In October 1937, after the Basque Country had fallen into Francoist hands, the Basque Government took over this building in Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia. This provided the base for important work receiving Basque refugees who arrived in Catalonia during Civil War.
A few months after the start of the Civil War, in November 1936, a Basque Government delegation took up office in Barcelona, firstly in Carrer de València and, two months later, in this building in Passeig de Gràcia. Basque refugees had been arriving in Catalonia since the outbreak of the war, but the biggest exodus began on 23 August 1937, when Franco’s campaign in the central northern part of the Peninsula ended.
Soon after, in October 1937, the transfer of the entire Basque Government, led by President José Antonio Aguirre, was approved, and the Basque authorities arrived in the Catalan capital the following month. From its new site, the Basque Government centred particularly on the work of such departments as Social Assistance, which provided accommodation for Basque refugees in Catalonia, opened hospitals to attend to them and managed food distribution. Moreover, the Department of Labour organised workshops, which focused, particularly, on war industry and were run, in the main, by women. Basque culture was also promoted through magazines and Basque Government publications. A chapel was even established in the Palau Maldà in Carrer del Pi to enable the Basque refugees, many of them devout Catholics, to take Mass in a Barcelona where religion had been excluded from public life.
On 5 February 1939, as Franco’s troops occupied Barcelona, President Aguirre crossed the French border with the President de Catalonia, Lluís Companys. From then on, the Basque Government continued to exist in exile.
Address: 60, Passeig de Gràcia || Coordinates: (LAT, LONG): 41.392582965, 2.164601153