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Refugee Displacement during the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939

The Republican Experience before Exile

Guiomar Acevedo López is a History Lecturer at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Her work examines collective memory and politics of remembrance in forced displacement phenomena of the 20th Century, specializing in the Spanish and Bengali cases. She has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies (LSE) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Her publications include the book Entre memoria y olvido: ochenta años del pasado contemporáneo español.

This book tells the story of the forcibly displaced during the Spanish Civil War who had to leave their homes and move to other areas of Spain or, directly, abroad, due to fear of aerial bombardment, the repressive actions of the fascist rebels, and the potential for famine during the conflict. A key question is to determine when the exile of the republicans truly began and what relationship exists–or could have existed–between the memory of the displacement by war and the identity of the “republican refugees”, a term colloquially used among the Spanish Republican Exile community in Mexico for over eight decades.

Despite the magnitude of forced displacement unleashed by the Spanish Civil War, there has not been a significant research interest in studying refugee experiences during the war. This historiographic void is addressed through identifying the governmental mechanisms, and political and legal principles, under which the Second Spanish Republic faced the problem of massive population displacement. The civilian population, subject to ‘total war’, was a target for nationalist attack on all fronts. A vulnerable population seeking refuge was a massive problem for the Republican authorities. And herein is the key to broadening understanding of the ‘refugee’ category, not only in Spain but in France, Portugal and Mexico, and elsewhere. The experience of exile comprises not only the final destination, but the displacement circumstances that led there and how those uprooted from their home identified themselves at different stages of their refugee journey.

Published in association with the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies


Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-087-3
Hardback Price: £75.00 / $89.95
Release Date: April 2022 
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Yes


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