Felipe Acedo Colunga, the creator of the "final solution" of Franco's repression

Prosecutor Felipe Acedo Colunga was the ideologue of the theses defended in the emergency summary war councils between 1937 and 1939. He is also responsible for the creation of the plan that determined how the purging of all the groups loyal to the Republic. He was uncompromising with the defenders of the Republican Constitution. He shaped a penal norm destined to exterminate the enemy, as is clarified in the investigation Punishing the Reds. Acedo Colunga, the great architect of Franco's repression (Editorial Crítica), by historians Francisco Espinosa, Guillermo Portilla and Ángel Viñas. The work uncovers a cruel and decisive character, who acted in the shadows in the construction of the systematic criteria to carry out a great crime against humanity during the Civil War and the dictatorship, as indicated by Judge Baltasar Garzón in the introduction to the essay.

The "criminal horror", as Garzón defines it, that Acedo Colunga imagines is evident in the Memoir of the end of the Army of Occupation, written on January 15, 1939, which he applied "generously" to those who defended the Government that came out of the ballot box and the constitutional order. For Francisco Espinosa, the objective of this document – ​​found in the Archives of the Second Territorial Military Court of Seville – was to keep the repression alive. "Although the war had ended, the campaign was still in force," says the historian. And it only stopped in 1944, for a certain time, when the dictatorship needed to open up to the international market. When Franco found that the allies would look the other way in the face of the existence of Spanish fascism, the military judicial machinery turned on again.

First, suppress. Then, affirm and justify: "Demonstrate to the world in an incontrovertible and documented way our accusatory thesis against the so-called legitimate powers, namely, that the bodies and people who held power on July 18, 1936 suffered from such vices of illegitimacy in their titles and in the exercise of the same, that, when the Army and the people rose up against them, they did not carry out any act of rebellion against the Authority or against the Law", can be read in the objective of the report.

The prosecutor of horror, legal ideologue of such bloody repression, came from the aviation branch of the army. During the Republic he had already shown himself to be a convinced anti-democrat and participated in the Sanjurjo coup on August 10, 1932. Over time he would become, among other positions, civil governor of Barcelona between 1951 and 1960.

Francisco Espinosa tells this newspaper that his chance encounter with the Memory in the military archives demonstrates what many have tried to deny up to now: "That the military had an ideological project of control and extermination. They couldn't kill all the people they would have liked. They left alive those who had to work the fields", points out the historian, who notes that Acedo Colunga was an admirer of Nazi Germany.

The amazing thing, he adds, is that this significant but little-known document has been preserved. It has about 90 typewritten pages and, at first glance, it is unsigned. Felipe Acedo Colunga's name is at the end of the document. It was a file for internal use, aimed at audits and not for leaving military circles, in which the ideological foundations of repression are detailed. In those pages the end of the horror put black on white his experience of "cleansing" the Andalusian towns as they were occupied by the Francoist army. His mission began in Malaga, where thousands of war councils were held in a few months... "and nearly 4,000 people were killed," says Espinosa. Without the farce of the War Councils.

In November 1936, Acedo Colunga was appointed director of the Occupation Army Prosecutor's Office. Three years later he requested the death penalty for Julián Besteiro, president of the Cortes during the Second Republic and also of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and the General Union of Workers (UGT). The court dismissed the request and he was sentenced to life imprisonment, which amounted to 30 years in prison. The politician died in prison.

The plan for the penal repression of those disaffected to the National Movement worked from the first day. The Cursed Memory is the sketch to legally conclude the physical, moral and economic extermination of the defenders of the Republic. These were considered illegitimate enemies lacking rights and as such they were murdered without scruples and without consequences.

Baltasar Garzón wonders if, once the Transition had passed through Spain, the judiciary passed through the Transition. "How long have these terrible, inhuman and fascist concepts persisted in our legal regulations? When and to what extent did the change in mentality and culture take place in the judiciary, a closed and inbred structure? How much work still needs to be done to uproot the roots of that hatred implanted with such rigor?", asks the judge in the introduction of the essay.

Francisco Espinosa calls the systematic will to exterminate the defenders of the constitutional order and all those around him the "lobotomy of the left zone" of Spain. "What comes out of the Franco regime no longer has anything to do with what it was during the Republic, neither the PCE nor the PSOE were the same. That is the real effect of all that Acedo Colunga project, creating a new society in which erase a certain line of thought," says Francisco Espinosa. Today, he says, the consequences emerge.

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