Es Campament or Sa Colònia, Franco’s prison on Formentera
The Francoist prison Es Campament is one of the most symbolic enclaves of the post Spanish Civil War period in Formentera.
The historical memory of es Campament
This penal infrastructure was erected in 1939 by the Franco regime and was a penitentiary center that depended on the provincial prison of Palma.
According to the municipal registers of Formentera, in 1940 there were 444 registered prisoners, a number that increased to approximately 1,000 prisoners only two years later, in 1942.
Many claim that the living conditions in this detention center were inhumane. In fact, there are approximately 60 deaths of prisoners registered in this camp, according to the records of the town hall of Sant Francesc. Some of these victims are buried in the Fossar Vell de Sant Francesc (the old cemetery, now a site of cultural interest).
This prison camp was closed on November 8, 1942, because with the landing of the Allies in North Africa, the Franco regime feared that it would be discovered, and the inmates were sent to other state prisons.
Visit the ruins of es Campament
Currently, and in the absence of excavations that reveal more remains, the only thing that remains standing of the prison is a building in ruins, and on its facade there is a plaque where we can read a poem by Joan Coromines entitled “El cementiri dels vius” (“The cemetery of the living”).
In addition to the building, three protected wells remain, as well as the remains of the foundations of the barracks where prisoners were confined. You can also see the channeling ditch of the penitentiary that reaches ses Estany des Peix.
Apart from all these visible parts, in the subsoil of the area there are parts of walls and other constructions linked to the prison, which will be discovered in subsequent archaeological interventions.
Undoubtedly this is a place considered a fundamental part of the history, not only of the island of Formentera, but of the entire Spanish legacy. In 2002 this prison was classified as a historical site and in 2010 it was included in the Catalog of Cultural Heritage of Formentera.
How to get to the es Campament building?
Es Campament is located in La Savina, 50 meters ahead of the Plaça illes Pitiüses playground, just off the main road PM-820 leading to Sant Francesc, on the right hand side. Since the site has not yet been surveyed you will only find what is left standing of es Campament.