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Tribute to the thirteen militiamen buried in the Francoist mausoleum of Polloe

  • In 1939, the Basque Government and the City of San Sebastian paid tribute to the inhumated Republicans along with other Franco remains. The Aranzadi Society of Sciences identified the names of the thirteen people in May last year. For full reparation, the victim associations have called for the abolition of the Francoist cross of the mausoleum.
'Duintasuna' eskulturaren erreplika bat jarri dute Polloen eta agurra dantzatuz omendu dituzte hildako errepublikarrak. Argazkia: Irekia

13 March 2023 - 08:38
Last updated: 11:42

The replica of the sculpture Dignity has been honoured with a greeting and a floral offering, this Sunday, to the seventeen Republicans in a Francoist mausoleum in Polloe. In addition to representatives of the City of San Sebastian and the Basque Government, relatives of the victims and other citizens have been present at the event.

The mausoleum was built in 1939 by the Francoist authorities to bury at first the dead of the Francoist side, and even a plaque was installed that has lasted almost to date, saying that they died for defending the "ideals of Spain and God". In this place, the Franco acts of both the civil guard and the Spanish military have been frequent.

In 1940, Republican militiamen were exhumed from other graves and introduced into the mausoleum along with at least one hundred other cadaveric remains.

According to the mayor of San Sebastian, Eneko Goia, "we continue to recover spaces to remember and repair the damage caused by Franco in our country". The first step was the removal of the Franco plaque and another plaque has now been placed on the site of the sculpture with the names of the deceased Republicans.

In any case, the associations of victims have called for the abolition of the Francoist cross, and recently the political group Jon Podemos has asked in the Basque Parliament that "if the remains cannot be exhumed, at least the cross must be removed", explained Jon Hernández.

News in Francoist press

Aranzadi, following the existing suspicions and following a proposal by EH Bildu, identified in May 2022 the names of the thirteen republicans, members of PCE, CNT and UGT and popular militias, after carrying out the study requested by the City Council of San Sebastian: "The study clarifies that there are many possibilities for militia remains there," he concluded.

Apparently, once the mausoleum was built, in 1940 they were exhumed and introduced into other graves, along with at least another hundred remains. Furthermore, they have doubts about another fourteen people who are in the mausoleum, because it is not clear why they were buried there.

The mausoleum is still occupied by a large Franco cross, which has also been requested by the City Council of San Sebastian and the Basque Government. Photo: Aranzadi.

On each side five meters wide, bones accumulate a meter deep in the mausoleum, and today archaeologists consider it impossible to recover Republican remains.

To carry out the research, sources of the municipal archive and the cemetery of San Sebastian have been used, as well as announcements published in the Franco press of the time, in the newspapers El Diario Vasco, La Voz de España y Unidad, inviting their relatives to deposit in the mausoleum the mortal remains of the war. According to Aranzadi's report, in 1946 the "last warning" was given for changes in location.

Conference on Historical Memory of Donostia

On Thursday, March 16, the Aranzadi Society will hold a conference on the historic memory of San Sebastian in the Miramar Palace, in collaboration with the City Hall of San Sebastian.

The conferences will involve experts such as the researcher of Arazadi Javier Buces, the UN narrator for Truth, Justice and Reparation Fabián Salvioli and the criminal law expert Jon Mirena Landa. In addition, a round table will be held with the relatives of the Francoist reprisals.


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