Truth, justice and reparation
The "17 Roses of Guillena"
El País in English

The "17 Roses of Guillena" — a group of women from the same village who were assassinated during the Civil War because of their Republican connections — returned home on Saturday to receive proper burial after lying for 75 years in a mass grave.

Their tormenters jailed them, raped them, shaved their heads and marched them through town to be laughed at by their fellow villagers. After that, the Falangists loaded them onto a truck like a herd of cattle and drove them to the next town, Gerena, also in Seville province. In November 1937, these 17 women, aged between 24 and 70, were executed and their bodies dumped into a grave at the local cemetery.


One man who attended, José Domínguez Núñez, played a pivotal role in this story. As a boy, José climbed an olive tree and witnessed the execution of the 17, and it was thanks to him that the mass grave was later located.


It took the association over a decade to locate the burial site, exhume the bodies, identify them and give them a proper burial in their home town. Their main fear was taking too long, since the victims' direct descendants were dying before seeing redress for their loved ones. "There are still five living children who had been waiting 75 years for this," Sócam said.

One of them is Antonia Macedo, 79, whose mother was taken away when she was four years old. All she has left of her is a photograph and the same pretty blue eyes, which were filled with tears as Saturday's ceremony proceeded. "You wouldn't know what I went through without my mother...," she said, standing outside Gerena town hall. "They killed my mother because they were after my father, who was at the front." Antonia had a sister who died soon after that. "Besides that, my mother was pregnant."


But 75 years later, Antonia Macedo is no longer seeking revenge against the people who took her mother away. "I am not spiteful," she said, even though she personally knew everyone who either killed her or helped. "They are from the village, and they are all already dead."

Article in full here

Photo: Paco Puentes