During the Spanish Civil War (1936—1939) and Franco’s dictatorship, thousands of people were executed and buried in unmarked ditches around Spain. My great-grandfather Jose Montes de Oca was among those never found.
‘The Pact of Silence’ focuses on the way in which political amnesia and repression evolved into national complicity in the collective forgetfulness about the executed. In 1977, an Amnesty Law was passed with the aim of striving towards national reconciliation. However, it became an unsigned national pact known as the Pact of Silence or Pact of Forgetting, which served to create oblivion and silence victims.
Spanish society today is unaware of the presence of communal ditches that conceal dead bodies underneath their ordinary spaces. Mundane locations such as car parks, schools or road conjunctions prevent the recovery of victims, while prompting an uncertain future for the concealed bodies. My project ’The Pact of Silence’ explores this coordinated collective forgetfulness and the possible locations where my great-grandfather could be buried.