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A Daughter's Journey to Recoup Father's Remains From Franco Era

The last time Ascension Mendieta saw her father was in 1939, she was 13 years old at the time.
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The Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory is the Spanish organization that helped Mendieta recover her father Timoteo
The Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory is the Spanish organization that helped Mendieta recover her father Timoteo's remains. He was a victim of the Franco’s dictatorship. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
Recently exhumed bodies still in their graves.
Recently exhumed bodies still in their graves. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
Bullet holes from the firing squads were still evident.
Bullet holes from the firing squads were still evident. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
Ascension Mendieta looks at the archaeologists and volunteers working in the pit.
Ascension Mendieta looks at the archaeologists and volunteers working in the pit. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
A volunteer with the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory holding a box of bones.
A volunteer with the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory holding a box of bones. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
Money, dice, pens, keys and personal effects were found with the bones.
Money, dice, pens, keys and personal effects were found with the bones. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
A volunteer sorts the remains.
A volunteer sorts the remains. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
The graves were more the eight meters deep. The archaeologists say it proves the executions were premeditated.
The graves were more the eight meters deep. The archaeologists say it proves the executions were premeditated. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
 Ascension Mendieta has spent 77 years looking for her father
Ascension Mendieta has spent 77 years looking for her father's remains. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
"Murdered for Defending Freedom," is written on one of the gravestones on the mass graves.
"Murdered for Defending Freedom," is written on one of the gravestones on the mass graves. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
The cemetery
The cemetery's burial book details who was killed and under what circumstances. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
The Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory was founded in 2000.
The Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory was founded in 2000. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
In 17 years, the ARMH have exhumed over 150 graves and recovered the identities of more than 1,400 victims of the Franco dictatorship.
In 17 years, the ARMH have exhumed over 150 graves and recovered the identities of more than 1,400 victims of the Franco dictatorship. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
In addition to the exhumations, the ARMH has the largest file of missing persons in Spain, and they have filed more than 1,300 cases before the UNJPG Working Group on Forced Disappearances.
In addition to the exhumations, the ARMH has the largest file of missing persons in Spain, and they have filed more than 1,300 cases before the UNJPG Working Group on Forced Disappearances. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
The ARMH used a metal detector at the burial site. Bodies were exhumed with bullets still in them.
The ARMH used a metal detector at the burial site. Bodies were exhumed with bullets still in them. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
Bullet fragments found in the mass graves.
Bullet fragments found in the mass graves. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
Bones packed and wrapped with newspapers bearing the face of Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy.
Bones packed and wrapped with newspapers bearing the face of Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
Ascension Mendieta, daughter of Timoteo.
Ascension Mendieta, daughter of Timoteo. Photo:Julia Varela and Hernan Crespo
Published 25 July 2017
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