Sant Felip Neri Square

The Plaça de Sant Felip Neri is the most delightful square in Barcelona. Its peaceful, secret atmosphere belies its tragic history. When I arrived in Barcelona 20 years ago I was told that the pitted marks in the stone were from the bullets of Anarchist execution squads, who had shot priests against the wall here. This was a myth put out by the Francoist authorities. The story took time to die. It was an attempt to cover up the death of 42 people here when a bomb fell on the convent in the square on 30 January 1938. The church which had been turned into a makeshift orphanage and most of the victims were refugee children from Madrid. As the rescue workers pulled out the survivors from the building another bomb fell in the square, killing more. It was the second worst bombing atrocity to hit Barcelona during the war.