Franco’s Prison (1940-1998): ‘Carabanchel – La Otra Orilla’ and ‘Goodbye Carabanchel’ (see FILMS)

CARABANCHEL PRISON (Prisión Provincial de Madrid), one of the largest and most notorious prisons in Europe until its closure in 1998, was built between 1940 and 1944 by the slave labour of Franco’s political prisoners. Over the years untold numbers of Franco’s political prisoners were executed here, either by firing squad or by garrotte-vil. The layout followed the panopticon model devised by Liberal reformist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. During the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) and the subsequent ‘Bunker’ period (1975-1981) when Francoists continued to wield overt political power, the prison hosted a large community of political prisoners. Since then, until its closure, only common criminals  on remand and members of the Basque separatist group ETA and other paramilitary groups remained behind its walls. Although the documentary Franco’s Prison – or La Otra Orilla (see FILMS above) was made (by Adolfo Garijo) sometime in the 1990s, the place hadn’t changed much, structurally anyway, since the 1940s. The final TV news footage – Goodbye Carabanchel – shows the prison’s demolition in October 2008.