Heinous crime beyond belief.
But what if it was all about belief?
Not money. Not pedophilia.
A belief promoted by the government as a means of supporting the country’s politics.
This is exactly what happened in Spain, according to a report by Time World: “Spain’s Stolen-Babies Scandal: Empty Graves and a Silent Nun.”
In the years just after Spain’s civil war, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco arrested tens of thousands of former Republicans and other dissidents. The children of these dissidents were taken away from their families and placed in state-run orphanages or convents to be reassigned to families “whose values better coincided with the regime’s.”
Says University of Barcelona historian Ricard Vinyes, “The state considered these children in need of re-education.” The regime “was actually proud of these efforts,” and published annual reports documenting the tens of thousands of children who had been ‘welcomed.’
Vinyes describes in detail how these stolen children’s names were changed, and how they were “taught that their parents were murderers, so many [of these children] had no desire to find [their biological parents].”
In the wake of Franco’s regime, child-stealing continued in the form of baby-stealing.
Generations of individual doctors, nurses, nuns and priests who still believed in old regime dogma, “took newborns from obstetric wards and sold them to prospective adoptive parents.”
False death certificates were given to the biological parents.
Fast forward to the present, which last week saw one of many planned indictments – this one of Sister Maria Gomez Valbuena indicted for, according to Time, “involvement in a scheme that supposedly saw thousands of newborns taken from their mothers and sold to adoptive parents.”
More than 1,500 related baby-stealing allegations, dating as far back as the 1940’s right up to thefts of newborns in the present day, have been filed in Spanish courts over the past year. Journalist Natalia Junquera of El Pais news, who is leading the investigation, contends that ideology – not greed – was the driving motivation.
“These are nuns and priests who strongly believed that the child would be better off with a more traditional or more ‘moral’ family,” she explains. “They honestly thought they were doing the right thing.”
A mother tells her story of losing her baby to Franco’s regime, and a doctor involved in regime baby-stealing is confronted in 2 short videos in this BBC report:
What do you think about using children for political indoctrination?
Could something like this happen here?
Or has it already?