Handkerchief in the Colours of the Second Republic
Repository: Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica, Salamanca, Spain
Creator: Armero, José Mario, 1927-1995
Fond or Collection
Repository and Location
Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica, Salamanca, Spain
Extent: 1 item
Memory debates in Spain since the turn of the millennium have tended to focus on the legacies of Francoist symbols on the urban and rural landscapes of the country and on the oblivion to which the victims of Francoist repression were consigned, most especially those illegally killed and left improperly buried in mass and common graves across the country. The memory of the Second Republic has been less prevalent, although the Republican tricolour has become a symbol for political protest and social and economic change. This handkerchief with the colours of the flag however reminds us that its iconic status is not new. The flag hwas brandished during anti-globalization protests in Barcelona in 2002, later in marches opposing Spain’s involvement in the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and again during the 2011 indignados protests. The flag has thus become a rallying-cry for grassroots activism, evident also in the Facebook group Spanish Republic.
The memory of the Second Republic remained alive among the exile communities who had been forced to leave in 1939, but within Spain the memory of the Civil War and the dictatorship has tended to eclipse that of the Republic which preceded them. Few initiatives have marked, for example the historic date of 14 April 1931, when the Second Republic was declared, or celebrated its achievements. Spanish cinema and literature, which have focused strongly on recuperating the forgotten victims of the Civil War and dictatorship, have tended to present the Second Republic simply as a backdrop to the action, for example in José Luis Cuerda’s Butterfly’s Tongue or Fernando Trueba’s Belle Époque. Nevertheless, at a local civic level the memory of the Second Republic does endure. In December 2005 the Valencian town of Elche struck success in the Christmas lottery with the so-called “republican number,” 14,431. Its Republican Athenaeum, which deliberately selects this number, won 14,000 euros.