Gypsies in the Spanish Civil War

Evacuación, 1937 by Helios Gómez
Most gypsies did not take an active part in the Spanish Civil War, though many were killed during the conflict.
Perhaps the most famous gypsy to take part in the war was Helios Gómez, leftwing artist & militant anarchist activist, responsible for a number of brilliant propaganda posters;. He saw the war as part of a wider issue which would determine the fate of Roma everywhere – in Europe, in Russia and Central Asia and in South and North America.He helped to create the beginnings of a Romani movement and in an interview said:

‘…from this war, which will produce so many great things, there must come even in Spain the vindication of the Roma.’

After exile in France, he returned to Spain in 1944, but was arrested in 1945 and spent most of the next nine years in La Modelo Prison where he produced La Capilla Gitana. He died in Barcelona. two years after his release, in 1956.

Chronology of the Spanish Civil War


  • Barcelona in the Civil War