There was a time not so distant when no one had more identity than he said he had. That is, he only knew his name, who his parents were and the place where he was born, although he might not be able to prove it. And most likely, he could even ignore the year of his birth. But it was not so long ago that almost anything was worth identifying: cards from gastronomic societies, from the press, from unions or even letters that ensured that you called yourself in this or that way. And so we came to the creation of the DNI 75 years ago, something that today would seem unthinkable not to have.
The number 1 was delivered in 1951, how could it be otherwise in those years, Francisco Franco. The following numbers were given to his family, but not to the Marquis of Villaverde, despite the great social relevance he acquired when he married a year earlier with the dictator's daughter. The first 100 numbers of the DNI are reserved for the Royal Family, but in the book in the sample they only reach 14, which has the Infanta Cristina. The 13, by superstition, was canceled.
And then there is the eternal legend: "My number is very low. Have I been given that of a dead man or what?" Well, no. The reality is that the National Police assigns a certain number of numbers to the different regions, and those numbers have not yet been given. That is why it is possible that, depending on the geographical area where one was born, a very low number will touch.
The principal curator Francisco Herrero, head of the National Police Documentation Division, has been one of the main architects of the current exhibition of the Mint that collects the history of the DNI and the changes of the Spanish society, with the collaboration of the Complutense University: "At the beginning people did not want to have ID. And in fact, although its implementation was approved in 1944, it could not begin to be distributed until 1951, because Spain was just out of the Civil War and the world immersed in the Second World War, it seemed impossible to spend money on documenting the population instead of buying food.In addition, we found a very large rejection by society, who thought that being documented was to give the State an instrument to control to the population, but look at how things have changed: not only is it normalized today, but it is considered a right, it would be unthinkable if you were denied the right to have the ID, because the ID right now is you. "
The exhibition is full of anecdotes, from all those bungling cards and passwords that were used to identify and even lived for several years with the current DNI (and with the same validity) to the DNI already extinguished from the Sahara, when it was a Spanish colony. Perhaps the elderly remember those blue cards that formed the first models, which in their day began manufacturing in a Catalan company, then in a Madrid and currently in the Casa de la Moneda itself.
Those old blue identity cards had a red version, with certain parts translated into Arabic, to identify the Saharawis. Those documents, like the others, were accompanied by files that were filed in the Police with the data of each citizen. And still today, as Herrero recalls, "you have to search almost every day for those cards at the Spanish Embassy in Rabat to document the descendants of those Saharawis, who were full-fledged Spanish citizens when having their ID. Every year we have to search manually between lots of chips to identify the grandparents of those who call the embassy to be able to nationalize. "
The curator is showing by the exhibition the many vestiges that are distributed by the police stations throughout Spain of how the DNI was done in the past, which have been gathered in the Mint. And the changes that the DNI suffered, in many cases were also due to social changes, which have been reflected in the exhibition. "For example, the first cards had two sections that were always included: the marital status and the profession. Today it would seem impossible to have to carry written in the DNI if you are married, divorced, single, or in what work. Does it matter? However, at that time it was very normal to put it in. Today, however, the DNI itself could even serve as a credit card if you wanted, because with its chip and the security measures that it has implemented it could be used for any thing, for all kinds of paperwork or to get money. We can take it even in a mobile app and use it to identify ourselves. "
In the sample, an old DNI issuing office has been recreated as the first ones in Spain, assembled with those vestiges of police stations throughout the country: a wooden counter, an old table and all the tools to make the old cards of Almost handmade way. The curator recalls that "as typewriters were a very scarce commodity, the most usual thing was that some official would fill in the fields of the card with pen", provided he had a good letter, of course.
A jewel apart among all the cards that exist are precisely those of lies: the three false IDs of Santiago Carrillo, the historical leader of the Communist Party, which he used in his clandestine incursions in Spain during the years of the dictatorship. In which he appears with the name of José Menéndez Rocamora, he is wearing the famous toupee he dressed up as. And these cards are accompanied by an identification card and all the gadgets that precisely belonged to the counterfeiter who helped Carrillo: Domingo Malagón. In a totally artisan way, helped by stamps, blades and cards, this man provided him with cards that were equal to the real ones of that time.
Commissioner Herrero recalls that in the documentation offices there were also many women, even before they joined the Police, 40 years ago.
The exhibition begins dark, literally, in the dim light of the years of Pepe Botella, whose idea of beginning to identify the population, to control and collect taxes, was a germ of what would come next. The decree that gives power to the Police to create the DNI, that record book in which the first numbers granted to Franco and the Royal Family, the dozens of other types of cards that served as identification ... until the immense light that, after going through all stages, illuminates DI 4.0, the latest version that the Spaniards may have, and the so-called "Express ID", a project in tests that will allow the official to issue three cards almost simultaneously, in a kind of photo booth that takes the photo on the spot and also makes the card at the time. In fact, one can take a sample as a souvenir of this project that will be working shortly.
Towards a European ID
The DNI in Spain has improved so much that the European Union is already looking at the Spanish model to implement a European card, which has its own identity in each country, but common elements. However, so much sophistication has one side yet to improve: the implementation of card payment terminals to pay the document. An ID and a passport are not very expensive, but they can generate a lot of money that is more convenient to handle electronically, in addition to avoiding other problems. At the moment it is very expensive, although perhaps if the Treasury paid for it with part of 12% of the DNI or 43% of the passport it collects ...
The Exhibition 'The Spaniards and the DNI. 75 years of common history (1944-2019) will be in La Casa de la Moneda until January 5 inclusive. Hours: from Tuesday to Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Closed on Monday, December 24, 25 and 31 and January 1 and 6.
Free entry through Doctor Esquerdo Street, 36.
Telephone: 91 566 65 44
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