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SPAIN: Wagner, Catalonia and Montserrat

I posted a story about my stay in Bayreuth, Bavaria during the Hitler period. I attended a Wagner performance and was close to Hermann Goering, who was surrounded by fawning society ladies. Wagner takes us to the use of him by the Nazis and their sympathizers to promote a new, just social order in Europe. Christopher Jones discusses "the SS state planned for Bourgogne. Near Dijon you can visit an empty castle they restored with a round table Ó la King Arthur and a swastika in the ceiling. Have you heard about the resurrection of the Niebelungenlied in Germany? " RH: We would like to know more about it. The performance I saw in Bayreuth was "The Rheint÷chter".

There was a curious development in Catalonia. Montserrat was the cult center for a Catalan nationalist movement based on "Parsifal". There were fascist-style youth gatherings there. The movement was discredited when Himmler visited Montserrat. See the Encyclopedia Catalana at: The abbot refused to greet Himmler, and there ensued an atmosphere of tension after Himmler made anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic remarks. The visit took place only eight days after the execution of Lluis Companys, who had been handed back to Franco by the Nazis in southern France. I had Catalan friends who supported the Montserrat movement, but they are unwilling to talk about it.

Christopher Jones says: "It doesn't surprise me that Catalans clam up about this fascist past: they clam up about anything perceived politically incorrect to either the CiU or the PSOE (two sides of the same coin.) But I would be interested to know what happened to Foix's papers -- were they turned over to the gencat culture people? In particular, a friend of mine who was the authenticator for the US authorities who broke the back of the print falsifiers of DalÝ's work back in the 80's, Robert Descharnes has been unable to find a publisher for his new book, L'HÚritage Infernal, already published in France. It seems Pujol was not amused by the wild but true stories he tells about DalÝ, and Planeta is very beholden of politicians -- that publishing house now completely dominates publishing in Spain". RH: My guess is that Foix was involved in the Montserrat movement.

Christopher mentions Pujol. I stayed twice with the Pujol family, which owned a book business. It was a marvelous Catholic family, Juan had fought with the Franco forces. I sent him copy of Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. He simply dismissed it with a note saying "That's not the way it was". I should have asked him to tell me how it was, but I did not do so for fear of reviving unpleasant memories. I have lost touch with the Pujol family, for which I felt great affection. Any news of them would be welcome.

Ronald Hilton - 7/5/03