By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - Ahead of a major Spanish-German summit this week, Spain's Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) is asking for the German government to apologize and pay reparations for the Nazi activity in Spain.
"Nazi participation in the Spanish Civil War caused thousands of deaths in our country and allowed the coup plotters in 1936 to subdue the country through terrible violence, leading to the first fascist military victory in Europe," the association said in an official letter to the Spanish government on Monday.
During the Spanish Civil War, Nazis helped carry out the bombing of Guernica — one of the first aerial raids on civilians — and supported Franco's nationalist faction with weapons and ammunition.
Spanish dictator Francisco Franco also deported 9,700 Spanish republican fighters to Nazi concentration camps, according to the ARMH.
The ARMH collects testimonies about fascist crimes in Spain, and its team of archaeologists and volunteers continues unearthing mass graves across the country.
The association asked Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to "negotiate" a "symbolic act of reparation" with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who will be in Spain this week for the first bilateral summit in seven years.
For the ARMH, this would include an apology for Nazi involvement in Spain and material reparation that would be used to build monuments and fund research related to Nazi activity in the country.
"No Spanish government has assessed these damages, but it must be done," said ARMH President Emilio Silva. "Germany owes us reparations beyond a gesture in Gernika. It has done so in other European countries and we aren't second-class citizens, as if the pain caused in Spain by Germany didn't have any consequences."
Sanchez has yet to comment on ARMH's request, but the main focus of his meeting with the German chancellor is set to be the Russia-Ukraine war, and how it has disrupted the continent's energy supply.
Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Nadia Calvino has said that the government hopes to convince Germany to drop its opposition to a European cap on gas prices.