Findings from exhumation at Sant Ferran cemetery

foto cementeri-sant-ferran3Formentera Council chair Jaume Ferrer was joined today by regional culture minister Fanny Tur, Formentera's secretary of culture and patrimony Susana Labrador, and forensic archaeologist-anthropologist Almudena García-Rubio in unveiling the conclusions of the exhumation carried out in late November and early December 2017 at the Sant Ferran cemetery.

Engineers of the effort set out to recover the remains of five individuals —Jaume Ferrer Ferrer (Jaume de na Morna), Josep Ribas Marí (Pep de Baix), Joan Tur Mayans (Joan de can Pep Damià), Jaume Serra Juan (Jaume de can Mariano d'en Corda), Vicent Cardona Colomar (Vicent de can Fumeral)— who were executed on March 1, 1937 in the Sant Ferran cemetery.

Results of effort
As part of the undertaking, crews performed various targeted digs on and adjacent to the cemetery (six and five, respectively) and analysed skeletal remains found in a charnel house. Probes of the charnel produced three pieces of bone fragments (two skull fragments and one from a humerus bone) with bullet entry holes and marks produced by firearms. Four bits of 7-mm caliber Mauser projectiles used in the killing were also unearthed nearby.

Additional efforts this year involved checking genetic material against DNA of the five victims' relatives. Unfortunately samples extracted from skeletal remains were insufficient for genetic analysis to be conducted.

Scouring causes of death listed in the island's civil registry, researchers were unable to recover any records of death by a firearm. This fact supports the hypothesis that the found remains belong to three of the five murder victims.

“The review of documentary evidence has made it possible for us to certify that the uncovered remains correspond to three of the five individuals killed at the Sant Ferran cemetery wall”, said Tur, which, for the CiF culture and patrimony secretary, helps bring closure to the events of March 1, 1937. “Mass grave legislation and a committee decision to exhume unmarked graves at the Sant Ferran cemetery have meant we've begun talking about this chapter of our past”, said Labrador, “and that families have been able to relate their experiences”.

The Palma and Formentera administrations have left the fate of the unearthed remains in the hands of the victims' families. One suggestion is that they be deposited in an urn inside the cemetery with a plaque commemorating the events of March 1, 1937.