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FB-57371-14
A Cultural Study of Spanish Representations of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp (1940-2012)
Sara Brenneis, Amherst College

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FB-57371-14

Spaniards in Mauthausen: Representations of a Nazi Concentration Camp, 1940-2015 (Book)
Title: Spaniards in Mauthausen: Representations of a Nazi Concentration Camp, 1940-2015
Author: Sara J. Brenneis
Editor: Frances Mundy
Abstract: “Spaniards in Mauthausen” is the first monograph to investigate the cultural legacy of Spaniards imprisoned and/or killed in the Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen during World War II. By examining narratives produced by or about Spanish Mauthausen survivors and victims over the past seventy years, this book provides a historical, critical, and chronological analysis of a virtually unknown body of work. These diverse accounts — encompassing letters, artwork, photographs, memoirs, historiography, fiction, film, theater, and new media — illustrate how Spaniards have become cognizant of the Spanish government’s relationship to the Nazis and its role in the victimization of Spanish nationals in Mauthausen. As political prisoners, their numbers and experiences differ significantly from the millions of Jews exterminated by Hitler, yet the Spaniards in Mauthausen were nevertheless objects of Nazi violence and witnesses to the Holocaust. Representations of the Spanish Mauthausen experience impacted Spain differently during Francisco Franco’s oppressive dictatorship (1939-1975) than they did during the country’s transition to a democracy allowing free expression. Until the late 1970s, the stories of the Spaniards in Mauthausen remained invisible inside Spain. By the 2000s, however, these accounts began to influence the movement to recover the country’s historical memory of its traumatic past. At a moment when the last Spanish survivors of Mauthausen are dying, “Spaniards in Mauthausen” addresses the urgency to comprehend their place in the history of World War II and the Holocaust, to understand how their ordeals have been represented and received over time in Spain, and to preserve their legacy.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: https://utorontopress.com/us/spaniards-in-mauthausen-2
Primary URL Description: University of Toronto Press website with the book for sale.
Access Model: print book
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9781487501334
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

The Death of Historical Memory? Javier Cercas’s El impostor versus the Legacy of Spaniards Deported to Nazi Camps (Article)
Title: The Death of Historical Memory? Javier Cercas’s El impostor versus the Legacy of Spaniards Deported to Nazi Camps
Author: Sara J. Brenneis
Abstract: Javier Cercas criticizes what he calls “the so-called memory industry” in his 2014 book, El impostor. While delving into the life story of Enric Marco, who was unmasked in 2005 as a false survivor of the Nazi concentration camp Flossenbürg, Cercas pronounces historical memory dead in Spain. This article retraces Marco’s rise to fame against the backdrop of Spain’s relevance to the Holocaust as well as seven decades of narratives by actual Spanish survivors of Nazi concentration camps published inside the country. These narratives have given increased visibility to Spanish deportees, forming a core aspect of Spain’s historical memory. Countering Cercas’s claim of morbidity, this article demonstrates that the recuperation of historical memory has moved from a grassroots movement to a legislative initiative and back again in Spain, particularly as concerns the legacy of Spanish Republicans deported to Nazi camps. Cercas’s misplaced glorification of a false survivor and his narrow focus on the recuperation of historical memory as a collective memory of the Spanish Civil War and Franco dictatorship governed by the Law of Historical Memory notwithstanding, the movement has had a trickle-down effect on the visibility of the history of Spaniards deported to Nazi camps during World War II.
Year: 2017
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies
Publisher: Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies


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