39 thoughts on “Franco’s mass graves on map of Spain

  1. Jewish federation slams nazi ruling

    SPAIN: The Federation of Jewish Communities today slammed a Supreme Court decision to overturn the convictions of four people accused of distributing neonazi publications.

    The federation said it noted “with extreme concern” that Spain’s judiciary does not consider criminal the sale of books denying the Holocaust and promoting racism.

    The court ruling on Friday said the men could be found guilty only if they had incited people to commit nazi-type crimes.



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  8. The last victim of the Spanish civil war

    Friday 19 April 2013

    by Peter Frost

    Most of us would date the Spanish civil war to the late 1930s but this April we should be marking one of the last deaths of that heroic struggle.

    On April 20 1963, just half a century ago, Julian Grimau, communist and champion of democracy and freedom in Spain, was shot by a fascist firing squad. He was probably the last fatal victim of Franco’s civil war crimes.

    Let’s remind ourselves of the facts of the Spanish civil war – what many consider as fascism’s armed rehearsal for the World War II.

    In 1936, fascist general Francisco Franco and a group of Spanish military leaders conspired to overthrow the democratically elected Popular Front-led republican government.

    This military coup evolved into a civil war during which Franco emerged as the leader of the nationalists. He was able to secure the support of fascist Italy and nazi Germany.

    Despite the heroic fightback from the republican movement in Spain and the amazing self sacrifice of the many International Brigades who left their own native lands to fight alongside of the people of Spain against the fascist forces.

    By 1939 the civil war was over. Franco was dictator of Spain, a position he would hold for more than 40 years.

    The end of the civil war was not the end of the fight against Franco and his fascist state. Communists had played a leading role in the civil war and they would play a key role in the continuing battle.

    Among them was a man who would continue the fight until his tragic death in 1963. That man was Julian Grimau.

    Grimau had started his political life in the Federal Republican Party and the Republican Left. He joined the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) when the civil war started.

    He spent the war years in Barcelona, where his father had been a police inspector. When the Spanish republic was defeated by Franco’s armies in 1939, he found himself in exile, first in Latin America and then in France.

    In 1954 the PCE held a congress in Prague. Grimau was elected to the central committee. After the congress he took over direction of the internal wing of the party – the courageous group of comrades who would work undercover and at great risk in Spain itself.

    It wasn’t easy. Grimau and other communists were ruthlessly hunted down by Franco’s agents and secret police.

    In 1962 he was working undercover in the capital when he was ambushed while travelling by bus.

    He was interrogated by the secret police. When he refused to talk under torture he was thrown from a second-storey window. He suffered serious injuries to his skull and both his wrists were badly broken.

    Not surprisingly, interior minister Manuel Fraga Iribarne claimed that Grimau had been treated with care and had thrown himself out of the window.

    Franco and his authorities decided not to prosecute Grimau for his illegal work for the Communist Party – that would only carry a prison sentence.

    They were so scared of this popular leader and sophisticated political organiser that they wanted an excuse to murder him.

    They decided to try him for his role in the civil war. The crime of armed rebellion carried the death penalty. That the fascists had been the rebels against the government at the time was not of course a problem.

    There was another problem however. These crimes had a 25-year statute of limitations. Franco’s tame courts soon ruled that this was not an obstacle.

    Grimau was tried by a military tribunal. The trial opened in Madrid on Thursday April 18 1963, in front of a room packed with journalists.

    The prosecutor intervened to cut short testimonies by Grimau and the pleas of his lawyer. After less than five hours Grimau was sentenced to death.

    A huge international protest started with numerous rallies in European and Latin American capitals.

    Dockers in ports all over the world refused to unload cargo from Spanish ships. Over 800,000 telegrams were sent to Madrid, asking for the dismissal of the clearly biased court’s sentence.

    After the death penalty had been issued only Franco himself could grant a reprieve.

    Various heads of state appealed to the Franco including the Pope and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchov. Franco could not be moved.

    Grimau faced a firing squad composed of Civil Guard members. They refused to carry out the order.

    On direct orders from Franco the Madrid captain-general called on young and inexperienced enlisted soldiers.

    They fired 27 bullets without killing their target. Their commanding officer finished the job, putting two bullets into Grimau’s head.

    Grimau was buried in Madrid’s civil cemetery. Several avenues and public buildings in Spain are now named after him.

    Today the many heroes of the Spanish civil war are succumbing to old age. Few of those who fought, either Spanish or from the International Brigades, are still with us.

    Memories however live on and the brave battle against fascism on the sun-baked soil of Spain by heroes like Julian Grimau will never be forgotten.



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