5 Nov, 2022 @ 12:45
1 min read

Spanish government sets its sights on Franco-era figures buried in Toledo for next exhumations

Toledo Spain Evening Sunset

SOURCES from the Spanish government have confirmed to reporters that they are already studying the next exhumations of Franco-era military figures, after three coffins were removed from La Macarena basilica in Seville this week

The disinterments are being carried out under Spain’s recently approved Democratic Memory Law, which was passed by the Socialist Party-led government in a bid to address some of the open wounds that still remain from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and subsequent dictatorship. 

According to reports in Spanish media, the government has set its sights on the Alcázar in Toledo, where it is looking to move the remains of Jaime Milans del Bosch, who died in 1997 aged 82. Milans was not only part of the Blue Division of volunteers that fought alongside the Nazis, but also was the lieutenant general who ordered tanks onto the streets of Valencia during the failed 1981 coup attempt in Spain. 

As well as Milans, the government wants to exhume Franco-era general José Moscardó, who is also buried in the crypt at the Alcázar. Moscardó was the military governor of Toledo province during the Civil War and defended the Alcázar against Republican forces. 

The Democratic Memory Law allows for the cancellation of titles and medals that were granted by the regime of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, as well as the quashing of sentences passed down by courts during the dictatorship. 

It also specifies that figures from that era cannot be left buried in public places where they can be praised or glorified. It is this part of the legislation that is being used to carry out the exhumations. 

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the body of General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano was removed from La Macarena in Seville. Also taken from the church building were the remains of his wife, Genoveva Martí, and those of Civil War auditor General Francisco Bohórquez Vecina.

In 2019, the body of Franco was removed from the Valley of the Fallen monument in Madrid after a vote in favour of the exhumation was passed in the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s lower house of parliament.

The family of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, who was the founder of Spain’s fascist Falange party, has announced that it will privately remove his remains from the Valley of the Fallen before the Spanish government does so.

The Socialist Party has promoted a series of historical memory laws while in power, starting in 2007 when legislation was passed by the government of then-Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The bill recognised the rights of victims on both sides of the Civil War, and formally condemned the repression of Franco’s regime.

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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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