Spain, 1936-75 and Adoption

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During and after the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) the Falangists (the Fascists, under General Franco) practiced child theft. Children of Republicans, their political opponents, were stolen from their parents or taken after their parents were executed for political crimes (see also: Argentinian Orphans of the Dirty War). Some had been sent abroad by their parents during the Civil War for protection and were kidnapped by the government and secretly brought back to Spain.

Their parents were considered unfit to have children by virtue of their political beliefs - the same motivation given later, from the opposite side of the political fence, by the communist dictators of the German Democratic Republic. The children were sometimes adopted by politically correct Spaniards, using forged consent papers and false names. Others were placed in closed convents to be raised by nuns. It was not until 1975 and Franco's death that the survivors have been able to try to find their birth families. It is not known how many children were involved, but it is probably in the tens of thousands.


Tremlett, Giles. "Children Stolen by Franco Finally Learn the Truth," Guardian Unlimited, 29 October 2002. Available at:,3604,821233,00.html Torres, Rafael. Desaparecidos de la Guerra de España (1936-?). (2002) Vinyes, Ricard; Armengou, Montse; and Belis, Ricard. Los Niños que Robó Franco. (Málaga: Plaza & Janés, 2002) Armengou, Montse; and Belis, Ricard. "Investigación: Los Niños que Robó Franco," El Mundo: Crónica, no. 357, 18 August 2002. Also available at: