Today, February 19, exactly 70 years have passed since the last bombardment Vilanova i la Geltrú suffered during the Spanish Civil War. That day, in turn, marked the end of one year of occasional raids carried out by Franco’s air force. This part of the Catalan coast never constituted a front line, so there were relatively few casualties, but the railway station as well as all major factories (among them the old Pirelli plant) were partly blown up.
With the title “Franquista Bombings in the Penedès Region”, the Institut d’Estudis Penedesencs (IEP) has organised a cycle of lectures in different towns. Tonight, the last one was held here and it centred on the new book “La Guerra Civil a Vilanova i la Geltrú (1936-1939) Aspectes Militars”, written and presented by the young historian Adrián Cabezas Sánchez, and put into a broader context of the Civil War in Catalonia by Francesc Xavier Puig Rovira.
Military aspects, above all coastal defence, is what Cabezas is writing his doctor’s thesis about and IEP President Ramon Arnabat rounded of by concluding that that is an unusual perspective. Historical research tends to focus on social aspects like politics and repression during and after this time period, but neglects to study the war as such.
“How typical”, my wife said when she learnt that I had bought the book. Now I will have to force myself through detailed descriptions of bunker technicalities. I will be able to muster some interest – I did after all do my Swedish military service as an interpreter and interrogation leader. But I do hope that, along the way, I will also learn more about the people of Vilanova. The famous social aspects.
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