Spanish Families Want To Know: “Where Are Our Children?”

Several articles posted on the Internet state that Julio Garagoza, the Chief Prosecutor in Spain has agreed to open a five year window into the mysterious disappearances of the children of women condemned to death during the General Franco regime. This practice was put into place by Antonio Vellejo-Nagera who was the chief psychiatrist at the time.

Believing that communism was a mental defect, Vellegro-Nagera convinced General Franco who in turn instituted a policy that became Spanish law in 1940. It stated that the women who were convicted of being communists were condemned to death, and had no right to their offspring. Therefore, in prison, these women would be taken away and when they returned, their children would be gone. Never to be seen again.

According to the article by Alasdair Fottheringham, this practice resulted in the “lost children of General Franco”.  It is believed by those supporting this movement that as many as 30,000 were kidnapped.

Garagoza is only willing to look into a span of five years which will not give the mothers who survived the period much hope, but some will know if their children survived, were killed or perhaps adopted by priests, a rumor at the time.  In spite of the unwillingness of former administrations, with Julio Garagoza’s acceptance of the case, the success of the movement has been shown hope in that the hospital in Madrid has agreed to open their files to the mothers for the years between 1961-1971.

Although helpful, Garagoza has made it clear that if some of the cases prove true, there will be no legal charges filed.

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