This article considers how the reburial and commemoration of the human remains of the
Republican defeated during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) is affected by the social,
scientific and political context in which the exhumations occur. Focusing on a particular
case in the southwestern region of Extremadura, it considers how civil society groups
administer reburial acts when a positive identification through DNA typing cannot be
attained. In so doing, the article examines how disparate desires and memories come
together in collective reburial of partially individuated human remains.
Mercenaries are fighters who operate under special conditions. Their presence, as
shadow combatants, often tends to exacerbate the violence of their enemies.
That’s why the analysis focuses on the singularity of the relationship to
death and ‘procedures’ concerning the corpses of their fallen
comrades. As a fighter identified and engaged in landlocked areas, the
mercenary’s corpse is treated according to material constraints
pertaining in the 1960s. After violence on their body, and evolution towards the
secret war, mercenaries favour the repatriation of the body or its
disappearance. These new, painful conditions for comrades and families give
birth to a collective memory fostered by commemorations.