Camp de la Bota – Barcelona’s death camp
When the Council built the shiny, clean, ultramodern Forum they covered up the Camp de la Bota. It was originally set up as a firing range by Napoleonic troops in 1810, and was then taken over the Spanish military. During the late 19th century, desperately poor immigrants moved in, building shacks. There was even a community of Chinese people, fleeing, I think, the Opium Wars and turmoil in the Philippines, and so the area was known for some time as the “Barrio de Pekin“.
But the Camp de la Bota has a more recent and sinister memory for many Barcelonans. It was used as a prison and execution ground between 1939 and 1952. Lorries of prisoners escorted by Guardia Civil, the Army and zealous volunteers would drive out here from Montjuic castle and El Modelo with people condemned in summary trials. It is estimated that 1,700 were killed here. A number of Nationalist sympathisers were also executed here by Anarchists during the Civil War.
As the Army abandoned the area, a new wave of immigrants from around Spain occupied the land. Most of the huge shanty town was cleared away iin the 1980s, the final homes were cleared away to make way for the Forum site.
There is no plaque commemorating this history.
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