The documentary is based on the European project "Lessons for the present: Rotspanier, Spanish forced laborers in World War II. The European (dis)memory of anti-Fascism", led by a research group from the URV
The documentary Rotspanier, los esclavos españoles del nazismo (Rotspanier, the Spanish slaves of Nazism) has won the Lorca Award for documentaries at the Granada Film Festival. Produced by the journalist Rafael Guerrero, the documentary describes the situation of the 70,000 Spaniards who worked as forced labour in Nazi Germany-occupied France during the Second World War. It uses archive images, witness reports and analysis by historians’ to look back on the odyssey of what the German Nazis called Rotspanier in the concentration camps. The content of the documentary comes from the European project “Lessons for the present: Rotspanier, Spanish forced laborers in World War II. The European (dis)memory of anti-Fascism”, led by the URV’s Centre for Studies on Social Conflict (CECOS) and with the participation of partners from Spain, Germany and France.
The aim of the co-production is to do justice to the memory of the so-called Rotspanier and demand that they be recognised. In fact, Guerrero says that “historical memory is a way of doing justice to victims”, which is precisely what the documentary “attempts to do after two years of research and pre-production work”. The Festival was held in the Manuel de Falla Auditorium, in Granada, from 11 to 18 November.
The work is an exercise in documentary research and the recovery of the life history of these workers, which has been subsidised by the European Union as part of the Europe for Citizens programme. In fact, the exhibition, which opened in 2022, was presented by the URV at the beginning of the year at the European Parliament in Brussels, together with the documentary, and has already toured several municipalities in Catalonia, Spain, Germany and France.