EL ESPINAR (Spain): The wedding ring is seen during the exhumation of a mass grave by the Association for Recovery of Historical Memory.—Reuters
EL ESPINAR (Spain): The wedding ring is seen during the exhumation of a mass grave by the Association for Recovery of Historical Memory.—Reuters

EL ESPINAR: A wedding ring worn by her father 84 years ago when he was shot dead by General Francisco Franco’s fascist forces finally gave certainty to Rosa Maria Insua, who received it, tears in her eyes, last week at the site of a mass grave found near Madrid.

The discovery of the ring by the Historic Memory Recovery Association (ARMH) confirmed the resting place of Eugenio Juan Insua, which his family had tried to find out for decades in vain.

More than 110,000 people are still considered missing since the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship that ended in 1975, which remain divisive subjects in Spain.

The left-wing coalition government on Tuesday approved a draft ‘democratic memory’ bill that envisages state-funded exhumation of the bodies of victims of war and the dictatorship, with the aim to help families like Insua’s to bury them alongside their loved ones or claim state pensions.

“What a joy, we always thought he was here, but this gives us a lot of certainty,” the 84-year-old said, thanking ARMH researchers who found the ring with her parents’ 1931 wedding date — 1-6-931 — engraved on the inside in a mass grave in El Espinar, 65 km northwest of Madrid.

“I’ve been rather frail lately. Years are going by and I’d be very happy for this all to be solved, to be over, in peace,” she said.

Eugenio Juan Insua was killed in July 1936 at the age of 29 in an ambush along with 16 other defenders of the Republican government, just days after the war broke out.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020