Universidad de Santiago de Compostela – Histagra

HISTAGRA (Agrarian History and Rural Politics in the 19th and 20th Centuries) is a research group of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) created at the beginning of the 1980s but officially constituted in 2006.  During its first 25 years, it developed a pioneer research program on the agrarian, political and social history within the rural world of Galicia (a Spanish region from the North West Spain) and Spain. Since its beginning, it also established one of their main study focuses: the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship, with a particular emphasis on the Galician region. Its research focuses mainly on the repression suffered by the rear-guard during the war and the resistance, as well as the birth of the dictatorship.

One of its main research inter-university projects is “Nomes e Voces” (Names and Voices). The project enquiries into the nature of the Pro-Franco repression practised in Galicia during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship. It also offers citizens details regarding people that suffered any type of retaliation. This project is articulated around three core ideas: the drafting of a nominal relation individually collecting each representative case (that is, the names); the creation of a voiced archive documenting the oral memory of these facts (that is, the voices); and the cartography of the repression on the map of people and events. “Nomes e Voces” is built upon a large undertaking of documentation, including 512 interviews, the enquiry of 2,799 proceedings and 3,470 death registrations, the collection of 22,340 pictures from the victims of reprisals’ families or the later creation of 17,774 personal registries. This public archive on memory, including the global documentary heritage collected for its analysis and interpretation, is offered to the visitors through a project website. This contribution is an essential step  for the victims and their relatives claiming to know the truth, and it becomes a way to encourage dialogue in the Galician society with a fundamental part of its recent past, as well as a incentive to stimulate the scientific debate.

The relevance of this type of projects in contexts of resistance or where official institutions have failed to honour historical memory is highlighted by the words of the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Pablo Greiff,  when on his “Informe Especial sobre la promoción de la verdad, la justicia, la reparación y las garantías de no repetición” (“Special Report on the promotion of the truth, justice, reparation and the guarantee of no repetition”) (2014), with a special mention to “Names and Voces”, he stated:  “The Special Rapporteur highlights valuable initiatives for the truth that , although not supplanting the needs of a State policy and official mechanisms for the truth, they could be characterized as good practices, thanks to its methodological quality, the amount and the variety of the documentary funds and the accessibility to the public.”

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