1 Oct, 2019 @ 15:10
1 min read

Valencian government moves to exhume 500 mass graves scattered across the Community following the Spanish Civil War

Fotografos20190929130558 1

A YOUNG girl shot and killed for holding a pamphlet in Dolores, a professor dispatched without prior trial in Alicante – these are the stories about to resurface as the Valencian Community decides to exhume every single one of its mass graves.

The Department of Participation, Transparency and Cooperation estimates that 500 of these slumber beneath the Community – with 77, containing 400 victims, in Alicante alone.

Fotografos20190929130558 1
WHAT LIES BENEATH: The Municipal Cemetery of Alicante is believed to hold a mass grave

Dismantling the legacy of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and its aftermath, the department’s councillor Rosa Pérez Garijo says they will work ‘as swiftly as possible’ to create a Community ‘without mass graves’.

“It is an obligation the Valencian Generalitat has to take our democracy forwards,” Pérez Garijo told Diario Información.

The move comes just days after Spain’s Supreme Court gave the go ahead for the reburial of former dictator Fransisco Franco, which brought historical memory back into the centre of public debate.

READ MORE: Spain’s Supreme Court gives go ahead for reburial of former dictator Francisco Franco

REMEMBRANCE: Monument to the victims of the Civil War in Alicante.

“We must take into account there have been very few exhumations in the more than 40 years since Franco’s death,” said Pérez Garijo. 

“This new measure will allow families to access the remains of their loved ones after such a long time.”

She said the measures would not have come about were it not for associations and victims’ families crying out for reconciliation.

Pérez Garijo in particular named Ascención Mendieta, who in 2017 – aged 91 – finally found the remains of her late father shot in Guadalajara back in 1939.

“What joy, what joy – at last I can sleep in peace,” Mendieta told reporters upon discovery of her father’s remains, ending a lifelong battle to give the ex-director of an influential trade union a dignified burial.

“With these successful actions, we will be able to respond to the demand of thousands more families,” Pérez Garijo said.

POSSIBLE SITE: The old civil cemetery of Orihuela is believed to contain a mass grave

Her department expects to complete the exhumations across the Community by 2023, when the governing coalition goes back to the polls.

She has urged municipalities to collaborate in the process to make it ‘less costly’ and further the cause of ‘justice and reparations’.

Joshua Parfitt

Joshua James Parfitt is the Costa Blanca correspondent for the Olive Press. He holds a gold-standard NCTJ in multimedia journalism from the award-winning News Associates in Twickenham. His work has been published in the Sunday Times, Esquire, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Mirror, among others. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss devastating flooding in Spain, as well as making appearances on BBC and LBC radio stations.

Contact me now: [email protected] or call +44 07960046259. Twitter: @jjparfitt

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

El Saladar 2
Previous Story

Brits help restore Costa Blanca community of 140 left with only ‘one working kitchen’ after September floods

Screenshot 2019 10 01 At 3 51 32 Pm
Next Story

Lady Elizabeth School on the Costa Blanca joins global Greenpeace climate strike campaign

Latest from Costa Blanca

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press