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War children exiled to the United Kingdom in 1937 were honored in Southampton

05/15/2012

Survivors of the group of children of war refugees exiled to the United Kingdom during the tribute in Southampton (photo Irekia)
Survivors of the group of children of war refugees exiled to the United Kingdom during the tribute in Southampton (photo Irekia)

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They arrived in England for the first time 75 years ago, alone and afraid, after leaving their parents behind in the middle of the War of 1937. Last weekend, a large number of those still remaining returned to gather in Southampton where the association Basque Children of ’37 and the Basque Government honored them on the anniversary of their exile that changed their lives. The event was attended by Basque Government representatives lead by the Speaker and Minister of Justice Idoia Mendia as well as the Secretary General of Foreign Affairs, Guillermo Echenique.

Southampton, England.  May 23 will mark seventy five years since the “Havana” left Santurtzi and arrived at the port of Southampton with nearly 4,000 Basque children aboard.  These children, war refugees, came to England with what they had on, leaving their families and the life that they knew behind. 

Last weekend, a large number of these children, now of an advanced age, gathered in Southampton, where they were honored by the Basque Children of ’37 association as well as by the Basque Government and the University of Southampton. 

UK Children of 37 (2)

[Thirty survivors of that group of children reunited at the tribute at Southampton (photo Irekia)]

The association Basque Children of ’37 was founded in 2002 aiming to recover the historical memory and offer cultural and social activities.  To this end, the association has given its archives to the University of Southampton that includes official documents, oral histories, songs and drawings.  The material will now become part of the holdings of the Hartley Library at the university. 

The awards ceremony and the official tribute were celebrated with great emotion and excitement on the part of the survivors of the group and their families that wouldn’t miss the anniversary.  The event was attended by a notable Basque institutional representation, headed by the Speaker of the Basque Government and Minister of Justice and Public Administration, Idoia Mendia along with the Secretary General of Foreign Affairs, Guillermo Echenique, and the director of Human Rights, Inés Ibáñez de Maeztu.

UK Basque Children of 37

[The Basque delegation visiting the exhibit “Here, Look after him: Refugee children from the Spanish Civil War” at the University of Southampton (photo Irekia)]

 



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