Projects for the recovery of Democratic Memory

The Historical Memory Association of the Province of Huelva (AMHPH) has submitted three projects to the call for competitive grants for activities of Democratic Memory 2022 promoted by the Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Democratic Memory, through the Secretary of State for Memory, and all have been admitted in principle, passing the first phase of the call. It is hoped that they can finally be approved to continue research on this matter by the association.

On July 6, the AMHPH registered three requests, according to work areas, specifically, for research, publications and data collection. The first two have been prepared by Ángel Romero, and refer to ‘Recognition of Estonian victims buried in the La Soledad de Huelva cemetery’ and ‘New fields of Social Work: the recovery of Historical Memory’. The third focuses on the educational field, and is entitled ‘Democratic Memory and Education Project in the Province of Huelva. (Didactic unit)’.

The Association has been very satisfied that the three initiatives have been admitted in the first instance and have the possibility of receiving public funding from the central government if they pass the final selection, since, according to its president, Fernando Pineda, “it is a important support for memorial work, which contrasts with the scant support received by associations and victims from the Junta de Andalucía”.

The AMHPH has also worked on the support and advice for Huelva municipalities in the face of the Call for aid to the City Councils and Provincial Councils of the Central Government through the FEMP, 2022-2023, for the execution of projects or actions of investigation, location, exhumation and identification of people who disappeared during the civil war and the Franco regime. The submission deadline is July 31.

According to data compiled by Concha Morón, AMHPH’s Exhumations Member, the entity has collaborated with numerous Town Halls in the preparation and presentation of the proposals, as well as in contact with the technical teams that have prepared them. Specifically, they have been the municipalities of Nerva, Minas de Riotinto, San Juan del Puerto, Bonares, Ayamonte, El Campillo, where they had previously collaborated. To these municipalities have been added others in which no action had been taken until now, such as San Bartolomé de la Torre, Valverde del Camino, Zufre and Niebla, in addition to having contacted other localities that ultimately have not been able to present their projects.

In Nerva, the City Council and the Provincial Council of Huelva have requested aid to be able to complete the exhumation and dignity work of the largest grave in the province, which began in 2017, which, after several campaigns, have resulted in the rescue of 152 victims between the two graves located, it is estimated that there may be another 100 more that remain to be recovered.

In Minas de Riotinto, the aid requested by the City Council corresponds to a second phase of intervention in the graves of the municipal cemetery that could result in the exhumation of 40 people, in addition to the 33 victims already rescued. In San Juan del Puerto, 24 bodies were already exhumed last season and it is estimated that in 2022 16 more victims may be found.

The investigation and location of the grave in the Bonares municipal cemetery, carried out in 2021, already found the remains of 4 victims, and this year it is estimated that the remains of between 20 and 40 people may appear. In Ayamonte, help has been requested for the location and delimitation of the grave that may contain the remains of 100 people. Finally, in El Campillo, where more than 300 victims have been documented murdered in different places and three common graves, work will be undertaken to exhume the third grave, with the remains of 11 people.

As for the new actions, collaboration has been made with San Bartolomé de la Torre, to meet the requests of relatives of 18 victims of El Almendro murdered in the town of Bartolina, in an action that has the collaboration of the City Council and the Commissioner of the Report of the Provincial Council. In Valverde del Camino, the request of a relative of a victim of Nerva murdered in a place called ‘Puente Nuevo’ has also been attended to, and it is hoped that a grave with a hundred people will be located.

Democratic memory projects

In the mountain town of Zufre, there have also been some relatives who have gone to the Association, which contacted the archaeologist and the Zufre City Council for an intervention before the grave that can find between 42 and 88 victims, among which could be the 16 women from Zufre murdered in Higuera de la Sierra, four Republican mayors and 16 councillors. Finally, in Niebla, the relatives of three victims murdered in a place called ‘Rabo Conejo’ initiate contacts with the City Council through the AMHPH that give rise to a request for a subsidy from the Ministry for the location and, where appropriate, , complete intervention, which may result in the delivery of the remains to the next of kin in case of positive identification.

The Association has also been involved in contacting six municipalities that, with at least one hundred documented victims and reflected in the Map of Graves of the Junta de Andalucía the existence of several graves in the cemetery and municipal sites, there was no record of request by part of any family member or the corresponding Town Halls. The steps have resulted in the start of the procedure before the Junta de Andalucía and the request for a subsidy to the Ministry through the FEMP of the Rociana del Condado and Gibraleón City Councils.

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