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Marina Ginesta

Written by: George Chittenden : 12 Jan 2020

This famous photo was taken on July 21st, 1936 during the military uprising in Barcelona at the start of the conflict which would become the Spanish Civil War. This photo, which would become one of the most famous photographs of the war, was taken by photojournalist Juan Guzmán on the rooftop of Hotel Colón, and features a girl with a rifle slung over her shoulder. That girl’s name was Marina Ginestà. The photo itself is slightly misleading as this is the only time during the conflict Ginestà carried a gun. She was born on January 29th, 1919 in Toulouse, France, but her family moved to Barcelona in the early 1930s. At the time of the photo she worked as a translator and typist for Mikhail Koltsov, a correspondent for the Soviet newspaper Pravda.

Marina Ginestà on the rooftop of Hotel Colón, Barcelona

Marina Ginestà on the rooftop of Hotel Colón, Barcelona

Marina Ginestà was wounded at the end of the war and was evacuated to Montpellier to recover. Eventually when the Germans invaded France, she escaped and settled in the Dominican Republic, before returning to Barcelona in 1952. Amazingly, despite this photos fame Marina Ginestà was unaware of its existence until 2006, when a researcher at Agencia Efe, who held Guzmán’s archive of wartime images, tracked her down.

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