Tuesday, September 27

Ayuso proposes using funds from the central government to locate graves of alleged prisoners of war exploited by the Republicans

The Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso will propose using funds from the central government to locate the mass graves where political prisoners were supposedly buried who, according to the argument, worked on the construction of a train from Madrid to Valencia, commissioned in 1937 by the then President of the Government Juan Negrín so that the republican forces could overcome the siege of Franco’s troops on the Madrid region.

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As published this Wednesday by the newspaper La Razón, the Community of Madrid has already prepared a proposal, which it plans to send soon to the Ministry of the Presidency, to start these location works in two fields identified in the Madrid municipalities of Pozuelo del Rey and Ambite. The budget that they have estimated is 63,747.30 euros and the request will be sent within the framework of the Democratic Memory sectoral conference, after the Government agreed with the councilors of the branch in April to distribute three million euros among the autonomous communities for finance work to locate, exhume and identify people who disappeared during the Civil War, as well as outreach activities.

According to information from La Razón, the proposal from the Community of Madrid consists of two lines: one for locating these victims, for which it requests a study of possible oral and documentary evidence. As they point out, the drafters of the project have the testimony of two elderly neighbors in Villar del Olmo and Ambite, who heard their parents talk about that burial place. The prisoners in question, however, says the letter, do not appear in any document of the National Historical Archive or in the lists of the Historical Memory Documentation Center or in the Cruz archives: “They were government prisoners, dependent on the secret police of the Ministry of the Interior without any judicial control and therefore with little traceability”.

“The executions and forced disappearances referred to in this preliminary study correspond to the latest additions to the Labor Camp, and it is where we want to focus our investigation and location, thus attending to the principle of truth, justice and reparation,” says the letter from the regional government, which proposes to the Ministry of the Presidency a study with “non-intrusive means – aerial and terrestrial, applying the most advanced technology – that can locate these burial places in order to add physical evidence that contrasts the oral and documentary data , collaborating in this way in the preparation of the Map of Graves”.

The second line of the proposal, always according to information from the newspaper, is a project to mark the points through which the railway tunnel ran that “because of their significance within the context of Democratic Memory, were more important, such as burial places, internment facilities and all those places where forced labor was used.”

That route, however, is already signposted and transformed into a greenway that can be traveled on foot. It is a path that leaves the outskirts of the town of Carabaña and reaches the outskirts of Estremera. The route uses part of the old Torrejón-Tarancón route, which is the route on which this train operated, known as the 40-day railway or ‘Vía Negrín’. That railway was commissioned during the war to connect the track with the lines that reached Levante, since the city of Madrid was besieged by the Francoist side. The train was used for military purposes only and was decommissioned from 1939.

An “ethereal” proposal

The project, however, does not mention relatives of those prisoners and acknowledges in its own lines that the identity of the prisoners does not appear in the files or in the general case. The spokesman for the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH), Emilio Silva, affirms in statements to this newspaper that the proposal seems “ethereal” and believes that it has more to do with party politics, although he has welcomed to the president of Madrid to memory policies, since, as she has considered, in the Community of Madrid she has a lot of work to do in this regard.

“It seems perfect to me that anyone look for the remains of their relatives. In our case we always work from the relatives of the victims and in this case I have not seen it. I would like them to be there because they are the ones with the most legitimacy”, says Silva, who is surprised that not even the Franco regime for 40 years did an investigation on the matter.

Silva has taken the opportunity to reproach the Government of the PP that while it makes these proposals on memory, it rejects others such as the one offered by the ARMH to place a plaque on the facade of the headquarters of the Community of Madrid, the Real Casa de Correos en la Puerta del Sol, in memory of the people who were tortured by the Franco regime when the General Directorate of Security worked in that building.