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The subject of my doctoral dissertation is the abduction and illegal adoptions of children of Republican parents during the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) and the continued struggle of thousands to acknowledge and resolve this violation by the current Spanish leadership. While my primary focus is the Franco regime, my research has the potential to impact and support the efforts of thousands of women across the globe who have been violated similarly in places like Ireland, Argentina, Serbia, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand, South Africa and Australia. Tragically, the abuse inflicted to women and children has no boundaries. The goal of this project is to help shed light upon both the historical atrocities perpetrated during the Franco Regime and the official denial, indifference and inaction of the current government in Spain today towards these victims and their survivors. At a global level, it can embolden victims in other countries to share their stories without fear of denial or outright dismissal. Like all dictators, General Franco refused to tolerate any dissidence or opposition. He crushed any such dissent through executions and imprisonment. Many of those executed or imprisoned were mothers with small children or pregnant women. They were deemed to be “unfit” to raise children due to their real or perceived lack of support for Franco’s regime. His goal was to separate children from parents with different beliefs and to reeducate them. These children were then illegally put up for adoption and placed with “proper” Francoist supporters. Franco and his sycophants believed that this would allow the children to be reformed and indoctrinated to become adults with acceptable Nationalist-Catholic beliefs and ideology supportive of Franco. Many babies were taken directly from their mothers at birth, told the baby was dead and sold to politically preferred families. This deceitful, ruthless and illegal activity continued well into the 1990s during democracy. What started as a way of eliminating opposing ideologies and ensuring repression evolved into a very lucrative business, supported and encouraged by members of the church, doctors and judges who became personally wealthy as a result. As part of my research, I conducted interviews with the mothers whose babies were taken from them, and with the babies, now adults, who are desperately seeking answers about their true identity and biological family. This topic has only recently emerged into the mainstream consciousness and discourse. Since there is not a Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up in Spain to make this information accessible to the public, my research, which consists in large part of on-site research and participative interviews, will help develop and share an accurate and more fully nuanced portrait of the current struggle for resolution by its victims in Spain and everywhere that women fight this same struggle for justice and truth.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Brenda Cappuccio, Professor Co-Directing Dissertation; Delia Poey, Professor Co-Directing Dissertation; Virgil Suárez, University Representative; Juan Carlos Galeano, Committee Member.
Florida State University
Lencina, M. (2019). Giving Voice to the Voiceless: Testimonies of Stolen Babies' Victims during the Francoist Dictatorship and Democracy. Retrieved from http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/2019_Spring_Lencina_fsu_0071E_15051