European HerStory: Marina Ginestà

, by Rafael Silva

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

European HerStory: Marina Ginestà
A famous photo of Marina Ginesta overlooking Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War. Photo credit: Jared Enos.

History is not merely a question of fact but of how it is recorded and how we interpret it. What is remembered, and how we remember it, is shaped by our socially constructed understandings of the world as it was at the time and as we know it today.

With the feminine history of our continent often sold short under the weight of enduring patriarchal structures, women’s contributions to science, art, politics and beyond are often at best overshadowed or at worst forgotten.

The following article is part of our fortnight-long feature, “European HerStory”, during which we are presenting inspiring stories of women who have contributed to Europe. With this feature, we hope to help rectify the imbalance stemming from our collective prism of history, and inform ourselves and our readers about female achievements and innovations.

You can read the full presentation of the feature here.

Marina Ginestà, born in France to a Spanish working-class family, moved to Barcelona with her parents where she joined the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia.

When the Spanish Civil War started, Ginestà became a translator to a correspondent of Pravda, a Soviet newspaper. She later fled to France but, when the Nazis came, she was forced to flee once more. This time, to the Dominican Republic where she got married. Persecuted by the Dominican Dictator, Marina Ginestà fled, for the third time, and went back to Barcelona. In 1978, she moved to Paris, where she died at age 94 in 2014.

Ginestà became famous because of a photograph taken when she was 17 years old, where she can be seen posing on top of a building with a rifle during the Spanish Civil War.

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