Marina Ginesta, dead at 94

I don’t get all that much traffic on this site, but by far the most popular post I’ve made was a photograph of Marina Ginesta, a member of a youth communist group in Second Spanish Republic-era Barcelona. Much like the Mona Lisa, I feel Ginesta’s expression is complex and changes each time you look on it. More than any other image, I feel Ginesta embodies the leftist spirit before and during the Civil War. It was a time of great progress, great violence, and crushing defeat. But through this picture you’re transported back to 1936. The war isn’t lost. There is still room for optimism.


According to an obituary posted in Spanish,  Marina Ginesta has just died at the age of 94. She had lived much of her later life in France. Who knows how many friends and comrades she had that did not live into old age.

Marina Ginestà; Barcelona, 1936

Marina Ginestà; Barcelona, 1936

Last week I read a friend’s history thesis, about anarchist guerrillas in Catalonia after Franco won the civil war. Marina, who was part of a youth communist militia (the Juventudes Comunistas), has that subtle confidence that I read about, that makes the Second Spanish Republic such an interesting and unusual period in history.

As of 2008, Marina was still alive, having lived well into old age. Many young women such as her were killed in the fighting.