Moral Compass Guides Tourists

July 25, 2014
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Parador de León, Hostel San Marcos, 16th century convent, political prison during the Spanish Civil War, and now a luxury hotel.

Parador de León, Hostel San Marcos, 16th century convent, political prison during the Spanish Civil War, and now a luxury hotel.

Wilfried Stuckmann and his wife were visiting Spain from Germany when they accidentally discovered that their luxury hotel had been a concentration camp during the Spanish Civil War.

The hotel booking site had given no clue as to the Hostal San Marco’s dark past. It had been touted for its impressive antique furnishings and tapestries, as well as the parador’s history as a the former San Marcos Monastery. No mention was made about the 20,000 Republican militia and political prisoners once held there, or the many deaths at the hands of Franco’s rebel troops that had occurred. The couple made the horrific discovery when they came across historical placards as the wandered in the back of the cloisters.

“We didn’t know anything about this and we were in shock,” Stuckmann told El Diario. “We’d never planned on spending the night in a place like that. All I know about the Spanish Civil War is that it was won by Franco with help from the German Nazis. Therefore, the civil war is part of German history and I always feel the obligation to keep history in mind.”

Mr. Stuckmann also felt obliged to comment with the information on Booking.com, where he had made the reservation. The website never published his comment, and in fact reimbursed him the €396 he had spent on two nights at the hotel in a bid to keep him quiet. The Stuckmanns, however chose to donate the reimbursement to Spain’s Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory and share the story with the media.

Read the full story in The Irish Times here.

 

 

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