Linking repression and exile: a geography of the Spanish Republic Diaspora, 1939-1975


  • Mireya Folch-Serra


This papers assumption is that the human geography of Republican exiles is directly encircled by a repression that spread its tentacles beyond the confines of Spain. It unravels a peculiar geography whose scope can be found in the files of the Tribunal against Masonry and Communism, the Tribunal of Political Responsibilities, and the Archive of the Administration among others. The importance of documenting the scams and subterfuges employed to outlaw the exiles is highlighted. The essential task to further understand the nature of Francos repression, its reach in time and space, and the silence that followed during the so-called transition to democracy after 1976, is also emphasized. For many years the topics of repression and exile were considered too controversial politically and socially to be part of the public discourse; unfortunately so were their consequences. The Diaspora is contextualized by a review of the latest available sources on facts and figures on the refugees. I make the case for interlocking this papers main themes (exile, persecution, and repression), through the inclusion of a telling example drawn from archival material to show why it is important not only to quantify the terror but also to qualify it in the sense of assessing its long term social and political consequences. Forced self-censorship, state censorship, coercion, the segregation of the defeated, discrimination based on gender and culture, lack of religious freedom and, for sure, the prohibition to choose political representatives, are part and parcel of the repression. It is my hope that this paper will contribute even in a small measure to underline the unavoidable links between exile, repression and oblivion; as well as the catastrophe of a human geography stretched to its limits by a senseless persecution that continues to affect Spains body politic to date.




Com citar

Folch-Serra, M. (2008). Linking repression and exile: a geography of the Spanish Republic Diaspora, 1939-1975. Treballs De La Societat Catalana De Geografia, (61-62), 41–63. Retrieved from



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