CNT (España) Archives

Biographical / Historical Note

Founded in 1911, revolutionary syndicalist trade union, continued the anarchist tradition in Spain; member of the International Working Men's Association (IWMA) since 1923; banned during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera 1923-1931; main social revolutionary force during the Second Republic 1931-1936, with more than one million members; divided about tactics (Treintistas versus the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI)), reunited at the congress in 1936; defeated military rebellion in Barcelona and elsewhere at the outbreak of the Civil War 18 July 1936; supported social-economic revolution and collectivizations of workers and peasants during the Civil War 1936-1939; followed a policy of collaboration and appeasement towards nonrevolutionary republican forces, taking ministerial responsibilities in the republican government; active underground and in exile from 1939; restructured in Spain after Franco's death in 1975.


Archives tranferred to the IISH the CNT in 1939, see Annual Report IISH 1939, p. 92 and the introduction of this inventory.


Due to problems concerning the legal status of the archives of the CNT and the FAI the so-called ‘Spanish crates’ in which they were packed, were only opened by the IISH in 1975. Then Rudolf de Jong and after 1978 Jacques Giele unclosed the crates and started to make descriptions of the material. For the CNT-archives there was a list available, made in 1939 when the papers were handed over to the Paris Branch of the IISH. This list only contained brief superscriptions of the content of the packages (‘pacquetes’). With the assistance of experts from the FAI and CNT the last crates were opened and described in the summer of 1980. The inventory was then completed in 1981 by Hannie Zaal. Because of the legal issues the arrangement strictly followed the original order and numbering of the crates and ‘paquetes’ inside. Parts belonging together were not united and even obvious mistakes were not corrected. This arrangement was also the basis for the microfilms made in the eighties.

After the signing of an agreement (in 1995) between the CNT and the IISH a copy of the microfilm also came available in Spain at the Fundación Anselmo Lorenzo in Madrid. This inventory and these microfilms were the basis for historical research for almost 30 years. In the 1990s Elly Koen and Tiny de Boer improved the descriptions and wrote an introduction. Their work was completed in 2005 by Eduardo Romanos, who also made a systematic index.

In 2017 the IISH received a large funding for the conservation and digitization of the archives, as part of the Metamorfoze-program of the Dutch Royal Library. During the preparation for this digitization Almudena Rubio checked and revised the inventory, but the existing order and numbering stayed the same. The descriptions are now sometimes more in detail and new sub-numbers added for these items. Part of the archive suffered water damage during the storage in England in the period 1939-1947. These documents (invno’s C1-C87) were completely restored in 2018.


Archive of the Comité Nacional of the CNT with other archives deposited or obtained by the CNT. Comité Nacional CNT, secretariat 1934-1938: proceedings and minutes of plenary and other meetings; reports on the war, persecution of libertarians and others, general and military situation etc.; correspondence by the secretary-general, Mariano Vázquez with regional organizations and national syndicates of the CNT; correspondence with other organizations; international correspondence; documents and documentation on the same subjects. Comité Nacional CNT, Sección Defensa and Subsección Comisarios 1937-1939: files of documents on militaries and military matters; agenda and proceedings concerning the conferences of the Sección Defensa; Secretaría y oficina de propaganda en el exterior 1936-1939: correspondence and other documents and printed material. Segundo Blanco, Minister of Education of the republican government 1938-1939: official correspondence with various persons and organizations; personal documents. Juan García Oliver, Minister of Justice of the republican government: file mainly consisting of correspondence 1936-1937. Comité Regional CNT de Cataluña 1931-1939: correspondence with the Comité Nacional and other organizations; documents on military matters; proceedings and resolutions concerning the regional and national conferences of the CNT; financial records; printed material. Domingo Lera Ortiz, delegate of Transport and Communication of the Consejo Nacional de Defensa de Aragón 1936-1937: general correspondence and financial records concerning the Consejo de Aragón. Solidaridad Internacional Antifascista (SIA) 1937-1939: correspondence with various organizations; documents on the national and regional councils of the SIA; financial records; press clippings and circular letters on propaganda and other activities. Federación Ibérica de Juventudes Libertarias (FIJL) 1932, 1937-1939: proceedings of plenary sessions; reports, notes and circular letters concerning the libertarian movement.

Processing Information

Inventory made in 2000.

Edited by Eduardo Romanos Fraile in 2005.

Edited and revised for purposes of digitization by Almudena Rubio in 2019.

Alternative Form of Material

Complete archive digitized in 2019 (Metamorfoze).

367 security microfilms (1985).