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Bizkaia

Durango: 86 years of the tragic Francoist bombing

Jesus Carames

March 31, 2023 | 7:32 a.m.

Today are fulfilled 86 years of the bombing of Durango, one of the most painful tragedies in the history of the Basque Country during the Spanish Civil War. On that fateful day, hundreds of people lost their lives, and those who tried to seek refuge were machine-gunned from planes. Despite not having a famous painting that bears the name of the town, Durango deserves a space in the collective memory to remember and honor the victims of that event.

El March 31th 1937During the Civil War, the town of Durango was bombarded by Italian aircraft and the German Condor Legion, which supported the Francoist side. The brutality of the attack was such that the air forces not only attacked the infrastructures and buildings, but also the civilian population, which was machine-gunned while trying to flee the massacre.

The town was almost entirely razed, and the number of fatalities reached horrifying figures: around 250 people passed away in the attack and hundreds more were injured. The Durango bombing was a clear example of the cruelty of war and the indiscriminate use of force against innocent civilians.

Despite the magnitude of the disaster, the Durango bombing has not been widely recognized or remembered in history, compared to other similar episodes, such as the Guernica bombing. The latter was immortalized by the famous painting by Pablo Picasso, which became a symbol of the horror of war and the fight against fascism.

However, the lack of an iconic painting should not be a reason to forget or minimize the suffering of the Durango victims. On the contrary, it is necessary to rescue the history of this town from oblivion and keep alive the memory of those who lost their lives on that terrible day.

Over the years, civil society and local institutions have carried out various initiatives to remember and honor the victims of the Durango bombing. In 2007, a monument in the Plaza de Santa Ana in memory of the people who died during the attack. In addition, every year commemorative events are held in the town to keep the memory of the tragedy alive.

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It is essential that the new generations know what happened in Durango and understand the consequences of war and violence. Only in this way can societies that are more just, supportive and committed to peace and democracy be built.

In the 86th anniversary of the bombing of Durango, it is necessary to remember and honor the victims, but also reflect on the importance of preserving historical memory and promoting education and culture as tools to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

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