Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The San Isidro camp and the hidden mass grave

A half hour train journey south out Alicante brings you to Albatera and the site of the San Isidro concentration camp. This is the camp where most of those who survived the horror of the surrender at the port and the Los Almendros camp were shipped by the Franco forces. Today, it sits within the shadow the the High Speed rail route which is being built down to the south of the country and to get the site of the camp I had to pick my way through the building site. A monument was erected at San Isidro by survivors in 1995 and its twin iron beams, wrapped at the top with broken chains, still stand proud although overshadowed by the building work and surrounded by rubbish. All that remains of the original camp is a small brick shed that was close to the gatehouse and which is now used as tool store. It is estimated that 25,000 people died at the camp. During the night, Falangists would arrive from all over the country to drag away and torture and shoot prisoners. In 2011 the Spanish Ministry of Justice, after years of pressure, finally produced a map of known sites of mass graves from the Civil War period. But, despite the fact that thousands were murdered at San Isidro , with many buried adjacent to Albatera railway station, this location was left off the official map even though it is thought to be the one of the largest mass graves in the country. Why? That is what the Commission for Historical Memory are demanding to know and their campaign to expose the truth is one that deserves international support. I hope to be working on a film with both Spanish and British comrades to drag this cover up out into the daylight and will be posting again on this subject.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Geoff. I've just linked to this blog from my entry published today: http://www.anythingbutpaella.com/san-isidros-dark-secret/

    The memorial is still there but it is completely detached from the town thanks to the rail line.

    Did anything come of the possibility of a film about this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. great stuff, thanks for this. The film idea is still there, but probably a retirement project in a few years time!

      Delete
  2. I live near San Isidro and have visited the site many times including today. The land is owned by whom? A few allotments have sprung up. How can we begin to identify where the graves are located?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah, i don't know who owns the land. The last time I was down there a large chunk of it had been taken over as a depot for the new high speed rail link. There is nothing to mark the graves. I will put up a contemporary picture that may help with the geography of the area at that time. If you find out any more please let me know. Geoff

      Delete