Between 1939 and the 1990s a great number of children and newborns disappeared from women’s prisons, maternity wards and public and private hospitals in Spain.
Stolen Motherhoods is a digital archive that gathers testimonies from victims of this crime, along with relevant documents the victims have procured with considerable personal and financial effort. Besides furthering an interdisciplinary understanding of this chapter of our recent past, the goal of this site is to gather information about specific cases and bring them to light. Stolen Motherhoods is a work in progress that will continue adding cases and content to facilitate the investigation of this crime in all its dimensions.
The preparation of these cases for the archive has been a process of close collaboration between Borrachero Mendívil and the victims, on the one hand, and Borrachero Mendívil and the Render team, on the other hand (Juan Francisco Onielfa Veneros and Alejandro Peña Carbonell). The classification, description and annotation of the victims’ testimonies and specific documents would have not been possible without the experience and detailed knowledge they, the victims, have acquired throughout the difficult process of searching for their loved ones. Render has created an interactive digital site in which the visitor becomes a researcher just like the victims. Pedro Lange-Churión made the documentary photographs and the victims portraits that illustrate the testimonies for the exhibit Duerma en ti (Centro del Carmen, Valencia, 12 de marzo-2 de junio, 2019).
This digital archive makes possible a thorough understanding of the victims’ individual experiences, and allows the visitor to connect the events common to all victims: birth and disappearance of babies, awareness of the disappearance, bureaucratic processes underlying their searches, legal appeals, and political and social activism.
Upon the victims’ request, we have redacted names, signatures and other information incriminating persons presumptively implicated in these disappearances. We follow academic protocols of safety, custody and confidentiality in keeping the non-redacted versions of the documents.
Stolen Motherhoods is the second project of Women and Memory, a digital space created to host projects and initiatives that bring together and bring to light the historical memory of Spanish women in the 20th century.