Ma­jorca digs for lost Span­ish Civil War vic­tims

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

An ex­ca­va­tion has be­gun in Ma­jorca for the re­mains of Span­ish Civil War pris­on­ers shot by the Na­tion­al­ists.

About 120 bod­ies were dumped in a mass grave in Por­reres, a town in cen­tral Ma­jorca. The left-wing Repub­li­can pris­on­ers came from 30 dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

The rel­a­tives’ as­so­ci­a­tion Me­mo­ria de Mal­lorca is man­ag­ing the dig. Most of the pris­on­ers were lined up against a church wall and shot in 1936-1939.

Across Spain tens of thou­sands of Civil War vic­tims re­main in un­marked graves.

Foren­sic sci­en­tists have the dif­fi­cult task of iden­ti­fy­ing the vic­tims, whose names were not recorded by Gen Fran­cisco Franco’s fas­cist forces.

Me­mo­ria de Mal­lorca be­lieves the Por­reres site to be the big­gest mass grave in the Balearic Is­lands dat­ing from the war.

In re­cent years Spain has launched ex­ca­va­tions at other mass graves from the war pe­riod, but the ex­huma­tions re­main con­tro­ver­sial.

An Amnesty Law adopted in 1977, two years af­ter Franco’s death, pre­vents any crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Franco years.

In Ma­jorca alone there are more than 2,000 vic­tims’ re­mains yet to be dug up and iden­ti­fied, Me­mo­ria de Mal­lorca says.

The ex­pert lead­ing the Por­reres ex­huma­tion, Fran­cisco Etxe­ber­ria, ex­pects the dig to last about a month. Quoted by daily news­pa­per El Pais, he said 500 mass graves had been opened in Spain so far and more than 800 skele­tons re­cov­ered.

“We’ve worked in pits 50m deep, with rain, hail and mud, so I don’t think this ex­ca­va­tion will be more dif­fi­cult,” Mr Etxe­ber­ria said.

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