Topic 5
The memory of ladies


Cinéma Le Meliès (Montreuil)


Thursday, October the 25th 8:45 p.m.

In 2016, a class of the French Lycée of Madrid accompanied by two teachers, prepared as part of the “Portraits d’Europe Project” initiated by the European Union and the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) an educational project around the documentary Las Mamas Belgas retracing the story of a group of ladies from Antwerp in Spain. The latter, mostly from Polish Jewish immigration, socialists and communists, went to work as nurses in Onteniente Hospital (near Valencia). This singular memorial subject, envisaged and prepared by a class of French students in Madrid four generations later, seemed to us to deserve a special place in this colloquium, especially for its resonance and the questions it raises in relation to contemporary transnational engagements.






8 :45 p.m.

Film screening s : 


Las Mamas Belgas (The Belgian Mommies), 27 mn, Spain, 2016

For the first time in France, the beautiful documentary produced by Sven Tuytens for Belgian and Spanish TV will be screened.This film highlights the history of the republican hospital of Onteniente which was founded by the Belgian socialist labor movement. The staff was provided by about twenty Jewish volunteer nurses from Antwerp and Brussels nicknamed by the Spanish the “Belgian mothers”.

Résister au tyran, 33 mn, France-Espagne, 2016

As part of the Portraits d’Europe project initiated by the AEFE, a third year class from the French High school in Madrid imagined an educational project based on the film Las Mamas Belgas, both a work of history, of memory but also of a great news. The class made an exhibition and a documentary on memory and the contemporary echo of these other girls, four generations before them. The screening will include the presences of the literature, history and geography teachers of the class.


9 :45 p.m.

Round table : The memory of ladies

Discussion led by :  Eva TOUBOUL-TARDIEU (Université de Paris Nanterre)

Speakers :

  • Yves HESS (France-Spain, teacher at the French Lycée of Madrid)  
  • Sven TUYTENS (Belgium, journaliste and filmmaker)
  • Valérie ZYLBERSZTEIN (France-Spain, teacher at the French Lycée of Madrid)
  • Isabella, Charlotte, Armella et Raoul (France-Spain, students at the French Lycée of Madrid)