Madrid removes Condor Legion cemetery monument

Madrid gov't removes monument to 'Condor Legion' German fliers on Guernica bombing anniversary. Photo: El Confidencial
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• Monument removed on 80th anniversary of Condor Legion’s Guernica bombing
• Seven Condor Legion aviators reburied in simple, individually marked graves

The municipal government of Madrid yesterday removed from the city’s Almudena cemetery a monument to pilots of the infamous German ‘Condor Legion’ aviation squadron on the 80th anniversary of the aerial bombardment atrocity that killed hundreds of civilians in the Basque town of Guernica, carried out by the Nazi German Luftwaffe Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria on the orders of Spain’s Gen. Francisco Franco.

The removal of the monument that stood above the graves of seven Condor Legion pilots was carried out after the German Embassy in Madrid asked the local government to remove the Condor Legion symbol and rebury the German aviators in simple, individually marked graves. In a press release, the Madrid municipal government said the removal of the Condor Legion symbols was undertaken in keeping with Spain’s 2007 Law of Historical Memory, which prohibits the public display of any plaques or symbols glorifying or associated with the military uprising led by Franco that sparked Spain’s bloody 1936-39 Civil War.

On 26th April 1937, Condor Legion and Aviazione Legionaria planes dropped bombs on the center of Guernica on market day, when hundreds of Basque civilians were present in the central marketplace. Hundreds were estimated to be killed and wounded, though the final death toll is still disputed, ranging from the Basque regional government’s estimate at the time of 1,654 people killed to a British Air War College estimate of about 400 civilian dead.

The bombing, with sparked international outrage at the time, is the subject of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso’s famous anti-war painting, Guernica.

► Read More in Spanish at El Confidencial, el Mundo and El Periódico …

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