Spanish Civil War documents arrive after more than 60 years

Documents seized during and after the Spanish civil war were back in Catalonia on Tuesday, ending, temporarily at least, a bitter tug-of-war between local authorities over rights to the papers. A culture ministry spokeswoman confirmed the documents had arrived back in Barcelona by early morning. Spanish National Radio said the papers were taken in trucks overnight. They were to be put on public display later in the day.

The papers, some 300,000 documents and 1,000 photographs, were commandeered after rebel Gen. Francisco Franco's troops moved into Barcelona in 1939. They include documents accumulated in town halls, courts and political party and labor union offices, among others concerning freemasons, communists, republicans and anarchists, as well as personal letters, photographs and propaganda

They were taken to the northwestern town of Salamanca and allegedly used by security forces to round up Franco opponents in the aftermath of the war. Many of those arrested were imprisoned and often tortured, if not executed.

Franco rose up against the republican government in 1936, starting the three-year Spanish Civil War. His dictatorship lasted 36 years, until his death in 1975.

Spain's parliament passed a law last year ordering the documents returned to the Catalan capital. Culture Ministry officials, under police protection, removed the papers Jan. 19.

But the National Court halted the transfer, pending an appeal from Salamanca that some of the documents had not come from Catalonia and so should not be moved there, reports the AP. I.L.

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