Spain identifies 212 int'l fighters who went missing during Civil War

Spain identifies 212 int'l fighters who went missing during Civil War

German, Austrian and Dutch fighters identified as part of 1st phase of studies

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

GENEVA (AA) - Spain has identified 212 international fighters from Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands who disappeared in Catalonia during the Civil War of 1936-1939.

Two studies commissioned by the Directorate General of Memory of the Generalitat of Catalonia have collected the names of foreign volunteers who fought in Catalonia - where an estimated 2,000 fighters are buried in mass graves, Spanish news agency EFE reported on Monday.

The report noted that the exact place where they died or were wounded has also been determined, which is crucial in locating and exhuming their remains from mass graves.

The identification of international fighters who disappeared in Catalonia is an ongoing project.

The recently concluded first phase involved identifying the names and places of the 212 missing brigades from Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, it said.

According to the director of the Generalitat, Alfons Aragoneses, the next phase will focus on documenting the places where British, Irish, and American volunteers died, whose remains have yet to be recovered.

The studies also have helped identify 510 other combatants who went missing in Catalonia during the Civil War, including Spanish soldiers, militiamen, and volunteers from other countries, the report said.

To achieve this, it said, unpublished documentary sources have been crossed with already published ones.

Aragoneses said in the report that the studies offer "tremendously valuable" information that can enable not only contacting the families of the missing brigades but also intervening in the mass graves found in the future.

The Generalitat has indeed opened its DNA bank for years to relatives of international brigades who disappeared during the Civil War. Comparing them with the remains found in mass graves in Catalonia, particularly in areas adjacent to the Ebro front.

Historians say around 2,000 volunteers died in Catalonia out of the 40,000 volunteers who traveled from 50 different countries to risk their lives defending the republic within both the International Brigades and the Anti-Fascist Militias.

Numerous casualties occurred on the Ebro front, which was the site of one of the most violent battles during the Civil War. The first mortal remains of international fighters have already been discovered at this location.

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