On April 13, 1980, ETA killed Eugenio Lázaro. He was shot in the neck, at the age of 49, while returning from Mass on his to a busy area in Vitoria. Eugenio Lázaro had been a lieutenant and also captain in the former "Policia Armada" (police force under the Franco dictatorship) in Vitoria. Eugenio had been repeatedly threatened by ETA.


Name: Eduardo E. Lázaro Ezquerra

Age: 51 (1960)

Profession: Psychologist

Place of origin: Vitoria - Gasteiz. Lives in Madrid.

GROUP: Relatives of victims.


- Eduardo Lázaro is the son of Eugenio Lázaro Valle (from Santona, Cantabria), former Chief of the Local Police Force of Vitoria and an Infantry Commander in the reserve. Previously, Eugenio Lázaro had been a lieutenant and also captain in the former “Policia Armada” (police force under the Franco dictatorship) in Vitoria. Eugenio had been repeatedly threatened by ETA.

- On April 13, 1980, ETA killed Eugenio Lázaro. He was shot in the neck, at the age of 49, while returning from Mass on his to a busy area in Vitoria.

- At 19 years of age, Eduardo Lázaro was the oldest of three children and the son of a widowed mother.


The following testimony exclusively comprises excerpts from the book  “El dolor incomprendido. El sufrimiento en la víctimas del terrorismo“, written by Eduardo Lázaro and by Lucia Sutil and published in Barcelona by Plataforma Editorial in 2007.

“Nineteen years after the attack, at the trial, I was really sad to see how my mother cried bitterly in silence while the events were being described. She didn’t want anybody to notice. Just to prevent my brother and me from feeling upset” (page 14)

“It’s funny how you feel when you see the people who murdered your father. It’s as if you were saturated, thousands of thoughts crowd your brain. You swing from important issues regarding what happened to minor details of their physical appearance. Emotions alternate between absolute hatred and immense sadness. You get worked up and then depressed. You want to get through with it as fast as possible, but you don’t want to miss a thing. It seems absurd to witness a dialogue consisting of irrelevant questions and ambiguous answers, or simply no answers at all. You even doubt whether it was really them, even though the police are convinced. It’s a frustrating experience; at times you wonder whether it’s worth being civilised and placing your trust in the justice system. I think you’re just angry with the world, with life itself”.

“Another feeling I experienced is that of absurdity. At one point during the trial, I thought about the absurdity of terrorism. Those terrorists, who had ruined their own lives and my family were there, sitting on a wooden bench in the so-called glass fish tank, awaiting trial. I wish I knew what was going through their heads at that time. From there, they were going to go to jail with a thirty year sentence, and yet nothing changed. Nothing of what they had attempted with their attack had changed. It was absurd. They had killed a good man, destroyed a family and two terrorists were going to jail. What’s the point? I believe trials are an unavoidable but also useless event for the victims. The whole truth was never known, or at least the truth that I wanted to know. I wasn’t even allowed to ask anything. Neither was I allowed to express an opinion. And, of course, I was not allowed to express how much my family had suffered. I was a spectator. A spectator who went home full of frustration; just waiting for the terrorists to get out of jail, after serving part of their sentence, to suffer again and feel the helplessness I have felt since they killed my father”. (page 33 and 34)

“For a long time, actually since my teens, I have coexisted with terrorism. First, because of what I heard at home, in the street and on television. They threatened, killed, planted bombs, and so on. Soon I began to meet people who had been threatened, eventually killed or who had suffered a bomb attack. I remember a friend of my father’s who had a business that I passed on my way to school and who greeted me every day, sometimes I even stopped and chatted a bit. Unable to say goodbye to him, some murderers walked into his business one morning and shot him. In the same period, they killed the father of some friends after leaving his youngest daughter at school. I soon realized that one day it could be us, our family, and I was proven right”.

“One terrible day, while I was at my uncle’s, someone phoned to tell us they had killed my father. My aunt wouldn’t tell me anything, but seeing how he cried and the sorrow when she looked at me, I realized. It was then broadcast on television almost immediately. It is a unique experience to hear the tragic news of a terrorist attack, in which your father is the victim. You’re alone in front of the screen and the announcer who tells you what’s going on in the world every day, describes how one of the persons you love most has been killed and you can’t do anything, not even cry”.

“Then, my mother and my brothers arrived at the hospital where his body had been taken. We were still a family, but no longer the same family. It was the saddest image of my life. Many years have passed since then, but that image and the pain I felt remain with me. Terrorism had chosen us as scapegoats of the absurd, because, what is terrorism but absurd? Could anybody believe that that had achieved anything?”. (page 47 and 48)

“The attack that killed my father changed many things. I always thought that life could be planned to a certain extent, establishing the line you want to follow, but then chance leads you astray. In those days, I was a young man living with my family (my parents, my two younger brothers and my grandmother) in a small town. I was at my last year at secondary school and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go on to study. I could have studied anything; the truth is that I was a good student. I liked medicine and biology, but I also liked the idea of following in my father’s steps. So at times I even thought of doing both things. Fate meant I had to choose one. I no longer had a father to advise me and my mother, extremely affected by the attack, was afraid of the future. Influenced by this situation, I chose the second option, which was the safest for my family, and it also allowed me to continue the work my father had done, as he had been in the army. It wasn’t easy. At times I felt like to dropping everything and seeking revenge. At others, I felt tough, insensitive and went so far as to just look after myself. But your interest in the family always came back and the memory of my father’s teachings. A good man who would have helped me along the way I had chosen. I studied; I opened by bureau and started to work with the idea of forming a family and being happy. Since then my life has seen more success than failure. Having had to grow up all at once made me value certain things in life that not everyone values. I think there are some characteristics in my way of being that I picked up myself, influenced by that experience. I consider myself a fighter. This is one of the reasons I liked the movie The Last of the Mohicans. In that film, the protagonist always runs off with his rifle up the mountain. The film shows that he gives in, dies. This is what has helped me lead a satisfactory life despite the tragedy: I have not lost heart, and I have always thought that whatever my life becomes will depend largely on what I do. The terrorists took away my father, but not the education he gave me. I heard my sister say this yesterday. She also has a very clear opinion. I could say the same of my mother and brother. They have also fought for what they wanted and, although with difficulties, they have carried on and have a satisfactory life. I would tell other people who have suffered the misfortune of a terrorist attack that they should not stop, to go on, with their grief and scares, but to keep on. Their lives after an attack depend on them to a great extent. It’s difficult but possible, and also worth it. I would even say it’s the only sensible way I know to fight terrorism from the loneliness of a victim: lead a full and happy life, different from what the terrorists wanted for us”.

“I can say this after many years and after many errors. Even though it is not easy, this experience has made me realize that all the suffering, all the resistance to enjoy our own lives as victims of terrorism, is useless. There’s no point in us and the people who love us being down. We deserve to live our lives based on a new project and dreams. We shouldn’t squander what the terrorists were unable to take from us. This is our right. ” (page 79, 80 and 81)

“So many projects, so many dreams! It’s not easy for me to express what I felt and have felt in recent years in connection with my father’s death in a terrorist attack.”

“Lately, there is something I find myself thinking about: I am approaching the age when he died, and his example is coming to an end. While he lived, I always thought, like any child, that when I grew up I would be like him. When he died, his life, his example and advice were etched in my memory and they have helped me to date. But now, I feel a void, a sense of uncertainty. What would my father have been like if he had been older? How would he have related to us? What about his grandchildren? When I think about it, the sadness of the loss comes back, the helplessness of not being able to avoid it and the fury. A very intense rage for what has been snatched from us for no reason, no reason at all. This is what distinguishes the suffering of victims of terrorism from other people who suffer a loss. It is almost impossible to consider the deaths of my father and so many victims in a natural, human and reasonable manner. Natural, assuming that death is part of life. Human, understanding that an accident or failure can result in disaster. Reasonable, in the sense of proportionality or justification of the disaster”.

“Terrorism truncates the natural process; it does not respect the essence of human beings and calls into question their ability to reason. This is an example of how pain persists in people who have suffered from terrorism, even after many years.”

“But what I want to describe in this testimony is not my family’s suffering, but the good things. Our happiness, despite everything. Our will to live. Our personal and family achievements. And the fact that we are living proof that the murderers have not achieved their goal. We are not terrified. They, the terrorists, are dead, in jail or persecuted. We, the victims, can lead a fulfilling life, like most people, with some moments of sadness and other emotions that cause us pain, but with many moments of joy and happiness. Over time we have learned to appreciate what we lived with my father, rather than worry about what we have not been able to live with him.”

“After the attack, my mother, 44, a widow with three children aged 19, 16 and 12, had to learn to live without her husband, her great love, the only man in her life, to whom she had been married twenty years . My brothers and I had to continue to educate ourselves without a good father who loved us first and foremost. At first it was very difficult. Everything had changed for our family. Sometimes we felt the loss of my father than our presence. The future was uncertain. We were scared and sad. It was difficult to talk about what we felt. Thus passed many years, especially for my mother. But we did not despair. Over time, we assumed the loss and grieved at our own pace. We started to enjoy our little achievements. We were together and we realized that we were still a family. We found that the loss had taught us to live differently, but to live well. To feel excited about life”.

“Today my mother is proud of all of us, her children and grandchildren. And we are proud of her. She has proved to be a strong woman. My brothers and I have our own families, emotional, economic and labour stability; we lead healthy lives and work on our future projects. We have fought, and somehow we won. I think that’s what my father would have wanted, if they had let him choose. ” (page 113 to 115)