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Andrés Untzain

GERNIKA

Hemingway

Aquella guerra sirvió a Ernest Hemingway para recuperar su perfil de periodista. De aquellas experiencias en el Madrid sitiado como en los frentes nacería la aclamada ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ (‘Por quién doblan las campanas’), según parte de la crítica su mejor obra. Pero volvamos al exilio que provocó aquella guerra. El primer destino de exiliados y exiliadas, desde niños hasta ancianos pasando por los hombres y mujeres de la milicia, fue básicamente el propio País Vasco continental y el sudoeste de la Francia. Mas pronto esos lugares serían ocupados por las tropas alemanas y no quedaría otro destino que América. Antes, en 1938, ya se había exiliado a Cuba Andrés Untzain. Sacerdote católico natural de Mundaka, había ejercido como capellán de gudaris en el batallón Saseta, una parte del cual estaba descansando en Gernika la tarde en que la aviación nazi-fascista bombardeó y redujo a escombro y cenizas la que George L. Steer definió como la “ciudad sagrada de los vascos”. Hemingway no estuvo allí, pero supo del bombardeo y de sus consecuencias. Para entonces Hemingway ya sabía de Gernika. En 1931 escribía a Gay Hickok sobre el “sagrado árbol de Gernika”. No sería última vez que Hemingway escribiera o hablara sobre Gernika, específicamente del bombardeo. Se lo diría a la madre de su segunda esposa en carta fechada en Key West el 6 de febrero de 1939: “Well I was not in Guernica. But I was in Mora del Ebro, Tortosa, Reus, Tarragona, Sagunto, and many other towns when Franco did exactly the what he denies haveing done in Guernica”. This war helped Ernest Hemingway recover his profile as a journalist. His acclaimed novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ would emerge from his experiences on the fronts in Madrid, but let’s return to the exile caused by this war. The first destination for exiles – from the very youngest to the oldest, and for both male and female militia – was basically the continental Basque Country and South West France. Yet soon these places would be occupied by German troops, and the only remaining destination would be America. Earlier on, in 1938, Andrés Untzain had already exiled to Cuba. This Mundaka-born Catholic priest had been a chaplain for soldiers in the Saseta battalion, of which some had been resting in Gernika on the afternoon that the Nazi-Fascist bombing took place, reducing what George L. Steer defined as the ‘holy city of the Basque people’ to rubble and ashes. Hemingway was not there, but he heard about the bombing and its consequences. By that time Hemingway was already familiar with Gernika. In 1931 he wrote to Gay Hickok about the ‘sacred tree of Guernica’. This would not be the last time that Hemingway would write or speak about Gernika, especially the bombing. He would tell the mother of his second wife in a letter dated in Key West on 6th February 1939: “Well I was not in Guernica. But I was in Mora del Ebro, Tortosa, Reus, Tarragona, Sagunto, and many other towns where Franco did exactly what he denies having done in Guernica”.

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Profile for Espacio Hemingway

Hemingway Traveler  

Hemingway Traveler  

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