Information:

From 12/07 to 18/07 Memorial closed.

Our medal

Medal with a safety pin, of the Republic Generalitat, with the message “Let’s get ready”

This medal was delivered by the Generalitat to soldiers when they enlisted the army

Presentation

During our childhood in Pujalt we played among the remains of shelters, holes, small mounds of stone… without knowing too much what they represented. When we asked the elderly about this, they replied: “this is from the War, it is better not to talk about it”.

The Spanish Civil War, lasting from 1936 to 1939, was like all wars: a collective tragedy that touched people’s life, hopes and future projects and made them suffer. Therefore, people who born years later, found a dictatorial Spain and lived a Catalonia deprived of its culture and historical rights.

What a few years ago was a dream, an ambitious project for Pujalt, is now a reality.

Those war structures, mountains of stones, shelters in the mountains, … where we played as children and which for someone were simply distant memories of childhood, have been recovered and have become a testimony of the experiences of a generation. These remains are also a tribute to all people that suffered directly from the tragic events that happened between 1936 and 1939.

We invite you to visit the museum facilities of our simulation of the training camp of the XVIII Popular’s Army of Pujalt’s Republic. Walking through the forest you will be immersed in a magnificent landscape and undoubtedly discover a world full of sensations and intense emotions, longing for the family, letters to parents, brothers or the fiancee, unique and little contact many times with the previous life of so many young people. The fear of the unknown, the war, the myth of fighting for ideas, freedom, the Republic, etc so many feelings, so many emotions, etc.

Visiting the camp facilities you will relive a silent world, which was disappeared for many years and that among all we have to keep as the living memory of everything that happened and we do not want to relive ever again.

In this web we propose you to make a virtual walk through these places, to have a first contact with history, spaces, houses, facilities, utensils, letters, memories and the feelings of those who suffered in their skin that unfortunate Civil war. Discover it!

In homage to all men and all women, boys and girls who lived and suffered those tragic moments of our history

Antoni de Solà

Mayor of Pujalt, June 2007

Presentation

Historical introduction

Soldiers

Spring of 1938. Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, reaches its final year. Franco has sunk the front of Aragon, arriving at the Mediterranean Sea through Vinaroz and Alcanar, causing the division of the republican territory in two. The Second Republic government, with the firm and desperate purpose of defending Catalan territory, promotes a big and deep reorganization of the military units that were present in Catalonia.

From April 1938 onwards a new front follow the rivers Ebro, Segre and Noguera Pallaresa from the sea to France’s bordier, with some national bridge heads on the left side of the rivers: Tremp and Balaguer. Demoralization was very present at all levels of the Catalan rearguard.

During the spring of 1938, contingents of the XVIII Popular Army arrived in Pujalt in order to create what would be the INSTRUCTION BASE of this army.

Pujalt inhabitants having electric power, telephone, buildings to be used immediately, etc. supported logistics and organization of the Instruction Base that was been planned as a new military facility. The choice of this emplacement was also due to the proximity of water and a good transport communication, like the road from Cervera to Calaf. Pujalt was halfway between the front (60 km) and the large cities of the Catalan rearguard.

Main facilities (barracks, latrines, underground anti-aircraft shelters, tents, cabinets, kitchens, air defenses, theater, etc) were found in the “Bosc dels Obacs” in “La Muntada” area. The base also had a large and equipped sports area, with a soccer field, athletics track and showers; The laundry were located in the sector of “Tusquella” with a channel of 50 meters; And 2 km. To the southeast, we can found what it was like the firing range that still keeps the white trenches.

It is not known exactly how many soldiers used these facilities; approximately from 8,000 to 10,000 and with a capacity for about 1,200 soldiers.

Soldiers at home

Interpretation center

A new step has been taken in the adaptation and museography of the Base of Instruction of the XVIII Corps of the Pujalt’s Popular Army. From October 10 of 2010 the Interpretation center of the Base of Instruction of the XVIII Corps of the Popular Army is already a reality. It is considered as the best civil war instruction conserved and better condicionted for visitors in Spain.

This project, financed by the Pujalt City Council, the Democratic Memorial, the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Ministry of Interior of Spain gives historical coverage and graphic support to a space already recovered and visitable, such as this camp, but now has a new enriching element.

What will you find in the Interpretation Center of the Base of Instruction of the XVIII Corps of the Popular Army?

The permanent exhibition welcomes visitors and brings the context necessary to understand all that surrounds and meant the Base of Instruction of the XVIII Corps of the Popular Army of Pujalt.

The exhibition is structured in the following sections:

Chronology

A complete chronology puts Pujalt, Catalonia and Spain in the fundamental historical moments in the evolution of the Spanish Civil War.

The why

This exhibition explains the situation in which the Republican Army is taking the decision to build a base of instruction and the reasons to choose Pujalt as a emplacement. Photographs of the spaces of the town that were used like military installations to the service of the Republic complete this section of the exhibition.

Life in the camp

Archaeological campaigns and ex-combatants and neighbors testimonies allowed us to know how life was like in the camp between 1938 and 1939. Inside camp’s life the exhibition goes into military instruction, clothing, hygiene, food and health and the relationship and contact with the family. Images and quantity of material found in the archaeological campaigns and material donated by relatives to Memorial, are exposed in this interpretation center.

Commander

Important and recent findings have clarified who was the commander of the Base of Instruction of the XVIII Corps of Pujalt’s Popular Army. His son, in Jacques, has given invaluable documentation that certifies his father’s command in this base and information that until that moment was unknown. The trajectory of the Commander, Santiago González Artigas, is the trajectory of a man committed and dedicated to the defense of his values. Throught the exhibition you will be able to know the family life of this man and his military service across the colonies of Africa, the Spanish Civil War and the French resistance to the Nazi occupation.

Joan Olivé Porter

Among the new findings there is certainly one especially emotive. Jacques Gonzalez, son of the commander of the base, preserved and donated a notebook of poems from his father, who preserved it during the end of the war, the exile and his stay in France. These poems were written by Joan Olivé Porté, personal secretary of the Commander, inspired by the “Stamps of Castelao”; some critics of Franco’s regime. The exhibition collects all these poems.

Castelao

The Galician artist of the prints in which the poems were inspired also has a space in this exhibition. Each of the prints are reproduced in the exhibition to understand the meaning and magnitude of Joan Olivé’s work.

Chronology

The sequence of events ordered chronologically



			
April 14, 1931

Spain

Proclamation of the 2nd Republic. Republican parties govern

Catalonia

Macià proclaims the Catalan Republic, which became the Generalitat of Catalonia, after reaching an agreement with the State Government

August 1931

Catalonia

Ratification of the “Statute of Núria”

November 1933

Spain

Right-wings parties win elections

Catalonia

Right-wings parties also win in Catalonia

Pujalt

The conservative party wins in Pujalt
October 6, 1934

Spain

“Estatut Català” is suspended by the Spanish Republican government

Catalonia

Lluís Companys declares the Catalan State inside the Republic

October 7, 1934

Catalonia

Lluís Companys was imprisoned and left-wing parties are repressed

February 16, 1936

Spain

The Left-wing Front wins the elections

Catalonia

The Left-wing Front wins the elections

Pujalt

The right-wing party wins
July 17-18, 1936

Spain

Military uprising

Catalonia

Big social and political expectation

19 July 1936

Catalonia

In the morning the revolt begins in Barcelona, which is stopped

Pujalt

Tranquility during these days
July 1936 - 2nd fortnight

Spain

Stabilization of the fronts

Catalonia

Columns of militiamen and religious and political repression march

Pujalt

“Sant Andreu’s” chruch is burnt and a piece of the “Puríssima Concepció” altarpiece was destroyed
From May 3 to 7, 1937

Spain

In May, Francoist offensive in the Northern Front

Catalonia

May Events. Fights in Barcelona between members of the POUM and anarchists by one side and communists and government forces on the other

Pujalt

Basque refugees arrive in Pujalt
May 17, 1937

Spain

Negrin is proclaimed President of the Government

April 3, 1938

Spain

The Francoist army occupies Lleida

Catalonia

Rebels took the power of an area of the Catalan territory

Pujalt

In April the first contingents of soldiers arrive
April 5, 1938

Catalonia

Abolition of the “Estatut d’Autonomia de Catalunya”

Pujalt

Construction begins on the Camp
July 26, 1938

Spain

Republican offensive in Ebro river

Catalonia

The Battle of Ebro begins

Pujalt

The Camp is in full operation and is an important piece in the development of the Battle of Ebro
November 15, 1938

Spain

Farewell to the International Brigades

November 16, 1938

Spain

The end of Battle of Ebro

Catalonia

Republican troops retreat to the left side of Ebro river

Pujalt

Camp continues in full activity
December 23, 1938

Spain

Francoist offensive over Catalonia

Catalonia

The Popular Army tries a dramatic defense

Pujalt

Preparation of the Christmas Festivals in the Camp, with the participation of children of the town
January 15, 1939

Catalonia

The offensive continues in Catalonia

Pujalt

The Camp is evacuated. Franco’s troops are only a few kilometers away. Republican soldiers dismantle the camp and set fire to the barracks. They confiscate cars, mules and horses
January 20, 1939

Catalonia

The Popular Army can not stop the Francoist forces

Pujalt

Francoist troops enter Pujalt
January 26, 1939

Catalonia

Franco’s troops enter Barcelona without resistance

February 10, 1939

Spain

Franco’s headquarters consider the war is over in Catalonia

Catalonia

Franco’s troops control the border with France

April 1, 1939

Spain

End of the war

Photo gallery

www.exercitpopular.org provides a photo gallery of the Memorial where the best images that have ever been captured during the visits will be collected and displayed.

For this reason, you can send them to us through our email: memorialexercitpopular@gmail.com indicating the author’s name, the photograph title and a small sentence of explanation. The photographs will be included, as soon as they arrive, to the photo gallery.

Dining near the fire

Title: Next to the fire

Author: Toni Pont

By the old road, to the Memorial

Title: Let’s go down

Author: Toni Pont

Big assistance in the Sebas’ concert

Title: Listening to republican songs

Author: Miquel Parramon

Different levels of the popular army

Title: A whole army

Author: Miquel Parramon 

After the tour, feel like sitting down for a while

Title: After the visit

Author: Toni Pont 

On the inauguration day, we found them everywhere

Title: Do they stand guard?

Author: Toni Pont

The Red Cross girls were also on the opening day

Title: Wounds

Author: Toni Pont

Sebas, singer-songwriter, delighted us with some trench song

Title: Sebas

Author: Toni Pont

Visit our full photo gallery

News

Be aware of all our news

THE MEMORIAL OF THE POPULAR ARMY GIVES HOMAGE TO THE COMMANDER SANTIAGO GONZÁLEZ ARTIGAS

Last Sunday, October 21, a representative of the MEMORIAL OF THE POPULAR PUJALT ARMY, visited the tomb of the commander Santiago González Artigas in the French town of Idron, next to the city of Pau. During the visit a plaque of honor and (…)

VISIT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF CHILDREN OF SPANISH REPUBLICANS AND CHILDREN OF EXODUS (FFREE) OF ARGELES SUR-MER IN THE MEMORIAL OF PUJALT POPULAR ARMY

Last Friday, October 5, 2012 a significant representation of more than 40 people from the FFREEE association of the northern Catalan population of Argelès Salen Mer visited the facilities of the Memorial of Pujalt’s Popular Army. The tour goes throught all (…)

MULTITUDINARY INAGURATION OF THE RECOVERY OF PUJALT REPUBLICAN CAMP

Around a thousand people attended yesterday the inauguration of the Memorial of Pujalt’s Popular Army, a museum facility simulated from the recovery of the republican camp that in 1938 settled in Pujalt. The act counted on (…)

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Popular Army’s Memorial

In homage to all men and all women, boys and girls who lived and suffered those tragic moments of our history