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Pérez, Joseph

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Le Nouvel Observateur - France | 19/07/2006

Spain grapples with its historical memory

The historian Joseph Pérez explains in an interview with Alexandre Lemarié what has driven José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to prepare a 'law of historic memory' for victims of the Civil War. "He seeks to placate a part of Spanish public opinion, predominantly left-leaning. ... The political leaders who preceded Zapatero tended to keep mum about this past which, clearly, many find disturbing. Today, naturally, the grandchildren of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War are asking for explanations. The head of the Spanish government wants to take this shift in opinion into account. ... In my view, the descendants of the Nationalists should agree to recognise that atrocities were committed by troops that supported General Franco. This is something, moreover, that the descendants of the Republicans have already done with their mea culpa acknowledging, for example, that the anarchists abandoned themselves to some abominable acts."

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