Spain publishes map with over 2,000 Franco-era mass graves
The Spanish government published Thursday for the first time a map with the location of over 2,000 mass graves of victims of the country's 1936-39 Civil War and the repression that followed during General Francisco Franco's dictatorship.
The map was published on the justice ministry's website and it was based on information provided by regional authorities and historical associations.
The aim is to "contribute to healing would and eliminate any division between citizens," the government said in a statement.
British historian Paul Preston estimates 200,000 Spaniards were killed away from the front line in the war, which pitted Franco's right-wing forces against an elected left-wing government, as well as some 300,000 dead in battle.
Thousands more were killed in Franco's ensuing decades-long dictatorship, according the latest book on the war and its aftermath by the veteran professor of contemporary Spanish studies at the London School of Economics.
While Franco's regime honoured its own dead, it left its opponents buried in unmarked graves scattered across the country.
The new map identifies if a mass grave has already been fully or partially exhumed, has yet to be opened or has had its contents moved to the Valley of the Fallen, a vast underground mausoleum built on Franco's orders near Madrid between 1940 and 1958.
Historians estimate between 40,000 and 60,000 Franco supporters and the Republicans who opposed them in Spain's Civil War, which led to Franco's rise to power, are buried at a mass grave at the mausoleum.
Franco, whose death in 1975 paved the way for Spain's return to democracy, is buried inside the basilica of the Valley of the Fallen. His tomb is marked by a simple tombstone engraved with his name.
The map, which can be found at the website www.memoriahistorica.gob.es, will be updated as new information becomes available.
© 2011 AFP