The bones of 62-year-old Severina Gómez and 23 others whose remains had lain together for 75 years, surrounded by bullet cases and with hands tied behind backs, have finally been removed from their mass grave in countryside near the central Spanish village of Loma de Montija.

Anxious family members watched last week as forensic archaeologists and volunteers scraped through layers of mud to uncover evidence of a crime committed in the heat of a civil war that still haunts parts of Spain – and that served as a curtain raiser to the bloodshed of the second world war.

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