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"We have returned to settle a debt with our history", states Dolores Delgado in Mauthausen, in reference to Spanish victims of Nazism

Sunday 5 May 2019

The acting minister stressed that in this way the government honours the memory of these Spaniards "who represent a fundamental part of our democratic history, through their ultimate example of sacrifice and in a fight for freedom". In memory of all these victims, the Ministry of Justice published an obituary on Sunday in the leading national daily newspapers.

Dolores Delgado travelled to Austria to take part in the international events to pay tribute to the victims of Nazism, held over recent days, coinciding with the commemoration of the liberation of Mauthausen by allied troops on 5 May 1945. The Government of Spain has recently established this date as the 'Day of Tribute to those deported Spaniards who lost their lives in Mauthausen and other camps, and to all the Spanish victims of Nazism'.

During her speech on Sunday at the Republican Memorial in Mauthausen, Dolores Delgado recalled that in this and other satellite camps a total of 7,532 countrymen and women were held prisoner, of whom 4,816 died, the majority of them in Gusen. However, the minister pointed out that Spaniards were also sent to camps in Dachau and Buchenwald, Bergen Belsen, Auschwitz, Flossenbürg, Natzweiler, Neuengamme, Sttuthof, Sachsenhausen, Gross-Rosen, Aurigny, Guernsey, Neu Bremm and Ravensbrück.

Dolores Delgado stressed that all the Spaniards held in these camps were "condemned for fighting for democracy and freedom" after seeking exile for fear of reprisals from Francisco Franco. They are the evidence that our country forms part of the history of the Second World War and the Holocaust, although this story "had gone untold for many years".

The acting minister stressed that, with the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the republican exile from Spain, the Government of Spain "has set out on the path of reparation of these anonymous heroes of our history by including them in the collective memory of our nation". Dolores Delgado recalled the tribute paid by Pedro Sánchez to the republican exile in his visit back in February to Argelès sur Mer to the tombs of Manuel Azaña and Antonio Machado, along with several other acts of homage paid by the government throughout the year in an "exercise of justice, of memory rather than oblivion, in recognition of the truth and in reparation for the victims and their families".

During her visit to Mauthausen, Dolores Delgado took part in the central event to pay tribute to the victims on behalf of the different international delegations, in which the Testimony of Mauthausen was read out, which was written by survivors of the camp following its liberation, to remind the world of the horror suffered and to avoid it ever being forgotten. The minister also took part in the symbolic climbing of 186 steps, matching the quarry staircase of Mauthausen, better known as the Stairway to Death, as well as in other acts of remembrance performed at the French and Jewish monuments and at the Wailing Wall.

On Saturday, Dolores Delgado, accompanied by other members of the Spanish delegation, including the Spanish Ambassador to Austria, Juan Sunyé; the Under-secretary for Justice, Cristina Latorre; the President of the Amical de Mauthausen, Enric Garriga, and its Vice-president, Concha Díaz, took part at the Gusen Camp Memorial in a ceremony to pay tribute to all those deported, and another ceremony in memory of the Spanish republicans, which was also attended by students from colleges in Zaragoza and Miranda de Ebro.

Non official translation