Unearthing Historical Memory from Franco's Museum
A talk by Joan Pinyol
What would you do if you discovered that the remains of your grandfather were stolen from his grave, decades ago?
What would you do if you found out that he was now buried close to the man responsible for his death?
Come meet Catalan writer Joan Pinyol, presenting his latest book "Avi, et trauré d'aquí!" (2019, 'Grandpa, I will take you out from here!'), based on his own true story.
Joan Pinyol's grandfather, Joan Colom, died at the end of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and was buried in a mass grave in Lleida. His family would visit his grave for decades, without knowing that from 1965 on, they were bringing flowers to an empty sepulcher.
In the late 50s and 60s, thousands of remains of soldiers from the defeated side were exhumated, without permission or knowledge of the families, and taken from all over Spain to the Valley of the Fallen: the infamous mausoleum that Franco, Spain's dictator from 1939 until he died in 1975, built for the glory of the fascist victory.
Joan Pinyol randomly found out about his grandfather's destiny in 2008, and, since then, he has been fighting and struggling to take his grandfather out of Franco's burial site, without success.