Spain’s new Law of historical Memory (Ley de Memoria Histórica) could oblige Spanish judges and the Government to cooperate in the investigation, location and exhumation of mass graves dating from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The exhumation and identification of the corpses lying within them is a matter of controversy between those who think that this will reopen old conflicts and those who think that it is a matter of necessary justice and restitution.

There are mass graves all over Spain and Spanish people have known of their existence for years. They contain more than 30.000 Republican soldiers, politicians, workers, syndicalists or anyone who was opposed to Franco’s ideas. Certain places are specially remembered for the repression they suffered. In Granada, when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, Accion Catolica, the clericals’ syndicate, hunted down all the liberals and freemasons in the area and anybody connected to the left was persecuted. The Falange, a fascist group, was organized in secret cells and drew up lists of the people to be killed. Those on the list were taken away by the Black Squads during the night and never seen again. The bodies were thrown into graves dug by the roadsides and into barrancos (ravines).

I visited one of the most polemical of the mass graves, which it is thought, although it has not been proved, to contain Federico Garcia Lorca’s mortal remains. They are supposed to lie alongside those of a schoolteacher called Dioscono Galindo and two anarchist banderilleros, Jose Baladi and Joaquin Arcollas. There is a judicial dispute between Lorca’s family and the other two families as the poet’s relatives do not want the grave exhumed, but the others want to know if their family members are really buried there.

Fragmento de un artículo publicado en Costa de Almeria News 13/10/2007