Journal of a gadabout 15 by Dr. A. Remesar
30 years ago, on January 26, 1939, the avant-gardes of the Navarre Army Corps and the Moroccan Corps arrived at Tibidabo. Barcelona, bombed multiple times, stretched at his feet, exhausted and without an army to defend it. The official organisms of the Republic and the Generalitat had been evacuated on the 22nd. The remains of the republican army tried unsuccessfully to defend the Llobregat river line.
In the early afternoon some Italian tanks, along with Moroccan regulars, entered the streets of Sarrià and reached the Passeig de Gràcia. Later, the bulk of the troops of Generals Solchaga and Yagüe entered without resistance into the city, went down to Plaza Catalunya, Las Ramblas and Plaza Sant Jaume. After the initial confusion, the Francoist army was received with enthusiasm, in the downtown neighborhoods, by a mostly female audience.
A time of obscurity began. A very long tunnel for almost 40 years of dictatorship. Many republicans who remained in the city were arrested and passed judgement, summarily, by military courts. Many of them were executed, shot in the so-called “camp of the Bota”, a former military installation for artillery practices. More or less in the location of the Forum 2004.
““El Camp de La Bota” is a project in progress by Francesc Abad in archive format, that has been developed in different directions: web page, exhibition, published dossiers, catalogues, posters….in a way that it finds itself in constant construction.” (F. Abad)
On February 23, 2019, with a large propaganda display, the Barcelona City Council unveils the Camp de la Bota “memorial”. Readers already know my idea about the enormous confusion that the word “memorial” introduces into the Spanish or Catalan language. Although, the work exhibited in the field, could be considered as such to be part of a filing system, as stated by the artist. (see my paper 2016_Public_Space_Memory_ARB).
Just a few days ago, the space now occupied by the “memorial”, it was a wall of free expression of graffiti supported by SEAT and Montana and is one of the references of the Primavera Sound of Barcelona
Will it mean that the memorial has a life until the next Festival? Or will it be removable?
In a radius of about 200 meters, this memorial interacts with 4 public art pieces devotedd to Camp de la Bota. Two of them about the executions. The other two about the old shanty settlements in teh área
“Fraternidad” by Miquel Navarro was unveiled in 1992. This piece presides over the entrance to the Forum from Avenida Diagonal. As an “anecdote”, the plaque at the foot of the sculpture has suffered some changes. Between 1992 and 2004 he read: ““TO ALL THE REPUBLICIC VICTIMS SHOT ON THIS SEPOT BY THE FRANQUIST DICTATORSHIP. 1939- 1952“, besides the poem by Màrius Torres “Let joy return during my life / without erasing any scar from my spirit. / Oh Father of night, of the sea and silence, / I want peace but I do not want to forget. “
In 2004, the poem was maintained but the text was modified.In 2004, the poem was maintained but the text was modified. “TO ALL THE PEOPLE SHOT ON THIS SITE / TO ALL THE VICTIMS OF THE CIVIL WAR AND THE POSWAR 1936- 1952”. This change of text, also included, those who were shot in Republican territory.
The complaints of different organizations and relatives of the victims of the Franco regime, forced to modify again the text, which today says “” TO ALL THE REPUBLICIC VICTIMS SHOT ON THIS SEPOT BY THE FRANQUIST DICTATORSHIP. 1939- 1952″. The poem is kept.
The other small monument is devoted to the women shot in the Camp de la Bota. It is located in the territory of the Municipality of Sant Adrià de Besòs. “The City of Sant Adrià de Besòs in memory of the 11 women shot in the Camp de la Bota by the Franco dictatorship between the years of 1939 and 1940” , relating, then the name of these 11 women.
The other two monumental pieces are devoted, as mentioned, to the shanty settlements. (Pekín and Camp de la Bota). One in the territory of Sant Adrià produced by the “democratic memorial of Catalonia”.
The other, located in front of the Herzog & De Meuron building, is part of the series that Judith Masana designed, in 2013, for different points of the city based on the initiative of the Citizens Commission for the remembrance of the shantytowns of Barcelona.