War memorial torn down

Demolishing of monument in Artà

War memorial being taken down, Artà. Credit: Ajuntament d'Artà

Artà town council removes cross commemorating Francoist victims of Civil War.

It stood on the esplanade of Torre de Sant Miquel by theSanctuary of Sant Salvador.

This action was taken to comply with royal decree 10/2018 concerning remembrance of the democratic victims of the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship.

The one-sided war memorials were erected throughout the Spain at the end of the Civil War, on the orders of the new Francoist regime. Clear instructions were issued to place this type of crosses in all towns, with a proscribed aesthetic. They were only allowed to commemorate the fallen on the winning side of the war.

Francoist monument

When the first democratic town council took office, the plaque with a Francoist inscription was replaced by a new one commemorating “all the victims of the Civil War”.

However, there were subsequently various motions in the plenary sessions of the town hall asking for more concerted action. There were concerns that the monument had been designed by the Franco regime to honour its dead and left out the people who suffered persecution and repression during the dictatorship.

In 2018, the Technical Commission on the Democratic Memory Law and Recognitions was asked to adopt a position in relation to the cross commemorating the Fallen of Artà.

The monument was thus included in the list of elements relating to the democratic memory of the Balearic Islands, which led to the removal of Francoist symbols, inscriptions and mentions. The cross was taken down on Thursday 21 March.

The Democratic Memory Law was also amended in 2021 to enable authorities to prosecute Franco-era crimes. The first victim of the Franco regime to testify in a Spanish court was Julio Pacheco Yepes, who was arrested and tortured in 1975. The criminal case took place in 2023, for crimes committed during the dictatorship.

The Spanish government does not intend to eradicate all vestiges of the Franco era, as this is not always practicable.

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Annie christmas in the Bay of Palma
Written by

Annette Christmas

Annie Christmas loves language and communication. A long-time resident of Mallorca, she enjoys an outdoor life of cycling, horse riding and mountain walking, as well as the wealth of concerts and cultural events on the island. She also plays fiddle in a traditional Mallorcan dance troupe.