Federico Garcia Lorca
Federico Garcia Lorca is widely-regarded as Spain’s greatest-ever poet and, along with the likes of El Cid and Cervantes, among one of its finest literary sons. However, while many of his contemporaries, among them Pablo Picasso, lived to a ripe old age and were finally buried with the respect and reverence their genius merited, Lorca had no such luck. Instead, he fell victim to hatred. Just one of many people killed during Spain’s bloody civil war, Lorca’s final resting place is still not known for sure – and efforts to find answers to the 80-year-old riddle continue to cause controversy to this day.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Lorca spent much time in Madrid and New York, penning some of his most famous poems and making a name for himself on the global literary scene. But when civil war erupted in Spain in the summer of 1936, he returned to his native Granada, in the south of the country. The city quickly fell to rebel forces and, under their bloodthirsty and ruthless general, they quickly set about assassinating or imprisoning their opponents. As a man of letters with close ties to the liberal Republic and, moreover, as a homosexual, Lorca was one of the first names written on the rebels’ blacklist.
Lorca’s belief that his friends and connections – one of his friends had links with the Spanish political right – would protect him was sadly unfounded. One day in August, Lorca, along with two known local anarchists, were rounded up by rebel thugs and driven out towards a village on the outskirts of Granada. There, on a hillside overlooking the city he so loved, Lorca was shot. Both he and his two fellow victims were thrown in a trench and buried. No record of the spot was made, and no sign was erected.
Ever since then, historians both professional and amateur have been working tirelessly to find Lorca and give him a proper burial. Every few years, an academic or amateur historian announces they have found new evidence that will lead us to the poet’s resting place. To date, however, when bones have been found, they have not been Lorca’s. Just to make the task more difficult, there are some people in Spain, and in Granada in particular, who believe the past should remain in the past. Attempts to find Lorca’s body have been thwarted, often through political obstructions. For now, then, the poet’s many fans have no exact spots to pay their respects to the greatest voice of 20th century Spain.