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The open wounds of Spain's Civil War

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-05-09

As Spain marks seventy years since the end of the Spanish Civil War, many are still waiting to find out what happened to the loved ones who count among the "disappeared" of the Franco era.

Seventy years, almost to the day, since the end of Spain's Civil War, the country remains torn by General Francisco Franco’s legacy. The bodies of around 114,000 casualties of the civil war are still unaccounted for.

Over one hundred thousand people, united under the association for "The recovery of historic memory", are still trying to trace their relatives who disappeared during or after the war. Judge Baltazar Garzon started a legal procedure in October 2008 to ease their gruesome search. He finally had to renounce due to his colleagues' stiff opposition.


Some Spaniards are pushing for reconciliation in an attempt to heal the wounds of the Franco era. The Catholic Church, which is still hugely influential in the country, is trying to do its part after having long been accused of taking sides.

In 2007, lawmakers tried to come up with a solution by drafting a “memory law”. The bill was intended to give people the legal right to search for their disappeared, while banning any glorification of Spain's former dictator. Yet, in November 2008, just like every other year, hundreds of Caudillo supporters gathered to celebrate his memory on the anniversary of his death.

Date created : 2009-05-08