Skip to content

Tag: Medical History

Across the Pyrenees: Medical Care of the Defeated in French and Spanish Concentration Camps and Prisons following the Spanish Civil War

Written by J. Sebastian Browne.

On 26 January 1939, the Catalan capital of Barcelona fell to the advancing troops of General Franco. The occupation of Barcelona was the last major battle of the Spanish Civil War, with the Republic forced into unconditional surrender two months later. The Insurgent offensive against the Republican Army in Catalunya begun on 23 December 1938 prompted the beginning of an exodus that was to result in the flight of 470,000 refugees into France, with the greatest number crossing the frontier in the two weeks that preceded Franco’s closure of the border on 10 February 1939. Republican forces in fact fought a well-organised retreat and much of the army of the Levant passed over into France where it was disarmed and its soldiers incarcerated in concentration camps, with initially little or no shelter or sanitary facilities and treated as prisoners of war.

Leave a Comment

Medicine in Exile after the Spanish Civil War: A Clinical Trial in a French Concentration Camp, 1939-1940


Auscultation of an internee at the Bram Concentration Camp (Aude, France, 1939).
Image courtesy of: ESPAÑA. MINISTERIO DE EDUCACIÓN, CULTURA Y DEPORTE, Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica. Archivo Centelles. Foto.9380

Written by Àlvar Martínez-Vidal and Xavier García-Ferrandis.

In concentration camps organised in France to intern refugees who had fled Spain at the end of the Civil War (February 1939), a number of clinical trials were performed by Catalan doctors in order to provide health assistance to their compatriots in the most rational way possible.

This short paper focuses on one of these human experiments, which combined health care, clinical supervision and scientific research. It was not the only clinical trial of this kind performed in such strange circumstances, but it was the most significant.

Leave a Comment

Education and Detention: Halle (Saale) as an Example of ‘geschlossene Venerologische Stationen’ in East Germany

Written by Florian Steger and Maximilian Schochow   After the Second World War, Russian officials introduced the Soviet healthcare system in the Soviet Occupation Zone (SOZ), which later became the GDR. Orders 25, 30, and 273 of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD), while demanding “to fight people who belong to the German population and suffer from venereal diseases” (VDs), included measures designed to contain the spread of VDs, which were based on the…

Leave a Comment

Dog Dirt, Disgust and 1970s British Health Propaganda

Written by Neil Pemberton. If anyone reading this blog has heard of the disease toxocariasis, it is most likely through anti-excrement campaigns run by local councils to remind dog owners to pick up after their dogs. Toxocariasis is a rare disease caused by accidentally swallowing the microscopic eggs of the canine-borne worm Toxocara canis shed in the faeces of infected dogs, causing – in some cases – blindness and asthma. An embedded ritual within the choreography…

2 Comments