July 16, 2024 | 6:00

Bilbao

Tribute to the gudaris and militiamen in Artxanda

Jesus Carames

June 16, 2024 | 2:44 pm

Commemoration of defenders of democracy

This Sunday, in the mountains artxanda, an emotional tribute has been carried out in honor of the gudaris y militiamen who fought during the Civil War in defense of Bilbao and democracy. The event, held around the sculpture 'Aterpe 1936' – 'La Huella', has been organized by various historical associations and foundations, together with memorial groups, in commemoration of the combats that took place in the region.

El lehendakari, accompanied by Nerea Melgosa, acting advisor of Equality, Justice and Social Policies, and Aintzane Ezenarro, acting director of the Institute of Memory, Coexistence and Human Rights -Gogora, has been present at the event. The mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, and councilors from all political parties represented in the town hall. Along with them, representatives of historical associations and parties, co-organizers of the tribute.

Tribute to those executed after the fall of Bilbao

This year, the tribute has had a special focus on remembering the gudaris y militiamen who were executed by the Franco regime after the fall of Bilbao on June 19, 1937. According to data from Gogora, at least 278 fighters were executed after that date; 245 of them after being convicted in military trials and other 33 extrajudicially.

Of those executed, 147 died in Euskadi: 126 en Bilbao, 15 en Donostia y 6 en Vitoria-Gasteiz. In Cantabria, 63 combatants were executed, distributed among Santander, Santoña y Torrelavega. Others 15 were executed in Asturias, riding a Gijón y Oviedo. The executions also extended to Burgos, Pony, Madrid, Alicante I&II y Barcelona, among other places.

Act of remembrance and recognition

The event began with the reading of a manifesto agreed upon by the historical organizations, presented by the journalist Iban Garate. Manu Angulo, Republican Left, and Ziortza Alvarez, EAJ-PNV, have been in charge of giving voice to the text.

Then Aintzane Ezenarro, director of Gogora, has accompanied four relatives of gudaris y militiamen executed, who have shared their family stories. Among them, Iñaki Agirregabiria, grandson of Crescencio Pedro Aguirregabiria Onaindia, of the 39th Arana Goiri battalion; Amaia Susilla, granddaughter of Gregorio de Luno Expósito, of the 36th Malatesta battalion; Maria Jesus Iturrieta, niece of Luciano Iturrieta Mendizabal, from Battalion No. 8 Meabe-6 Russia; and Javier Olivera Díaz Espada, grandson of José María Díaz de Espada Partearroyo, militiaman of Republican Left.

The event culminated with a aurresku of honor and a wreath at the foot of the sculpture 'Aterpe 1936-La Huella', in tribute to those who defended democracy against the fascist uprising, especially remembering the fall of Bilbao The 19 June 1937.

This annual event continues to be a meeting point for numerous personalities and representatives of the Basque government and other public institutions, reaffirming the commitment to historical memory and recognition of defenders of freedom and democracy.

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