El Hombrecino is a journey through my grandfather’s life and memory. It explores the collective memory of a country and the memory of all those who disappeared during the Spanish Civil War. After 40 years of democracy, they are still buried in common graves.
It all begins with a list of names that he kept in his wallet for more than 30 years. It was a very carefully folded piece of paper which contained a typed list of names and surnames.
Every time he read these names to me, he was deeply moved. They were friends, people from his village and neighboring villages. They had all been snatched from their homes by Franco death squads, and since then, nobody ever heard anything more of them. It was impressive to see how clearly he recalled each one of these people. In fact, they had never really disappeared; they had all been present in his memory throughout these years. My grandfather never talked about this experience with his children because he was afraid of being killed or punished. I became the first and only recipient of his experiences.
According to Jueces para la Democracia (Judges for Democracy), Spain, with more than 114,000 missing, is “the second country in the world (after Cambodia) with the largest number of victims of enforced disappearances whose remains have not been recovered or identified.” I never knew where he got the list, until many years later when I decided to go and look for those names. This is what I found.
If you’d like to see more of our video interviews, you can watch our conversation with Klea McKenna about her photograms; a chat with David Pace about the brick quarries in Burkina Faso; and an exchange with Abbie Trayler-Smith about obesity in the UK.