THE LOST CHILDREN OF FRANCOISM

Steve Taylor's picture

June 7, 6.30 pm

 Instituto Cervantes, 326-330 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4FN

The Franco regime took 30,000 children from leftists between 1939-1953 and used adoptive families or Francoist care homes to turn the youngsters against their parents’ ideas. These removals morphed into a criminal enterprise: between1953-1990 doctors and nurses sold around 300,000 children into adoption. Today a growing movement of relatives and victims is demanding truth and justice about what happened.

Three speakers will discuss the ‘lost children of Francoism’. Peter Anderson will place the Spanish case in the context of other child-removal scandals such as in Australia, Canada and Argentina. Montserrat Armengou will discuss the thefts and abuses carried out in the Franco regime that have featured in her documentary work. Soledad Luque will talk about her own struggle to find her lost twin brother and the current efforts by activists to achieve truth, reunification and justice.

The evening will finish with a question and answer session and a reception to which all members of the audience will be invited.

Peter Anderson is Associate Professor in Twentieth-Century European History at the University of Leeds. He is a specialist on the Spanish Civil War, the Franco regime and its political violence. With funding from the British Academy, he is currently researching and writing a book on child removal in early twentieth-century Spain.

Montserrat Armengou is a journalist and documentary maker based at TV3 in Catalonia. She worked on the ground-breaking TV documentary ‘The Lost Children of Francoism’ which in 2002 exposed for the first time the theft of children for political reasons. She also helped make the 2012 documentary ‘Return my Child’ and in 2015 the documentary ‘Fear in the Care System’ which exposed the sexual abuse and forced labour of children awaiting adoption. Her work has won prizes at film festivals from Barcelona to New York. In the spring of 2017, she served as King Juan Carlos I Chair of Spanish Culture and Civilization at New York University.

Soledad Luque Delgado and her family have spent years looking for her twin brother who disappeared shortly after he was born at the O’Donnell Maternity Home in Madrid in 1965. She is president of the association ‘All the Stolen Children are also My Children’. The association helps families that have suffered the theft of children and works to raise social awareness one of Spain’s worst atrocities. In September 2013, Soledad travelled to Spain to use international human rights law to press for justice in Spain.