This is the first time that the Government has placed a Stone of Memory in memory of the victims of Franco’s regime outside the Balearic Islands.
From Sunday 27th March 2022, those who walk through the streets of the Can Rull neighbourhood (Sabadell) will do so on the memory of the anarchist and guerrilla Maria Garcia Sanchís, an anti-Franco militiaman executed in Manacor in the summer of 1936 by the troops of the fascist Conde Rossi and known as one of “the five of Mallorca”. Now a steel paving stone will commemorate her story in Calle Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, 62, in front of what was the residence of Maria and her family from 1930.
The director general of Democratic Memory of the Government, Marc Andreu Herrera, and representatives of the organisations Moviment Feminista de Mallorca, Col-lectiu Dones de Llevant and the association Memòria de Mallorca travelled to Sabadell for the tribute, who also took part in an emotional tribute to the anti-Francoist guerrilla at the Can Rull Civic Centre, along with the mayoress of Sabadell, Marta Farrés, and the director of the Memorial Democràtic de Catalunya, Vicenç Villatoro, among others.
“The public policies of democratic memory must be applied with the collaboration and presence of the groups that work for the memory of the victims of fascism, which is why we wanted the organisations that for years have been working for the memory of anti-fascist women in Mallorca to participate in the front row of the tribute, along with the victim’s relatives and representatives of the Government of the Balearic Islands, the Democratic Memorial of the Generalitat de Catalunya and Sabadell City Council”, said the Director General of Democratic Memory of the Government of the Balearic Islands, Marc Andreu Herrera.
This is the first time that the government has placed a stone of memory in homage to the victims of Franco’s regime outside the Balearic Islands, and it does so after the steel stone has been on display for the last three weeks at the Museu d’Història de Sabadell, as part of the exhibition “Maria Garcia Sanchís. Teixidora, espiritista, anarquista i miliciana”, with which the town council paid tribute to her on the occasion of 8 March.
The initiative is part of the Stones of Memory project, promoted and financed by the Vice-Presidency for Energy Transition, Productive Sectors and Democratic Memory, with which the government also intends to pay tribute to the victims of Franco’s repression, as part of the Stolpersteine Project. This is an extension of the project directed by the German artist Gunter Demnig, which, in addition to the 54 brass stones that the government is placing in the Balearic Islands in memory of the victims of the Nazi concentration camps, adds another 43 steel stones in tribute to the victims of Franco’s regime, twenty of which have women’s names.
“Women in general, and in particular those who were politically significant during the war and Franco’s dictatorship, suffered a double repression: because of their militancy and because they were women, as well as being forgotten and made invisible, not only during Franco’s dictatorship but also during democracy. A lot of work needs to be done to rescue their memory, and we as a government will continue to do so. One of the measures we are applying in this sense is the placing of these cobblestones, known all over the world, which aim to make the victims of fascism present in the daily life of their cities and towns. We want these women to have their rightful place in history: that of honour and recognition”, stressed Herrera.
At the end of the ceremony, the Director General of Democratic Memory, Marc Andreu Herrera, presented Josefa Gil, a family descendant of Maria Garcia Sanchís’ partner, with the certificate of recognition as a victim of Franco’s regime, which institutionally acknowledges the grave injustice that she and her family suffered. With this last certificate, the Government of the Balearic Islands will have given the certificate of recognition as a victim of Franco’s regime to 149 families.
For more information on the Stolpersteine Project and the Stones of Memory Project, please consult the Government’s website dedicated to Democratic Memory (memoria.caib.es).
Maria Garcia Sanchís (L’Olleria, Valencia, 1881 – Manacor, 1936)
Maria Garcia Sanchís was one of the five militia members of the Republican army expedition commanded by Captain Alberto Bayo who were executed in Mallorca on 5 September 1936 by Franco’s troops led by the Italian fascist Conde Rossi and who would go down in history as “the five of Mallorca”.