MADRID – The entry into force of the new Law of Democratic Memory, which aims to punish “organisations that support the dictatorship” and the “glorification” of the Franco regime, mobilises opponents of the law on Saturday.
Various far-right groups today in several places in Spain are challenging the law of remembrance. They are honouring past deeds of Nazi and fascist groups, highlighting the ‘virtues’ of fascist militants or launching proclamations denying the Holocaust and the ‘white race’ claim.
A “worship” for an SS officer
Devenir Europeo, a legally registered association declaring itself a Nazi, will bring Hitlerian veneration to Dénia. On Saturday, the militants perform a “worship” for the SS officer Gerhard Bremer, who is buried in Alicante.
This annual tribute from Devenir Europeo is part of the actions carried out by this association “in honour of the fallen National Socialists who were exiled to Spanish land”. Gerhard Bremer, who settled in Dénia in 1955 and became a well-known local businessman, is one of them.
“We will never stop honouring the memory of those who died or gave their lives to dethrone your masters and build a fairer world. From the giant Rudolf Hess to the most anonymous boy who wielded the flag,” said the promoters in a statement released in November 2021. This was in response to a warning published in La Marina Plaza newspaper about Nazis’ planned veneration at Bremer’s grave.
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Devenir Europeo’s tribute comes at the same time as another action by the far right on Saturday. The OHKA association, organiser of other events related to the far right, holds a veneration of American fascist Ezra Pound. He is a well-known writer for his furious anti-Semitism and his proclamations in favour of Mussolini and Hitler.
One of the speakers at this event is the former legionnaire Guillermo Rocafort. He is secretary of the Millán Astray Platform and author of the book The fraud of historic memory, in which he is suing the government. During the tribute on Saturday, he will not speak on that subject. But he will give a lecture entitled ‘Usury according to Ezra Pound’.
The Spanish Falangists also plan to meet in Madrid this Saturday. Under the motto “The flag is still raised”, the far-right members of La Falange and Falange Española de las JONS will hold a joint event on Calle Princesa. They celebrate a new anniversary of the founding of Falangism.
In response to an attempt to prevent these actions by far-right political organisations, they insist they will continue their activities. This is “despite the new memory laws”. That law, approved by the Spanish parliament, also bans organisations such as the National Francisco Franco Foundation.
Lawyer Eduardo Ranz, an expert on historical memory, told Público newspaper that this new law would be “similar to totalitarian regimes contrary to democracy.” “Therefore, acts of apology by the Nazis would be subject to a warning under the law,” he stated.
Emilio Silva, the spokesperson for the Association for the Restoration of Historical Remembrance, is less optimistic. “The Remembrance Act of 2007 prevented Franco’s glorification from being performed in the Valley of the Fallen. And during these 15 years we have seen many cases,” he said.
A few months ago, Silva asked the government through the Transparency Portal for information on how many sanctions had been processed for violations of the Historic Remembrance Act in the Valley of the Fallen. “The answer was no,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Spanish far right is preparing other rallies throughout the month of November. From the 4th to the 6th of next month, the XVI Conference of Dissent will take place. That is one of the main events of neo-fascist activism in Spain. This year, the plan is to host guests from Britain, Italy, Belgium and France, senior ultra-leader Juan Antonio Llopart said on Twitter. The location is kept strictly secret.
The same goes for the Nazi writer Pedro Varela. This defender of genocidal ideas was imprisoned and now awaiting trial. Moreover, he has removed from social networks the address of the conference he plans to hold on November 6. He did this after Público warned in an article about the event in which the Nazitivist wants to warn those present about the spread of “miscegenation” in Europe.
This follower of Hitler is also invited to a concert of Nazi groups. This is on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the social centre El Alcázar in Valladolid on November 12. The venue is run by the xenophobic party National Democracy.
Also in Madrid is a performance of National Socialist bands on 19 November. The poster, which is already circulating in neo-Nazi environments, does not give an address.
Law of Democratic Memory
With the Law of Democratic Memory, Spain has responded to international recommendations to adapt the regulations in this regard to the European standard. That is, “the coup of 1936 and the ensuing Civil War and dictatorship is openly rejected and glorification is punished.”