• General responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in Civil War disinterred
• Despite objections, city also to remove remains of 1936 coup leader Sansurjo
The municipal government of the city of Pamplona has reached agreement with the local Catholic archdiocese to exhume from a local mausoleum the remains of two generals who participated in the July 1936 military uprising against Spain’s democratically elected Republican government, although the family of Gen. José Sansurjo has objected to the agreement that calls for removal of his remains from the so-called Monumento a los Caídos (‘Monument to the Fallen’).
Pamplona mayor Joseba Asirón of the EH Bildu party told reporters this week that after an agreement was reached with family members and the local archdiocese, the remains of Gen. Emilio Mola were quietly disinterred on 24th October without any notice to the public or news media and returned to his family for burial at an undisclosed location. In charge of troops participating in the July 1936 military uprising in Spain’s northwest regons of Navarre and the Basque Country, Mola’s forces were responsible for the execution of thousands of civilians as his troops moved from town to town consolidating control in the immediate weeks following the July 1936 military rebellion.
Sansurjo, a native of Pamplona who had led an earlier unsuccessful military coup in 1932, was the general designated by the military conspirators to lead the 1936 uprising, but died in an airplane crash two days after the coup was launched as he was flying back to mainland Spain from exile. Following his death, Gen. Francisco Franco assumed leadership of the rebellion and after victory of his ‘Nationalist’ forces in 1939 ruled Spain under the dictatorship he established until his death in 1975.
According to mayor Asirón, the city of Pamplona has moved forward with the removal of the remains of Mola, Sansurjo and other military troops accompanying them in the so-called ‘Monument to the Fallen’ in keeping with the mandate of Spain’s 2007 Law of Historical Memory, which calls for the removal of street and place names and monuments glorifying the 1936 rebellion and heroes of the military victory and Franco era.
The conservative Partido Popular (PP) government of Spanish Minister Mariano Rajoy has objected to the disinterment of the generals’ remains, with former Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz saying that “what interests Spain and Spaniards, Navarre and the Navarrans, is to look to the future, not look back toward that which divides us.”
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