I saw him again a month ago. His friendship was precious to me through direct, transitive sasincerity.

Jorge Semprún will remain for us all the one who learned, at the age of 20, the
solidarity and absolute evil simultaneously. After years of amnesia
deliberate, he will become the writer of a wagon, that of the Great Journey, and
later, with Writing or Life, the bearer of a living memory and
founder for Europe. A “service survivor”, as he describes himself
himself, who will never have loved the ineffable.

The ineffable that we will be hearing again is only an alibi. Or sign of
laziness. We can always say everything, language contains everything. We can say
the craziest love, the most terrible cruelty. We can name evil, its
taste of poppies, its deleterious joys. We can say God and it is not
can be said. We can say tenderness, the ministering ocean of goodness. We can
to say the future, the poets venture there with their eyes closed, their mouth fertile.”
He was the one who never forgot that next to Buchenwald is Weimar.
Only a few kilometers from Goethe’s house is the hill of
the Ettersberg, the one where we spoke, in the paths of the camp, all the
languages of old Europe», where the memory of the smell of
burnt flesh of the Nazi crematoria, the one where the trees will not be
the Soviet mass graves. Semprún
will often insist on this double trace, he who always wanted to prevent
our memories – out of respect, too, for all those who
lie in this tomb in the clouds.

It is on another hill, the Sainte-Geneviève mountain, that a
As a teenager who experienced the Spanish War
personal conquest of the French language, before engaging in
resistance. From the Lycée Henri IV and the Sorbonne, he will keep the memory
until Thuringia, with Maurice Halbwachs who will share with him,
until the end, his knowledge as a teacher in a clumsy and
friendly at the heart of the concentration center universe..

In Jorge’s many lives, there is that of Federico Sánchez, the
of the Spanish Communist Party in exile, which infiltrates
clandestine in his own country by playing the police of Franco. That
that Yves Montand will play in the role of Diego, in the grip of doubt about
his involvement in War is Over, the one that said in the movie
by Alain Resnais “veterans are bothering me”. The undercover
will become the man of flamboyant feather, carrying his fight against the
totalitarianism and all oppressions, in the dialogues of Z and
L'Aveu. Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Constantin Costa-Gavras, Yves
Boisset will also be his accomplices in creating a style
unique where the most serious can cohabit with conviviality, in the novel
as in the cinema.

The younger one had fun translating Don Quixote from German to
the Castilian will always have kept the brightness of the protester and the exaltation of the
freedom – including when the former clandestine had become a minister,
from a large republican family, including his grandfather
Antonio Maura will have been President of the Spanish government in several
times. A minister in need of time and means, that malice does not
will never leave, as evidenced by his Federico Sánchez greets you
Well, where he knows how to relate the pettiness of everyday politics.

Then the honours and distinctions multiplied. The man of letters
elected to the Goncourt Academy, distinguished among others by the Prix Fémina, by
the Ulysse Prize for all his work, member of juries and
boards of multiple cultural institutions and
French and Spanish audiovisual companies, the president of Action
against hunger will always have kept its singular talent to mobilize and
awareness. I enjoyed, as you all did, the absolute intellectual integrity
of the one who, beyond the duty of memory, put the wound of the
20th century at the service of our European future. Jorge Semprún embodies
in all respects, by languages, by our common culture, the most
beautiful figures, cosmopolitan and romantic, honest man
carried by her devastating smile and the memory of the beautiful
sundays.

O Death, old captain, it’s time! Let’s weigh anchor!
This country is boring us, O Death! Let’s go!
If the sky and the sea are black as ink,
Our hearts you know are filled with rays!

The young Semprún had by his verses Flowers of Evil
accompanied Maurice Halbwachs on his last trip.

Farewell bright, and may you enlighten us forever.