Tribute to the victims “of all wars” to commemorate 80th anniversary of Spanish Civil War
Barcelona’s ‘Palau de la Música’, one of the most symbolic cultural institutions in Catalonia, hosted the first of the commemorative events to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) this Monday. Besides its cultural content, ‘Palau de la Música’ was the place were worldwide famous cellist Pau Casals carried out his last rehearsal before the outbreak of the war, on the 18th of June 1936. Thus, and bearing in mind the strong component that Casals has as a symbol of Catalan culture, and also for his pacifist fight, the institutional event, called ‘The Last Rehearsal’, commemorates that day. The event was organised by the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Transparency, and aimed to pay tribute to “all those who suffered war both in a direct or indirect way”.
Barcelona (CNA).- On the 17th of June 1936, one of the most internationally renowned Catalans, cellist Pau Casals, held a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, which was set to open the People's Olympiad in Barcelona the following day. However, Franco’s uprising in North Africa changed everything. This fact inspired ‘The Last Rehearsal’, the institutional event which opened the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) this Monday. The event took place at Barcelona’s ‘Palau de la Música’, which is one of the most symbolic cultural institutions in Catalonia and the same scenario where Casals carried out this last rehearsal before the war. The event was organised by the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Transparency and aimed to pay tribute to the victims “of all wars” as well as to “all those who suffered the war both in a direct or indirect way”.
From this starting point, the event commemorated different episodes of the Civil War; the previous Spanish Republic, the uprising, the exile, and Franco’s dictatorship. Actress and singer Helena Miquel, together with actors Toni Sevilla and Maria Rodríguez hosted the ceremony, which included live music performed by ‘Coral Càrmina’ and ‘Orfeó Gracienc’, directed by Poire Vallvé, as well as ‘Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès’, directed by Rubén Gimeno and ‘Companyia Elèctrica Dharma’.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont presided over the event, which also counted on the presence of the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Transparency, Raül Romeva, the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell and other authorities.
Moreover, many people who actually witnessed Franco’s coup on the 18th of July 1936 also attended the event. Some of them played a key role in the ceremony, and their stories and life lessons were projected on a big screen.
French authorities also attended the event. One of the most notable attendees was Mr. Gérard Onesta, former vice president of the European Parliament and President of Languedoc-Rousillon-Midi-Pyrénées, a region which hosted thousands of refugees who crossed the Pyrenees escaping first from war first and later from Franco’s dictatorship.
A wider programme
This Monday’s is the first of a series of events promoted by the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Transparency and co-organised by Memorial Democràtic de Catalunya (Democracy Fighters’ Memorial), the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP), The Exile Memorial Museum (MUME) and the Memorial of the ‘Battle of Ebro’ Consortium (COMEBE)
The events that will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Civil War will focus on the Battle of Ebro, the longest and largest battle of the Spanish Civil War, and also on the refugee camp at Argeles, France. According to Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency Raül Romeva, the aim of the Government is to fight against “the institutionalisation of forgetfulness”, a situation which he considered “dishonest and unfair not only for the victims of the war but also for the present and future generations”.