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SPAIN: The Valle de los Caidos

The Valle de los Caídos, the Valley of the Fallen, is a huge crypt dug out of the mountain, 13 km. north of El Escorial, as a mausoleum for the dead on both sides of the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39. Carmen Negrín said there have been several attempts to blow it up. I asked why. Carmen said: "The Valle de los Caidos is only the symbol of one side, Franco's. The Valle was built by the Republican prisoners who often didn't survive the task". RH: It is true that Franco and José Antonio Primo de Rivera are buried there, but it was expressly built for the dead on both sides. Those buried there number 40,000, What are the numbers from each side? Paul Preston may know. It was not conceived in a vindictive mood, and it still seems to me improper to blow up the burial place of the victims of a civil war, or any burial place for that matter. Moreover, it has become a highly rated impressive historic monument, with important works of art.. It is bigger than St. Peter's in Rome. Adriana de Pena says Napoleon was a tyrant, despite the achievements listed by Carmen. To me, Napoleon's tomb is an expression of arrogance. The Valle de los Caídos is sorrowful and filled with a religious sense is which arrogance has no place. May the dead rest in peace.

Ronald Hilton - 7/30/03