Bunker 307

July 13, 2017

As important as subjunctive conjugation and indirect object pronouns are, today in my Spanish Grammar class we learned about a topic far more impactful: The Spanish Civil War. We took a site visit to Bunker 307, one of the only remains bunkers of the 2,000 built by the people of Barcelona to protect themselves from air bombings during the war.

The Spanish Civil War is really a misnomer. On the nationalist side, Germany and Italy sent aid in the form of aircrafts and weapons to test their airstrike and civil bombing strategy that had never before been used. On the side of the republicans, the Soviet Union did the same to represent their idealogical opposition to the rising wave of fascist powers.

As we walked through the cold damp tunnels we were told stories of the people who spent hours and evens days at a time in these bunkers. One of the most powerful stories was that of a mother who was leading her 3 year old daughter and newborn into the underground shelter, but in the rush of frantic people, her newborn was knocked from her arms and lost behind her. Unable to stop to search for her child and fight the crowd all moving towards the bunkers, she had to enter before the air raids started, and spend 48 underground not knowing what happened to her newborn baby. After the air raid had ended, a man, who had seen the child get knocked from the mothers arms and rescued the child, approached her with her child in hand.

These tunnels were filled with the ghosts and horrors of the Spanish Civil War. But also filled with a triumphant and fighting spirit of the people. All 2,000 of the cities bunkers were dug by civilian volunteers who refused to submit the the terror and hopelessness of airstrikes and labored relentlessly to protect their neighbors. In 3 years of bombings, in Barcelona 3,000 people died. Although any lives lost are still too many, relative to the span of attacks and the population of the city, it is truly an incredibly low number of mortalities.

Although now this bunker serves as a powerful memory of the people who fought and died to protect their families, neighbors, beliefs, and freedom, during the years of Franco it was prohibited to speak the stories of the victims of the war.

Thank you Bunker 307 and the City Council of Barcelona for reminding us of the courage and conviction of the citizens of Barcelona then and always.