Catalonia begins DNA testing to identify Spanish Civil War victims
80 years after the Spanish Civil War broke out, there are still 4,912 missing victims and more than 5,000 families continue to search for their relatives. The Hospital Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona has started to perform genetic tests on relatives of the missing in order to identify remains buried in mass graves. In the past two weeks, specialists have taken samples of the saliva of 80 elderly people in Barcelona. Most of them are siblings or children of the victims of the Franco regime. Isabel Domènech, a 79 year-old resident of Santa Coloma de Gramenet (a municipality near Barcelona), was two years old when her father died at the end of the Civil War. She has been looking for him for many years and claims her right to know where his remains rest: “it is the minimum we ask for”. The DNA profiling programme announced by the Catalan Government last September has requested more than 1,100 people to do these tests throughout the four Catalan provinces. The genetic profiles obtained will be cross-referenced with samples from the remains found and those which are still yet to be found in mass graves.