Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 10:52 UK

Lorca family to allow exhumation

 (Garcia Lorca Foundation)
Lorca was part of a vibrant Spanish artistic scene

The family of the Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca have dropped their long-standing objection to the excavation of his grave.

Lorca was killed in the Spanish civil war and buried alongside other victims.

Families of some of the others want their relatives' remains to be exhumed, identified and given a proper burial.

Lorca's family have always resisted the digging up of the grave, but now say they will not stand in the way of the other families' desires.

Lorca was shot dead alongside a teacher and two trade unionists by General Francisco Franco's nationalists at the start of the civil war in 1936.

The four bodies are believed to lie close to an olive tree in a gorge in southern Spain - though others claim their grave is 400m away.

To open just one of the graves there and distinguish some of the dead above the others demeans the virtue of the place as a historic legacy
Laura Garcia Lorca
Lorca's niece

Judge Baltasar Garzon is considering a petition by two of the families to open the presumed grave.

"We will accept whatever decision is taken without objection," said Laura Garcia Lorca, the poet's niece.

"We understand the desire of a family to recover the remains of their relatives and give them proper burials," she told the Associated Press.

"[But] for our family it is preferable that he (Lorca) stay there. He is in good company."

She said the family thought the gorge - where thousands of other bodies are also believed to be buried - "should be protected for the cemetery that it is, a testimony to the terrible crimes committed under Franco and the repression".

The case reflects a growing desire in Spain to come to terms with the civil war, which for decades was barely talked about, correspondents say.

Judge Garzon has asked local government and churches to open their files on the thousands of people who disappeared during the 1936-1939 war, and under the dictatorship of Gen Franco until 1975.

Civil War legacy divides Spain
18 Jul 06 |  Europe
Country profile: Spain
08 Jul 08 |  Country profiles
Spanish Civil War veterans look back
17 Mar 06 |  Northern Ireland

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