Very much enjoyed the peregrine falcon watch this morning in front of the Sagrada Familia. Highlight was watching close-up with a telescope a female devour with gusto a pigeon as feathers were pulled out and floated in the air around Gaudi’s spires, but must missed spectacular mid-air kill as was on swing-seesaw-slide duty at that moment. Thanks to Eduard Durany and Sergi Garcia for organsing the do. Image from Falconsbarcelona.net
I had a very enjoyable evening out last week as a punter with Crafty Beer Tours with guides-hosts Roy Cottle and Robin Barden (both in the photo). The tour takes you to two beer bars very much off the beaten tourist trail in Barcelona and is enlivened by their passionate, engaging and witty spiel on the new movement of Catalan and Spanish craft beers. Beer of course forms the connecting thread but the tour is really about local produce and alternative Barcelona with a healthy dose of contemporary politics thrown in. First stop was Cerveseria La Resistencia, interesting itself because Sergi the owner is a goldmine of family stories about the Civil War and anarchism in Barcelona https://www.facebook.com/
5 minute piece on the tours by Barcelona TV. I think Marta Ballesta the director has done a great job so many thanks to her. Some of you can have a laugh at my Catalan too. An error on my part. It was Av Meridiana that was renamed Av. de la URSS not Gran Via. See video here on iberianature
Among the most interesting gravestones in the Fossar de la Pedrera is that of about German brigader Hans Beilmer who had managed to escape from the Dachau concentration camp in 1933, after throttling an SA guard and putting on his uniform, earning him a huge popularity in anti-fascist circles. Three years later, he came to Spain as commissar of the first contingent of the International Brigaders, where he was killed during the defense of Madrid on 1 December 1936. There has been speculation that the NKVD were involved due to Beilmer’s criticism of the treatment of the POUM???. Whatever the case, his body like that of Durruti who had died 11 days earlier, was brought to Barcelona for a huge public funeral and buried at Montjuïc Cemetery. The German tenor Ernst Busch recorded a famous song about Beimler in Barcelona during a bombardment in 1938. Recorded in barracks somewhere in the city together with a choir from Thälmann battalion and first broadcast on Radio Barcelona, the tribute to Beilmer was an adaptation of the German military song “The Good Comrade” also sung by the Nazis, but with new lyrics (“Before Madrid on the barricades / In the hour of danger / In the international Brigades / his heart loaded full of hate / Stood Hans the commissar). It was one of six tracks on the legendary album “Six Songs For Democracy”. The original record bore a sticker stating “”the defective impression of this recording is due to the interruptions of of electric current during an air raid”
Australian nurse Agnes Hodgson attended Beimer’s funeral in Barcelona:
“Marched in the funeral procession of Hans Beimler, an ex-German Communist deputy who was killed fighting at the front here. A man very able and evidently much loved, it was a great loss to the party. We assembled outside the Karl Marx building, and waited there until all were ready. Lowson carried flowers, and we all joined in with the women’s brigade – international women, English, German and Swiss.”
An edited version of this will go in the Montjuic section of my book (A guide to Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War, anarchism and anti-Francoism.
Voucher for a packet of tobacco issued by the CNT/FAI, 1936. Some villages went as far as banning paper money, but that certainly wasn’t the case in Barcelona.
If you’re in Barcelona until June 3, there’s a small (and free) exhitition on at the History Museaum of Catalonia about a painter called Josep Franch-Clapers. In 1939, he was exiled and interned in camp, where he captured the pain of those who had lost the war and their freedom. The painting here entitled “Exhile” shows a chain of refugees (prisoners in effect) escorted along windy road by French police. More here
I was surprised to come across this plaque in Plaça Bonsuccés, Barcelona, to Philliphine liberation leader José Rizal, who ran his newspaper La Solidaridad from the building here. I suspect this is the only official council plaque in Barcelona in an Asian language – Tagalog (correct me please). There is also a room named after him in Montjuic castle (Sala José Rizal) where he was once imprisoned and another plaque in Catalan outside the modernist jewel of Hotel Fonda de España in El Raval where he stayed.
“The last time Rizal was in Barcelona was when he was detained in a Barcelona jail on his way to Cuba to volunteer his medical services to the Spanish army during the Cuban Revolution on suspicion that he is the mastermind of the disturbances in Manila and the suburbs led by Bonifacio and his Katipuneros. A few days later, he was escorted to the Philippines to face criminal charges. ” Quote from here