After decades of waiting and fighting, this Monday the first step will be taken to exhume the remains of the victims buried in the Cuelgamuros Valley claimed by their relatives, in compliance with the Democratic Memory Law, as confirmed by and El País has advanced. The forensic team technicians will begin work to try to identify the 128 victims of the war and the Franco dictatorship claimed by their relatives.

This is the largest mass grave in Spain: more than 33,000 human remains in eight chapels in the Valley of the Fallen


After the exhumation on April 24 of the Falangist Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera And half a year after the remains of the coup leader Gonzalo Queipo de Llano left La Macarena, the relatives of the victims will see the answer to their claims, many of them after decades of complaints.

The process will consist of different phases. In the first, the remains of 18 victims buried in level 0 of the crypt of the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher will be searched for, and later the tasks will continue on levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the same chapel to find the others. 59 bodies claimed. For the rest, the professionals will continue the work in other chapels of the Basilica.

The team, made up of experts from different forensic areas and with the collaboration of the Scientific Police General Commissariat, will inspect the labeled boxes in the laboratory installed on level 0 and, later, they will study the remains, taking samples to proceed with the investigations. genetic analyzes carried out at the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences of Madrid (Ministry of Justice).

Some of the tasks for the exhumation have already begun: historians have already begun to investigate each case individually, while the necessary genetic samples have already been taken from the relatives to later compare the data with those of the remains in the crypts. .

Family complaints

Precisely on Thursday of last week, seven descendants of the victims signed a complaint before the Ombudsman for the delay in removing the remains from the crypt. In the letter, they denounced that what had been recognized seven years ago for the Lapeña brothers, and by extension for the rest of the victims, was being violated: the right to be exhumed from the mausoleum.

The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, referred this week to the law of democratic memory after the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, expressed his idea of ​​repealing it. “What can bother a memory law Democrat? That a coup be declared illegal? That the remains of the families be recovered? That victims on all sides be honored? ”, he wondered.

The Lapeñas were two members of the CNT buried in Cuelgamuros after being shot in Calatayud. In March 2016, his family obtained a ruling that endorsed the release of his remains to give them “dignified burial.” Now, the Executive begins the steps to remove the remains of the almost 34,000 people who are in the chapels of the basilica, which continues to make the mausoleum the largest mass grave in Spain.


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