The voids of Sepharad: The memory of the Holocaust in Spain

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23 Scopus citations
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-120
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Spanish Cultural Studies
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Since 2006, three official memorial ceremonies have commemorated the Holocaust: these were held by the Madrid Assembly and the Congress of Deputies, and a state ceremony was sponsored by the Ministry of Justice and Foreign Affairs. Based on the adequacy of its facilities and its symbolism, the auditorium of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid was chosen to house the state ceremony.15 This event included the presence of the prime minister. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero had already attended the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Mauthausen camp in May 2005, the first time that such a high-ranking government representative had participated in this ceremony along with the survivors and Republican associations. Likewise, the royal family was invited. The organizers anticipated that a conflict might arise from participation in the same ceremony by both the King and Republican survivors. To reduce possible tensions, the organizers decided that former Spanish Minister of Culture, Jorge Semprún, a survivor, writer, and highly regarded figure among all attending groups, should take part as a speaker. Because of a sudden illness, however, Semprún could not attend the ceremony and sent a written address. The presence of the King was problematic for the Republican associations. In his speech, the King chose his words carefully, referring to the Republican victims, while avoiding the explicit word ‘‘Republican.’’ ‘‘Hoy no podemos dejar de reservar, como españoles una mención especial al emocionado recuerdo que merecen los miles de hijos de España, que tanto padecieron y a quienes vilmente les fue arrebatada la vida en aquellos campos del horror’’ [‘‘Today, as Spaniards, we can do no less than render a special mention to the deeply moving memory that thousands of ‘children [sons] of Spain,’ who suffered so much, deserve. Their lives were vilely snatched in those camps of horror’’] (Commemoration Ceremony on the Day of the Memory of the Holocaust and Prevention of Crimes against Humanity, January 26, 2006).

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