Seguidor fiel de la filosofía apolítica del fundador de la Cruz Roja, Henri Dunant, él se las arregló para no definirse ni como nacional ni como republicano…sólo participó en la Guerra Civil desde la imparcialidad, como médico de campaña..

Así explica la autora la postura de su padre ante la guerra, añadiendo una frase propia del doctor: El sufrimiento físico es ajeno a  cualquier tendencia.

Dr. Martínez Alonso participó en los dos bandos y terminó la guerra en el bando victorioso. La autora describe la crueldad infringido por personas de ambos bandos, y el sufrimiento físico de la victimas.

De un lado, cuenta cómo miles de españoles del ejército republicano que colaboraron con la resistencia en Francia cayeron prisioneros del Tercer Reich y terminaron en los campos de concentración nazi. Mauthaussen…retuvo a más de 8.000, utilizados como mano de obra esclava. Miles de ellos murieron en las cámaras de gas….

Los documentos oficiales revelan que la muerte de estos españoles fue En realidad, un convenio político hispano-alemán de septiembre de 1940…..

Sesenta años después, un decrépito Ramón Serrano Suñer (ministro de Asuntos Exteriores en 1940) aún dormía en su cama tranquilamente todas las noches mientras yo escribía estas líneas.

De otro lado, la autora incluye en su libro un texto escrito por su padre donde él relata cómo presenció el fusilamiento de 34 personas indefensas mientras él prestó ayuda como médico de la Cruz Roja en la banda de los comunistas en 1936. Los acontecimientos tuvieron lugar en Cabeza de Buey, en Badajoz, y la matanza fue una represalia por la muerte de un joven de un disparo del ejército.

Eligieron treinta y cuatro personas al azar y los subieron al camión sin medir si eran inocentes o no. Pero no era eso lo que más les importaba. La masa del pueblo estaba sedienta de sangre y odio…..Comenzaron a oírse los disparos de los Máuser, las pistolas, los revólveres, en una cacofonía infernal mezclada con los alaridos histéricos de los asesinos…. Cuando por fin tuvo el valor de abrir los ojos, tenía una pila de cadáveres ante mí.

Ante tal sufrimiento, el Doctor recuperó su labor de médico al finalizar la guerra civil, y trabajó a la vez en su propia consulta en su casa y en el hospital de la  Cruz Roja en Madrid.  Esta labor era la cara pública de su empeño para aliviar el sufrimiento que le rodeaba, pero había otra cara, la cara secreta, que él desarrolló junto con personas relevantes de la embajada británica, y de la comunidad civil en Madrid y en Vigo. Una red de personas que organizaba la fuga de miles de personas refugiadas, en gran parte polacos judíos, que se vieron amenazadas con la extradición a Alemania.

La cara secreta reunió a varias personas alrededor del salón de té Embassy, situado en el Paseo de la Castellano en la esquina con Calle Ayala, un lugar de tertulia de las personas internacionales, regentado por su dueño, la irlandesa Margarita Taylor. Ella no sólo permitió a las personas de la red verse en su salón de té, sino participó activamente en la trama de rescates, e incluso alojaba a numerosas personas involucradas en la trama al largo de los años en su residencia, situada en el piso superior del local.

Tal fue la importancia de la labor de Doctor Martínez de Alonso que ha sido condecorado con el King George Medal for Courage del Reino Unido en 1947 y nombrado Miembro de los caballeros de la Cruz de oro del mérito por las altas autoridades de Polonia en el exilio, en 1958.

En 2007, Ted Pahle, al enterarse de que la Federación de Comunidades Judías de España en Barcelona había nombrado al doctor Eduardo Martínez Alonso benefactor de los judíos que se salvaron durante el Holocausto, escribió una nota cariñosa a la hija del doctor describiéndole así:

Un médico que ayudó a curar al mundo lo mejor que pudo, a pesar del gran peligro que corría. Sencillamente: un héroe…. Lleno de valor y coraje.

La Clave Embassy, de Patricia Martínez de Vicente

La Esfera de los Libros, Madrid 2010

http://www.esferalibros.com/libros/librodetalle.html?libroISBN=9788497349345

Ver posts anteriores relacionados:

Dr. Eduardo Martínez Alonso, un médico español, lleno de valor y coraje/ Part one

Héroes en Madrid 2010 y 1940

Amor en tiempos revueltos en teatro…

 

 

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El libro La Clave Embassy de Patricia Martínez de Vicente se puede apreciar y disfrutar desde muchos puntos de vista muy diferentes, y esto, junto con la importancia del tema tratado, hace que leerlo sea una experiencia no sólo informativa sino conmovedora.

En primer lugar Patricia Martínez ha escrito un libre de homenaje a sus padres: a su padre por su cariño, su generosidad y entrega a su labor de médico, aparte del  tema principal del libro, su tremendo valor y coraje durante los años 1940 a 1945; y a su madre por su constancia y el apoyo que prestó a su marido  en momentos tan difíciles que ella se convierte en protagonista, no es simplemente la acompañante del actor principal.

En segundo lugar, este libro  contribuye a los conocimientos de una época triste en la historia de España. Precisamente ahora, cuando la memoria histórica tienda a pintar a las personas y los partidos en blanco y negro, es más necesario que nunca recordarnos que la maldad se manifiesta en ciertas personas de todas las creencias y colores políticos. A la vez, el libro proporciona una interesantísima reflexión sobre la relación entre el gobierno español y los representantes de Alemania y de Gran Bretaña en los años de la posguerra.

En tercer lugar, la autora ha conseguido contar su historia con los mejores elementos de suspense de una novela de detectives de Agatha Christie. Empezando con el sorprendente descubrimiento de un diario de su padre, avanzando lentamente gracias a largas conversaciones con su madre para terminar, o así parecía, en un callejón sin salida en los registros del gobierno británico el enterarse que los documentos que necesitaba consultar seguían bajo la clasificación de secreto. Gracias a la ley de 2005 que da derecho a los ciudadanos a la información previamente clasificada, la autora pudo, por fin, contrastar  la memoria de sus padres y los frutos de sus investigaciones en mil lugares con los documentos oficiales británicos.

Por último, este libro da pie a pensar en un asunto de gran interés en este siglo XXI: la importancia de poder guardar un secreto. El hermetismo de todos los protagonismos en la labor de rescatar a los refugiados fue inflexible, incluso con sus seres más queridos, y el secretismo absoluto fue la mejor garantía de la continuidad del proyecto y de la seguridad de los colaboradores. En gran parte, la tapadera consistía en seguir una vida normal, en repetir las tareas cotidianas para  distraer y confundir al enemigo.  ¿Cuántos asuntos de los que ahora salen a la luz gracias a Wikileaks tienen una importancia mayor de lo que aparece?  ¿Quién puede garantizar la seguridad de las personas en las embajadas y consulados cuyas actividades están hoy en día a la vista de todos?

No entro aquí en profundidad en el asunto del derecho de acceso a los papeles oficiales, pero creo que una lectura de este libro nos hace reflexionar sobre los límites de la libertada de acceso a la información y sobre la necesidad de proteger a las personas que luchan en la sombre para promover el bien sobre el mal. … continuará…

 

 

Quién haya pensado que asistir al Teatro Bellas Artes un domingo por la tarde para asistir a la función de Amor en tiempos revueltos sería una versión light de la serie de televisión se equivoca. Esta obra está llena de tensión, de situaciones extremas y de potentes diálogos.

Todos los actores brillan con luz propia, sobre todo la magnífica Cayetana Guillen Cuervo, magistral diva con su historia misteriosa, por supuesto. Pero, para mí, la estrella es el guión: trágica exposición de la injusticia, la tiranía y la corrupción de los años 50 del siglo pasado. …

Los discursos a favor de la libertad de expresión y del proceso creativo son elocuentes, y el fervor político late con fuerza en casi cada momento.   Sin embargo, eso no quita, para nada, la pasión por la poesía, la literatura, y esa maravilla que es el teatro, la creación de un mundo que no es, de los personajes que existen sólo gracias a la magia del autor y de la inspiración de los actores.

Este es el tema que abra y cierra la obra: el amor por el teatro en sí.

Curiosamente, he leído estos días la historia real de Eduardo Martínez Alonso, un médico español que colaboró en la salvación de miles de refugiados polacos, entre otros, en España en la década de los 40. Hay momentos en la obra Amores, que nos hacen comprender qué importante haya sido la labor del médico y con qué ferocidad se trató en esos días a las personas que no cuadraban con las exigencias de los amos de la época… para leer más ver el post Héroes en Madrid 2010 y 1940…

 

Gillian Howell, musician and educator, is in Timor Leste. Her blog posts are original, informative and moving. Here’s a taster…

Thursday, Day 56

Today was the first day of The Right To Play project and I’m relieved to say we got off to an overall strong and productive start, especially given my anxiety of the previous day! We had a group of about 20 children (fewer than planned, but perfectly good numbers for a project of this kind). Marqy and his team worked alongside Tony and myself, and it was a good day.

We started with some music games and warm-ups, establishing some foundational music disciplines in eye contact, imitation, careful listening, and cuing:

  • Physical warm-up with stretches, copying hand gestures
  • Call-and-response structures, using names and rhythms
  • Passing the clap swiftly around the circle, changing direction in response to clear eye contact, and being ready to respond to unexpected changes
  • Passing multiple contrasting sounds around the circle in opposing directions, first with eyes open, then with eyes closed.

We introduced our framing theme of human rights, and children’s rights in particular. We asked the children if they could think of any human rights, and their responses brought about some clarification of what is meant by rights, and how they are different to wants, or likes.

Then we started on some music-making. We had the idea of presenting children’s rights through the music in the context of a child’s childhood years, from birth through to the age of about 12 or so. Today we focused on the music to represent brith and the start of life. Read more…  http://musicwork.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/the-right-to-play-%E2%80%93-first-workshop/

 

 

In June 2008 it was my great pleasure to welcome the St. John’s School Kantorei to perform in Madrid as part of their Spanish Concert Tour.  St. John’s School is in Houston, Texas.

St. John’s is an independent, co-educational day school presenting a 13-year sequence of college preparatory training. A non-profit institution, it was founded in 1946 to provide the community with a school of exacting standards in the development of individual, spiritual, ethical, intellectual, social and physical growth. While the means to achieve that purpose may change, it remains the basic mission of the School.

The School seeks to develop the whole person in preparation for a lifetime of personal fulfillment and contribution to society. In particular, it is dedicated to the enhancement and the expansion of future leadership for Houston and the country.

Choral ensembles perform at a variety of events throughout the school year, including the annual fall and spring shows, holiday concerts, community events, Chapel services and more.

(School web page: http://www.sjs.org/)

In Madrid, the Kantorei choir sang a range of sacred and secular songs, as shown in their programme information:

 

Sacred:

1)   O Magnum Mysterium………………………………… Tomas Luis de Victoria (c.1548-1611, Spain)

2)   The Lamb……………………………………………. Words by William Blake; Music by John Tavener

3)   Totus Tuus………………………………………………………………………….. Henryk Mikołaj Górecki

4)   Ubi Caritas…………………………………………………………………………………………….. Ola Gjeilo

5)   Ya viene la vieja………………………. Traditional Spanish Carol; Arr.Alice Parker & Robert Shaw

6)  Esto Les Digo……………………………………………………………………………………… Kinley Lange

7)   Dry Bones………………………………………………………………………. Spiritual; Arr. Peter Gritton

8)   O Day Full of Grace…………………. Danish Folk Hymn; Arr. F. Melius Christiansen (1871-1955)

 

Secular:

1)  Cantaremos……………………………………………. Traditional Spanish Dance; Arr. Ramón Noble

2)  Kaki Lambe…………………………………………………………… Traditional Senegal; Arr. Brian Tate

3)  La Chaparrita……………………………………………… Venezuelan Folk Song; Arr.Vivian Tabbush

4)  Nelly Bly……………………………………………….. Stephen Foster (1826-1864); Arr. Jack Halloran

5)  The Star-Spangled Banner…………………… American National Anthem; arr. by Lloyd Pfautsch

6)  Yankee Doodle Dandy……………………………………….. Traditional American; Arr. Deke Sharon

It was really a joy to listen to this inspirational choir, and to see the reaction of the audience of Spanish students, very much the same age as the singers: their admiration for the Texan choir was palpable.

 

 

Kantorei

Kantorei is the top Upper School chamber choir.  Selected by audition from the much larger Chorale, this select group is twenty to twenty-five members strong, and holds rehearsal for two 40-minute periods a week, with occasional extended weeknight rehearsals.  Kantorei annually participates in an Independent School Arts Festival, local High School Choir Contest, and a statewide Madrigal/Chamber Choir competition where they have consistently received superior ratings.  Singers from Kantorei have participated in some the country’s best honor choirs, being selected to sing at conventions for organizations such as the Texas Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, and Organization of American Kodály Educators.  The group has performed concert tours of Austria, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, England, Hungary, Italy, Norway, and Poland. (Choir notes)

 

The Kantorei choir was led by their Choir Director, Scott Bonasso:

 

Scott Bonasso is in his seventh year as Choir Director and Music Teacher at St. John’s School, where his responsibilities include teaching intermediate general music classes and Music Theory AP, directing the upper school chapel program, and conducting the St. John’s Boychoir (a 50-voice, all-male choir; grades 4-12) which he founded in 2002, Chorale (a 50-voice mixed high school choir) and Kantorei (a 25-voice select high school chamber choir).  Mr. Bonasso is also the Director of Music Ministries at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Missouri City, TX, where he conducts the chancel choir and oversees a large music program that includes 3 youth choirs and 2 adult choirs.  Scott holds a B.M.E. degree in Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance from Sam Houston State University where he studied conducting with Peter Jermihov and voice with Walter Foster, and he also holds a M.M. in Choral Conducting from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, where he studied conducting with Charles Hausmann. (Choir notes)

 

Thanks to Wens Travel, who always coordinate all the arrangements so beautifully to guarantee a happy occasion for all:  http://www.wens.nl/index_en.html

 

All I can say is thank you for performing in Madrid, and please come back soon.

About the royalty thing….I have some Spanish friends who have lived in Houston for the last few years. When I told them the St. John’s Kantorei had been our guests in Madrid they were so impressed and said:  We don’t have royalty in Houston, but if we did, they’d be at SJS.

 

 

It so happened that just when the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir were visiting us in Madrid, Spain, we also had a group from… let’s just say a European capital city. Our European guests had also promised to sing and I thought it would be great fun to put our two sets of visitors, one from the USA and the other from Europe, together in the concert. Unfortunately, the European visiting group’s teacher was held up and was not able to be there to prepare her group to sing, so…… we waited….. and then waited some more.

With endless patience Ms Rawson started her Choir’s  performance and very kindly agreed to let the other visitors  take their place when their teacher arrived……Short stop for a changeover of choirs…no teacher…. no choir….please continue…and so it was that we had a double helping of the Georgia choir and missed out on hearing our European visitors. Our gain, their loss….but what exemplary charm and patience we saw that day from Ms Rawson and her excellent, dignified young singers, I congratulate them all.

Over the past years we have been fortunate to welcome visiting choirs from the United States, and one of the most striking groups which has performed for us is the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir led by Jennifer Rawson, Artistic Director and Tour Choir Director

The Georgia Regional Girls Choir is a nonprofit, non-denominational organization for all girls in the 3rd through 12th grades and includes Tour, Apprentice and Training Choirs. All choirs perform two major concerts each year — one during the winter holiday season, and one during the spring.  The Tour Choir performs throughout the year, including a summer tour. (GRGC notes).

For eleven years, Ms. Rawson has conducted the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir, a premiere girls choir in North Georgia, which has toured throughout the United States and Europe under her direction, performing in Italy, London, Washington D.C., San Diego, Boston, San Francisco, the Georgia Governor’s Mansion, and the Biltmore House. Ms. Rawson has been a member and frequent soloist with the Atlanta Singers under the direction of David Brensinger for fifteen years and has had past positions with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, The Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus, and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers under the direction of Robert Shaw. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her high energy, animation, and creativity combine to make GRGC a fun, as well as educational, experience for all the girls. (Ms Rawson’s notes)

Here is the repertoire sung by the Choir on their visit:

1) Pueri Hebraeorum                                    Randall Thompson

2) Salve Regina                                                Javier Busto

3) Psalm 23                                                        Z. Randall Stroope

4) Ah! Si mon moine voulait danser        Canadian folk song

5) Niska Banja                                                  Serbian gypsy dance

6) Duerne Negrito                                          Atahualpa Yupanqui

7) Las Amarillas                                                traditional Mexican

8) How Can I Keep From Singing              Quaker song

9) Keep Your Lamps                                      traditional spiritual

10) Hello, Girls                                                 American folksong

As you can see, the choice of repertoire shows a wide range of national origins and stylistic influences, and a perfect balance of inspirational and fun songs. Surprising as it may seem to readers in the USA, much of this repertoire is unknown here, and was appreciated even more for its novelty.

The concert performance was excellent, with a refinement in tuning, tone and control that was exceptional and deeply appreciated by our audiences, which were made of school students from around Madrid of exactly the same age as the singers. How we all admired your wonderful singing!

Please forgive me for not including the photo of the girl singers here: it is my policy not to include photos of minors in my blog in order to protect their privacy. As expected, their presentational skills were wonderful and their parents back in the USA can be duly proud of them in every way. I hope you will come back to Spain soon, and include us on your list of concert dates. http://www.grgc.org/

Thanks to Wens Travel, who coordinate all the arrangements so beautifully to guarantee a happy occasion for all. http://www.wens.nl/index_en.html

The great thing about the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir is that, not only do they have angelic voices, they have the patience of a saint.

 

 

Liverpool, 1964, tens of thousands of people thronged the streets from the airport to the city centre and stood for hours until a police escort led a group of large black cars with tinted windows past screaming fans.

It was the day four young men returned home. Liverpool has that sense of home, of belonging, and these men had been away, and they came home. In a city whose port has been for centuries the gateway to the world, a better world, anything had to be better, coming home safely in itself was something to celebrate.

How many of our brothers, fathers, grandfathers and uncles had left the Pier Head to land at the South Sea Shore, New York, in time of peace and war, some to make their fortune, some to be lost forever. The Beatles songs were only possible because of the music that travelled home with the sailors in their kit bags. These four men had travelled in style: BOAC planes and first class treatment all the way. And they came home.

Why the wait? It was  not only the songs, good tunes with clever lyrics carved out of the pebbles at the Dingle, it was not only the silly haircuts, we all thought they were naff but were too overwhelmed to say so, and the suits, no thank you. Brian Epstein wrote his own account of the tour in a Mersey Beat article: http://triumphpc.com/mersey-beat/archives/us-tour.shtml

For the first time, as it seemed then, someone from over here had gone over there and had really triumphed. Instead of English singers making cover versions of the real thing from across the Atlantic, here were John and Paul writing songs that people over there wanted to copy. And they were copying  lyrics with experiences and feelings that came from Lime Street, not Los Angeles, from the Cavern not from California, from cast-iron in your soul, not flowers in your hair.

The tunes got better later, the lyrics got cleverer, Paul brought in Linda, George brought in India, Ringo had a great time, and why not, and John brought in Yoko, found more songs, lost some weekends and went to stop making plans and live life the way he wanted, in luxury overlooking not Sefton Park but Central Park.

30 years ago today it came to an end, the might have beens, the songs, the concerts and reunions.

It was really not my idea to go and stand for hours in the street waiting to see them come home, but I’m glad we did. We had a child’s glimpse of a legend. The legend did not start 30 years ago today, it already had roots as deep as those of the oaks in Calderstones Park and foundations as secure as the Albert Dock.

 

 

 

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