"She said to me, devastated: 'My grandfather killed your grandfather'... And we hugged"

You bring politics to the genes and that's why you also narrate it?.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
08 December 2023 Friday 16:07
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"She said to me, devastated: 'My grandfather killed your grandfather'... And we hugged"

You bring politics to the genes and that's why you also narrate it?

I have a story, yes, and I feel like I have to tell it now...

why now

Let's see: my grandfather, Antonio Maura's son, was assassinated in March 1936...

There were many murders in those days.

But my grandfather's, and I want to make this clear now, was not a political assassination. The murderer, yes, was a nationalist, from the Basque Nationalist Action, but it was revenge for not having collected accident insurance, because the murderer was a stevedore at the Santurtzi wharf.

Why do you feel the urgency to explain it now?

I worked at the Santurtzi City Council and one day a girl came in for an internship, I read her grandfather's last name on her ID and her father's name matched that of the murderer... I deduced that it was her clean

Did he say something to her?

She came to my office one day and despondently said: "My grandfather killed your grandfather." And I stood looking at her until she hugged me crying for a moment. And he left.

Van tornar a shine-what?

never But that meeting made me reflect. I believe that the Civil War still conditions part of our current situation and that we will only improve it by learning from it.

Does that trauma explain today's?

This is why it is necessary to dialogue - between forgetting and memory - so that the story is accurate: only from the truth can progress be made in reconciliation, which frees us from repeating the past. And only narrative can achieve that. That's why I tell my story, which is that of the family.

So explain it to us.

My great-grandfather, Antonio Maura, was president of the Spanish government five times between 1903 and 1921, but his governments barely lasted months.

Therefore, you are also family of the writer and minister Jorge Semprún Maura.

Semprún was Maura's nephew. But the family lineage is very long: one of Antonio's brothers, Honorio, was a monarchist deputy; another, Gabriel, was Minister of Labor of Alfonso XIII and on April 14, 1931.

The day the Republic was born.

But the new minister of the Republican Government ended up being... his brother Miguel Maura! Apparently, the monarchical Maura left a note for the republican Maura with a concise: "We're going!". A "you'll do it".


Well, Prieto, Azaña and thousands of Spaniards went to proclaim the Republic in what is now the Puerta del Sol. Another of Antonio Maura's daughters, Susana, married José María Semprún, who was civil governor with the Republic and Jorge Semprún's father. Losing the war, they went into exile,

Why did the five governments of his great-grandfather Antonio Maura last so little?

Because social inequality in Spain was brutal and generated endemic political instability. One of his governments fell in Barcelona because of the Tragic Week...

Why is he so interested in that episode?

It was the germ of the Civil War of 36 in engendering class hatred for the forced cam of young people for the slaughterhouse of the war in Morocco from which the rich were freed by paying.

How did his great grandfather rule?

The best presidency was that of 1917 when Cambó was Minister of Finance. And of his children, my great-uncle Miguel, of whom I was speaking to him, had been a monarchist minister, but became a republican after the disaster of Primo de Rivera's coup d'état, applauded by a large part of the Catalan bourgeoisie.

I don't know if they did a good deal.

It was a big mistake, because Primo's military coup, endorsed by the king, undid the monarchy.


Because for a monarch to leave a dictatorship is very difficult and Alfonso XIII did not know about it. So we saw the birth of the Republic, at last, in a peaceful and orderly manner.

Wasn't his great-grandfather, President Maura, also a conservative monarchist?

It used to be liberal, but remember that they were two similar dynastic parties of turns.

A caste taking turns in two games?

My great-grandfather wanted to "do the revolution from above to prevent it from being done to us from below".

Well, he was right.

But it was the Republic that really started the modernization of Spain with the part of the progressive bourgeoisie, and Niceto Alcalá Zamora as president in 1931; and with Miguel Maura, my great-uncle, as Minister of Government: they wanted to reform Spain in the regenerationist spirit of Joaquín Costa.

Was your family already split then?

And then, between winners and losers of the war, and Jorge Semprún did not deal with anyone from the family until Felipe González appointed him Minister of Culture in 1988.

I interviewed him here - what a lucidity.

He reconciled with the past and with the family; he set up the Antonio Maura Foundation and here we are.