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Two members of Spanish culture ministry visit ICRC

26-09-2005 News Release Nr. 05/52

Geneva (ICRC) – Spain’s director-general of books, archives and libraries, Rogelio Blanco Martínez, and the deputy director-general of the state archives, José Ramón Cruz Mundet are today visiting the Geneva headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Both work for the Spanish ministry of culture. The two visitors were received by ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger and senior personnel of the ICRC’s Archives Division, accompanied by Spain’s ambassador to the United Nations, Juan Antonio March.

On 12 July, during a meeting with the Spanish minister of labour Jesús Calderón, Jakob Kellenberger had indicated that the ICRC was prepared to give the future Salamanca memorial centre a copy of its archives covering the Spanish Civil War, to make them available to the Spanish public.

The purpose of Mr Blanco Martínez’ visit was to see what the archives contained and to decide with the ICRC which documents should be copied and deposited in the memorial centre.

The archives have been in the public domain since 1996 and include mission and visit reports compiled by ICRC delegates, correspondence between the ICRC, the parties to the conflict and the two Spanish Red Cross Societies (Republican and Nationalist) that existed at the time, plus the personal files maintained by the Spanish Service, which was responsible for re-establishing links between families separated by the war. The archives also include some 400 photographs.

This meeting constitutes the first stage in the process of making the Spanish Civil War archives available, and the first step in cooperation between archives in Spain and those of the ICRC. An agreement will be signed in due course governing the details of how the copies will be made available to the memorial centre. Copying the archives will take several months.

 For further information, please contact :  

 Georges Willemin, ICRC Geneva, tel.: +41 22 730 23 53  

 Marco Yuri Jiménez, ICRC Geneva, tel.: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17