The Valley of the Fallen, the vast monument to the civil war where the remains of Franco and more than 30,000 people killed in combat lie together under a towering 500ft cross, is also in the government’s sights.

The Left-wing government of Pedro Sanchez, which took office in June after winning a no-confidence motion against the conservative administration of Mariano Rajoy, quickly announced it would seek the removal of Franco’s remains. That is expected to take place in the next few months, after which the authorities hope to reframe the site within a broader historical context.

It was Mr Sanchez’s PSOE which, during its last period in office, established a historical memory law that finally began to claw apart the so-called Pact of Forgetting, agreed upon Spain’s transition to democracy in a bid to prevent further conflict.

Mr Rajoy’s PP viewed such moves as reopening old wounds. Pablo Casado, a leading candidate to take over the PP, insisted on Tuesday that Spain had to get away from “certain mono-themes” such as the events of “100 years ago or who has to be disenterred”.

But to others, such wounds were never healed in the first place. Emilio Silva, head of the Association for Recuperation of Historical Memory, said on Thursday that when his grandfather was killed by Franco's men his body was hidden "to multiply the family's pain". "Fascism is a form of contempt for humanity," he added.


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Spain plans 'truth commission' as new socialist government attempts to bring closure to Franco legacy: Four decades after end of Franco dictatorship, Spain’s new government plans to open up more than 1,200 mass graves as part of state effort to finally examine dark chapter in country’s history.