Digital History Seminar: 20th Century Spain

Repatriation of Basque Children

=---For my project my main focus points will be the development of the committees, Evacuation into England, the Repatriation Process, and the importance of repatriating the Spanish children for Franco efforts. Since my project is still under construction I will be changing, adding, and revising all areas that are necessary. This includes adding a storyline which will include the date in which the Habana left with 4,000 children, efforts began to repatriate these children (major repatriations efforts), for how long other groups of children remained. In hopes, my storyline and other research will convey the importance the Repatriation of these children had on the Franco dictatorship. Committee Development When the war began several aid groups began to mobilize. One of the most prominent to mobilize was Spanish Medical Aid Committee. Following this group came the development of  The National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief. These groups became part of what is known as the “Aid For Spain” Campaign. [1] The National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief the group that organized the Basque Children’s Committee as the need for evacuations grew. As war grew closer to the Basque Country, they began to focus their needs on those of the Basque women and children. Other countries such as France, Belgium, Mexico, and others, had already been on board to accepting refugees however, Britain was not. [2] Great Britain wanted to remain neutral among this conflict, having already signed the Non-Intervention Agreement. It wasn’t until the Basque Children’s committee was developed and the organizing to board the Habana on May 21, 1937 that Britain would accept these refugees.  


Shockingly enough just after the arrival of the children in Britain efforts were already being made for their return back to Spain. From the start Spain only agreed to allow these children to leave on terms that they would be returned without influence. These key point is one that supported Nationalist success in the years that followed their victory.[3] The Children had arrived in Southampton on May 23, 1937 and efforts were announced on the Nationalist side to bring them back in October of 1937 the Spanish Children’s Repatriation Committee was developed and the efforts to send the children back began. From research on the, there the pages filled with children names and the age they returned back to Spain. Some of those children were there for week, months, and even years. When the Basque Country fell to Franco forces is when the huge push for these children to be returned.


In this section I will go into detail how the children of Great Britain were an important group when it came to the refugees that fled Spain, mainly due to the fact their call for repatriation was soon after they left. 

Importance of Repatriating the Children for Franco

--- This piece of my project is where I wilI bring all pieces of my research together and conclude that the Repatriation of these children from Great Britain held great importance for the Franco dictatorship. 

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