Paterna exhumation removes victims from Francoist ‘map of horror’
Largest excavation of mass grave in Valencia uncovers 49 executed bodies while Catalan CUP party calls for historical memory law to replace ‘cowardly’ state legislation
Family members of victims of the Franco regime in the Fossa 113 mass grave in the cemetery of Paterna, in Valencia, are about to take a huge step forward in their struggle. The largest exhumation of a mass grave in the Valencian Community is about to end, with the discovery of 49 bodies showing signs of violent deaths. The family members are now looking forward to the remains being identified so that they can finally have a dignified burial and be removed from the “map of horror”, as the head of the association representing the families, Santi Vallès, told ACN.
Three months after the ArqueoAntro archaeological team began exhuming Fossa 113, on Monday the final body was removed. Although 49 bodies were found in the grave, the team was looking for 62 people shot near the cemetery between January 1940 and September 1941.
The Association represents relatives of victims from Burgos, Granada and Madrid. Most of the victims were mayors, councilors, union members and republican workers. According to historian, Vicent Gabarda, 2,237 people were shot near the cemetery between 1939 and 1950.
“We want to judge the executioners, the murderers, the torturers… without having to go to Argentina to do it (...) the New Republic will allow judgement of those who collaborated with Francoism"
Mireia Boya · Member of the Catalan Parliament for the CUP
Meanwhile, CUP MP Mireia Boya argued for a new historical memory law to replace the “decaffeinated” and “cowardly” state legislation. The party presented its proposals on historical memory on Tuesday in Corbera d'Ebre in Terra Alta. Boya admitted progress had been made with the opening of mass graves, a DNA bank and the removal of Francoist symbols, but said “there are still traces left” and argued that the law of juridical transition could be used to “strike down laws we do not want such as the Amnesty Law.”
“We want to judge the executioners, the murderers, the torturers… without having to go to Argentina to do it, we want to judge them all, the New Republic will allow judgement of those who collaborated with Francoism,” she said.