More on Franco’s “stolen children”

January 28, 2011
By

The AP’s Daniel Woolls reports:

A Spanish association of people searching for lost children or parents filed a petition Thursday with the attorney general to investigate allegations that newborns were stolen from their mothers and sold to other families for decades, including as recently as the mid-1990s. The petition was signed by around 260 people and filed with Attorney General Candido Conde-Pumpido by the association, ANADIR. … It is well documented that in the immediate wake of Spain’s 1936-39 civil war, babies and children were taken away from women who supported the government, or Republican side, that was defeated by the right wing forces of Gen. Francisco Franco. Investigating magistrate Baltasar Garzón has put the figure at 30,000.

More here. Previous coverage in the Volunteer here. See also Natalia Junquera’s piece in the English edition of El País.

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6 Responses to “ More on Franco’s “stolen children” ”

  1. AMC on January 28, 2011 at 10:45 am

    The case of Guerrero’s brother is among those taken up by Mar Soriano, who is heading a campaign to trace the babies stolen in the later years of the dictatorship. Soriano is looking for her sister, Beatriz, who was born at a clinic in Madrid on Jan. 3, 1964.

    “The babies were taken from poor, unprotected people,” Soriano said in a telephone interview. “It was rooted in an ‘anything goes’ culture of impunity. If you knew the right people, I believe you could just buy someone else’s newborn.”

    Soriano recounted that her mother gave birth to a “chubby, beautiful and peaceful” girl. But she was discharged from the hospital without the child, who doctors claimed was ill.

    Her mother continued bringing milk to the clinic until she was told that the baby had died of an ear infection. The clinic staff said, “We’ll take care of everything,” and told her that Beatriz had already been buried in a mass grave.

    Soriano and fellow activists are putting pressure on Spain’s justice system. They petitioned state prosecutor Javier Zaragoza at the High Court twice last month.

    But so far Zaragoza has ruled out legal action. Instead, he has suggested that the Justice Ministry set up a DNA bank.

    Seekers need the authorities’ cooperation to access archives and open records that are essential to the search.

    “This is not about what side you are on,” Soriano said. “Families have always lived with this terrible doubt, with this sense of loss. This is about the search for the truth.

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.latimes.com%2Fnews%2Fnationworld%2Fworld%2Fla-fg-spain-franco-20110107%2C0%2C4809520.story&h=b119d

    PLATAFORMA AFECTADOS CLÍNICAS DE TODA ESPAÑA CAUSA NIÑOS ROBADOS, please contact is Organiser, MAR SORIANO (in spanish) at msorianor@ono.com
    Do not charge, Do no separate, We collaborate with the MH Assoc, We agree, WE do confirmate our HISTORY which belongs to everyone.
    FRANCO was a war criminal, yes, and he is dead, but the crimes during and after his regime still there unresolved.

  2. AMC on January 28, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Enrique Vila, Antonio Barroso plus many others who administer this association,
    have expressed form many months already, their strong point of view to the media and to their new members, their statement is that : they DO NOT demand responsibility to this crime to FRANCO’s regime, they DO NOT want to be link to the Spanish Memory Association, they DO not want to blame the catholic church strong influence of the fascism. Thou they claim those crimes ” the stolen babies in clinics and irregular adoptions are crimes against humanity, they only blame the people who participated as such, just people.
    AUDIO, cadena SER: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=500991064517&oid=159580080735573&comments&ref=nf

  3. AMC on January 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

    From The Times
    August 27, 2009
    Franco’s last victims search for solace
    The children of Republicans ‘stolen’ from their parents in the Spanish Civil War fight to find their relatives
    Graham KeeleyThen, earlier this year, the Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzón, who rose to fame when he tried to arrest the Chilean dictator General Pinochet in 1998, launched an investigation into the fate of the “lost children”. But just as Spain seemed about to confront this dark chapter, Judge Garzón was forced to concede jurisdiction of the case to lower provincial courts. They are unlikely to pursue such a complex and controversial case.

    Campaigners, however, refuse to give up. They are to take to court the case of Beatriz Soriano Rui. In 1964 she was taken from her mother while still in hospital and disappeared. Her sister, 44-year-old Mar Soriano Ruti, says: “I hope one day to set eyes on my sister.”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-spain-franco-20110107,0,4809520.story

  4. AMC on January 28, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Spanish families renew search for stolen babies
    Countless babies were taken from mothers who fell afoul of the Franco regime, and many women have died without learning their children’s fate. Now activists are stepping up pressure on Spain’s justice system to ease their search for answers.

    Gen. Francisco Franco is seen with his wife at a parade in 1943. For years after the civil war, newborns were seized from female political prisoners. (Agence France-Presse / January 6, 2011)
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    By Hazel Healy, Los Angeles Times
    January 7, 2011
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    Reporting from Madrid — Emilia Giron never forgot her second son. She wanted to name him Jesus, but he was taken from her in the hospital to be baptized and was never returned.

    He was stolen while she was imprisoned by Gen. Francisco Franco’s regime, in the early 1940s, after the country’s bitter civil war.

    “I felt that anguish all my life,” Giron told a historian 60 years later. “I carried him for nine months and I never got to know him. Pain like that does not go away. I will take it with me into the next life.”

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    Giron died at 95 in 2007, five years after telling her story to historian Ricard Vinyes, who was also jailed by the Franco dictatorship. She never found out what happened to Jesus.

    Her baby boy was one of thousands of children who were reportedly separated from their parents in the 1940s during a little-known chapter of the repression that followed the 1936-’39 Spanish Civil War, a practice that would have a terrible echo decades later in Argentina’s “dirty war.”

    Giron’s ordeal and that of other parents were immortalized by the 2002 documentary “The Lost Children of Franco,” which Vinyes helped make. And now activists are stepping up pressure on Spain’s justice system to ease their search for the victims of the sinister campaign.

    Under Franco’s far-right regime, she was considered morally unfit to raise a child because she was the sister of an outlawed guerrilla leader.

    Military psychologist Antonio Vallejo-Nagera built the ideological framework for the practice of taking children from their parents. He saw Marxism as a form of mental illness that was polluting the Hispanic race and advocated that children of leftists be removed and re-educated, a process he termed “separating the wheat from the chaff.”

    An unknown number of infants were taken from women’s prisons. In addition, some Republican child evacuees were repatriated without their parents’ consent and interned in Social Aid homes for schooling in religious and nationalist ideology. Many were adopted by right-wing families.

    A law passed in 1941 allowed the state to change the surnames of children in their care. Original records were tampered with, destroyed or simply closed to information seekers, and the victims’ past became virtually untraceable.

    When Franco died in 1975, the abuses of his regime were swept under the carpet in the interest of a smooth transition to democracy. In a country still littered with unmarked mass graves, the past has remained untouchable and hugely contentious.

    Unlike Argentina, Spain has had no truth commission or trials.

    In 2008, Spanish Judge Balthazar Garzon catapulted the fate of the “lost children” into the public spotlight as part of a wider investigation of human rights abuses during Franco’s 37-year dictatorship. But his efforts met with fierce resistance. Accused of violating the terms of Spain’s amnesty law, Garzon has been indicted on charges of abusing his power.

    Garzon’s case has stalled, but it broke society’s unwritten pact of silence and spurred more families to come forward.

    In addition to the children taken after the civil war for Franco’s brand of political cleansing, child thefts continued into the 1960s and beyond, hundreds of families say, targeting mothers who were vulnerable under the Franco regime.

    The later cases also were politically tinged, but the families allege that it was crooked doctors and midwives who stole newborns from clinics, motivated by personal gain.

    Blanca Guerrero is searching for her brother, Miguel Angel, who was born June 5, 1945.

    Her mother, Agustina, was from a family of known Republicans but was not herself politically active. After being pressured to have her child at a Madrid clinic where she worked, she was told that her son was stillborn. But she always told her daughter that she had felt him moving. Agustina died in 2009.

    The case of Guerrero’s brother is among those taken up by Mar Soriano, who is heading a campaign to trace the babies stolen in the later years of the dictatorship. Soriano is looking for her sister, Beatriz, who was born at a clinic in Madrid on Jan. 3, 1964.

    “The babies were taken from poor, unprotected people,” Soriano said in a telephone interview. “It was rooted in an ‘anything goes’ culture of impunity. If you knew the right people, I believe you could just buy someone else’s newborn.”

    Soriano recounted that her mother gave birth to a “chubby, beautiful and peaceful” girl. But she was discharged from the hospital without the child, who doctors claimed was ill.

    Her mother continued bringing milk to the clinic until she was told that the baby had died of an ear infection. The clinic staff said, “We’ll take care of everything,” and told her that Beatriz had already been buried in a mass grave.

    Soriano and fellow activists are putting pressure on Spain’s justice system. They petitioned state prosecutor Javier Zaragoza at the High Court twice last month.

    But so far Zaragoza has ruled out legal action. Instead, he has suggested that the Justice Ministry set up a DNA bank.

    Seekers need the authorities’ cooperation to access archives and open records that are essential to the search.

    “This is not about what side you are on,” Soriano said. “Families have always lived with this terrible doubt, with this sense of loss. This is about the search for the truth.”

    Healy is a special correspondent.
    Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

  5. AMC on January 28, 2011 at 11:12 am

    PLATAFORMA AFECTADOS CLÍNICAS DE TODA ESPAÑA CAUSA NIÑOS ROBADOS, please contact is Organiser, MAR SORIANO (in spanish) at msorianor@ono.com
    Do not charge, Do no separate, We collaborate with the MH Assoc, We agree, WE do confirmate our HISTORY which belongs to everyone.
    FRANCO was a war criminal, yes, and he is dead, but the crimes during and after his regime still there unresolved.

    Enrique Vila, Antonio Barroso plus many others who administer this association,
    have expressed form many months already, their strong point of view to the media and to their new members, their statement is that : they DO NOT demand responsibility to this crime to FRANCO’s regime, they DO NOT want to be link to the Spanish Memory Association, they DO not want to blame the catholic church strong influence of the fascism. Thou they claim those crimes ” the stolen babies in clinics and irregular adoptions are crimes against humanity, they only blame the people who participated as such, just people.
    AUDIO, cadena SER: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=500991064517&oid=159580080735573&comments&ref=nf

    From The Times
    August 27, 2009
    Franco’s last victims search for solace
    The children of Republicans ‘stolen’ from their parents in the Spanish Civil War fight to find their relatives
    Graham KeeleyThen, earlier this year, the Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzón, who rose to fame when he tried to arrest the Chilean dictator General Pinochet in 1998, launched an investigation into the fate of the “lost children”. But just as Spain seemed about to confront this dark chapter, Judge Garzón was forced to concede jurisdiction of the case to lower provincial courts. They are unlikely to pursue such a complex and controversial case.

    Campaigners, however, refuse to give up. They are to take to court the case of Beatriz Soriano Ruiz. In 1964 she was taken from her mother while still in hospital and disappeared. Her sister, 44-year-old Mar Soriano Ruiz, says: “I hope one day to set eyes on my sister.”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-spain-franco-20110107,0,4809520.story
    Delete

    Unlike Argentina, Spain has had no truth commission or trials.

    In 2008, Spanish Judge Balthazar Garzon catapulted the fate of the “lost children” into the public spotlight as part of a wider investigation of human rights abuses during Franco’s 37-year dictatorship. But his efforts met with fierce resistance. Accused of violating the terms of Spain’s amnesty law, Garzon has been indicted on charges of abusing his power.

    Garzon’s case has stalled, but it broke society’s unwritten pact of silence and spurred more families to come forward.

    In addition to the children taken after the civil war for Franco’s brand of political cleansing, child thefts continued into the 1960s and beyond, hundreds of families say, targeting mothers who were vulnerable under the Franco regime.

    The later cases also were politically tinged, but the families allege that it was crooked doctors and midwives who stole newborns from clinics, motivated by personal gain.

    Blanca Guerrero is searching for her brother, Miguel Angel, who was born June 5, 1945.

    Her mother, Agustina, was from a family of known Republicans but was not herself politically active. After being pressured to have her child at a Madrid clinic where she worked, she was told that her son was stillborn. But she always told her daughter that she had felt him moving. Agustina died in 2009.

    The case of Guerrero’s brother is among those taken up by Mar Soriano, who is heading a campaign to trace the babies stolen in the later years of the dictatorship. Soriano is looking for her sister, Beatriz, who was born at a clinic in Madrid on Jan. 3, 1964.

    “The babies were taken from poor, unprotected people,” Soriano said in a telephone interview. “It was rooted in an ‘anything goes’ culture of impunity. If you knew the right people, I believe you could just buy someone else’s newborn.”

    Soriano recounted that her mother gave birth to a “chubby, beautiful and peaceful” girl. But she was discharged from the hospital without the child, who doctors claimed was ill.

    Her mother continued bringing milk to the clinic until she was told that the baby had died of an ear infection. The clinic staff said, “We’ll take care of everything,” and told her that Beatriz had already been buried in a mass grave.

    Soriano and fellow activists are putting pressure on Spain’s justice system. They petitioned state prosecutor Javier Zaragoza at the High Court twice last month.

    But so far Zaragoza has ruled out legal action. Instead, he has suggested that the Justice Ministry set up a DNA bank.

    Seekers need the authorities’ cooperation to access archives and open records that are essential to the search.

    “This is not about what side you are on,” Soriano said. “Families have always lived with this terrible doubt, with this sense of loss. This is about the search for the truth.”

    Healy is a special correspondent.
    Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Timeshttp://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-spain-franco-20110107,0,4809520.story

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