Voices After the Bombs

Gernika: Voices After The Bombs PosterThe bombing of cities and civilians during wartime has been a constant of history even before planes became war guns. On April 26th, 1937, Gernika, the sacred city of Basque People, was destroyed and more than 2,000 people were killed by the action of the Nazi Luftwaffe and the Italian Air Force, acting under Francisco Franco’s command.

The bombing of Gernika was one of the first actions of the Condor Legion, a real-life training for the Nazi’s Blitzkrieg. The methods developed by this unit served as a model for the bombings by Luftwaffe during the Second World War.

Eighty years after this event, the voices of those who witnessed the destruction of Gernika should remind us that suffering is real, and children die under these horrific bombs. Even today, in recent times, we continue to see images of screaming and crying people on social media and television. These bombings continue to impact the lives of people around the world.

The Jon Bilbao Basque Library is hosting the exhibit Gernika: Voices after the Bombs. Its goal is precisely to give voice to whose who suffered the bombing and its aftermath. The exhibit comprises a selection of six witnesses testimonials about the pain experienced by Gernika's inhabitants. These testimonials have been translated into English, audio-recorded, and complemented with a mural of pictures of the ruins of Gernika.

Gernika: Voices after the Bombs graphic of wall and destruction.

The exhibit has been developed by Xabier Irujo, from the Center for Basque Studies, Iñaki Arrieta Baro and Shannon Sisco, both from the Basque Library. They had the support of Mikel Amuriza, Edurne Arostegui, Daniel Fergus, Jill Stockton, Kathleen Szawiola, Irati Urkitza-Ansoleaga, Kyle Weerheim, and Joseba Zulaika in translations, marketing, and multimedia development.

Video: Gernika Testimonials

Listen to the testimonials of Gernika survivors. Transcripts of their testimony available in Basque, English, and Spanish are available via the links to the left of your screen.

  • A woman walks through the ruins of Gernika.
  • The destruction of the city was almost complete.
  • A street of Gernika after the bombing.
  • A street of Gernika after the bombing.
  • The church of San Juan after the bombing.
  • The walls of the church of San Juan remained on foot, but not the roof.
  • Basque refugees fleeing from the bombings in Bizkaia.

Page Credits

Exhibit coordination

Iñaki Arrieta Baro, Basque Librarian


Xabier Irujo, William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies
Iñaki Arrieta Baro and Shannon Sisco, Jon Bilbao Basque Library

Original testimonials

Iñaki Rezabal
Mercedes Irala
Sabin Apraiz
Francisca Arriaga
Collected by William Smallwood

Testimonials translations

Irati Urkitza Ansoleaga
Edurne Arostegui


Mikel Amuriza
Iñaki Arrieta Baro
Shannon Sisco
Irati Urkitza Ansoleaga
Joseba Zulaika

Marketing and communications

Jill Stockton

Graphic design

Kathleen Szawiola


Daniel Fergus, Digital Media Manager
Post-production by
Irati Urkitza Ansoleaga
Kyle Weerheim, Multimedia Production Manager

Images from the Jon Bilbao Basque Library
Produced 2017 by Jon Bilbao Basque Library