Nicolas Moll

Trans-European Research and Cooperation

Is there a “Spanish model” of (not) dealing with the past? The 8th annual study trip/workshop of Memory Lab took place from 17 to  23rd September 2017 in Madrid, Belchite, Barcelona, La Jonquera and Rivelsaltes and focused on the exploration and discussion of the history, consequences and memories of the Spanish Civil War. Spain has been chosen for the annual study trip/workshop mainly for two reasons:
1) Because of the importance of the Spanish Civil War and its consequences: for the history of Spain on the one hand, where the war led to the 35-year-long Franco dictatorship and to long-lasting divisions, and for the history of Europe in general on the other hand, with the numerous international implications of the war and its violence and political-cultural divisions which are often seen as precursors of the Second World War and other conflicts to come.
2) Because of the particularity of the Spanish post-dictatorship-transition which is often praised as a model to follow: After the death of Franco in 1975 and the “Amnesty Law” from 1977, for more than two decades the political elites privileged an approach of consensual historical amnesia, the so-called Pact of Oblivion”. At the same time, since the end of the 1990s, this approach has been seriously challenged, especially by the multilayered movement for the recovery of the Historical Memory”. All in all, the history of post-dictatorial Spain in the last 50 years raises a lot of crucial questions of general significance, as for example: Is confronting the past a necessary precondition for building a stable peace and democracy, and if yes, under which conditions? What is the role of silence on the one hand, and of memory on the other hand, and what is the relation between both, in transition processes of post-war societies?
For the detailled program see: