The Exile Memorial Museum (MUME) in La Jonquera, is showing some of the images described below  in an exceptional exhibition.

From 10th September until 4th December 2022, visit the  museum just over the border to see  mostly unpublished prints, in the footsteps of Robert Capa and the forgotten army of the Retirada and see another side to La Jonquera.

Arguably the most famous war photographer of his time, Hungarian born photographer and photojournalist Robert Capa, covered five wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Sino-Japanese War, World War II, the 1948 Arab-Israeli Conflict, and the First Indochina War. His photos of WWII covered London, North Africa, Italy, the Battle of Normandy on Omaha Beach and the liberation of Paris.

In the winter of 1939, one of the coldest on record, almost half a million people crossed into France from Spain, suffering incredible hardships, hunger and deprivation on the way but hoping for sanctuary when they arrived in France.

Instead, 60,000 men were herded into internment camps on the beaches,  imprisoned within barbed wire fences,  and policed by ’Gardes Mobiles’ (a special branch of the gendarmerie) and brutal Senegalese troops.

La Retirada

Working for the English magazine Picture Post, Robert Capa reported on the Spanish Civil War, meeting refugees and taking about 300 photographs in two days, published under the title The Forgotten Army,. and taken on the beaches of Argelès,  and other concentration camps in the P-O and Aude.

In 2007, this photographic collection, known as the Mexican Suitcase, was found in Mexico. Its contents were three cardboard boxes of  4,500 35mm negatives of the Spanish Civil War by Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and Chim (David Seymour). The three of them risked their lives to witness history in the making and show it to the world..

The battered boxes were handed over to the International Centre of Photography in New York almost seventy years after they went missing in Vichy France, a treasure trove of photographic history  lost since World War 2 and containing  some of the most important works of this trio of photographers.

Bloody battle scenes are mixed with images of everyday life in Spain. The documentary film, directed in 2011  by Trisha Ziff, follows the journey of the  4000 film negatives,  starting with their disappearance during the Spanish  Civil War to their reappearance in 2007.

According to Time Magazine, “Ziff weaves in personal, often painful accounts of biographies of those who had survived the war by fleeing Spain, many unable to forget even to this day.

Refugees in the Retirada on the road

In collaboration with the ICP and the Memorial of the Argelès camp, the MUME presents this exhibition of prints, mostly unpublished, following in the footsteps of Robert Capa and this forgotten army in the French camps.

View from Fort Bellefarde in Le Perthus


The quaint old village off to the left of the main road, direction Le PerthusGirona, is well worth a visit.

In the middle, near the church, is the Exile Memorial Museum (MUME), an immaculately kept and poignant reminder of the Retirada, a place for ‘memory, history and critical reflexion’.

Distressing photos and original footage of crowded beaches, the wreckage of emaciated bodies piled up in concentration camps, eye witness drawings and paintings of desperation and despair, lists and lists of names of the dead and disappeared…..

You will not come away unmoved.

Museu Memorial de l’Exili,
C/Major, 43-47, 17700 La Jonquera
Tel : +34 972 556 533




  1. Just when you think you’ve seen all you want to see or know all you need to know about the Spanish Retirada, up pops another exhibition of photographs.

    These are no ordinary photographs. These are photographs taken by Robert Capa, a Hungarian-American war photographer and photojournalist.

    A wonderful exhibition – and in English as well as French!

    1. An incredibly moving exhibition which is sympathetically displayed by Galerie Marianne.

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