On April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, Gernika was bombed by the German Condor Legion in the first bombing of a non-military city and its civilian population.
Gernika Gogoratuz is a Peace Research Center that was created in 1987 by a unanimous decision of the Basque Parliament coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Gernika. It is an independent, non-profit center whose mission is to remember and honor Gernika’s history and to contribute to creating a future of free, fair and reconciliatory peace both in the Basque Country and throughout the rest of the world. Since 1995, it has been supported by the Gernika Gogoratuz Foundation and also has an Association of the same name.
Gernika Gogoratuz understands that reconciliation is a key element of peace and is the driving force behind a process of sustainable peace, in which structures are transformed and made fairer, true history is recovered and victims are honored. In 1997 the Gernika Network was created as an International Network of Support for Reconciliation processes. The network holds training seminars in conflict response, negotiation, mediation and reconciliation in the Basque Country and abroad.
The Gernika Peace Museum was created in 1998 as the Gernika Museum, to provide a space for both visitors and inhabitants to learn about the bombing of Gernika during the Spanish Civil War. Shortly after it opened, work began on turning the museum into the first Peace Museum in both the Basque Country and Spain. This dynamic museum is designed to promote the culture of peace and transmit ideas growing out of a combination of history, creativity and emotion. Its aim is not merely to narrate stories of war, but to serve as a space for promoting the culture of peace, motivating people to believe in peace and inviting them to seek, observe and engage in peaceful pursuits. The exhibition looks at the concept of peace throughout history, focusing on themes including war, reconciliation, and human rights.