Italians to get Civil War education

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New documentary follows the project to uncover many of the conflict's mass graves.

28 January 2008

MADRID - A new documentary about the "hidden killings" that took place under Franco's regime will be distributed next week to the readers of the Italian magazine Diario.

The Last Crusade, which has not been released in Spain yet, was produced by the editor of the prestigious Italian publication, Enrico Deaglio, and the journalist Beppe Cremagnani, who have co-authored other successful documentaries such as When Silvio was There, a piece that showed the mistakes, oddities and dark affairs of the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Deaglio also wrote a novel that was made into a television production in 2002, Perlasca: Un eroe italiano.

The new documentary follows the events that led to the approval of the Historical Memory Law last December by Spanish Congress, Cremagnani told news agency EFE on Thursday, and includes interviews of relatives of some of Franco's victims who were buried in common graves.

The Historical Memory Law, whose goal is to bring closure to the descendents of the victims of the Civil War and Franco's regime, has been one of the Socialist government's most controversial initiatives during this political term, with the opposition Popular Party accusing it of being skewed on the side of the republicans while ignoring the victims on the nationalist side.

The film explores the history of how some of the common graves were found, including the place where the remains of the poet Federico García Lorca are thought to have been buried.

Cremagnani said that the idea for the documentary came to him when he saw "the obituaries of the people who were shot during the post-war years" published in EL PAÍS. "We found the 'Grandchildren's Movement' extraordinary," said Cremagnani in reference to the search for the truth by the descendants of people who were shot or simply disappeared in post-war Spain. The journalist added that he was surprised to find out that nearly 130,000 bodies were buried in common graves across the country.

"We feel that Italy, as well as a significant part of the world, knows very little about what really happened in Spain during Franco's regime, which until now has been considered a benevolent sort of dictatorship," said the Italian journalist.

Cremagnani added that the documentary also talks about "the massive incorporation of republican prisoners into forced labour," to build among others the Valley of the Fallen, a massive memorial hewn out of the mountainside outside Madrid, where Franco himself is buried, and which boasts a basilica bigger than Saint Peter's in Rome.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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