Tuesday, July 5

Sebastián Blasco Aznar, the Republican who “committed suicide” at the end of the Civil War

“The Civil War had ended two weeks ago, although the fascists had been in command in Andorra for a year. Sebastian, who was the name of that brave and handsome tailor, had not gone to war because he was lame and had a family, but his little brothers had fought on the Republican side and had only recently returned from the front. They were all very scared, because every day the horror was spreading and there was no town in which they had not arrested or killed someone. Teachers, trade unionists or simple workers not willing to squat down were his favorite victims “, that’s how the story begins that tells the story of Sebastián Blasco, May Borraz’s grandfather, who was assassinated on April 17, 1939 in Andorra (Teruel).

Sebastián Blasco, a resident of Andorra and defender of the Republic, died shortly after the end of the Civil War. It was officially recorded as a suicide, although the family never believed it. When the conflict began, Sebastián was 51 years old and his family was completely on the Republican side. “Since the war ended, the fascists in the town had become even more emboldened and spent the day threatening all those who did not share their ideas. And they were, clearly, one of those who did not. Not two days ago that Sebastián had shouted a ‘Long live the Republic’ with his fist raised on the stairs of the Town Hall “, says Borraz in the book ‘The last story. Of grandparents and gutters’.

On April 17, 1939, after the Civil War, he died. The official version of his death was a suicide, but his widow, Manuela, always maintained that “he had been killed in the back at night when the war was over and he was returning home, simply for being a Republican.” These words are reproduced by his granddaughter, May Borraz, in the book ‘The last story. Of grandparents and gutters’, written as a fictitious dialogue in which he relates to his grandmother the search for Sebastian’s remains.

He was assassinated by a group of Falangists, civil guards, and those who were attached to the new regime, and was buried next to the wall of the local cemetery. The official part of the time determined that Sebastián committed suicide by sticking his knife in his neck, to avoid his capture for having taken part “during the red domination in robberies and other events.”

Sebastián’s death left a widow, Manuela, and three daughters fatherless. Pilar, the oldest, was thirteen years old; Luisa, the middle one, eight; and Fabiola, the youngest and mother of May Borraz, was not yet two years old.

80 years after her death, May Borraz decided to unravel the mysteries that surrounded her: “I was asking questions and I had several versions of what had happened and there came a time when I wanted to know the truth, we did not know where her remains were, and I decided that was already playing, began an investigation process that ended with an exhumation and gave rise to the book that is a fictionalized newspaper about the process, “he explains. Five years later, he publishes’ The last story. De abuelos y cunetas’ in which he recounts the entire search and investigation process.

“My grandmother repeated like a mantra that a gang of cowards had murdered him after the war, but my mother, who was only two years old when it happened, lived it with shame; I think the first generation, the one back then, lived it with great fear, the next one with shame and mine with anger, “declared May during the exhumation work.

At the end of October 2020, his remains were exhumed in the vicinity of the Andorran cemetery and on January 7, 2021, the identity of Sebastián Blasco was confirmed by a DNA test. The exhumation work was carried out in the area known as the “Corralico”, next to the outer wall of the Andorran cemetery, where testimonies indicate that after being murdered, his body was dragged to the vicinity of the cemetery, being buried outside of the enclosure.

The process was carried out with the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH), to which the benefits of this book are destined, “it is impressive to see their involvement for a cause of the most laudable and necessary. We found several bodies One of them seemed to belong to my grandfather and then we confirmed it, “says Borraz. He highlights the work of this association and of all those that are dedicated to the struggle for historical memory, and recalls that “it should be the responsibility of the State, the country’s dead are dead, they are human rights and it is the State that has to take charge. “.