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SPAIN: The Civil War and Catalonia

I received an e-mail message from Miquel Strubell i Trueta. His address led me to guess that he was attached to the University of Catalonia, which I suppose is different from the University of Barcelona. I may be wrong; he can correct me. In any case, I vaguely remember the name Trueta from the period of the Republic (when I studied in Barcelona) and the Civil War, as someone I had met. I asked Miquel about this. He replied:

"The 'university person called Trueta' you refer to was Josep Trueta, who was head of the accident service of one of the main Barcelona hospitals during the Spanish civil war. He had to leave in January 1939 when Catalonia lost the war, and spent 28 years in Britain. From 1949 to 1967 he was the Nuffield Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Oxford. He did cutting-edge research on blood circulation in the kidney (on patients suffering from air-raid shock), and on bones, and was shortlisted for a Nobel prize. Alas, it went to the inventor of DDT! Anyway, thanks to his exile his eldest daughter met and married an English RAF pilot, and I'm their eldest son!"

My comment: As so often happens (e.g.Nazi Germany), forcing people into exile represents a great loss for the government pushing talented people abroad. The case of Miquel is similar to that of British Conservative leader Michael Portillo and others. These unions create a link between Britain and Spain. I regard the ancient hatred between England and Spain, largely the result of religion, to be one of the great tragedies of history.

At our 2001 conference, there will be a session "Are religions the enemies of global peace?" Alas, history and contemporary events seem to prove they are. It is an issue which has to be faced. At Stanford and elsewhere it is politically incorrect to raise this issue. Our conference is not planned to be politically correct.

Ronald Hilton - 10/06/00