25 Apr, 2021 @ 14:15
1 min read

Never forgotten: Exhumations to finally close chapter on civil war tragedy in Spain’s Granada

Mass Grave
CLOSURE: Families to finally know what happened to their ancestors (CREDIT: Cadiz town hall)

THE remains of over 300 people executed without trial then tossed into mass graves are to finally be exhumed.

The victims from Granada include teachers, labourers, dressmakers and political activists – men and women who fell foul of dictator Franco’s bloodletting during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

The graves are just 800 metres from where archaeologists unsuccessfully searched for the remains of writer Federico Garcia Lorca, who was infamously buried along with a teacher and two bullfighters, Francisco Galadi and Joaquin Arcollas.

Mass Grave 5
Gruesome – remains of some of Franco’s victims

The digs at two separate sites in a ravine near Viznar, have begun after two central government grants of €46,000.

For years the relatives of those who were shot have made a pilgrimage along the so-called ‘road of death’ to the village.

At the sites now to be excavated, flowers and poems already form an unofficial shrine to the fallen. 

Unofficial shrine

Now, generations later, relatives are hoping to finally be able to give their loved ones a decent burial.

Experts expect that the exhumations will continue into three further known graves in the area.

Archaeologists, forensic experts, criminologists and sociologists from the University of Granada will then begin the grim task of cataloguing and matching the remains with their relatives today.

The Secretary of State for Democratic Memory, Fernando Martínez said: “With the exhumations, the Government intends to close a black page in the history of Spain”.

For many years it was believed Lorca was also murdered and buried in the same ravine, although other experts such as Irish author and historian Ian Gibson, who has written books on the Blood Wedding writer, disagreed.

Three attempts have been made to locate the poet’s grave in 2009, 2014 and 2016. The first, in the Garcia Lorca Park; the second, less than a kilometre from the first excavation and the last, in Alfacar (Granada).

The unsuccessful searches have fueled theories about his final whereabouts: with many believing his remains may have ended up in the Valley of the Fallen, near Madrid.


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