guernica

Josefina Odriozola was a 14-year-old girl shopping in the market with her mother when German and Italian planes supporting the Fascist forces of Gen Franco closed in on the town.

«I remember it well,» she says.

«We left everything in the market and went home. We lived just outside the town, but the bombing started and we were there in the main square. Three planes flew in full of bombs and then left empty. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, until everything was burning.»

Josefina is one of about 200 people, many in their 80s, who are still alive to describe what they witnessed on that day. Today, it is not the bombing that makes her most angry, but what followed.

«They burnt the city down with their planes and they denied they had done it – they blamed it on the Communists,» she says.

«My sister was 13 years older than me and they told her that the Reds had destroyed Guernica. But she said: ‘No, the Reds don’t have planes.’ And they said to her: ‘You little Red, we’re going cut all your hair off.’ Why? Because she was telling the truth. We couldn’t even say the truth about the attack.»

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