The Spanish Civil War and El Barrio Gótico

Barcelona was one of the cities that sustained the most damage during the bombings of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Instead of targeting military objectives, Mussolini’s air force chose large concentrations of civilians.

One famous example can still be found in the Gothic District, La Església de Sant Felip Neri. During the war, the church was used as a shelter for evacuated children. On Jan. 30, 1938, Franco’s troops dropped a bomb directly in front of the building, killing dozens of children. A second bomb exploded shortly after, increasing the death toll. Scarring from the bombs is still clearly visible on the church’s facade, and a plaque reads, “Here died 42 people – the majority children – due to the actions of Franco’s airforce on the 30th of January 1938.”

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