11-10 Spain and its Memory: Disorganizing Forgetfulness

October 11, 8:00 p.m., Room: 4116


A first-hand account of the historical memory movement’s efforts in Spain to reclaim the buried history of the Franco era. With a discussion of and excerpts from the film “Bones of Contention” by Andrea Weiss of The City College of New York.


Emilio Silva Barrera has a degree in Political Sociology from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and has been professionally dedicated to journalism in different communication mediums.

In 2000, seeking to document a novel that told the story of two elderly exiles in Argentina who returned to Spain to destroy the Valley of the Fallen, he located the remains of his grandfather, Emilio Silva Faba, a Republican militant killed by a group of fascist gunmen on October 16, 1936. His grandfather has been the first victim of Franco’s repression identified by a DNA test.

Following his exhumation, Emilio founded with others the Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica – ARMH that initiated the end of the pact of silence drawn up in the Spanish transition. Since 2000 until today he has exhumed about 200 mass graves of people disappeared by the repression of the Franco dictatorship. They have opened an extensive debate about the impurity of the dictatorship.

In 2015 he received the ALBA-Pufin award in New York for his defense of Human Rights.

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