'Stolen' babies demonstration.

'Stolen' babies demonstration. archive photo.

14-12-2020Ultima Hora

The Government wants to create a 'DNA Bank' to help identify babies that were 'stolen' during the Franco era and put them back in touch with their families.

Victims’ Associations estimate that around 300,000 children were stolen from poor families and single mothers during the Franco dictatorship. A network of nuns and doctors told the mothers that their children had died and gave the newborns to wealthy Franco supporters who were unable to conceive.

Data is being collected by the Orígenes Association which has been waging a legal battle since 2011. The Regional Secretary of Memòria Democràtica Jesús Jurado is helping the Association to finalise its project.

Paloma Alcahuz, the former President of Orígenes estimates that there around 300 mothers and 'stolen' children looking for each other in the Balearic Islands alone.

It’s an issue that’s very important to Paloma Alcahuz whose twin sister was 'stolen' after she was born by caesarean section and her mother was told that only one baby survived. Paloma says it was only when she "saw a girl just like me on TV" that the truth came to light. Her case is one of the best known on the island but there are many more.

Paloma Alcahuz welcomed the Government’s 'DNA bank' initiative but pointed out that it would be much more effective if it was a nationwide project.

Three other Autonomous Communities already have a 'DNA bank' and “now it's the turn of the Balearic Islands,” says Jesús Jurado, Memòria Democràtica.

Precedents

"The decision has been made and it has the support of Minister Castro,” said Jurado, who explained that the project is based on a model which was introduced in Valencia and Catalonia.

Memoria Democràtica has plenty of experience of working with DNA which is the only way of identifying the remains of those killed during the Civil War and buried in mass graves; samples are collected and sent to the Peninsula for identification.

Once the Balearic ‘DNA Bank’ is up and running, samples from people who are looking for missing children will be compared with the DNA of those who are convinced they were ‘stolen’ and given up for adoption.

There are likely to be many legal challenges to overcome before a 'DNA Bank' can be established in the Balearic Islands.

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