Memory of the Women Prison of Ventas (Madrid)

Webiste and Research

The Ventas prison (1931-1969) was the most populated female prison in the history of Spain. Located in Madrid, it was originally conceived as a “Model Prison” for women by Victoria Kent – within the new criminal justice project of the Second Republic. In 1939, with the Francoist triumph, it ended up becoming the opposite: a gigantic “warehouse for female inmates” in which women and children were crammed into the worst conditions imaginable.

Nothing remains today of the old building, on which site stands today a residential building, baptized in 2019 as “Jardín de las Mujeres de Ventas” (Garden of the Women of Ventas). It was the community of prisoners that was organized inside the prison that has allowed us to reconstruct their history with the help of their memories, as a sign of the democratic heritage of Spanish society in its resistance against the Franco dictatorship.

With a selection of female testimonies as its central axis, the website brings together diverse textual, visual and oral information about what the Ventas prison was and meant. There are many people whose relatives -mothers, grandmothers- passed through Ventas at one time or another. This project is mainly aimed at them, so that they can enrich it with their collaboration and information.

Related Activities

Firts Public History seminar on women’s prisons under the Franco regime

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