New milestone in the process of exhumation in the San Fernando cemetery of the Pico Reja mass grave, the first to be opened in the capital of Seville and where it is estimated that there may be more than a thousand victims of the massacre that shook the city in the summer of 1936, including the remains of Blas Infante, father of the Andalusian homeland. The technicians of Aranzadi, the company awarded the works, have begun the process of taking bone samples from the bodies of the reprisals that will be immediately sent to the laboratory of the University of Granada that will be in charge of their genetic identification through the crossing of the DNA extracted from the bone with biological samples that were once taken from relatives by professionals from the Municipal Laboratory of Seville.
“The earth is talking”: Seville certifies a second grave with 2,500 victims of the Franco regime
As reported to elDiario.es Andalusia sources from the Seville City Council, the Aranzadi technicians select samples of about ten centimeters of the larger bones of the appendicular skeleton in better condition and place them in sealed paper envelopes, sealed and identified with a series of numbers and letters that correspond to the body exhumation data. From now on, and until the first weeks of December, they will be sent in groups to the Granada laboratory, which has advanced technology for DNA crosses with samples previously taken from relatives in the last two years at the Municipal Laboratory. As effective (or positive) matches emerge between the DNA of the reprisal’s bone remains and the biological sample taken from the family member, the competent administration will transfer the result in a totally private way to the family, then opening another procedure for the delivery of the body in identification case.
In these coming weeks, the forecast of the Aranzadi technicians is to take and send to the University of Granada around 200 bone samples for DNA comparison. As of October 30, and after eight months of work – counting with the stoppage forced by the first state of alarm due to the COVID-19 pandemic – 293 remains of people have been located and exhumed with obvious signs of having been reprisals, another 551 people were buried in coffins, 569 were in anatomical disconnection and 158 remains were isolated, according to the monthly balance made by Aranzadi. Meanwhile, the tests taken from family members are around 280 – the taking process continues to be activated as soon as a family member is interested.
The results should not be taken as definitive if there are no coincidences, since the exhumation process is in its first year and, therefore, the shipments of samples to the laboratory of the University of Granada must also follow, according to the Seville city hall.
The mass grave is extremely complex due to the presence of the remains of reprisals, remains buried in coffins and remains from ossuaries, far exceeding the initial estimates of bodies deposited in it and thus making work difficult.