita, was hanging decorations on a banner, in La Rioja alone 1,966 people had already been killed, the majority of them victims of the fierce repression. It is important to remember that in La Rioja there had been very little fighting during the Civil War because Gen Mola’s troops entered Logroño on 19 July 1936, shortly after the attempted military coup.

Logroño, 2 October 1938

Statistical analysis of the data reveals that in La Rioja the number of women killed was 43, a small percentage (2%) of the total number. 96% of the victims were residents of La Rioja; only 82 people were non-residents – 56 of them from Navarra and 16 from Burgos. In 30% of cases the data indicate where people had been born.

Although the majority of the victims had been born in La Rioja, of the 175 victims living in the province known to have been born elsewhere, 62 were natives of Castilla y León, 33 were from the Basque Provinces and, for example, five were from Catalunya.

175 residents of La Rioja killed who were born outside the province, according to place of origin

With regard to the places where death occurred Innovation and Human Rights has categorised by municipality the 2,006 people who were either born in La Rioja or who were residents of the province born elsewhere.  394 people are recorded as having been thrown into the mass grave of La Barranca, converted into a Civil Cemetery in 1979.  This is situated in the municipality Lardero, seven kilometres south of Logroño, where the victims were taken “from September 1936” according to Aguirre “because by then there was no room in the cemetery of Logroño.”  In other municipalities we know of the existence of mass graves, as in Logroño (La Grajera), Calahorra (Cuesta de la Gata) and Villafranca Montes de Oca (La Pedraja), amongst many others. From the data available, there are 108 people whose place of death is unknown and, in 164 cases, it has been impossible to distinguish the municipality because the place referred to is larger than one individual municipality. 

Municipalities registering the largest number of people killed

The research carried out by Jesús Vicente Aguirre also lists the names of the 21 natives of La Rioja who were members of the so-called Tercio Sanjurjo who were murdered in Zaragoza and the six who died as a result of the escape from the prison of Fuerte de San Cristóbal in Pamplona, carried out by 795 prisoners in May 1938. During the escape “207 men were murdered by military forces, members of the Falange [the Francoist official party], requetés [members of the Carlist forces] and irregular forces including people from the surrounding villages, who climbed the hills with their shotguns and their dogs as though they were going on a hunting party” in the words of the researcher Koldo Pla. The mass grave where their bodies were thrown was only discovered last year.

The past 12 months have been special for this non-profit Innovation and Human Rights.   We recently marked two and half years since our foundation on 10 December 2016, a date chosen to coincide with the International Day of Human Rights.  Shortly before the first anniversary of our establishment, in November 2017, we published our online central database of victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime which then included over 200,000 individual case files backed by reference to archives and historical research. If you follow this link you can see the  presentation which took place in the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB).  During our second year we fully exceeded our objective which had been to double the number of individual case files included in the database; the number now stands at over 700,000 individual case files.   

The data base allows you to search for people (by first name and family names); each finding is accompanied by a description of the dataset from which we have obtained the information, along with the author(s) of the research, which may consist of an archive, a book, a thesis….We will be including new datasets in the near future.

Photograph: Military celebration to mark the award of decorations by Franco to the troops of the Italian Legion. Carmencita Franco adding decorations to a banner. Source: Biblioteca Digital Hispánica. Biblioteca Nacional de España

Neus Català in Ravensbrück – and who else?

As a means of paying homage to Neus Català, we are including in the ihr.world  database of victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco Regime a dataset of the 8,263 Spanish people who were deported to Nazi extermination camps.  We are also doing this because there are still people such as Lola, who, thanks to 15MPedia, only discovered a year a year ago that her grandfather had died in the camp of Gusen –part of the Mauthausen complex– in 1942, rather than at the battlefront in 1937. This data comes from a list taken from the Base de datos Españoles deportados a campos de concentración nazis (1940-1945) of the Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte which is in turn based on the contents of the publication Libro Memorial. Españoles deportados a los campos nazis (1940-1945) , which was edited by the Ministerio de Cultura in 2006,  following extensive research by Benito Bermejo and Sandra Checa [for a description follow this link here].  This data brings us to a total of 680,000 individual case files all of which are referenced to archive sources or research material.

We are publishing this data because this is what we have been able to obtain. We are aware that this list is in need of updating. According to Carlos Hernández, an expert on the subject: “The number of Spanish who were held in Nazi concentration camps, of whom there are documental evidence, rises to 9,328.  Of those 5,185 died, 3,809 survived and 334 count as having disappeared.”  Our numbers  are lower than this in all of these categories. In addition we account for only 68 women, of whom 29 were in Ravensbrück. 

We are also aware of the existence of another relevant database; this was put together by the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the organisation Amical de Mauthausen. This is in the hands of Memorial Democràtic de Catalunya under the terms of an agreement signed in October 2015, according to which it was going to be made available to the public .  However, so far this has not happened.

Neus Català

When Neus Català was aged sixteen she experienced the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic (1931).  Her death, on 13 April this year, at the age of 103, occurred on the eve of the anniversary of republic.  Born in Guiamets (Tarragona province), during the Civil War she worked as a nurse. In 1939 she crossed the French frontier with 180 orphan children from the children’s home Las Acacias de Premià de Dalt.  She joined the French Resistance and, in 1943, was arrested by the Nazis and deported, in 1944, to Ravensbrück. She was transferred to Flossenburg, where she was part of a work brigade responsible for making munitions, which she and others attempted to sabotage.

Following the liberation, she stayed in France where she continued the struggle against the Franco Regime.  Having been affiliated to the Juventudes Socialistas Unificadas (the United Socialist Youth)  during the Civil War, she afterwards became a member of the Partido Comunista de Cataluña (PCC) and, later of Izquierda Unida y Alternativa (EUiA).

In 1978 she was interviewed (in Catalan)  for Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) in the programme Personatges by the journalist Montserrat Roig,  the author of Los catalanes en los campos nazis (for our review of this book follow this link)

Here are a few extracts:

– Why were you deported?

– It was a miracle that they did not shoot me –said Català with half a smile-  . That was the strange part. I was sentenced to life imprisonment […] When we joined the (French) Resistance we knew the risk we were taking, we were fully aware; we knew what we had to do, and we did it.

– What was your first impression of Ravensbrück?

– No one could ever explain that. It was indescribable. We arrived at Ravensbrück as one thousand women at three o’clock in the morning when the temperature was 22 C degrees below zero. The guards drove us out of the train by beating us with clubs. We got out of the wagons with the women who were ill because if they had not come with us they would have been killed by the blows from the two lines of SS [officers].  As we passed the huts we could see women leaning out of some of the windows and we thought that they were the dead falling out of their tombs. Only their eyes showed any life. The rest of them were cadavers. I recall the camp in black and white: the camp was black and everything was covered in snow. The cold was terrible. (…)  I have one vision of Ravensbrück: a woman electrocuted.

If you wish to find out more about the life of Neus Català you may consult her archive , which is catalogued in the CRAI Biblioteca del Pavelló de la República of the Universitat de Barcelona.

Picture Women working at the Ravensbrück concentration camp CC BY-SA 3.0

Women Whose Death Sentences were Commuted

Last year, to mark International Women’s Day (8 March) and International Open Data Day (5 March) we published a virtual exhibition on Women who were subjected to trial under the Summary Military Tribunals established by the Franco Regime  (Summary Military Proceedings Against Women) aand we added the dataset Mujeres asesinadas en Aragón: Eva en los infiernos to our database.

Thanks to the efforts of our team our database now includes over 570.000 personal files. Of those,  470.000 are from summary military tribunals   (which are known in Spanish as sumarísimos) which were held in Catalunya , Madrid, la Comunidad Valenciana y Albacete.   We can establish that, of the nearly 70,000 people subjected to these tribunals in Catalonia, 4,410 were sentenced to death and that 3,358 people were executed.  Through archival work we have found the documentation dealing with the remaining cases, but the sentences imposed in each case have not been made public.  

However, during the past year we have discovered a new piece in the puzzle of the map of victims and of those subject to reprisals during the Civil War: the Archivo General Militar de Guadalajara  (General Military Archive of Guadalajara) has a 363-page list headed Los expedientes personales de penas de muerte conmutadas (personal files of those whose death sentences were commuted). This contains the names of people whose death sentences were not carried out because they were commuted to the sentence immediately below that of execution – 30 years imprisonment under maximum security – directly by the Head of State (Franco) himself, though often they themselves were not informed of this.

This means that we have now included three sets of data which relate to this other type of cruel repression carried out by the Franco dictatorship. Condemning someone to death when they were already in prison meant that on any night they might hear their name called out on the list of “sacas” or people who were to be executed the following dawn. There were some people who spent many months like this without knowing that their sentences had been commuted. 

The three datasets which we are publishing include the names of:

  • The 79 militiawomen whose death sentences were commuted (Milicianas con pena de muerte conmutada) which come from the doctoral thesis of Francisca Moya Alcañiz, Republicanas condenadas a muerte: analogías y diferencias territoriales y de género 1936-1945
  • The more than 800 women whose death sentences were commuted (Condenadas a muerte con pena conmutada) which are taken from the book El perdón de Franco (2009), by Angeles Egido.
  • The over 16,000 personal files of those people whose death sentences were commuted (Penas de muerte conmutadas), which are available as a result of the archive work by the Archivo General Militar de Guadalajara.

The procedure for commuting sentences was as follows: names were proposed at the provincial level by a provincial committee (Comisión Provincial de Examen de Penas or CPEP) to a central commission (Comisión Central de Examen de Penas or CCEP),  which was subject to the Ministry of the Army (Ministerio del Ejército).  The process of revising death penalties began in September 1942, over two years after a similar process had begun for the revision of other sentences which started in February 1940 with the establishment of the Provincial Commissions to Examine Sentences (Comisiones Provinciales de Examen de Penas) under the  Orden de 25 de enero para constituir comisiones provinciales .
In its prologue, this Order indicated recognition of the arbitrary nature of the military judicial system by referring to the “lack of uniformity in the criteria for judging and sentencing crimes of similar gravity” 

Innovation & Human Rights is aware that in our database there are 79 cases of women whose names have been included three times and a further 832 cases where women’s names have been entered twice.  We have done this in order to fulfill our objective which is to compile as much information as possible about every single one of the victims of the Civil War and of the Franco Regime.   If someone finds their grandmother amongst these names, they will be able to obtain information about her from more than one source, even though, this will be, at least partly, based on the same documentary sources. 
For example, the only militiawoman subjected to a court-martial in Catalonia and sentenced to death who is included in the Archivo Militar de Guadalajara as having had her death-sentence commuted is Adela Trilles Salvador.  If we search for her in the database,  we will find four references  all of which are based on one documentary source. These references are to:

  • Her court martial, in the llista de reparació jurídica de víctimes del franquisme,  a list of people whose sentences by the Francoist military judicial system were cancelled under Llei 11/2017 of the Catalan Generalitat, published by the Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya,  which may be consulted in the archives of the Tribunal Militar Territorial Tercero de Barcelona.
  • The commutation of her death sentence in Penas de muerte conmutadas, a list published by the Archivo General Militar de Guadalajara.
  • The book El perdón de Franco,  by Angeles Egido on the repression of women during the post-war period which discusses detention, interrogation, torture and confinement in prison, as well as the “policy of supposed clemency the theoretical basis of which has its roots in redemption, following acceptance of guilt, and which is wrapped (…) in an ideological layer of pardon or amnesty, connected to religious ceremony.”
  • The doctoral thesis  Republicanas condenadas a muerte: analogías y diferencias territoriales y de género 1936-1945 by Francisca Moya Alcañiz.  This lists 79 militiawomen which includes not only those who were physically at the battlefronts, but also those who, according to their sentences, dressed as militiawomen and carried weapons while they were actively participating in the Republican rearguard during the war.

For example, in the thesis, Adela Trilles  is described as follows: “she was 33 years old, married, was a railway ticket-office clerk, was affiliated as a socialist, dressed as a militiawoman and was named head of the Juventudes Femeninas [the Socialist women’s youth movement], being condemned to death in Tarragona on 30 May 1939 as a propagandist and for having frisked women who looked suspicious in the station”.

After being condemned to death and following the commutation of her sentence, Trilles was granted a conditional release from the Las Corts Women’s Prison in Barcelona in 1946, as listed in the Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE), the official state gazette, on 6 March 1946 .

We are continuing to work on datasets and more will be included as soon as they are available.

Photo: Militiawomen CNT-FAI (public domain)

Promise Kept: 654,000 case-files included in the Database!

At the end of November 2017 Innovation and Human Rights held the official presentation of its centralised database of victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco Dictatorship in the Barcelona Centre of Contemporary Culture (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona – CCCB). During that event, entitled Defending the Right to Know: Data Journalism and the Spanish Civil War,  we explained that we had entered the first 220,000 case-files into the database and we made the commitment to increase this to reach a total of 500,000 case-files within a year. You can find a summary of what was included in the database at that stage by reading the article Data for the Collective Historical Memory.

Today we are able to announce that not only have we reached this target of half a million case files, but that we have exceeded it. The database now contains 654,000 case files, all of which are supported by references to archives and historical research.

Now is the time to consult the database again.

Meanwhile the team at IHR are working to increase further the number of case-files in the database with the following three aims:

  • To assist the relatives of the victims and people who were repressed
  • To spread knowledge about the archives
  • To contribute to historical research

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The People Buried in the Valle de los Caídos: Where did they die?

This entry served as the basis for the article Estos son los otros muertos del Valle de los Caídos published by Juan Miguel Baquero  in eldiario.es on 1 September 2018.

The so-called “Valle de los Caídos” (Valley of the Fallen), built to commemorate the Spanish Civil War and opened to the public on 1 April 1959, the twentieth anniversary of Franco’s Victory in the War, is largest mass grave in Spain. It contains not only the remains of Francisco Franco but also those of over 33,000 other people; in many cases the remains of the victims were transferred without the consent or even the knowledge of their families. While this was the case with victims from both sides in the conflict, it particularly affected republicans, as pointed out earlier in Who else is buried in the “Valle de los Caídos”?

Innovation and Human Rights has now analysed data on the origins of 20,324 identified people whose corpses were transferred to the Valle de los Caídos, whose details have recently been added to our Central Database of the Victims of the Civil War & the Franco Regime – which now includes a total of some 252,000 case-files (*). Of those people identified only 157 are women.

Of the 20,324 corpses, 4,083 came from Madrid, a number which is the equivalent of seventy coachloads of people; another 3,902 came from Tarragona. What is really noteworthy is the unequal distribution of victims between different areas of Spanish territory. Nearly 70% of those transferred whose remains have been identified came from only four provinces: Madrid (20%), Tarragona (19%), Zaragoza (18%) and Teruel (12%).

There are three other provinces – Asturias, Lleida and Castellón – from which over 1,000 identified corpes were transferred. By contrast, according to these lists, there are no identified corpses registered from the provinces of Orense, Pontevedra or Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

This analysis corresponds to the dataset in our central database Víctimas enterradas en el Valle de los Caídos. This contains the case-files of over 20,000 people whose names were documented in the Libros registros de la Abadía de la Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos, which is a record of victims whose remains were received between 17 March 1959 and 3 July 1983. It should be noted that the website of the Abadia admits to not knowing the exact number of victims whose remains were transferred.

Years later nomesevoces.net , an inter-university research project on the Civil War and the Francoist repression in Galicia, obtained this list by analysing the map of mass graves published by the Ministry of Justice (see  Mapa de Fosas del Ministerio de Justicia.)

Innovation and Human Rights is working to establish access to all of the documentation which exists on the Civil War and the Franco Dictatorship. It currently has signed agreements with the following organisations: the Associació d’Arxivers i Gestors Documentals de Catalunya; the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (in respect of nomesevoces.net ) and the CRAI- Biblioteca Pavelló de la República. It is also a member of the Coalición Pro-Acceso.

(*) When we published this article on 25 September 2018 we had 252,000 case-files.