Panel on "The Franco Dictatorship and Historical Memory in Spain"

with: Sandra Alfers (Director of The Ray Wolpow Institute), independent filmmaker Günter Schwaiger, and Alejandro Baer (CHGS Director)
October 22, 2020 - 11:00am

"Breaking the Pact of Forgetting: The Franco Dictatorship and Historical Memory in Spain"

Facilitator: Dr. Sandra Alfers, Founding Director, The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity, Western Washington University.
Panelists: Günter Schwaiger, Independent Filmmaker; Dr. Alejandro Baer, Director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota.

Panelists will engage in a conversation on the memory of the Franco Dictatorship in Spain and on the work of the “Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory” (ARMH), taking as a point of departure the documentary Santa Cruz…por ejemplo (2005). The film will be streaming online for one week prior to the event (October 15-21, 2020). Information on how to view the film for free will be made available to registrants.

Santa Cruz…por ejemplo (in Spanish, with English subtitles)

Director: Günter Schwaiger, 2005

“In 1936, nine residents were murdered by supporters of the band of the dictator Franco. Some of these victims were exhumed, and laid to rest, in 2003 and 2004. The impact of the massacre at that time on the people, and the enormous repression which followed it, leaving its aftermath down to the present time, is portrayed through witnesses and family members, exhumation volunteers and technicians, and the residents themselves of Santa Cruz who, even today, are torn between oblivion, fear and the wish once and for all to heal a wound which has now weighed too long on their memory. This is contrasted with the beauty of the Castilian landscape, in whose soil the pain of many more places with a history similar to that of Santa Cruz lives on.”

This event is organized by the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University in partnership with the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Participants may be interested in familiarizing themselves with the following resources in advance of the session.

This virtual event is free and open to the public. To request a disability accommodation for the webinar, contact Joseph Eggers, Research and Outreach Coordinator, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies,


Günter Schwaiger is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and producer, whose short films and documentaries have shown at national and international film festivals. He has also directed theater and opera. Originally from Salzburg, Austria, Günter Schwaiger lives and works in Madrid, Spain. His films include Santa Cruz, por ejemplo (2005), El Paraíso de Hafner (2007),  Arena (2009),  La Maleta de Marta  (2013) and  Desde que el mundo es mundo  (2015). His first feature film The Diver Inside premiered in 2019, and he is currently working on a new documentary on Adolf Hitler’s birthplace, La Cebolla de Braunau. He is a member of the European Film Academy and the Film Academies of Austria and Spain.  

Dr. Alejandro Baer is Associate Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. After completing his Ph.D. at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, he held positions at universities in Madrid, Bayreuth, and Munich. His current research interests cover transitional justice and memory politics after mass violence, the cultural processing of colonial genocides, and antisemitism, with particular focus on Spain and the Spanish-speaking world. His publications include the books Holocausto. Recuerdo y representación (2006), El testimonio audiovisual. Imagen y memoria del Holocausto (2005) and Memory and Forgetting in the post-Holocaust Era. The Ethics of Never Again” (co-authored with Natan Sznaider, 2017).

Free online film streaming is available October 15 - 21, 2020