Mass graves. Verbal memory of repression

Spanish and Valencian society have made progress in recent years in regard to recovering the collective historical memory referring to the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorship over the following years; an effort that seeks to fulfil the principles of truth, justice, repair and memory established by the UN.

The case of Paterna undoubtedly represents a milestone in the history of Franco's repression in our country, where 2238 executions were documented between El Terrer and the cemetery walls between 1939 and 1956, who were later buried in mass graves and niches in the cemetery.

The Valencian Regional Council has kicked off a major effort through the Historical Memory Delegation that was created in 2015, to subsidise associations of relatives of victims and town halls to exhume the bodies from the mass graves in Paterna. These exhumations led to the identification of individuals and the recovery of personal belongings and other materials of significant historical and anthropological value. L’ETNO, Museu Valencià d’Etnologia, is working with some of those items, which provide important information about how the victims prepared themselves for their imminent execution (objects they took with them, messages, etc.) and about the material living conditions of the prisoners in the post civil war period.