Catalonia Heritage

Ramon Llull (1232-1316)

Ramon Llull is to Catalan literature what Shakespeare is to English, Dante to Italian, and Goethe to German literature. Llull placed his prose at the service of a great ideal – the peaceful conversion of people to Christianity through highly elaborate, distinct, beautiful, and irrefutable philosophical ideas. His genius is so great -he could write equally well in Latin, Catalan or Arabic- that even today his huge opus (of more than extant 265 titles) attracts the attention of countless literary specialists, philosophers, and theologians around the world.Ramon Llull, Palma, Mallorca (Balearic Islands), 1232-1316 was a philosopher, theologian, novelist and poet. He was born into a family possibly of noble Catalan stock. His father arrived in Mallorca with the troops of Catalan king James the Conqueror. Llull was born in the island during the period immediately after the conquest, and during his youth he was attached to the royal house. We know relatively little about his years as a courtier – he got married, had two children, and led the life that befitted his station. But at the age of thirty-one he was shaken by an experience that prompted a radical turn to his life – his so-called “conversion” that took place after five apparitions of Christ on the cross.According to the testimony he offers in his Vida coetània (Contemporary Life), an autobiography dictated by Llull to some Carthusian monks in Paris not long before he died, after this experience a new life started for the convert, who would renounce his family, his social position, and all riches, in order to devote himself fully to the service of God. He did not enter any religious order, but rather conceived of the dedication of his life to God in terms of frenetic activity that can be summarised in three objectives: to preach to the infidels to the point of risking martyrdom; to write a book to refute the errors of these infidels (stating it would have to be “the best book in the world”); and to set up monastery schools where Arabic, together with other oriental languages, would be taught for the instruction of missionaries. In a word, Llull’s overwhelming obsession right up to the final moments of his life would be the conversion of Muslims, Jews and other infidels (especially the Tartars) to the Christian faith. (full text)

Alfons de Borja (Pope Callixtus III)(1378-1458)

Pope Callixtus III  (Catalan: Calixt III), né Alfons de Borja, was Pope from 8 April 1455 to his death in 1458. Alfonso de Borja was born in La Torreta, now a neighbourhood of Canals, Valencia — today in Spain — but at that time in the Kingdom of Valencia under the Crown of Aragon. During the western schism he supported Antipope Benedict XIII, and was the driving force behind Antipope Clement VIII‘s submission to Pope Martin V in 1429. His early career was spent as a professor of law at the University of Lleida and then as a diplomat in the service of the Kings of Aragon, especially during the Council of Basel (1431–1439). He became a cardinal after reconciling Pope Eugene IV with King Alfonso V of Aragon. (full text)

Roderic Llançol i de Borja (Pope Alexander VI) (1431-1502)

Roderic Llançol i de Borja was pope from 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, and his Italianized surname Borgia became a byword for the debased standards of the Papacy of that era, most notoriously the Banquet of Chestnuts in 1501.
Roderic Llançol was born on 1 January 1431 in the town of Xàtiva in the Kingdom of Valencia, one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. His parents were the Valencian Jofré Llançol i Escrivá (died bef. 24 March 1437) and his wife and relative the Aragonese Isabel de Borja (died 19 October 1468). His family name is written Llançol in Valencian. Rodrigo adopted his mother’s family name of Borja in 1455 following the elevation to the papacy of his maternal uncle Alfons de Borja (Italianized to Alfonso Borgia) as Calixtus III. (full text)

Francesc Joan Domènec Aragó (1786-1853)

Joan Prim i Prat (1814-1870)

Estanislau Figueres i Moragues (1819-1882)

Francesc Pi i Maragall (1824-1901)

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852-1926)

Born in Reus, Catalonia, the son of a coppersmith, and spent almost all his career in Barcelona. He was a patriotic Catalan and is said to have insisted on using the Catalan language even when talking to the King of Spain. The other major forces that shaped his life were a devotion to his work and a devout Christian faith.
In 1878 he graduated from the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura, Barcelona, and soon afterwards met Eusebi Güell (1847–1918), a wealthy industrialist and Catalan nationalist who became his main patron, commissioning the Parc Güell and other works.
Gaudí’s work was influenced by various sources, including Gothic and Islamic architecture, and it has features in common with the Art Nouveau style fashionable at the time. However, his buildings have a sense of bizarre fantasy that sets them apart from anything else in the history of architecture. Walls undulate as if they were alive, towers grow like giant anthills, columns slant out of the vertical, and surfaces are encrusted with unconventional decoration, including broken bottles.
Gaudí died after being hit by a trolley bus. He cared so little for material success that – in spite of his great reputation – he was mistaken for a tramp and taken to a paupers’ ward in hospital.Antoni Gaudí’s amazing buildings in Barcelona established him as the most original European architect in the early years of the 20th century. (+ info)

Josep Joffre (1852-1931)

Joffre was born in RivesaltesRoussillon, the son of a French Catalan family of vineyard owners. He entered the École Polytechnique in 1870 and became a career officer. He first saw active service during the Siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War, but spent much of his career in the colonies as a militaryengineer, serving with distinction in the Keelung Campaign during the Sino-French War (August 1884–April 1885).

When Joffre was appointed chief of staff in 1911 he purged the army of defensively minded commanders and two years later adopted Plan 17 as the main strategy for defending France from Germany. Devised by General Ferdinand Foch, the plan involved attacking Germany at Lorraine and the southern Aedennes.

On the outbreak of the First World War Joffre took command of the French Army. Although hampered by the rigidity of Plan 17, Joffre did manage to adapt his strategy to help counteract the German Schlieffen Plan. Following the advice of GeneralJoseph Gallieni, Joffre ordered the attack on the German Army at the Marne.

Blamed for the failure to break though on the Western Front and the losses atVerdun, Joffre was replaced by Robert Nivelle in December 1916. Still popular with the French public, Joffre was promoted to the post of Marshal of France. However, he was now restricted to ceremonial duties in France and military missions to theUnited States.

In 1920 Joffre presided over the Jocs Florals in Barcelona, a Catalan literary certamen.

Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia (1859-1909)Francisco Ferrer can today be known as the modern heretic executed for heresy. His work The Origin and Ideals of the Modern School (translated by Joseph McCabe) was a Freethought-based and inspirational book. In it, he argued for the co-education of both boys and girls. In chapter five, he states, “THE most important point in our programme of rational education, in view of the intellectual condition of the country, and the feature which was most likely to shock current prejudices and habits, was the co-education of boys and girls.” He also stated that the poor and rich must share the same public schools. In chapter six, he states, “THERE must be a co-education of the different social classes as well as of the two sexes. I might have founded a school giving lessons gratuitously; but a school for poor children only would not be a rational school, since, if they were not taught submission and credulity as in the old type of school, they would have been strongly disposed to rebel, and would instinctively cherish sentiments of hatred”.During the time of Ferrer, the literacy rate was dwindling around 50% in Spain, and all the schools at the time were church-regulated. The education learned by students in those schools was then faulted, as it embraced all the bigoted hates and dogmatic concepts that the church promoted. When Ferrer was teaching Spanish in Paris, one of his wealthy pupils gave him a million gold francs to start nonreligious schools in Spain. Catholicism at that time, and absolutely still, is the enemy of the woman. It began when the words of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were oppressed by Christians. To quote chapter five of Ferrer’s book, “A venerable institution which dominates the thoughts of our people declares, at one of the most solemn moments of life, when, with ceremonious pomp, man and woman are united in matrimony, that woman is the companion of man. These are hollow words, void of sense, without vital and rational significance in life, since what we witness in the Christian Church, in Catholicism particularly, is the exact opposite of this idea. Not long ago a Christian woman of fine feeling and great sincerity complained bitterly of the moral debasement which is put upon her sex in the bosom of the Church: ‘It would be impious audacity for a woman to aspire in the Church even to the position of the lowest sacristan.'” Robert Green Ingersoll has said of equality of sexes, “The parasite of woman is the priest.” (In the Introduction of Helen Gardner’s Men, Women, and Gods). (+ info)

Pau Casals i Defilló (1876-1973)

Lluís Companys i Jover (1882-1940)

Andreu Nin i Pérez (1892-1937)

Joan Miró i Ferrà (1893-1983)

Xavier Cugat i Mingall (1900-1990)

Salvador Dalí i Domènech (1904-1989)

Joan Pujol i García (1912-1988)

Born in Barcelona on February 14th 1912 to a well-to-do Catalan family, Joan Pujol García enjoyed a reputation as a playboy in his early years and took a dim view, like many of his class, of the revolutionary events of 1936, doing his best to avoid being called up. After a spell in prison, he was finally enlisted in 1938 and took part without, he claimed, actually firing a bullet in the Battle of the Ebro, the largest battle of the Civil War. At the end of the campaign, with the Republic’s troops in disarray, he deserted and crossed the lines over to Franco’s side. Then, if Pujol had kept to the script of others like him, he would have vanished from history, returning as a victor to enjoy the rapacious fruits of the corruption and theft that fell on the city after its fall to Franco.

Instead, at the end of the war, Pujol travelled to Madrid. He had developed a deep-seated loathing of totalitarianism after seeing the rise of Stalinism in Barcelona in 1937, and after listening to the BBC’s broadcasts he became a fervent anti-Nazi. Then, at some point in 1940, with the Second World War underway, he resolved to help the Allies’ cause and presented himself at the British embassy in order to volunteer his services as a spy. The British were either disinterested or didn’t trust him. Undeterred he offered his services to the Third Reich with the brazen intent of becoming a double-agent for London. The Germans were won over by his ardent Nazi stance, (for Pujol was becoming a consummate actor), accepted him and gave him the codename Arabel. (full text)

Ramon Mercader (1914-1978)

On August 20th, 1940, a 27-year-old Catalan drove an ice axe into the head of Leon Trotsky at his Mexican home. The blow failed to kill him, and Trotsky struggled with his assassin. His guards, hearing the commotion, burst in and set upon the assailant, but Trotsky stopped them, exclaiming, “Do not kill him! This man has a story to tell.” Trotsky died the next day, and the murderer was turned over to the police. He identified himself as Jacques Mornard, a disillusioned Belgian Trotskyist. He said he had killed the old Bolshevik after quarrelling over a woman and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Though few knew Mornard’s true identity, the fact that the assassination had been ordered by Stalin was an open secret. Furthermore a number of Catalan republicans in Mexico knew something more. They recognised the killer’s photo in the press, but did not want to reveal his true identity for fear of provoking a reaction against the many Spanish refugees in the country. Finally in 1952, Mercader slipped up. A prison guard heard the “Belgian” singing a nursery rhyme Què li darem, en el Noi de la Mare? Què li darem que li’n sàpiga bo?1 in perfect Catalan from his cell. This clue led the authorities to his real identity: his name was Ramón Mercader, and he was indeed an NKVD agent. (full text)

Francesc “Quico” Sabaté i Llopart (1915-1960)

Son of Manel Sabaté Escoda and Madrona Llopart Batlle, to the 10 Sabaté years already indicated his free spirit, did not attend class in a clerical school thus to his committed it parents. Before the 17 of is affiliated with Sindicat d’ Oficis Varis National Confederation of the Work and founds the action group anarchist ” Els Novells ” (The Novices) in Federation Iberian Anarchist next to its brothers and some friendly, following the Shared in common group . The group implied in insurrections against the preservative government of Second Spanish Republic in 1933. In 1935 Sabaté rejected faithful military serve to its ideology anarchist . Also in this year, ” The Novatos” it made his first robbery (expropriation) to finance aid to prisoners represaliados by the regime and its families. Of mechanical office work in several factories of the Barcelonan region of Under Llobregat next to its brother Josep Sabaté.

During Spanish Civil War Sabaté fought in the front of Aragon with ” the Column of the Eaglets ” of FAI . After the relapse of Teruel at the hands of the national troops had an incident with a communist commissioner who refused to facilitate armament to the columns anarchists and was accused of the death of this commissioner. It deserted fleeing to Barcelona where it continued fighting with the CNT-FAI. Finally Sabaté was arrested by the Communists but with the aid of a woman, he and some other companions escaped of prison. Division of ” finished to the war in 216ª; the Column of Durruti “.

Lost the civil War by republican side, Sabaté passed to France in 1939, where it was bordered by the French authorities, during some time, in Field of internamiento of Vernet d’Ariège and later released to work in a factory of explosives in Angouleme . He already frees, meets with his family and the mayor of Prades, of affiliationanarchist, gives papers him in rule and grants a credit with which he could settle during a time, with his family, in the French locality of Coustouges next to the Spanish border where he studied possible clandestine routes towards Spain through mounts and mountains. In July of 1944 realizes a first trip to Spain, to get up to the groups of actionagainst the regime of Franc being formed Divided of maquis of Quico Sabaté . From its refuge in France it arranged works of plumber, tinsmith and agriculturist with its antifrancoist activity; robberies to well-off industralists and banking organizations to finance activities against the regime, activities of transfer of antifrancoist propagandafrom France, reorganization of the unions of CNT in the interior, sabotages and activities of urban guerilla in Barcelona .

Shortage its refuge of Costoja, began to travelingly reside between Barcelona and French territory. lodged during aperiod of time in Paris in house of Lucio Urtubia.

It was stopped and jailed in France by possession of armament and explosives and prisoner during several years in the French population of Dijon . It was able to elude its confinement and it captures during the following years and it was described like ” The Public Enemy number one of régimen” in Spanish mass media.

Its group published a called publication ” the Combat ” spokesman of the anarcosindicalistas groups that clandestinely distributed in Catalonia in working circles.

In his completes stage of guerilla activity maintained forts discrepancies with the positions of CNT-AIT of I exile been in Toulouse, when refusing to flee to America or to collaborate with groups armed communist of oldYugoslavia or Algeria, maintaining that Communist could attack the anarchist essences . Also, always it told on supports and complicities of its militants to individual level.

The group of Quico Sabaté collaborated in joint operations with other guerilla detachments Libertarios maquis like the one of Marcel·lí Massana and Josep Lluís Facerias, and in other capitals, besides Barcelona, like Saragossa and Madrid .

The last trip. Spectacular flight

In 1959, in his I exile in France, received the letter of a companion arrested in Barcelona and condemned to 30 years of prison in Spain. Like loyal man to its friendships and of action, it decided to realize an incursion in Spanish territory next to the men of its game of maquis.

Of 17 of December of 1959 to 3 of January of 1960 Quico and its men was able to evade the patrols, first of the French police and later of Civil Guard bet by Pyrenean but finally, day 4, being sheltered in one Masía, ” But Clarà”, located in mountains between Gerona and Bañolas was cornered by the Civil Guard. After an intense shooting, all the men of the game of Quico died except him, who was able to flee, although seriously malherido in a rump, a thigh and in the neck. Almost miraculously in its state, Ter River crossed and arrived at Fornells from the Forestwhere it raised a train with the intention to arrive at Barcelona . Shortage by the machinist, jumped to another railroad, but the Civil Guard already was on the track by the warning of the railway.

In neighborhoods of Sant Celoni jumped of train in march and, already in town, when it looked for a doctor so that it took care of to him, after a shooting with Alarm Abel Rocha, fell dead. was the 8 in the morning of 5 of January of 1960 and Quico was 44 years old.

  • Quico is buried in the cemetery of Sant Celoni where every year, the 5 of January (day of its death) a act-tribute is realized in its memory.
  • Two films have tried on the life of Quico Sabaté:

* And arrived the day of the Revenge, (1964) in English original Behold To Pale Horse, directed by Fred Zinnemann . Interpreting to Quico, Gregory Peck .
* Stein Submachine gun, directed by Jose Antonio of the Hill in 1974.



Francesc Boix i Campo (1920-1951)

At the entrance to the Francesc Boix public library on Carrer Blai in Poble Sec there is a black and white photograph of a young man dressed in a greatcoat. A Leica camerahangs round his neck. Behind him are the barbed wires and barracks of a Nazi work camp. Just around the corner from the library, at Margarit 19, a plaque informs us that Francesc Boix i Campo was born here on August 14th 1920, and that he was “a photographer, fighter against fascism, prisoner at Mauthausen, and the only Spaniard to be called as a witness at the Nuremburg Trials against the leaders of the Third Reich”. Little is known of Boix’s early life. His father was a tailor and ran a shop (today an excellent bar) under the family home, where in the evenings he would host meetings with left-wing Catalanists. He was also an amateur photographer and instilled in his son a love of the camera. (full text)

Link: Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 6: Fortieth Day (01-22-46) to the Fiftieth Day (02-04-46) (12)

Salvador Puig i Antich (1948-1974)

Salvador Puig Antich (Barcelona, 30 May 1948 – 2 March 1974) was a Catalan anarchist, active during the sixties and early seventies. Died by the Franco regime executed after being tried by a military court and sentenced as guilty of the death of subinspector 23-year-old Francisco Barragan Anguas in Barcelona.

The French May events of 1968 were crucial for Puig Antich decide to throw the fight. The first members were the Workers’ Commission and was part of the Student Committee of the Institute Maragall. Ideologically quickly evolved into positions anarchists, who rejected any form of authoritarianism and hierarchy within the trade union and political organizations in the struggle of the working class for their emancipation. After starting college of Economics and abandon them because they liked the character ultramatematicista, did military service in Ibiza where he was destined for the nursing of the barracks. Once you graduate, joined the new organization MIL, integrating them into the armed branch. Participated, making the driver in the actions of the group, consisting generally performed in robberies at banks. The loot was used to promote the publications of the clandestine group and help the strikers and the workers arrested.

Puig Antich and his colleagues moved with ease in the world of the clandestine struggle and often traveled to the south of France, which are related to old cenetistes militants.

In August 1973, met in France to celebrate the Congress of the MIL Autodissolució. The following month, after the robbery at an office of La Caixa in Bellver de Cerdanya, was a strong police offensive against militants in the MIL.

First falling Sugranyes Oriol Solé and Josep Luis Pons Llobet, and then Santi Soler, who was arrested, interrogated and tortured and finally confessed the clandestine meeting places of their comrades. The same Santi Soler was used to trap the police of the brigade of political social comrade to stop Xavier Garriga and Salvador Puig Antich. The operation, meticulously prepared, made on 25 September 1973 at the corner between the streets and Girona Consell de Cent in Barcelona. The two anarchists were arrested in the bar where they had been Funicular Santi Soler, Jean Marc Rouillan was achieved flee, and then to the door of number 70 Carrer Gerona, a shooting took place in consequence of which was Malferit Puig Antich and Young police Anguas Francisco Barragan was dead. There are still different explanations of what happened at that time; independent researchers suggest the policeman died from shots fired both by his own colleagues and by Puig Antich. Before the tribunal took place, however, the prime minister was assassinated by Basque ETA (Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna) separatists, and subsequent desire for revenge on the part of the authorities, together with a summary military trial, full of irregularities, produced two death sentences. Despite an international solidarity movement against Puig Antich’s death penalty, he was executed by garrote on March 2, 1974, setting off protests and strikes in Barcelona, foreshadowing the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975. Along with the execution of Heinz Chez on the same day, this was the last use of the garrote as a method of execution in Spain.