History of Barcelona

Articles in ‘History of Barcelona’

Fossar de la Pedrera tour

January 23rd, 2014

Short report on BTV on my Fossar de la Pedrera tours in Catalan/Spanish with Cementiris de Barcelona. Information here

Street art in Barcelona

January 23rd, 2014

Street art, Sants, Barcelona just now based on Augustí Centelles 1936 photo of militiawomen on Aragón front.

Barcelona’s Somorrostro

October 23rd, 2013
Foto: Photo by Ignasi Marroyo showing photographer Joan Colom hanging from railing of Barcelona Somorrostro seafront, today's Olympic beaches, in 1964. Here still lived some of those who had lost the war. More here on the photo: http://enarchenhologos.blogspot.com.es/2013/10/somorrostro-frontera-i-trinxera.html

Photo by Ignasi Marroyo showing photographer Joan Colom hanging from railing of Barcelona Somorrostro seafront, today’s Olympic beaches, in 1964. Here still lived some of those who had lost the war. More here on the photo:


Montjüic in the early 20th century

October 4th, 2013

Montjüic in the early 20th century. No trees but no tarmac either. Still a mountain.

Foto: Montjuïc, principios de siglo xx.

Report on BTV on tours

June 22nd, 2012

5 minute piece on the tours by Barcelona TV. I think Marta Ballesta the director has done a great job so many thanks to her. Some of you can have a laugh at my Catalan too. An error on my part. It was Av Meridiana that was renamed Av. de la URSS not Gran Via. See video here on iberianature

Hans Beimler

May 10th, 2012

Among the most interesting gravestones in the Fossar de la Pedrera is that of about German brigader Hans Beilmer who had managed to escape from the Dachau concentration camp in 1933, after throttling an SA guard and putting on his uniform, earning him a huge popularity in anti-fascist circles. Three years later, he came to Spain as commissar of the first contingent of the International Brigaders, where he was killed during the defense of Madrid on 1 December 1936. There has been speculation that the NKVD were involved due to Beilmer’s criticism of the treatment of the POUM???. Whatever the case, his body like that of Durruti who had died 11 days earlier, was brought to Barcelona for a huge public funeral and buried at Montjuïc Cemetery. The German tenor Ernst Busch recorded a famous song about Beimler in Barcelona during a bombardment in 1938. Recorded in barracks somewhere in the city together with a choir from Thälmann battalion and first broadcast on Radio Barcelona, the tribute to Beilmer was an adaptation of the German military song “The Good Comrade” also sung by the Nazis, but with new lyrics (“Before Madrid on the barricades / In the hour of danger / In the international Brigades / his heart loaded full of hate / Stood Hans the commissar). It was one of six tracks on the legendary album “Six Songs For Democracy”. The original record bore a sticker stating “”the defective impression of this recording is due to the interruptions of of electric current during an air raid”

Australian nurse Agnes Hodgson attended Beimer’s funeral in Barcelona:

“Marched in the funeral procession of Hans Beimler, an ex-German Communist deputy who was killed fighting at the front here. A man very able and evidently much loved, it was a great loss to the party. We assembled outside the Karl Marx building, and waited there until all were ready. Lowson carried flowers, and we all joined in with the women’s brigade – international women, English, German and Swiss.”

An edited version of this will go in the Montjuic section of my book (A guide to Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War, anarchism and anti-Francoism.

A packet of tobacco

May 10th, 2012

Voucher for a packet of tobacco issued by the CNT/FAI, 1936. Some villages went as far as banning paper money, but that certainly wasn’t the case in Barcelona.

Josep Franch-Clapers

May 10th, 2012

If you’re in Barcelona until June 3, there’s a small (and free) exhitition on at the History Museaum of Catalonia about a painter called Josep Franch-Clapers. In 1939, he was exiled and interned in camp, where he captured the pain of those who had lost the war and their freedom. The painting here entitled “Exhile” shows a chain of refugees (prisoners in effect) escorted along windy road by French police. More here

José Rizal in Barcelona

May 1st, 2012

I was surprised to come across this plaque in Plaça Bonsuccés, Barcelona, to Philliphine liberation leader José Rizal, who ran his newspaper La Solidaridad from the building here. I suspect this is the only official council plaque in Barcelona in an Asian language – Tagalog (correct me please). There is also a room named after him in Montjuic castle (Sala José Rizal) where he was once imprisoned and another plaque in Catalan outside the modernist jewel of Hotel Fonda de España in El Raval where he stayed.

“The last time Rizal was in Barcelona was when he was detained in a Barcelona jail on his way to Cuba to volunteer his medical services to the Spanish army during the Cuban Revolution on suspicion that he is the mastermind of the disturbances in Manila and the suburbs led by Bonifacio and his Katipuneros. A few days later, he was escorted to the Philippines to face criminal charges. ” Quote from here

In front of El Molino

May 1st, 2012
Another photo by Gerda Taro, Barcelona, August 1936, on El Parallel, in front of El Molino on the Bretxa de Sant Pau barricade. Young boy dressed up as a militiaman with a FAI (Federación Anarquista Ibérica) cap.

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