31 Jul, 2023 @ 14:12
1 min read

Catalunya mass graves discovered of foreign fighters who resisted Franco’s forces in Spain’s Civil War

212 international fighters resisting Franco's forces in Spain's Civil War found in mass graves in Catalunya
212 international fighters resisting Franco's forces in Spain's Civil War found in mass graves in Catalunya

212 international fighters from Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands who disappeared in Catalunya during the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939 have been identified in mass graves.

Two studies by the Directorate General of Memory of the Generalitat de Catalunya have collected the names of foreign volunteers who fought in the region, where an estimated 2,000 fighters are buried.

The report said the exact place where they died or were wounded has also been determined, which is important in locating and exhuming their remains from mass graves.

The identification of international fighters who disappeared in Catalunya is an ongoing project along with other parts of Spain.

The recently concluded first phase involved identifying the names and places of the 212 missing brigades from Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, it said.

According to the director of the Generalitat, Alfons Aragoneses, the next phase will focus on documenting the places where British, Irish, and American volunteers died, whose remains have yet to be recovered.

The studies also have helped identify 510 other combatants who went missing in Catalunya during the Civil War, including Spanish soldiers, militiamen, and volunteers from other countries, the report said.

To achieve this, it said, unpublished documentary sources have been crossed with already published ones.

Aragoneses said in the report that the studies offer ‘tremendously valuable’ information that can enable not only contacting the families of the missing brigades but also intervening in the mass graves found in the future.

The Generalitat has been running a DNA bank for some years to relatives of international brigades who disappeared during the Civil War.

They will be compared with remains found in mass graves in Catalunya, particularly in areas adjacent to the Ebro front.

Historians say around 2,000 volunteers died in Catalunya out of the 40,000 volunteers who travelled from 50 different countries to risk their lives defending the republic within both the International Brigades and the Anti-Fascist Militias.

Numerous casualties occurred on the Ebro front, which was the site of one of the most violent battles during the Civil War.

The first mortal remains of international fighters have already been discovered at this location.

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