Málaga’s Regional Hospital may be forced to return to its former name following a ruling in a Madrid court during January.  Formerly named Hospital Carlos de Haya, it bore the name of a Spanish air force pilot active during the Franco era.

Following government directives to remove Francoist references based on the Law of Historical Memory, Madrid’s city council has changed the name of calle del Capitán Haya to calle Joan Maragall in honour, instead, of the Catalan poet.  However, this was challenged the family of Carlos de Haya and the case was heard by a litigation court in the city last month.

It ruled that the renaming was “subjective and capricious,” and was “not supported by “certain documents” or subjected to “detailed analysis.”  The finding also found that the family had produced enough evidence to show that Captain de Haya had, “accumulated sufficient merit, before the start of the Civil War, which deserved to be considered.”

De Haya’s family say he was appointed Captain in 1932 and trained pilots at schools in Alcala de Henares and Cuatro Vientos, during which time he broke several speed and distance records and received two prestigious awards.  However. Madrid’s city council claim he was Franco’s personal pilot and took part in more than 300 acts of war against the Spanish Republic.  Some historians claim these include the Nationalist attack on Málaga in 1937, as well as the attacks on those fleeing to Almería to escape the fighting.

The court order to reverse the name change in Madrid, which can be appealed by the city, came with advice to de Haya’s relatives to revisit the procedure used in 2013 to change the name of the Málaga hospital which bore his name.  The family said, “We are very happy and satisfied,” adding, “There have been many lies told about our father, some of which have hurt us a lot.”