CULTURE

Franco and Himmler, two Visigoths?

Historical sound and light show sparks row and apology

Images of Franco and Himmler projected onto the walls of Guadamur.
Images of Franco and Himmler projected onto the walls of Guadamur.

A sound and light show that included the projection of giant images of General Francisco Franco alongside Nazi henchman Heinrich Himmler has been cancelled after complaints.

The images were shown as part of Lux Gothorum, a celebration of Spain’s Visigoth heritage staged by the local council of Guadamur, a small community some five kilometers southwest of the historic town of Toledo, in central Spain.

They were projected against the medieval walls of Guadamur as part of a spectacle staged on Saturday evening as part of an event to show how Spain recovered the treasure of Guarrazar, a collection of Visigoth gold work sold to France in the late 19th century, explained Sagrario Gutiérrez, the mayor of Guadamar.

The images were shown as part of Lux Gothorum, a celebration of Spain’s Visigoth heritage staged by the local council of Guadamur

The treasure was returned to Spain after France capitulated to Germany in 1940 as part of negotiations between the Franco government and the Vichy regime, which ran half of France for the Germans. “There was no intention to praise anybody involved in the negotiations, nor what they did, nor their governments,” said Gutiérrez.

“I also felt bad when I saw the images,” she added, explaining that the video, which has since been removed from YouTube, was made by two local residents who have helped out with similar events in the past.

The authorities in Toledo have suspended their involvement in the Visigoth heritage week until the matter is cleared up. It is not clear whether offense was caused by showing an image of General Franco, or whether by him being accompanied by Heinrich Himmler.

The Visigoths were a Germanic tribe who created an empire in what is today France, Spain and Portugal after the collapse of the Roman empire in the fourth century, until the seventh century, when the Arabs invaded and occupied much of the region.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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