Nations must never forget their past in order to build their future. This article about the solidarity shown by individuals and organizations based in Scotland, Wales and England for the children of Euskal Herria is something that we can never forget. This article regarding the operation that saved thousands of youngsters from Fascism comes to us courtesy of EITb:
Southampton commemorates anniversary of Gernika children's arrival
Nearly 4,000 refugee children arrived in Southampton in May 1937 aboard the steamship Habana, while the Basque region was being attacked by General Franco and his German allies during the Spanish Civil War.
Basque children who 70 years ago fled Nazi bombs to find sanctuary in Britain are to be reunited in Southampton on Saturday 26 May.
Nearly 4,000 refugee children arrived in Southampton in May 1937 aboard the steamship Habana. It sailed from Bilbao with a Royal Navy escort while the Basque region was being attacked by General Franco and his Nazi German allies during the Spanish Civil War.
The arrival of the Habana on 23 May 1937 remains to this day the largest ever single influx of refugees into Britain. The town of Gernika had been destroyed by Hitler’s Condor Legion only a few weeks earlier. The bombing sparked a public outcry that persuaded a reluctant British government to accept the refugees, who were cared for entirely by volunteers.
This year's commemoration at the Southampton Solent University Conference Centre will be attended by surviving refugee children who settled in Britain along with several of the children who returned home. Some of those travelling from the Basque Country will retrace their voyage of 70 years ago by crossing the Bay of Biscay by ferry.
The commemoration will be attended by representatives of the Spanish government and the Basque regional government, as well as by local MPs and dignitaries and the children and grandchildren of the refugees. A plaque recording the anniversary will be unveiled by the representative of the Spanish government.
The event is being organised by the Basque Children of ’37 Association UK, a charity run by the children and their descendants. The commemoration begins at 11am at the Southampton Solent University Conference Centre (157-187 Above Bar Street, Southampton SO14 7NN).
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