Franco’s mass graves on map of Spain

This video says about itself:

People&Power-Owning the Past-Sept 13, 2008-Part 1

Spain is a country still coming to terms with a Civil War fought more than six decades ago. The Law of Historic Memory passed, in November 2007, by Spain’s parliament has reopened many of the issues of the war and dictatorship. As mass graves are discovered across the country, a struggle for the right to record history has be re-awakened between left and right. This film speaks to both sides of the struggle to own the past.

This video is Part 2.

By David Eade in Britain:

Spain’s tragic map of death goes online

Tuesday 10 May 2011

It is 75 years since the start of the Spanish civil war.

In recent days the Spanish Ministry of Justice published a graphic map on its website showing more than 2,000 burial sites of the victims of the war and Franco’s repression.

Sites are dotted across the Iberian peninsula, the islands and the north coast of Africa.

It is not a map of historic reference but an aid to those who want to find or recover their family members’ remains.

Web visitors can key in regions of Spain or a person’s name to see if the common grave has been located.

Advice is given on how recover these remains for reburial depending on the rules and regulations applying in the various autonomous regions.

The map of Spain is covered with green, red, yellow, black and white markers denoting the state of a specific common burial site.

Some graves have been exhumed, others untouched, some have disappeared and there are zones with a number of burial places.

In the centre of the map of Spain there is a giant blue star indicating the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) where many of the victims of Franco’s slaughter were transferred.

The Valle de los Caidos was started by Franco in 1940 supposedly as a national act of atonement.

It took over 18 years to build and cost over 1.1 billion pesetas with much of the money raised from national lottery draws and donations.

Just who built the monument is a matter of argument.

Certainly the paid workers were the poor from the land who had no other employment. “Red” prisoners were also used.

The use of convicts and popular front war prisoners led to the charge that the monument site was “like a nazi concentration camp.”

The prisoners worked in exchange for their convictions being lifted. Ten per cent of the workforce are said to have been prisoners but other sources claim up to 20,000 prisoners were used, with dark references to “forced labour.”

The Valle de los Caidos is Franco’s final resting place.

He also had interred there Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Falange, the Spanish fascist party that aided Franco’s propulsion to power.

The valley contains both nationalist and republican graves, but the tone of the monument is distinctly nationalist and anti-communist.

Here you will find the slogan “Caidos por Dios y por Espana!” (Fallen for God and Spain!), symbolising the close ties between Franco’s regime and the Catholic church.

Franco also chose to announce the creation of the monument on April 1 1940, the day of the victory parade to celebrate the first anniversary of his triumph over the republic.

He announced his personal decision to raise a splendid monument to those who had fallen in “his” cause.

As the Ministry of Justice published its map, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, the Minister of the Interior, first vice-president of the government and the favourite to succeed premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, said it would be practically impossible to identify thousands of the bodies at the Valle de los Caidos.

The Ministry of Justice’s map and website will have encouraged many people whose family members are interred there to try to find their remains.

However Rubalcaba warned them the task would be extremely complex and practically impossible to achieve.

It is said that in the Valle de los Caidos are the remains of 33,847 victims of the civil war from both sides.

Between 1959 and 1983, 491 bodies were removed and taken to their home towns and villages for reburial.

According to the Patrimonio Nacional, another 21,423 victims have been identified but the remains of 12,410 have not.

The events of 75 years ago and the Franco era still haunt and divide Spain.

The Ley de Memoria Historica brought in by the socialist government aims to find the thousands of still missing graves so that grandparents, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters can finally be identified and laid to rest. It is a painful task.

The map, with explanation in English, is here.

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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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