Spain agrees to legally recognise deaths of citizens in Nazi concentration camp, plans memorial

THE Spanish government has said it will legally recognise the deaths of thousands of its citizens who died in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War.

Officials with the government’s Historical Memory department said the names of the 4,435 Spanish citizens who died in Mauthasen in Austria would now be put onto its registry of deaths.

Officials have also proposed giving their descendants, many of whom live in France, dual citizenship. The Justice Ministry said a memorial in Madrid to those who died is also planned.

Justice Undersecretary Cristina Latorre, who heads the Historical Memory department, said the registering of the victims was a ‘moral reparation’ on the government’s part.

Files on those who died were delivered to Spain from 1950 to 1951. They have remained in government archives until a few months ago when the Justice Ministry began processing them.

Those who fled fought for the Spanish Republic against former dictator Francisco Franco during the civil war.

They moved to France but were later rounded up by Nazi Germany and sent to concentration camps when Adolf Hitler’s forces conquered the country.

Franco’s regime refused to recognise those who fled as Spanish at the time, meaning they died stateless. 

US troops liberated Mauthausen in 1945. The Spanish survivors there welcomed US forces with a banner in Spanish which read: “The Spanish anti-fascists salute the American forces”. 

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Written by

Joe Gerrard

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