Tuesday, March 28

Francisco Martín-Cabrerero already rests in the family niche, 82 years later: he is the first victim of reprisal identified in Manzanares

María has finally been able, at the age of 91, to bury her father in the family tomb. Francisco Martín-Cabrerero has been the first of the victims identified, after the exhumation of the mass grave in Manzanares, an initiative of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory. Francisco’s great-grandson, José Luis de Gracia, explains that the process has been treated with “the greatest possible caution”, but that the positive result has turned out to be a positive process. “It is a way of repairing the pain suffered by the family, but it also has a social scope,” he reflects.

His grandmother, Maria, was able to bury his father after more than 80 years of waiting. The ARMH handed over the remains of the UGT member to her daughter, who has experienced the moment with an “intense mix of emotions”, between joy and sadness. “It seems like a dream,” María has stated on more than one occasion when she received the remains of her father in her family home. She was also given a box of buttons, which appeared during the exhumation. In addition, she remembered “with pain” the moment in which her father was taken and the “terrible” murder, as well as the “hard” life of her family after that moment.

Members of the Manzanares Historical Memory Collective have also been present at the event. The organization carried out the preliminary investigation and promoted the exhumation of the two graves that was carried out last May. Today they have been present and have deposited some flowers with the colors of the republic. For José Luis de Gracia, Francisco’s great-grandson and one of the promoters of the exhumation, “it has been an emotional act of reparation, solemn and close, and it is something that should have happened a long time ago.” Several volunteers from the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory have traveled from Galicia, El Bierzo and Madrid to participate in the event.

a matter of repair

“We knew that it is a long process, which depends on many factors: that someone wanted to collaborate in the exhumation, that someone contributed to the genetic identification process. That of our family has been a continuous, patient, persevering but also cautious struggle” explains José Luis, who also reflects that it has been a way of caring for his grandmother. “But always bearing in mind that there is the possibility that the process could not be completed.”

“It was something that made my grandmother feel contained and proud, let’s say, at least that it was attempted. And when it was confirmed that family burial could be given, which is what she always wanted, all expectations were exceeded,” highlights. On the other hand, de Gracia highlights the importance of the support of both the group of relatives united in the search for their loved ones and the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory.

“It is not only about my grandmother being able to bury her father. It is about the fact that there are families that have been involved in this fight and that are going to benefit from all these efforts. This reassures us, because it is precisely through the collective that has been achieved. At an individual level it would have been impossible”, he points out. The role of the ARMH, she assures her, has been “decisive” in assuming the exhumation, genetic identification and accompanying the family in the search. “If it started, the objective was to assume that the fight did not stop there. We aspire to much more. We feel a lot of support and security to have them to solve our doubts.”

Ultimately, he reflects, it all has to do with the concept of reparation. “My grandmother has literally said that with this she can now die in peace. And her example opens the possibility for other families to fight for this possible reparation,” she concludes.

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