Following years of legal battles, relatives of Francisco Franco have vacated a 19th century palace in Galicia.  The dictator’s grandson described the seizure of the property by the government a “circus.”

In 1938 during Spain’s Civil War, the Nationalist faction in Galicia raised the money to buy the property known as Pazo de Meirás by creating a forced subscription which obliged local workers, business and authorities to donate cash.  The building was gifted to Franco in 1941, and his heirs have always asserted that he formally purchased the property three years later, a claim which has been hotly disputed.

In 2018, Franco’s family attempted to sell the property for €8 million sparking public outrage, and the efforts of President Pedro Sánchez to seize it for the State were rejected.  However, this year a court ruled that Franco had never purchased the Pazo de Meirás which he used as his summer residence and that it belongs to the State.  His family was ordered to hand it over, although they have the right to appeal.

Spain finally took possession of the building on December 10 and the government promised to open it to the public to “tell the truth of Franco’s passage through it.”  It will also commemorate the work of a former owner, the novelist and prominent feminist, Emilia Pardo Bazán.