Lorca Controversy Continues

The controversy over whether Federico Garcia Lorca should be exhumed is still raging in Spain. The poet and playwright, who was shot dead in 1936, in the early days of Spain’s civil war, has come to symbolize General Franco’s faceless victims.

Part of the lore surrounding Garcia Lorca is that his burial place is a mystery. In fact, the family and most experts agree on the general location, a ravine in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada near the village of Viznar, about five miles from Granada. It was a killing field, historians say, littered with the corpses of hundreds of people.

In a sense, the family argues, the mass grave itself is a fitting monument, a place of natural beauty that bears witness to an awful chapter of repression and political murder.

But others maintain that it takes someone of Garcia Lorca’s stature to finally bring attention to Franco’s victims, the vast majority of whom were buried anonymously, their families left to decades of uncertainty and shame. By contrast, pro-Franco dead have been honored by memorials and statues paid for by a string of governments.