Throughout the Spanish Civil War, General Francisco Franco assembled numerous task forces to seize thousands of documents, photographs, prints, and artworks from private citizens and institutions that were politically adverse to his totalitarian regime. The majority of these so-called “Salamanca Papers” were taken from Catalonia, an autonomous community with a particularly contentious history with the Spanish government. Under existing principles of Spanish and international law, it is difficult to determine whether the Spanish State or Catalonia are the bona fide owners of this historical archive. The case over the ownership of the Salamanca Papers is one rarely discussed outside of Spain. However, the disputes over their ownership remains a zealously contested issue between multiple political factions within the country. The purpose of this article is to examine the ongoing dispute over the ownership of the Salamanca Papers from both a national and international perspective. Through a historical and legal examination of this controversy, this article will ultimately reveal the weaknesses in Spain’s legal regime of restitution of cultural property. To that end, this article concludes that countries, like Spain, have both a moral and legal obligation to sustain a meaningful and effective restitution program, specifically after civil armed conflict.
Emily T. Behzadi,
"Spain for the Spaniards": An Examination of the Plunder & Polemic Restitution of the Salamanca Papers,
Geo. Mason Int'l L. J.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.cwsl.edu/fs/331