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Survivors of Spanish Civil War remembered in documentary

‘Les nenes de la Guerra’ retells the childhood wartime experience of twelve elderly women through photos and interviews

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10 January 2018 04:52 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Spanish Civil War still lives in the memory of its survivors. To immortalize these stories, a group of amateur photographers (under the moniker 10 Auris) made a documentary collecting the testimonies of twelve elderly women who lived through the war as children.

‘Les nenes de la Guerra’ (or ‘The Little Girls of the War’ in English) will debut on January 14 but was presented today in the northern seaside town of Sant Feliu de Guíxols. The project described as a collection of “very powerful” stories on the bombings, the hunger, and the fear that the years brought with them. Its director, Amàlia Feixas, explained that the “twelve great stories told" taught her and her colleagues a lesson in “humility,” adding that it was very difficult to sum up the twelve hours of interviews in just sixty minutes. 

  • “They’re examples of what children suffer through when there is a war, the same that’s happening in current conflicts”

    Amàlia Feixas · director of ‘Les nenes de la Guerra’ 

No longer children, the women are now aged between 86 and 98. The presentation of the documentary was an emotional time for some of them. Finally able to tell their stories, they stated that they “really liked” having been given the chance to explain their past so it could live on.

The 10 Auris group got the idea in 2016. In Catalonia and throughout Spain, there has been an ongoing movement to recover the historical memory associated with the Civil War, which raged from 1936 to 1939 and the Franco dictatorship. This effort includes, notably, the exhumation of mass graves, backed by the Catalan government. The photographers wanted to participate in a way, and for their town to be remembered, as well.

The director of the project explained that the objective wasn’t to discover or investigate anything, but instead to “show the emotions and feelings of anonymous people.” The result, ultimately, was “a gift,” explained in a sincere and simple way, by women who lived through these difficult moments.

Among the stories told there are family members lost to the battlefields, siblings that were never seen again after fleeing the war, and the difficulty of living apart from parents for months at a time, as only a child can see it. Not everyone’s story took place in the seaside town, either, with some happening in Badajoz, Madrid, or Barcelona.  “They’re examples of what children suffer through when there is a war, the same that’s happening in current conflicts,” explained Feixas.  

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  • The women featured in the documentary 'Les Nenes de la Guerra' at the pre presentation on January 10 2018 (by Lourdes Casademont)