Fossar de la Pedrera – Montjuïc’s common grave
El Fossar de la Pedrera (the Grave of the Quarry) lies in a hidden corner of Montjuic cemetery. It was used as a common grave for 4,000 people executed by the Franco regime, particularly during the 1940s. Today, it is rather sad but moving space, concealed from the rest of Montjuic and the cemetery by cliffs formed by 19th century quarrying. As you enter the space, you pass through half a dozen stone pillars, each engraved with the names of the victims who were dumped in the mass graves here.
Contrary to popular belief only four people were actually shot on Montjuic. In most cases, condemned prisoners were sent out in trucks in the early morning from Barcelona’s prisons including Montjuic Castle to the Camp de la Bota (today’s Forum), the Franco regime’s execution ground. Their bodies were then brought back and dumped in the Fossar de la Pedrera. One of the few to be shot at the castle was Lluis Companys, the last president of the Generalitat de Catalunya during the Civil War, was killed in 1940. His remains were moved here in 1985, and the space was dignified as a memorial garden. There are also a number of other graves and tributes to foreign and Spanish Republicans of different shades, and an understated tribute to the Holocaust, with small pillars bearing the names of the camps, piled with small stones, as is the Jewish custom. Among them is Mauthausen, the camp where thousands of Spaniards died. Dotted among the “political” graves and tributes at the back of the quarry are sad crosses to unbaptised children, who were not allowed burial in the main cemetery, a reminder of Catholic practice in Barcelona under Franco.
A ceremony is held here every 15 October to commemorate the victims of Francosism.
A new monument was placed here in 2011 by the CNT to the social revolution and the victims of fascism which took place in Barcelona in 1936. This is the only monument in Barcelona the libertarian dream. It is a rather beautiful bronze sculpture representing a cypress tree.
Until now there has been virtually no historical record (a shocking absence) of the presence of anarchism in Barcelona, where the movement has played such an important role in shaping the city.
Access is only through the cemetery. It is somewhat of a drag to get to unless you have a car or take a taxu but is well worth the visit.
Bus 21 direct to cemetery from Av. Paral·lel.
Bus- no. 9 from Pl Catalunya. Get off either at the last stop or just before the end where it crosses Carrer del Foc, and walk seawards along the road keeping Montjuic on your left.
Much better instrictions here from Kevin Doyle Getting to El Fossar de la Pedrera.
Photo by Bordas (Flickr)