In conjunction with the Basque exhibit Hidden in Plain Sight at the Sparks Museum & Cultural Center, Dr. Xabier Irujo presents a lecture on the bombing of Gernika. The lecture will be held at 2 p.m. March 26.
The bombing of Gernika took place on April 26, 1937 between 16:20 and 19:40. It was the work of the Condor Legion, a unit of the Luftwaffe led by General Hugo Sperrle in the service of the Francoist Spain. The attack was designed and executed by Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, chief of staff of the said Legion. At least 27 bombers and 32 fighters took part in the bombing: 20% of the aircraft available to general Franco in April 1937. A total of between 31 and 41 tons of explosive and incendiary bombs were dropped from 600 to 800 meters into the city center, an area of 0.4 square miles. 85.22 percent of the buildings were completely destroyed, only 1 percent remained untouched. The Basque Government registered 1,654 deaths. On April 27 Franco ordered to deny that Gernika had been bombed and blamed the Basques of having burned it. That was the official truth for 38 years. Gernika was adopted by the Generalissimo, rebuilt by prisoners of war and sold at public auction.
Xabier Irujo was born in exile in Caracas, Venezuela and is Co-Director of the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. Irujo holds a Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from the University of the Basque Country and a Ph.D in history from the State University of Navarre.