Spain has only sparingly addressed the crimes committed during Franco’s dictatorship.
One of the practices of that regime, with unfathomable and devastating effects on individuals, families and communities, has received little to no attention: the abduction of babies and their forced transfer from persecuted families to institutions or families charged with “saving” the children, who had been stripped of their identity. The theft of babies took place in Spain for nearly five decades, starting in the 1930s. The reach and scope of the abduction and transfer of babies is unknown, though suspected to be in the thousands. Spanish society remains in deep denial in relation to this practice. Very few victims have come to terms with their heinous past, others suspect hidden and unspeakable secrets in their family history, whilst most victims live unwittingly, as they remain unaware of the practice of forced separation at birth.
The Guernica Centre, in alliance with its Spanish legal counterparts of G37 Despacho Internacional, has forged an alliance with a local organization, Todos los niños robados son también mis niños. First steps taken in this framework include, the promotion of legislative and policy proposals that can help address the abduction of children nationally and start systematic victim-tracing activities. The Guernica Centre is currently seeking support to ensure a sustained effort of an interdisciplinary working group that can conduct practical research, adopt and implement victim-tracing tools, and protect the rights of victims of this abhorrent and still surreptitious practice.