Guernica: The Facts

Researching for his book on From Guernica to Vietnam, David Irving and his wife visited Guernica on May 11, 1967, and developed archival sources in the Basque city.




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File: Guernica to Vietnam

Note on an Interview with the Mayor (Alcalde) of Guernica, [Augusto Unceta Azpiri] at his office in Guernica, Spain, on 11 May 1967.

THE bombardment of Guernica started at about 4 p.m. on 26 April 1937. Most of the bombs were incendiaries. The aircraft came from Victoria, crossing the mountain called Orz. The bells were rung as a warning, and they rang again before the bombs dropped, and the siren on the Arms Factory sounded. The bombs were dropped from about 4 to about 7.30 p.m. The aircraft were Junkers, about twenty in number. They came over three at a time. A hundred people were killed as a result.

The 26 of April 1937 was a market day, but as people had some presentiment about what was going to happen there was little market activity that day. The Nationalist aircraft were firing with machine guns. The fires in the town started at 7.30 p.m. and lasted two days. Everything was destroyed except la Casa de Juntas, the school and several other houses round that way. In the Hospital 33 died as a result of only one bomb. One part of it was destroyed. Everybody left immediately to the small villages called aldeas or to Bilbao. Some people came back after four days and saw the dead people still in a shelter (refugio): this had been built in a narrow road of pine logs and sandbags (sacs de terreros). Twenty people died in it. They were buried ten or fifteen days later

The people just had no means of defence. The village was 90 per destroyed. As a result of one bomb dropped there was a crater 7 or 8 meters in diameter (an H.E. bomb).

There is no proof that people who lived in the village set fire to the manholes or put bombs in them, after the raid. But one eye-witness who is now Chief of the Archives saw a man spraying some kind of liquid on the ground, and he thought that man might have been starting fires with it. The eye-witness concerned is Sr. Sesmero.

There were 4,000 inhabitants in Guernica at the time. The Communists had wanted to blow up the bridge of Renteria, giving access to Guernica. They dropped three explosive bombs, of which one hit

Renteria and the other on the spot where the Traffic Police were. There were nine planes, Junkers 52. Guernica was a military objective.

[The Chief of Archives of Guernica, Sr Sesmero, told me that he saw someone from the town set fire to mines after the bombardment but he was not sure who it was, or whether that caused the explosion.]


Maria Pilar Irving.



Piers Brendon disputes Mr Irving's account of the 1937 Guernica air raid
David Irving wrote letter to The Daily Telegraph, on April 25, 1987

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