Great poet’s grave stokes Civil War dispute!
AP VIZNAR, Spain – The tranquil, pine-carpeted hills in this patch of southern Spain hold awful secrets. Now, one of them has been thrust into the spotlight of a still painful accounting of atrocities committed in the Spanish Civil War.
The dispute has arisen over whether to open the grave of Federico Garcia Lorca, widely considered Spain’s best 20th century poet and playwright.
At the start of the 1936-39 war, Viznar, near the ancient city of Granada, became one of many execution grounds for perceived opponents of Francisco Franco, the army general who unleashed the conflict by rising up against the elected, leftist Republican government.
People were rounded up, brought here and shot, their bodies dumped in a ravine in unmarked graves — all for simply having been considered supporters of the government.
Garcia Lorca was shot along with a schoolteacher named Dioscoro Galindo Gonzalez and two labor union activists — Francisco Galadi and Juan Arcolla — on Aug. 18, 1936. Their bodies are believed buried near an olive tree near Viznar.
Lorca, dead at 38, is best known for tragedies such as “Blood Wedding” and his poetry collections “Poet in New York and “Gypsy Ballads.” His work draws on universal themes — love, death, passion, cruelty and injustice.
While his executioners may have wanted to erase all memory of Garcia Lorca, a dispute over whether to open his grave is now a focus of a broader effort to give proper burial to the thousands believed murdered by Franco’s militias.
For years, the poet’s descendants blocked exhumation requests by the Galindo and Galadi families. Tired of waiting, Galindo and Galadi relatives took their case to Baltasar Garzon, the crusading investigative magistrate, who was already gathering his own information on the Franco regime’s killings.
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