Title: "Tribute to Antonio Machado in Collioure cemetery"
Duration: 15 min., 45 seg.
Sound collection: Radio Paris. Ramírez/del Campo
Summaries: Homenaje a Antonio Machado en el cementerio de Collioure organizado por el Ateneo Ibero-Americano de Paris. Incluye entrevistas, testimonios y la crónica del homenaje
Antonio Machado crossed the border in January 1939, along with thousands of refugees escaping from the advance of Franco's troops. He was admitted in Collioure, along with his mother, brother and sister. Sick, exhausted and defeated, he died a few days later, on 22 February. Julian Antonio Ramírez recalls in his memoirs how his death was virtually unnoticed at the same time that the rebels were seizing the last strongholds controlled by the Republican Spanish State:
"The news of the death of Antonio Machado in the neighboring town of Collioure seemed to cause no special commotion beyond some small groups of intellectuals, for whom it was another great misfortune, in the chaotic atmosphere of confusion (...)" (Ici Paris, 1968)
Two years later, Antonio Machado was posthumously tried in the Francoist Spain by the fearsome "Comisión Depuradora" of the Ministry of Education. This purifying commission seized all his rights, he was separated from all service to the state, any event in his honor was prohibited and most of his work destroyed and banned. At the same time, ironically , his remains were repeatedly claimed to rest in his homeland (to which his supporters have refused so far), and part of his work was distorted, in order to be used as a form of propaganda for the dictatorship.
Thus, while Franco and his supporters tried to besmirch his legacy and his memory, trying at the same time to take advantage of everything that turned out to be profitable, Antonio Machado became a symbol of all the values assumed by the exiled, the opposition and the incipient dissidency. In 1959, through a French national subscription, all together with hispanists and intellectuals, he was built a tomb in the place of honor of the cemetery of Collioure, which later became a pilgrimage place, an element of national reconciliation and an anti-Francoist symbol, specially amongst intellectuals. In fact, this tributes to Machado became symbols of resistance to dictatorship, and began to take place in Spain as well, especially since 1959 - in a more or less illegal way, being strongly repressed by the Francoist authorities, who were not able to prevent them from being crowded. Moreover, although the facto censorship remained de facto throughout Franco's period and most of the Transition, some publishers as Edicusa risked to publish books that raised some still-unknown aspects of the immortal Republican poet, especially from the late sixties. As many libraries, openly leftist, were founded under the name "Antonio Machado".
It is clear that Radio Paris contributed to this, reporting from France everything that could represent the figure of Machado and keeping his legacy, his memory and his values fresh.The recording registers homage act to Machado in 1975, one of the most emblematic, held while the dictator was still alive. In the magazine 'Triunfo', Aurora de Albornoz published a wide article on the act, in which she specified the repercussions of the same:
“Over many decades, the young generations have begun to see to Antonio Machado as a symbolic figure. On one hand, he represents an attitude: he is the example of an intellectual who, in a juncture of the history of his country, proved to be up to the mark. On the other hand, Mr. Antonio is a symbol of the Spanish people who had to abandon their land to undertake an exile that most of the times (…) was definite. The homage paid to Machado means, among other things, an homage paid to the pelegrin Spain, as well as an exaltation of the memoirs of Federico García Lorca or Miguel Hernández, it can also mean a condemn to violence and repression” (Triunfo, 29-III-1975).
University of Alicante. University Library. Fonoteca