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Monday, June 27, 2022
HomeLatest NewsThe most important file about Franco's repression in Alicante has been precariously...

The most important file about Franco’s repression in Alicante has been precariously preserved: “It’s a disaster.”

Date: June 27, 2022 9:33 pm

“This is a frightening disaster for life,” says Maria del Olmo, director of the Provincial Historical Archive of Alicante. With 35 km of shelving in warehouses, this room is one of the main repositories of the Francoist repression in Alicante, where thousands of political prisoners who were unable to escape through the ports at the end of the Civil War were concentrated. camps. Without going into details, the Provincial Historical Archive of Alicante, dependent on the Generalitat Valenciana, is working on cataloging 40,000 prison records, which will open up new lines of research for historiography. However, after the resignation of its director for health reasons, only four employees remained in it: an administrator, two assistants and a concierge. “Everything on the part of the Generalitat Valenciana was a refusal and an absolute refusal,” condemns Maria del Olmo. “Since 2019, I have been reporting on the urgent need to expand the workforce,” Del Olmo says a lot.

Numerous researchers and scholars have joined in condemning the archive’s precarious situation, which is currently only open to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, a shortened schedule that makes historians’ work extremely difficult. “The only thing that guarantees us is our work, we have done 25 exhibitions, two of them became finalists in the most important competition in Spain, they were visited by more than 20,000 people, not counting the archive training class,” recalls Maria. del Olmo. “The archival community supports us because they know we are killing ourselves by working in bad conditions,” adds the director, who denounces that several workers in institutions cannot “give proper attention” to researchers who come to the investigators’ room to check funds.

“An administrative assistant cannot give instructions to source investigators, he must be a technical specialist; Thus, only the researcher who has a line drawn and who knows very well what he wants can be served, the rest of the new researchers cannot be served,” the official abounds.

Maria del Olmo did not hesitate to publicly denounce the situation of the Provincial Historical Archive of Alicante, something strange that has not gone unnoticed among scholars, historians and archivists who systematically criticize the lack of public resources. “The ethical awareness that I am an official working in the civil service prompted me to speak up,” she explains to The woman regrets the “harm caused to the researchers”, as well as the “insensitivity and complete carelessness on the part of the administration.”

The archive depends on the general direction of Culture and Property, which is led by the socialist Carmen Amoraga. Sources in the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports indicate that they are working on expanding the positions of civil servants in the Provincial Historical Archive of Alicante after the departure of its director, and add that this is a complex process from an administrative point of view, which also depends on another department of the Generalitat Valenciana: General Directorate of Public Functions.

However, the deplorable state of the public archives of Valencia is by no means new. A devastating report published by this newspaper, Aula de Historia y Memoria Democrática, says that numerous documents on Franco’s repression are in danger due to poor storage conditions. Access to documentary collections is “impossible in many cases and full of difficulties, such as an obstacle course,” said the academic division of the University of Valencia.

“chronic problem”

Historian Sergio Gálvez highlights the “common perception” among users of “the precariousness in which provincial historical archives usually live, which stems from a lack of human, economic and media resources.” “Archives are a big victim of public policy, it’s a chronic problem,” adds Galvez, PhD in modern history and archivist.

“The difference in this case is that they did what they usually don’t do: publicly condemned,” the historian adds, emphasizing the “courage of the leadership of the center.” “Courage that contrasts with what caught my attention this week: the silence of most of the professional associations of archivists,” concludes Sergio Galvez.

“Usually we look the other way, and we should all join and join this complaint,” adds the historian, co-director of a comprehensive study of access to archives in Spain, edited by Fundación 1º de Mayo. “We must be central to the development of the right to truth, both in terms of information and access, for the victims of the crimes of Francoism, and we have such unreliable means that we are limited in advancing this human right. “, criticizes Galvez.

The historian claims the nature of the essential public service of the state archives. “When the arrest was lifted, we were recognized as such, but we always live in poverty in the unreliability of funds,” he concludes.


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