3 Nov, 2022 @ 16:11
1 min read

Franco-era general responsible for 45,000 executions quietly exhumed from basilica in Seville

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CONTROVERSIAL: Grave of Queipo

THE REMAINS of a Franco-era general were removed from the Macarena basilica in Seville last night, an exhumation that was carried out as part of the recently approved Democratic Memory Law

The coffins of General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano and his wife Genoveva Martí, as well as that of war auditor General Francisco Bohórquez Vecina, were taken out of the church building in the Andalusian capital at just after 2am on Thursday morning. 

Queipo de Llano is considered responsible for some 45,000 executions during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and the early years of the subsequent dictatorship of Francisco Franco. He was also notorious for his radio broadcasts, in which he warned that Spain’s “communist” women would be raped by Francoist forces, something he said that they deserved. 

Hispanist Ian Gibson has also accused him of ordering the execution of poet Federico García Lorca, whose body has never been recovered. 

The Brotherhood of the Macarena had previously announced that the remains would be moved from the basilica in line with the new historical memory law, which came into force in October and seeks to address some of the open wounds that still remain from the Civil War and dictatorship. It had not, however, announced a date for the exhumation. 

As such, there were just a handful of relatives of Queipo de Llano outside the church building in the early hours of Thursday when the funeral cars left with the coffins. There were also journalists present and Paqui Maqueda, the president of an historical memory association called Memoria Nuestra (Our Memory). 

Maqueda, whose family members were among the victims of the Franco era, began to shout “honour and glory to the victims of Francoism”, as well as voicing cries “against impunity”, and citing the names of her relatives.

The moment in the early hours of Thursday morning when Paqui Maqueda shouted for “honour and dignity” for Franco-era victims.

This latest exhumation comes after the family of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of Spain’s fascist Falange party, also announced that it would move his remains from the Valley of the Fallen monument before the Spanish government stepped in to do so.

In 2019, the remains of Franco were exhumed from the Valley of the Fallen on orders from the Socialist Party-led government, and laid to rest in the Mingorrubio cemetery in Madrid.

Spain’s government also recently announced it was stripping Franco and nine other figures from the regime of some of their medals under the new law.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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