Some may think that the Bombing of Guernica, on April 26, 1937, is too far back in time to continue being relevant today. From our point of view, we believe that idea is wrong. This event is extremely relevant and important today, as can be seen below.
Firstly, the effort some make to hide the reality of what happened, or to downplay its relevance, shows us just how important it is. In the evolution of societies, there are events that have an extraordinary value and importance. The Bombing of Guernica must be considered one of those, especially given the interest and energy many have dedicated to firstly denying it, and then downplaying it.
The attempts by the Francoist rebels for many years to make the world believe that this war crime, this crime against humanity, was the work of the democratic Basque authorities was fortunately rendered useless by foreign correspondents, such as George L. Steer and Noel Monks, who told the world the truth about what happened. Following this first attempt, more have followed, even to today, to downplay its historical importance and reduce the number of victims.
All of this goes to show us just how essentially important this matter is, because no one would go to so much trouble to try to hide or trivialize something that is already trivial.
But more than that, it is relevant today. And it is because today, throughout Spain and Europe, there is an ideological current that feeds into the same hatred, misery, and “principles” that guided the births of fascist, nazi, and Francoist totalitarians.
In these years of crisis and uncertainty, the ideological, and sometimes genetic, heirs of those monsters who razed Europe in the 1930s and ’40s have come out of the sewers to try to take over again. And as memory fades so quickly, there are still those who believe that their simplistic and ridiculous solutions can solve complex matters. To get out of the crisis we’re living through, they say, we just have to finish off the “reds, separatists, Jews, and immigrants,” and democrats, too, of course… It would seem that we’re returning to the starting point of that journey that ended up with Guernica, and all of Europe, in ruins.
That is why it is so important, so essential, to remember what happened in Guernica, in Durango, in Bilbao, in London, in Dresden, in Tokyo… The memory of these tragedies, and those truly guilty of causing them, must be present in our societies every day.
In addition to all this, the memory must also be kept alive to honor the victims. They never received justice or reparations. May they at least have the truth in our memories of what they went through.
This is why it is so important that we help keep that memory alive. And that is why the incredible work undertaken by the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno with Dr. Xabier de Irujo at the helm is so important: they have put together a website with all the essential information to know what happened in Guernica.
On this webpage, we will find all the necessary information to know the context, the events, the consequences, and democrats’ information war against the Fracoist propaganda’s lies, and the voices of those who witnessed the destruction.
Moreover, we’ll also find material that will help teachers prepare lessons on the Bombing of Guernica and its causes and consequences. We’ll also find free access to the book on the Bombing of Guernica that was published in English by Xabier de Irujo at the Ekin Publishing House in Buenos Aires. In its 80 years, this publisher has become a refuge for our culture during Franco’s dictatorship, as well as a showcase for all of South America, and an essential repository of the work carried out by Basque researchers and writers.
Xabier de Irujo is surely the researcher who best understands this part of the history of the Basques in our country and in the world. His research on the Bombing of Guernica has given us a better understanding of what happened that fateful day, and its aftermath, than we’d ever had before. It also completely unravels all the pseudo-scientific studies that had been raising doubts about the scope of the tragedy for years.
The website, the teaching materials, and the book itself are all in English, while the testimonies are in Basque, English, and Spanish. And it’s quite important that all this information is in English. We mustn’t forget that today at least, English is the language of scientific exchange, so using this language will allow researchers from all over the world to access this quality material. We hope it will be made available in more languages.
This work is simply extraordinary, and, we insist, strategically very important.
In addition to the link to this website, we’ll also share with you a summary of the most important articles we’ve collected over the years on the Bombing of Guernica. And, as an added bonus, the 2018 video Peruvian singer-songwriter Lino Bolaños Balassari recorded under the Tree of Guernica of the song he wrote about this very important moment in Basque history.
Against the lies, more truth.
University of Nevada – 4/2021 – USA
The Bombing of Gernika
The bombing of cities and civilians during wartime has been a constant of history even before planes became war guns. On April 26th, 1937, Gernika, the sacred city of Basque People, was destroyed and more than 2,000 people were killed by the action of the Nazi Luftwaffe and the Italian Air Force, acting under Francisco Franco’s command.
The bombing of Gernika was one of the first actions of the Condor Legion, a real-life training for the Nazi’s Blitzkrieg. The methods developed by this unit served as a model for the bombings by Luftwaffe during the Second World War.
This website compiles a variety of resources related to the bombing of Gernika in 1937. Its main component is a history of the bombing and its antecedents by Dr. Xabier Irujo. Additional resources include a digital exhibit and downloadable materials.
The website is a collaborative effort of the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies, the Digital Services of the University Libraries, and the Jon Bilbao Basque Library of the University of Nevada, Reno.