In or out? Social reaction to the exhumation of Franco from the Valle de los Caídos

Forty-four years passed between the interment of Franco on 23 November 1975 and his exhumation on 24 October 2019. In Spanish society, a range of feelings have been expressed about the final location of the person who was dictator for four long decades. His death and burial in the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) had a strong impact in the media and in society that was almost paralysing. This was due more to the political consequences Franco’s death would have than to the formal procedure of his funeral. The ceremony within the basilica, which culminated with the placing of a slab engraved with his name and the obligatory protocol, was accompanied outside by Falangists, traditionalists, ex-prisoners, provisional second lieutenants, Legionnaire knights, brotherhoods of fighters, Portuguese Viriatos and members of the Portuguese secret police (PIDE), Romanian iron guards, Croatians, Italian fascists and German neo-Nazis, in a multicolour landscape of blue, black and brown shirts adorned with the medals of Mussolini, Hitler, Salazar and Franco. The monument erected under the direction of Franco with the labour of Republican political prisoners already fulfilled the purpose for which it had been constructed. It housed the embalmed body of Francisco Franco, Caudillo de España por la Gracia de Dios (Leader of Spain, by the Grace of God), as he was called insistently by his entourage of hagiographers from 1939, the end of the Civil War.

Mausoleum of terror. Fallen in Pamplona and Cuelgamuros

Cover picture: The Valley of Cuelgamuros without the cross and the Francoist symbols | Photomontage: Núria Ricart By Jordi Guixé i Coromines, director of the EUROM and professor at the University of Barcelona The memorials to wars, heroes and victories are symbols that seek to perpetuate the past in our lives. An iconic imposition of …