6 MAR 2019
How heavy rains uncovered Franco’s lost victims in Madrid’s biggest cemeteryA mass grave that is thought to contain the remains of as many as 3,000 people who were executed after the Civil War has been revealed in La Almudena graveyard
A mass grave that is thought to contain the remains of as many as 3,000 people who were executed after the Civil War has been revealed in La Almudena graveyard Madrid
The remains of 3,000 people executed in Madrid by Francoist military courts between between April 1939 and February 1944 have been discovered in the city’s massive La Almudena cemetery, much to the surprise of historians and family members who believed the remains had been cremated. The mass grave was found last year after heavy rains eroded the dirt and exposed the bones.
Work carried out by City Hall’s Human Rights and Historical Memory department, as well as the municipal Funeral Service company, suggests that the discovery is one of La Almudena’s ossuaries, in which the remains of the executed Republicans were most likely buried along with the bodies of thousands of ordinary citizens who died of reasons unrelated to the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and the subsequent dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.
The finding disproves long-standing claims by the municipal funeral company that the executed Republicans had been exhumed from their tombs in the 1990s and incinerated in the crematorium at Madrid’s Carabanchel cemetery. This version of events was trusted for years by historians, family members and the group Memoria y Libertad (Memory and Liberty), an association that aims to share data and information on the victims of the Francoist regime with family members.
“It was a genuine surprise, because it was thought that the ossuary was empty,” explains Mauricio Valiente, the third deputy mayor of Madrid City Hall and the head of the Human Rights and Historical Memory department. “We are in the process of hiring a specialized company to survey the grave and determine its dimensions and the number of bodies,” he adds. “The resulting report will also help us date the remains.”
Despite the discovery, Valiente doesn’t believe that the victims will be able to be identified. “Whatever happens, this space must be dignified out of respect for the family members. They are about to start a process in La Almudena of building a memorial to commemorate the victims.”
|28-12-2010 OK, USA|