The exhibition was inaugurated by Jesús Majada (L), and the councillor for Culture, E. Pablo Centella (C). / Sur

Benalmádena marks the 85th anniversary of one of the most horrific events of the Spanish Civil War

An exhibition titled Retornos de la Desbandá focuses on photographs taken by Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor who helped around 10,000 people flee Malaga as Franco’s troops entered the city

TONY BRYANT

In order to mark the 85th anniversary of one of the most horrific events of the Spanish Civil War, Benalmádena town hall is hosting a new photographic, painting and sculpture exhibition at the Centro de Exposiciones in Avenida Antonio Machado.

Retornos de la Desbandá focuses on the photographs taken by Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor who helped around 10,000 people who were forced to flee Malaga as Franco’s troops entered the city in February 1937.

Hundreds of people were massacred as the city was attacked by land, air, and sea while trying to escape along the N-340 coastal road connecting Malaga to the city of Almería.

The exhibition was inaugurated by curator Jesús Majada, and the councillor for Culture, E. Pablo Centella, who said the exhibition remembers the memory of one of the “most tragic and barbaric events of the Civil War”.

“In Spain we began to see the cruelty which would later shake the rest of Europe during the Second World War. Even in war there are rules, limits that should never be exceeded, but on the Malaga-Almeria road, these were all exceeded,” Centella said.

The councillor also explained that the roundabout located on the junction of Avenida de la Constitución and Avenida Federico García Lorca would be named in honour of Bethune, a member of the Canadian communist party who was responsible for developing a mobile blood-transfusion unit during the Spanish conflict.

The Malaga to Almeria road massacre serves as a dark reminder of the political, economic, social and religious unrest that plagued Spain during the first half of 20th century.

The exhibition, which is free, runs until 22 May and can be visited Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 1.30pm, and from 5pm until 7.30pm.