Discipline and Resistance: Forced Labour in Franco’s Spain,

Compilation of documentaries by Memoriaren Bideak / Eguzki Bideoak

Pamplona, ​​2011

(Languages: Spanish, Euskara, English, French, German)

The four documentaries that make up this collection are a sample of important research work with oral sources, which has been carried out in the last decade in relation to the repression of the Franco dictatorship. The documentaries examine four different regions (Navarra, Leon, Andalusia and the Canary Islands). In these documentaries, we can observe the similarities in the exercises of brutal repression in different areas of geography, as well as the diversity of ways of survival and resilience that the population developed alongside the Franco regime.

These documentaries seek to provide an overview of what forced hard labour was like in the Spanish State. Forced labour was a complement to a range of repressive measures (imprisonment, confiscation of property, sexual violence, cultural discrimination, labour purges) during which more than 150,000 people were murdered.

The first of the documentaries, The Opposed, tells of how thousands of Republican prisoners, anarchists, socialists, communists, nationalists “opposed” to the Franco regime were forced into constructing highways in the Pyrenees; the second documentary, Prisoners of Silence, narrates the difficulties of prisoners and their families in the construction of the Guadalquivir canal; the third, Fields of Silence, shows us how the coal mines in Leon were operated by prisoners under conditions of slavery; and the fourth, Words of Skin, reveals that the Canary Islands was a favorite destination for sending thousands of peninsular prisoners to build roads.

Despite the importance of these roads and public works, the entire network of labour exploitation on which they are based is still unknown to society. These documentaries showcase one of the hardest stories in Spain’s recent past.

Miren Llona

Herriko Euskal Unibertsitatea / University of the Basque Country

[email protected]



(Re) Building Our History

Beatriz Díaz Martínez . The Road to Gibraltar: Dependence and Livelihood in La Línea and Gibraltar. Published with “The Social Environment: the Keystone” by the Provincial Delegation of Health (Cádiz), Andalusia, 2011.

In 2010, Beatriz Díaz, writer and researcher with a long professional and social commitment, started one of her workshops in oral memory in La Línea (Cádiz, Spain). This town of Cádiz comes of rare origin in comparison to other towns in our country: La Línea was created and raised for and by Gibraltar. From its beginnings as a small village, it would be repopulated by migration, especially Andalusians who came in search of work in the colony. At that time, most workers were unable to stay overnight in Gibraltar. Until recent decades, the population of La Línea was an essentially urban and working class one, in stark contrast to the rest of the region. Today, La Línea still depends on Gibraltar. This is the social context in which Díaz has situated her latest book, “The Road to Gibraltar”, which is part of a larger project directed by the medical researcher, Antonio Escolar Pujolar, on the social determinants of excessive mortality from cancer in the region of El Campo de Gibraltar (…)

Natalia Díaz, screenwriter and documentary filmmaker