Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)


Chronology of the War


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Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


Residencias. Los mejores hoteles son habilitados para residencia de los niños refugiados

[Homes. The best hotels are turned into homes for refugee children.]. . Ministerio de Instrucción Pública Poster, 3 colors; 99 x 68 cm

Within the first year of the conflict, the growing numbers of refugees increasingly attracted the attention of the Republican government as it faced refugees from Nationalist Spain as well as the territories lost to the expanding power of Franco's armies. Children, as a specific subpopulation within the refugees, received special attention by the Republican government and its Ministries. This poster is clearly a product of the Republican government's attempts to provide support for children during the war. In this case, the poster appears almost to be an advertisement for the homes for children.

In the smaller text, the poster claims that children will experience "a healthy life" and "fresh air" and will receive "professional preparation." Finally, the text states that the children will be given motherly love and attention. These phrases attempts to assuage any fears or reservations parents might have about children in these homes. The poster may even be attempting to get their parents to put their children in these types of residences. In some cases, parents did voluntarily place their children in these sorts of government-supported living situations for children.

According to a 1937 pamphlet, entitled Children's Colonies, the organization of children's colonies, which were homes or communities for refugee or orphaned children, began in January of 1937. The authors of the pamphlet insist that colonies must have a homelike atmosphere and they describe the colonies as "real children's homes in every sense of the word." In a decree from June 28, 1937, the Ministry of Public Education and Health assumed control of the colonies and established the Committee on Colonies (later renamed the National Council for Evacuated Children), which supervised administrative and pedagogical regulations. To be eligible to live in a colony, a child "must be of school, evacuated from a rebel or war zone."

The National Council for Evacuated Children employed two main systems for the organization of the colonies. In the collective form of organization, the children lived together in one house or, in some cases, a hotel. The collective colony was structured to encourage children to actively participate in the maintenance of the colony. According the 1937 Children's Colonies pamphlet, the idea was to instill "a deep sense of cooperation" in the children. Many viewed the children as the future of Republican Spain and hoped that the relief efforts for children could teach them Republican values as well as provide them with food and shelter. In the case of collective colonies, the emphasis on cooperation would have prepared the children well for the future positions as adults working in the agricultural and industrial collectives that the Republican government and the unions were forming at the time. In the collective colonies, a director and a group of teachers supervised the children in their collective colony. Each teacher was ideally responsible for 25-50 children and the teacher as well as instructing them would stay with the children all day long including meals. In fact, the regulations for colonies formulated by the National Council for Evacuated Children suggested that teacher should take advantage to instruct children including "meal-times when it is easy to find ways of influencing the personal and social habits."

The other main system was the family organization. The Children's Colonies pamphlet is less clear on how this system worked in comparison to its detailed regulations for the collective colonies. In the family system, it seems that the children lived with families rather than all together in one place. However, a teacher was still responsible for 40-50 children and the National Council for Evacuated Children recommended that teachers regularly check on the children at the homes of their adopted families. From the pamphlet, it appears that the National Council for Evacuated Children favored the collective colony over the family colony.

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