THE BOMBING OF GUERNICA  ‘Refusing the night the wounds and blows’


The bombing of Guernica (26 April 1937) was an aerial attack on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. It was carried out at the behest of the Spanish nationalist government by its allies, the German air force’s Condor Legion and the Italian Aviazione Legionaria, under the code name: Operation Rügen. The bombing is considered one of the first raids on a defenceless civilian population by a modern air force. The number of victims of the attack is still disputed; the Basque government reported that 1,654 people had died.

The bombing was the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso. It was also depicted in a woodcut by the German artist Heinz Kiwitz, who was later killed fighting in the International Brigades. The bombing shocked and inspired many other artists, including a sculpture by René Iché, one of the first electroacoustic music pieces by Patrick Ascione, of a musical composition by René-Louis Baron and a poem by Paul Eluard (Victory of Guernica). There is also a short film from 1950 by Alain Resnais entitled Guernica

The team contacted the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports in Spain, Gernika-Lumo Town Council and Department for Education, Language Policy and Culture of the Basque Government for cooperation to obtain permission to use materials /ruins from the town of Guernica.