On August 24th, 1944, Paris saw the end of four years of Nazi occupation, in one of the key moments that marked the beginning of Hitler's defeat in World War II. Today, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the French capital is being celebrated and the Spanish government decided to tweet a message in connection with the exiled Spanish Republicans who had an important part in the struggle to re-take Paris. The Twitter account of Spain's Ministry of Justice sent a message paying tribute to the soldiers of La Nueve, as the Spanish company was popularly known, for the role they played in the defeat of Hitler. The Spanish government tweet also refers to Spain as a country which had "a crucial role" in ending the Third Reich.
España tuvo un papel crucial en la liberación de @Paris hace 75 años. Los soldados españoles de #LaNueve fueron los primeros en entrar en #París y su contribución a este hecho histórico fue fundamental #LiberationdeParis🇫🇷@MAECgob @EspanaGlobal @EmbEspFrancia pic.twitter.com/1jxVFFQgfO— Ministerio Justicia (@justiciagob) August 23, 2019
"Spain played a crucial role in the liberation of @Paris 75 years ago. The #LaNueve Spanish soldiers were the first to enter # Paris and their contribution to this historical event was fundamental." — Spanish Ministry of Justice
This tweet did not go precisely unnoticed among Catalan politicians. In fact, many commented on it, including Catalan president Quim Torra, who recalled the support Franco's government gave to Hitler at the time.
Lamento haver de precisar que el paper espanyol a la II GM fou l’enviament de milers de soldats de la División Azul a lluitar al costat de Hitler (1941-1943). Els soldats republicans de La Nueve continuaven lluitant precisament contra el feixisme i l’Espanya del dictador Franco. https://t.co/Qk7qPrnj7Q— Quim Torra i Pla (@QuimTorraiPla) August 24, 2019
"I am sorry to have to point out that the Spanish role in WWII was to send thousands of soldiers of the Blue Division to fight alongside Hitler (1941-1943). The Republican soldiers of La Nueve carried on fighting precisely against fascism and against the Spain of the dictator Franco." — Quim Torra, Catalan president
Torra was not the only one who criticized the Spanish government's lack of historical rigor. ERC deputy Gabriel Rufián and former CUP party deputy Mireia Boya were among those who replied to the Spanish government message.
Y si hubieran vuelto los hubieran fusilado y enterrado en una cuneta sin nombre con otros 100.000 que 80 años después aún siguen ahí.— Gabriel Rufián (@gabrielrufian) August 24, 2019
Un poco de rigor por favor.https://t.co/3qX3WLiHuZ
"And if they had returned they would have been shot and buried anonymously in some ditch along with 100,000 others who, 80 years later, are still there.
A little rigor please." — Gabriel Rufián, ERC deputy
Mesos després, guerrillers de #LaNueve entraven per l'Aran en l'anomenada operació reconquesta d'Espanya per intentar enderrocar la dictadura franquista que els havia portat a l'exili. Blanquejar la història republicana des de la mentida és allò que fa el @justiciagob https://t.co/MnmPeswIwf— Mireia Boya Busquet (@yeyaboya) August 24, 2019
"Months later, the guerrillas of #LaNueve entered the Vall d'Aran [in the Catalan Pyrenees] in the so-called Operation Reconquest of Spain to try to overthrow the Franco dictatorship that had driven them to exile. Whitewashing the history of the Spanish Republic with lies is what the Spanish Ministry of Justice is doing." — Mireia Boya, former CUP deputy
Quin cara més dura. https://t.co/g7RIPqCvUY— Eduard Voltas (@eduardvoltas) August 24, 2019
"How shameless." — Eduard Voltas, journalist
Manipulando la historia para seguir blanqueando el franquismo y su herencia viva, para seguir menospreciando y silenciando el republicanismo. Esta es una mentira que por ser oficial multiplica su gravedad. Exige rectificación immediata @sanchezcastejon https://t.co/ocWc7aXjbh— Dolors Sabater Puig (@mariadolorsa) August 24, 2019
"Manipulating the story to continue whitewashing the Franco regime and its ongoing legacy, to continue to depricate and silence Republicanism. This is a lie, and coming from an official source, its seriousness is multiplied. Demand an immediate rectification, Pedro Sánchez. — Dolors Sabater Puig, former mayor of Badalona
This is the not the only current controversy relating to the Spanish government's interpretation of historical events. On Friday, the Spanish embassy in Latvia issued a tweet to commemorate the 1989 'Baltic Way' protest against the USSR's occupation of the Baltic countries. It stated that the protest was about the "unity of the Baltic people" and their desire to "become part of Europe". Again, there were many Twitter responses to this:
Es preocupante que @desdelamoncloa se permita falsear la historia de los países bálticos. La cadena humana se formó para independizarse de la URSS, como la Vía Catalana de 2013 respecto de España. La verdad siempre incomoda a los nacionalistas de Estado. #FakeNewsSpain https://t.co/CCB8svQ0IR— Càtedra UB Josep Termes (@CatedraTermes) August 24, 2019
"It is worrying that the Spanish government allows the history of the Baltic countries to be distorted. The human chain was formed to become independent from the USSR, like the Vía Catalana 2013 with respect to Spain. The truth always bothers the State nationalists." — Josep Termes, history professor, University of Barcelona
While Spain was under Francisco Franco's dictatorship, 75 years ago, the 160 men of La Nueve company, mostly Spanish, were the first to reach Paris's Hôtel del Ville, the city hall, fighting in the streets and alongside the people of Paris who had risen up against Hitler's troops. Many of the members of La Nueve had lost the civil war in Spain and had come to France after managing to get out of terrible concentration camps in North Africa.