The Parador de San Marcos de León, recently reopened, was between 1936 and 1940 one of the Francoist concentration camps “more lethal and terrible”, where thousands of prisoners were murdered, tortured and ‘reeducated’. For this reason, more than a hundred people have signed a manifesto in the last twenty-four hours, headed by the Leonese poet Antonio Gamoneda, Cervantes Prize, in which they urge Paradores to install a permanent memorial as a tribute to the victims who suffered systematic rapes there “of the most elementary Human Rights”.
The text, titled A door to memory: Parador Hostal San Marcos de León, is signed by writers such as Almudena Grandes, Julio Llamazares or Manuel Rivas, by musicians such as Santiago Auserón or Ismael Serrano, by historians such as Secundino Serrano, author of The wounds of memory, Juan Carlos García Funes, from the Public University of Navarra, Ana Martínez Rus, from the Complutense University, Javier Rodríguez González, Professor of Contemporary History at the University of León, Francisco Carantoña Álvarez, professor at the same university, Wenceslao Álvarez Oblanca , Antonio Castillo Gómez, professor at the University of Alcalá, Ricardo Robledo, professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona or Ángel Luis López Villaverde, from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, among others.
It is also signed by the president of the José Saramago Foundation, Pilar del Río, Aurora Fernández Polanco, professor of Art History at the Complutense University, Ángel del Río, professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Seville, actors, actresses and filmmakers such as Carlos Bardem, Almudena Carracedo, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Nathalie Poza, Juan Diego, Pilar Bardem or Juan Diego Botto, as well as dozens of citizens from other professional fields, many of them from León.
In it they point out that it is “a duty of civil responsibility to remember the innocent victims of barbarism and crimes against humanity in those spaces where execrable acts and attempts against human dignity took place.” For this reason, they continue, “we would consider as a disregard for the ethical memory of citizens the attempt to treat as a mere episodic event the use, after July 18, 1936, of the building that today is the Hostal de San Marcos, installing torture and the murder, whether or not you take them out of the dawn to other places, of thousands of Spanish democrats. ”
“We believe that such significant historical events cannot continue to be made invisible. With a will that we would uphold in stricter terms, we ask that an immediate summons, in due reparation to all the people who suffered the tragic consequences of authoritarianism, a memorial that commemorates, in permanent and public recognition of those who suffered the irreversible violation of the most elementary Human Rights, “they add.
Finally, the signatories warn against denialism and forgetfulness: “We think, consequently, in upholding this demand, that the dignity and memory of their lives must prevail, above any other occasional consideration, against all forms of harm that supposes the denialism and the forgetfulness of the Francoist atrocity “.
Among the signatories are dozens of Leonese citizens, such as Gamoneda himself or the poet Juan Carlos Mestre, the writers Rogelio Blanco, Noemí Sabugal or Sol Gómez Arteaga, the founder of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, Emilio Silva, the journalists Jesús Maraña, Olga Rodríguez, Eloísa Otero, Carlos Fidalgo and Ana Gaitero, among others. It is also signed by journalists Rosa María Artal, Javier Gallego ‘Crudo’, Carlos Hernández, author of the book Franco’s concentration camps, Ana Pardo de Vera, Antonio Maestre or Fernando Berlin.
San Marcos brought together the most perverse elements of the concentration camps: illnesses, lack of medical assistance, torture, humiliation. As in so many other places, its archives disappeared, so there are no exact numbers of prisoners and those executed, but various researchers estimate that at least 15,000 people passed through there. Between 1,500 and 2,900 died of ill-treatment or mistreatment, were shot with sentence or strolled, that euphemism used to refer to extrajudicial killings. In addition, it was one of the few concentration camps that had female prisoners.
For all these reasons, the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) asked Paradores last week to place a visible plaque in a prominent place in the Parador de San Marcos, in homage to the victims of that place, whose past is still unknown. for many people. To the initiative of the ARMH is now added that of this citizen manifesto that will continue to collect signatures in the coming days.