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I have always been puzzled by the relationship between memory and history. Many times I have witnessed a conflict in which each side has a completely different recollection of the events that brought them to that moment, and in some cases, the memory of the whole conflict remains contradictory even after both sides have made each other aware of these differences. How then, would someone other than the witnesses decide which version of the story would remain as factual information in its history?

My grandfather fled Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Mexico gave refugee to him and about 30,000 more Republican exiles. Many are the tales and many are the views about this period of Spanish history, yet my grandfather’s account has always fascinated
me, for he happened to be involved in a couple of crucial episodes of the Basque struggle and migration to Mexico at the time. As he says in his own words “No one can deny the stories that he has told”, and indeed, he is gifted with an impressive memory for his 94 years of age and most dates and historical reference match at least the Basque version of this moment in history. Yet, his anecdotes are so fantastic, so embellished, that for those of us who have lived in constant interaction with other Civil War refugees, scepticism usually acts as the catalyst to classify his stories as personal fantasy rather than historical data.

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