Spanish Civil War

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Julian Sanz

Julian Sanz Hoya is 34 years old and is a professor at the University of Valencia. His curiosity and interest as a child has led to his dedication to the investigation of the post Spanish Civil War.

By Karina Marentes

Cantabria, España - Julian Sanz Hoya was only a year old when Francisco Franco died. But now, as a professor of history at the University of Valencia, the years after the Spanish Civil War have become his life's work. Sanz grew up in the age of curiosity about the war. Growing up, learning about Franco in classes was not the norm. Teachers would avoid the subject or "the topic of 'Franquismo' was always at the end of the story," he said.

According to Sanz, the generation of his parents was the first to try to forget because of the trauma of the war and post war. They were also the first generation to transition to democracy. Sanz's generation was the first to spark curiosity because they had no fear like their parents had. They wanted to know for example, what happened to their grandparents or where did the killings take place.

Julian Sanz Hoya

Even in Sanz's own household the subject of the civil war was hard to talk about. His grandmother was incarcerated for six months because she was illegal, but at the same time she was on the right side, the side of Franco. Although there were a lot of people, little space, and not the best food; there were not any tragic incidents or memories while she was incarcerated.

As fortunate as Sanz's grandmother's experience was, it was not the case for others. According to Sanz, what Spain remembers most about the post war is the hunger. Each family had ration cards stating the quantity of food they were allowed to pick up such as, sugar, coffee, or potatoes. Unfortunately, the portions were very small.

"The 40's are the years that are remembered as miserable hunger," he said.

Even though the 40's was a miserable experience for many, Sanz explains that there are people who believe Franco helped a lot in the progression of Spain during the 60's. A great number consider Franco as the one who took the country out of misery and modernized it. For that reason, in Sanz's opinion, the bringing down of the Franco statue in Cantabria, Spain appeared to be abnormal. Sanz compared the Franco Statue to street names saying,

"I think statues are like street names, they are there to highlight the history and the character represented the character representing positive things all over the country. One does not imagine a statue as a criminal, one imagines a statue as positive labor in democracy."

In addition, the post war was a huge transition for the Catholic religion in Spain. Sanz describes the Catholic Church being dedicated mainly in the experience of the fear of the revolution during the 30's. It was the way of life that controlled the lives and costumes of Spaniards. From Sanzs' point of view, he believes that the rejection of the church in the 40's and 50's was changed because the country was becoming modern.

Julian Sanz Hoya has already written four books about the diverse aspects of contemporary history in Spain. As of now, he is currently investigating the political organization of Franquismo and the comparison to the Italian Fascism. His interest will keep him occupied for years to come and will help the curious generation of Spain with the understanding of their history.

Interview excerpts from Julian Sanz Hoya, August 4, 2009, Satander, Espana.

Listen to the original Spanish interview excerpt:

31:50 -33:40

Transcript of Interview in Spanish, Quote 1

Pero también lo que mas se acuerda la gente aquí es el hambre, Fue un periodo de un hambre natro. En parte por los resultados de la guerra pero también por  una polilla económica que resulto muy fallida de otajia de aubostacimiento y de regulación muy fuerte de la economía y que resulto un desastre. Entonces existía lo que se llamaba la tarjecia de rasanimiento. Es decir que cada familia tenia un documento con el cual iba a recoger su cuota de cualquier producto una pequeña cantidad de patatas, aceite, azúcar, cafe todo estaba racionado y en cantidades muy pequeñas. Esto hacia que si tuvieses suficiente hambre la gente tuviese que recurrir quienes vivían en el campo a través del auto consumo de decir a cultivar en huertos en ocultar los ganaderos que tenían una región muy ganadera ocultaban parte de la producción de leche a las autoridades para  autoconsumo o para vender ilegalmente se genero un mercado negro muy grande por que como los precios que se pagaban al productor  por parte del estado continuaba todos eran muy bajos. Y además habían muchas cases que originaba que rápidamente se ajuntaba parte de la producción que se vendía en el mercado negro los precios desubicados y entonces esto origino que todo mundo recuerde los anos 40 que son todo un periodo de mucha miseria de hambre y miseria.

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53:00 -53:53

English Translation of Quote 1

But what people remember the most is the hunger. It was a period of unbearable hunger. This was partly because of post war but also because there was tremendous chaos economically because of auto-consumption and strong economic regulation that resulted into a disaster. Then there existed what was called ration cards. It’s to say that every family had a document with which they would go pick up a quota of whatever product. This was a small portion of potatoes, oil, sugar, and coffee which was all rationalized in small quantities. This would make people go hungry and they had to rely on other ways. The people that lived in the woods would have to auto-consume or we could say cultivate in orchards and would hide their goods. The people who would cultivate a lot and would have prosperous region would conceal part of their production of milk to the authorities so they could auto-consume or to sell illegally and that made a large black market because the prices they would pay to the product or from part of the state would remain low. Either way there would be a lot of cases where they would originally and rapidly accumulate part of the production that was being sold in the black market with prices that were uncertain, and this led to the origin of why everyone remembers the 40’s as period of misery and hunger and misery.

Transcript of Interview in Spanish, Quote 2

Las estatuas como los nombres de las calles están para, las estatuas en particulares están para realizar una parte del pasador un personaje que se considera que se ha hecho cosas positivas por el país entonces y que además y simbólicamente cuenta mucho por que uno no se imagina una estatua un criminal si no se imagina un estatua una persona que agarre todo por si cuya laborar si por toda positiva entonces creo es una cuestión de salud democrática es necesario iluminarla que se ah tardado mucho. Quitar esa estatua que era una reedificación de algunos sectores de la gente de Santander desde hace mucho tiempo.

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English Translation of Quote 2

The statues, like names on a street are, the statues in particular are to relive a part of history and people who have considered to have made positive things for the country. And then also symbolically it counts a lot because you don’t see a statue as a criminal, instead you see them as a person who has done good labour and positive things. So I think it is more of a question of good democracy to see if it is necessary to eliminate, that is what has taken so long. To take away that statue that was like a replica of certain sectors of the people of Santander that has been there for a very long time.