Rape by prison officers and the Fascist Party of women involved in politics or only for being relatives of men thought to be opponents of the regime; torture of political prisoners with a gender component, insults and blows (in the genital and reproductive areas); massive baby theft; hair shaving, forced poisoning […]
These are the main methods by which the western tolerated facist regime specifically repressed women during the war and 40 year long dictatorship in Spain. A complaint on behalf of 6 victims has been filed with the court run by Argentine judge Maria Servini, head of the mega-court case launched in 2010 against the crimes of Francoism through the principle of universal justice.The platform Women’s Link Worldwide, is responsible for the complaint and has gathered the testimonies of the six women:…
“From five of those we have obtained the testimony by their relatives, the remaining witness is a survivor. Four of the six women remain missing today, “says the organization.
“You won’t bear any more kids now, witch bitch,” one was told by the prison officials where she was tortured with blows to the stomach and liver causing reproductive system damage, says renowned feminist lawyer Lidia Falcon. She is the only survivor, and was arrested seven times between 1960 and 1974. On five of those seven occasions she was tortured, some of which were “clearly directed at her status as a young woman,” asserts the complainant.
Less luck had the other five women raped and tortured during the dictatorship. Daria and Mercedes Buxadé were two sisters working as nurses for the Republican side in Barcelona. They were detained and the authorities ordered them to be examined to check her virginity. A group of nuns carried out a gynecological examination to check. “They were brutal and afterwards they were raped repeatedly by a group of Falangist fascists. It is believed that the next day they were taken to the cemetery at Coletes, where they were killed, ” reads the complaint.
Margalida Jaume was arrested with her husband for no apparent reason in 1936, being seven months pregnant. They suffered all kinds of humiliation and torture and finally were executed. Years later, a villager admitted witnessing at least one of the rapes of Margalida by the Falangists . He also heard the rapist saying: “I’ve never enjoyed so much raping a pregnant prisoner”. Margalida is still missing.
Pilar Sanchez, whose testimony is presented by her great-granddaughter with the expertise of a historian, was arrested by members of the phalanx. She was transported in a car with four of them: “When the vehicle stopped a man who was out hunting saw the four men take her from the car by force and began to beat and rape her. She was then taken to the cemetery of Sencelles. There, another resident of the same neighborhood as Pilar saw how these four men, who were also neighbors, rape Pilar again and then throw her to the ground and shoot her. ” They dragged her body to the cemetery gates.
A sixth testimony is that of Matilde Landa, who jumped from the infirmary of a prison for women run by Sisters of the Poor. “The prison authorities set out to indoctrinate and convert prisoners to Catholicism, with two objectives, first as a propaganda maneuver of the regime and second to undermine the morale of other women prisoners.” She lay dying on the floor in agony for 45 minutes, but still conscious as they christened her.
“Why is it important to include a gender perspective in the process against the Franco dictatorship?” asks Women’s Link Worldwide. “They pursued and punished women who had ventured out of the domestic sphere and especially those involved in political activities against the regime. Having values which did not fit the image of women under the Franco regime was an excuse for arresting, imprisoning and raping women, “denounces the platform before the Argentine judge.
They consider that during the Franco dictatorship, women were persecuted and tortured for two reasons: for challenging the domestic sphere to which women were relegated by the Franco regime and for the “crime consort” :. In this second area, women were arrested for being relatives of men ideologically opposed to the regime.
“Violence against their wives, mothers or daughters was a deferred punishment whereby they also received the humiliations and torture their male relatives had undergone . However, although there exists evidence of the persecution of women and research to corroborate these crimes the committing of gender crimes against women have never been investigated in any legal proceedings ” reads the complaint.
In this context, “it is important that judges, prosecutors, lawyers and all those who have a key role in these processes, achieve collect and apply the major verdicts regarding gender justice which have done so much by using international courts and the national courts of countries such as Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia, among others, ” the platform concludes in its preamble.
translated from the Spanish in Diagonal with thanks
En Español aquí: https://www.diagonal..
A sample of the work of exhuming the mass grave of the 17 Roses Seventeen in Guillena, Sevilla, Spain. 17 women murdered by the fascist party of Franco, the Falangists, whose only crime was to be able to read and be mothers, wives and sisters of CNT union members.//
Una muestra de los trabajos de exhumación de la fosa de las Diecisiete Rosas de Guillena en Sevilla, España. Diecisiete mujeres asesinadas por los falangistas, cuyo único delito fue ser saber leer y ser madres, esposas y hermanas de miembros del sindicato CNT.
Inés García Holgado We are the first two plaintiffs in the case against francoism. Next to Adriana Fernandez we want to convey our joy, to tell you that we are also women who fought and we’d like to help in whatever it was. We are at your disposal
The Spanish case has still a long way to go to draw attention to the suffering of women and girls repressed for the Franco regime. The various attempts to prosecute the crimes of the dictatorship in Spain were filed by our courts based on an amnesty law of 1977 that ignores that international crimes are not subject to amnesty and that such rules violate the right of victims and their families to justice.
At present international law recognizes rape and other forms of violence directed against women from gender-based as constituting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and serious violations of human rights. They should therefore be named, investigated and prosecuted as such.
Indeed, such is its gravity for Humanity as a whole, that principles such as universal jurisdiction allow them to be investigated in other countries other than those where the incident occurred, in order to avoid going unpunished. Precisely using this principle and the refusal of Spain to do so, a group of lawyers and lawyers, relatives and survivors came to Argentina seeking the support necessary to investigate these crimes.
Thus, since 2010, a Court of the City of Buenos Aires investigating multiple complaints and allegations that several survivors and their families presented in the Argentine country, publicizing the various forms of repression suffered by themselves or their families during the Franco regime. But if these international crimes are not analyzed from a gender perspective, ie, what happened to the women because they are women, no differential way they were committed against men and women will emerge.
So from today Women’s Link Worldwide presented March 16 in Buenos Aires a lawsuit that seeks to ensure that the history of women does not fall once again into oblivion. We need to know (and recognize) the role played by women in the history of Spain and gain visibility for what happened and the human rights violations suffered. The rape and sexual torture, persecution, theft of babies and other degrading treatment like head shaving and poisoning with medicines are not mere collateral damage or private offenses but international gender crimes.
This is the first ever complaint that is being submitted for gender crimes during the Franco dictatorship more than 40 years after it ended. But it’s never too late to learn the truth. And in this case, beyond the conviction of the guilty, justice as a form of reparation must guarantee victims and Spanish society as a whole the knowledge of the truth. And this truth will not be complete without also incorporating the story of what happened to these women and girls happened .
Truth, justice and reparation
17 of the Republican women executed in the Spanish Civil War by MANUEL PLANELLES
The “17 Roses of Guillena” — a group of women from the same village who were assassinated during the Civil War because of their Republican connections — had their remains returned home to receive proper burial after lying for 75 years in a mass grave.
Their tormenters jailed them, raped them, shaved their heads and marched them through town to be laughed at by their fellow villagers. After that, the Falangists loaded them onto a truck like a herd of cattle and drove them to the next town, Gerena, also in Seville province. In November 1937, these 17 women, aged between 24 and 70, were executed and their bodies dumped into a grave at the local cemetery….
They say that the only sounds coming from that truck as it drove into the annals of infamy were whimpers and cries of fear. But when their remains were driven back to Guillena, there was a deathly silence, broken only by the sound of church bells. Hundreds of residents made their way to the graveyard on Saturday. A plaque outside the pantheon where they now lie reads: “Truth, justice and reparation.”
The symbolic ceremony was part of an ongoing movement to recover the bodies of Republican sympathizers who were summarily executed during Spain’s Civil War (1936-1936) and the four decades of dictatorship that followed. While such cases have acquired some relevance through films such as 13 Roses, by far the most famous victim of the Nationalist repression was the playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, whose body has never been recovered…..
One man who attended, José Domínguez Núñez, played a pivotal role in this story. As a boy, José climbed an olive tree and witnessed the execution of the 17, and it was thanks to him that the mass grave was later located.
(Anonymous and neighbour Ignacio’s testimony.:‘If all the murders that occurred during the war are abhorrent, this is even more so by the way so vile occurred. Everything indicates that women were ‘released’ once taken to the cemetery in Gerena, once there, the murderers were stationed at the entrance gate and from there the were “hunted down” for sport as if they were vermin….”The women were killed by the Falange( fascists) of Gerena (…) they were composed of Pozo, Carrillan, Popo, Moña the gravedigger, Joseph Calentitero who was lame, Quito, Philip the caco, Arturo and Apache. One of these women was pregnant, Moña abused her and cut out the child from her belly with a dagger (…) “Testimony of José Domínguez:” the Moña, when women tried to hide in niches dug into the ground caught them by the hair and put them out for the kill. All of them tried to hide ..one of them almost escaped b ut was spotted at the last minute”. from jlgarrot
These testimonies are readily available but the Spanish State, still controlled by the old institutions of fascism and the Church, still refuses to investigate or extradite to Argentina those indicted for crimes against humanity. )
What these women had in common was the fact that their partners or relatives were either fighting on the Republican front or had gone into hiding in the mountains. Lucía Sócam — whose great-aunt, Granada Hidalgo Garzón, was one of the 17 Roses — said that the Falangists wanted to extract information from them regarding the whereabouts of these men.
Besides the killings of Guillena, García Márquez has found evidence of similar occurrences in El Real de la Jara and El Ronquillo.
Each one of the victims had a story of her own. Granada Hidalgo Garzón, whose mother was also arrested and killed alongside her, knew how to read. “That made her a public danger,” said her great-niece. “She was reading the Republican press.”
It took the association over a decade to locate the burial site, exhume the bodies, identify them and give them a proper burial in their home town. Their main fear was taking too long, since the victims’ direct descendants were dying before seeing redress for their loved ones. “There are still five living children who had been waiting 75 years for this,” Sócam said.
The fascist regime, (which was tolerated for 40 years by the West) used particularly harsh repression for women. “They wanted to sow fear, and they certainly managed that,” said Sócam, adding that the orphans left behind continued to suffer humiliating treatment for the remainder of the dictatorship (Franco died in 1975). The historian García Márquez has documented evidence of more than 500 executions of women in Seville province alone. “Rather than 13, 17 or 25 roses, there was a veritable rose bed of death,” he notes. Castor oil and other forms of public humiliation were the preferred methods used by the Falangists.
“These communist and anarchist women champion free love. Now at least they will get to know real men, not those faggot militiamen. They won’t get away, no matter how much they howl and kick.” That was how General Queipo de Llano, via radio addresses at the beginning of the war, encouraged his troops to rape women……
excerpt from http://elpais.com/elpais/20