Some photos taken in 1943 and 1944 of the prisoners of the Modelo jail in Barcelona (Catalonia) being forced to take part in Catholic religious acts in the early years of the fascist national-Catholic dictatorship of Spain led by general Franco.

Thousands of these inmates were political prisoners, taken for having fought against the fascist coup or for their activism before the war. Religion was one of the main pillars of the fascist dictatorship, who saw Catalans and leftists in general (what the fascists called rojo-separatistas: “separatists-reds” in Spanish) as dangerous Godless criminal atheists and radical anti-clericals.

Religion was used as another weapon to punish them by forcing them to take part in Catholic masses and a program of national-Catholic re-education.

Outside of prisons, the Catholic religion was mandatory, too. Everyone had to be baptised and do the catechesis and communion, marry through the church (any previous marriage done outside of the Catholic church was not considered valid and their children legally bastards), the Catholic church had a huge power in the dictatorship’s government and control in education, and influence in the public morale and permitted behaviour.

Photos from the Arxiu Municipal de Barcelona.


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