The Fallen Angel at the Montjuic Castle was the last Francoist monument in Barcelona, Source: Ajuntament de Barcelona

Barcelona removes last Francoist monument

Barcelona removes last Francoist monument

It took two city council terms to clean up the public city space from dictatorship memorabilia

The public areas of Barcelona are now entirely free of monuments glorifying the fascist Francoist regime, which ruled Spain from 1936 till 1975. The authorities announced that they have removed the angel statue from the Montjuïc Castle's monument to the fallen.

That statue was located in the Santa Elena moat. It dates back to 1940 and was the last remaining Francoist sculpture in a public space. The indication “public” is important as there are likely some privately held monuments in existence but those remain so at the discretion of their owners.

The sculpture, which weighs some 2 tonnes, will be stored at MUHBA, Barcelona’s history museum, thus becoming part of the local historical heritage to be studied and analyzed by future generations. It will not glorify an undemocratic regime anymore, though.

Uncomfortable collective memory

Apparently, during the dismantling, a bronze chest was discovered underneath the sculpture. Based on articles from the early years of the dictatorship, it is thought to contain sand that was soaked with the blood of fallen Francoist soldiers. 

Jordi Rabassa, the city's councilmember for democratic memory, told the Catalan News Agency that the matter had been "pending" for a while.

"We don't want to get rid of it completely," he said. "We don't want it to be forgotten."

According to Rabassa, the council has taken down over 1,000 Franco-era plaques on buildings across the city over the past two terms. Despite these efforts, there are still some that private property owners do not wish to remove. 

Rabassa also explained that the council withdrew the fascist Falangist Association's permit to hold mass beside the monument this last term. That is a reminder of how such monuments can still inspire extremist political action even in modern times.



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