Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

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Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  eddie on Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:25 pm

Final hours of Spanish poet Federico García Lorca revealed

Historian claims to know who made up Franco's execution squad and where they buried the poet during Spain's civil war

Giles Tremlett in Madrid guardian.co.uk, Saturday 25 June 2011 21.19 BST


The celebrated writer Federico García Lorca was executed by a fascist firing squad in Granada during Spain’s civil war in August 1936. Photograph: Sipa Press / Rex Features

One of the great mysteries of Spain's recent history may have been solved by a local historian from the southern city of Granada, who claims to have found the real grave of the executed playwright and poet Federico García Lorca.

Miguel Caballero Pérez spent three years sifting through police and military archives to piece together the last 13 hours of the life of the author of Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernarda Alba, who was shot by a right-wing firing squad early in the Spanish civil war.

He now claims to have identified the half-dozen career policemen and volunteers who formed the firing squad that shot Lorca and three other prisoners, as well as the burial site. And he blames Lorca's death on the long-running political and business rivalry between some of Granada's wealthiest families – including his father's own García clan.

"I decided to research archive material rather than gather more oral testimony because that is where the existing confusion comes from – with so many supposed witnesses inventing things," explained Caballero, who has published his results in a Spanish book called The Last 13 Hours of García Lorca.

Caballero said his original intention had been to verify information gathered in the 1960s by a Spanish journalist, Eduardo Molina Fajardo, who was also a member of the far-right Falange organisation that supported the dictator General Francisco Franco.

"Because of his own political stance, Molina Fajardo had access to people who were happy to tell him the truth," said Caballero. "The archives bear out most of what he said, so it is reasonable to suppose he was also right about the place Lorca was buried."

That spot was said to be a trench dug by someone seeking water in an area of open countryside near a farm called Cortijo de Gazpacho, between the villages of Viznar and Alfacar. The zone is only half a kilometre from the spot identified by historian Ian Gibson in 1971 – which was controversially dug up in 2009, but where no bones were found.

"The new place makes sense because it is far enough from the villages to be out of eyesight and earshot, but you can also get there by car – as they would have needed headlights to shoot people at night," said Caballero. Caballero took a water diviner to the area, who employed the same divining technique using a twig that was common in Lorca's time. He detected a possible underwater stream. "It is reasonable, then, to suppose that someone might have dug a trench here looking for streams just below the surface," said Caballero.

An archaeologist, Javier Navarro, has identified a dip in the ground that could indicate a grave. "It is by no means unreasonable to think there is a grave there," said Navarro, who has found half a dozen civil war mass graves in other parts of Spain. "It would be very easy to find out. You only have to scrape away about 40cm of topsoil for an experienced archaeologist to say if the earth has been dug up before."

The half dozen men who formed the firing squad shot hundreds of suspected leftwingers in the summer of 1936, with Lorca just one of them. They were given a bonus of 500 pesetas and promoted as a reward for carrying out the dirty work of the nationalist forces of the future dictator, Franco. "I call them the 'executioners' rather than the 'murderers' because, while some were volunteers, others were career policemen who risked being shot themselves if they refused," said Caballero. One was said to have complained that the job "was driving him mad". Some of the squad probably did not even know who Lorca was. "These were not the sort of people who read poetry. Lorca's work was largely read by the elites," he said. "They would have been more interested in the two anarchists shot with him, who had a reputation for being very dangerous." But both the firing squad commander, a stern 53-year-old policeman called Mariano Ajenjo, and a volunteer member called Antonio Benavides – who was a relative of the first wife of Lorca's father – would have known who he was. "I gave that fat-head a shot in the head," Benavides reportedly boasted later.

The rightwing Roldán family, political rivals of Lorca's father, had persuaded the city's pro-Franco authorities to arrest and shoot the poet. A member of the Roldán clan, Benavides, formed part of the firing squad. One of his cousins was the model for a rogue character in The House of Bernardo Alba, finished a few months earlier, in which Lorca deliberately took aim at the rival Alba family. "They were angry with the father and took their revenge on the son," said Caballero.

Apart from Benavides, none of the firing squad seemed proud of what they had done. "They didn't speak to their families abguardianout all this. They are remembered as loving grandfathers who were silent about the civil war," said Caballero.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  sil on Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:48 am

alien


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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:55 am

...Hey Silvandio. I've pasted this in the poetry thread Very Happy
(I posted 'Last Night As I Was Sleeping' by Antonio Machado yesterday)


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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  sil on Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:22 am

cat


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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:41 am


...and I posted the Machado poem because, as you post on the poetry thread I wanted to post something you might be familiar with, so I googled 'famous Spanish poets', and Lorca and Machado were the names that came up... study

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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  sil on Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:48 am

cat


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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  Guest on Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:52 am

...when you post a Spanish poem with the English translation I wish I understood the original, because so much of the play of words gets lost in translation...such a pity. And although I don't understand Spanish I can see that there are rhyming structures that must sound beautiful in the original, but are also lost in translation. Sad

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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  sil on Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:08 am

oh my (post of mine)


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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:01 pm

Then I realized I had been murdered.
They looked for me in cafes, cemeteries and churches
.... but they did not find me.
They never found me?
No. They never found me.

(From "The Fable And Round Of The Three Friends",
Poet in New York (1939), Garcia Lorca)

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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:12 pm

There's a line in a Pogues song on, I think, the later "Hell's Ditch album about Lorca's execution:

"Blew his brains out with a pistol up his ass".

Here's why the very well read Mr MacGowan penned the line:

*******************************************************************************

Wiki:

Death

García Lorca left Madrid for his family home in Granada only three days before the Spanish Civil War broke out (July 1936).The Spanish political and social climate had greatly intensified after the murder of prominent monarchist and anti-Popular Front spokesman José Calvo Sotelo by Republican Assault Guards (Guardia de Asalto). García Lorca knew that he would be suspect to the rising right wing for his outspoken liberal views. On 18 August, his brother-in-law, Manuel Fernández-Montesinos, the leftist mayor of Granada, was shot. Lorca was arrested that same afternoon.

It is thought that García Lorca was shot and killed by Nationalist militia on 19 August 1936. The author Ian Gibson in his book The Assassination of García Lorca alleges that he was shot with three others (Joaquin Arcollas Cabezas, Francisco Galadi Mergal and Dioscoro Galindo Gonzalez) at a place known as the Fuente Grande, or Great Fountain in Spanish, which is on the road between Viznar and Alfacar.

Motives for assassination

Significant controversy remains about the motives and details of Lorca's murder. Personal, non-political motives have also been suggested. García Lorca's biographer, Stainton, states that his killers made remarks about his sexual orientation, suggesting that it played a role in his death. Ian Gibson suggests that García Lorca's assassination was part of a campaign of mass killings intended to eliminate supporters of the Marxist Popular Front. However, Gibson proposes that rivalry between the anti-communist CEDA and the Falange was a major factor in Lorca's death. Former CEDA Parliamentary Deputy, Ramon Ruiz Alonso not only arrested García Lorca at the Rosales' home, but was also the one responsible for the original denunciation that led to the arrest warrant being issued.

It has been argued that García Lorca was apolitical and had many friends in both Republican and Nationalist camps. Gibson disputes this in his 1978 book about the poet's death. He cites, for example, Mundo Obrero's published manifesto, which Lorca later signed, and alleges that Lorca was an active supporter of the Popular Front. Lorca read this manifesto out at a banquet in honour of fellow poet Rafael Alberti on 9 February 1936.

Many anti-communists were sympathetic to Lorca or assisted him. In the days before his arrest he found shelter in the house of the artist and leading Falange member Luis Ortiz Rosales. Indeed, evidence suggests that Rosales was very nearly shot as well for helping García Lorca by the Civil Governor Valdes.The Basque Communist poet Gabriel Celaya wrote in his memoirs that he once found García Lorca in the company of Falangist José Maria Aizpurua. Celaya further wrote that Lorca dined every Friday with Falangist founder and leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera. On 11 March 1937 an article appeared in the Falangist press denouncing the murder and lionizing García Lorca; the article opened: "The finest poet of Imperial Spain has been assassinated." Jean-Louis Schonberg also put forward the 'homosexual jealousy' theory. The dossier on the murder, compiled at Franco's request and referred to by Gibson and others, has yet to surface.


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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:17 pm

Wiki:


The site of the excavation as it was in 1999.


Excavation at Alfácar

In late October 2009, a team of archaeologists and historians from the University of Granada began excavations outside Alfácar. The site was identified three decades ago by a man who claimed to have helped dig Lorca's grave. Lorca was thought to be buried with at least three other men beside a winding mountain road that connects the villages of Viznar and Alfácar.

There is a growing desire in Spain to come to terms with the civil war, which for decades was not openly discussed. The judge in the case, Baltasar Garzón, formally requested local government and churches to open their files on the thousands of people who disappeared during the Civil War and under the dictatorship of General Franco until 1975.

The excavations began at the request of another victim's family. Following a long-standing objection, the Lorca family also gave their permission. In October 2009 Francisco Espinola, a spokesman for the Justice Ministry of the Andalusian regional government, said that after years of pressure García Lorca's body would "be exhumed in a matter of weeks". Lorca's relatives, who had initially opposed an exhumation, said they might provide a DNA sample in order to identify his remains.

In late November 2009, after two weeks of excavating the site, organic material believed to be human bones was recovered. The remains were taken to the University of Granada for examination. But in mid December 2009, doubts were raised as to whether the poet's remains would be found. The dig produced "not one bone, item of clothing or bullet shell", said Begoña Álvarez, justice minister of Andalucia. She added, "the soil was only 40cm (16in) deep, making it too shallow for a grave".


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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  sil on Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:57 pm



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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  Guest on Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:59 am

...I've googled myself senseless and can't find a copy of the complete poem...
("The Fable And Round Of The Three Friends").

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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  sil on Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:56 am

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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  Guest on Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:20 am

silviando wrote:I've found this translation

cheers thank you so much...I love this poem (I'd never heard of it before). I'm copying it into the poetry thread.

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Re: Final hours of Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca revealed

Post  eddie on Mon May 14, 2012 4:12 am

Name of Federico García Lorca's lover emerges after 70 years

Box of mementoes reveals that young art critic Juan Ramírez de Lucas had brief affair with Spanish poet

Giles Tremlett in Madrid

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 10 May 2012 16.59 BST


Spanish playwright and poet Federico García Lorca. Photograph: Popperfoto

The identity of the lover to whom Federico García Lorca wrote passionate verse in his final year has been a mystery ever since the poet's assassination during the Spanish civil war. But now, more than 70 years later, his name has finally emerged.

The art critic and journalist Juan Ramírez de Lucas kept a box of mementoes of their year-long passionate relationship, including a previously unseen poem and a diary, hidden away throughout his life.

He handed the box to his sister shortly before his death in 2010.

The box revealed that García Lorca and 19-year-old Ramírez de Lucas had planned to go to Mexico together after falling for each other in Madrid, where the latter was studying both public administration and theatre. But Ramírez de Lucas was too young to travel without his parents' permission, so he went back to his native Albacete to talk to them days before the Spanish civil war broke out, when rightwing rebels launched a coup attempt against the republican government.

García Lorca, meanwhile, had gone to his native Granada where – once the war started – he sought refuge in the house of his friends, the Rosales family. With Granada in the hands of the fascist-backed forces of General Francisco Franco, the notoriously leftwing poet was in danger of being targeted by death squads operating in the city.

In August 1936, aged 38, he was taken to a nearby hillside and shot along with two anarchist bullfighters and a one-legged schoolteacher.

His body has never been found.

His love for Ramírez de Lucas explains why he had waited to travel to Mexico despite warnings that, even before the civil war, right-wing gunmen might try to kill him.

Ramírez de Lucas's conservative family had been appalled by his request to go to Mexico with García Lorca and refused him permission to travel, threatening to send the Civil Guard after him if he tried to leave. He could not legally travel abroad without their permission until he was 21.

García Lorca wrote him a letter, told him to be patient and assured him that it was important not to break with his family. "Count on me always. I am your best friend and I ask you to be political and not allow yourself to be washed along by the river (of fate)," the poet wrote, according to a version of the letter published by El País newspaper.

The letter – accompanied by orange blossom from Granada – was one of the documents Ramírez de Lucas held on to, along with a Lorca poem which describes his hopeless attraction to the "blond young man from Albacete".

"I can't even look at him!" he repeats in the poem, which was apparently written on a journey the two lovers made to the southern city of Córdoba. The poem is handwritten on the back of a receipt for the Orad Academy in Madrid, where Ramírez de Lucas was studying. A handwriting expert has reviewed the poem and declared it to have been written by García Lorca.

The poem is dated in May 1935, at the same time as Lorca was writing his famous sonnets of dark love.

Author Manuel Francisco Reina, who has seen some of the contents of the box, said this proved the sonnets were addressed to Ramírez de Lucas rather than to a previous Lorca lover, the football player Rafael Rodríguez.

"Federico didn't want to go to Mexico without his love ... Some people knew this story all along, including the poets Luis Rosales and Antonio Hernandez, who confirmed this to me," said Reina who has based a forthcoming novel around the affair.

Reina said that even before the war shots had been fired when García Lorca was at a famous Madrid bar, los gabrieles, as well as at his Madrid house.

"This is very important," said Miguel Caballero, author of a recent study of García Lorca's last days.

Lorca spent his final days carefully revising and correcting the sonnets. "It seems likely that the sonnets were addressed to him," Caballero said.

Ramírez later joined the volunteer Blue Division to fight for Hitler against the Russians in an attempt to give himself the necessary credentials to survive in Franco's Spain. He also kept his relationship with García Lorca secret, refusing to answer questions from his biographers..

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