Jorge Semprun

Writer, Screenwriter, Former Resistant, Former Deported Concentration Camp Buchenwald, Former Leader of the Spanish Communist Party, Former Spanish Minister of Culture

Born in 1923. During the civil war, his family exiles in France. In Paris, he attended school and then studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. In 1941, he joined French resistance movements. In 1943, he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. He returned to Paris in 1945. In the 50s, he was responsible for covert activities of communist resistance to the Franco regime under different pseudonyms, including the now mythical Federico Sanchez. In 1963, he received the Formentor Award for his first autobiographical novel, The Great Journey, which recounts his own experience of deportation. In 1964, he was expelled from the Communist Party because of differences on the party line. He devoted himself mainly to his work as a writer, thinker, and screenwriter. His interest in political and social upheavals inspires political scenarios (for Alain Resnais, Costa-Gavras, …), which in the context of the post-May 68 find it easier for producers and the public. In 1969, he received the Prix Fémina for his novel The second death of Ramón Mercader. From 1988 to 1991, he was Minister of Culture of the Spanish Government of Felipe Gonzalez. Semprun receives the Peace Prize from German Publishers and Booksellers, the Femina Vacaresco Prize and the Literary Prize for Human Rights for Writing or Life (1994). He also received the Weimar City Prize in 1995 (Weimar, a cultural center, the city of Goethe, was also very close to Buchenwald …). He is then elected a member of the Académie Goncourt. It was only in 2003, after 25 years, that he returned to his mother tongue, Spanish, to write Twenty years and one day. Jorge Semprun is one of those precious European figures who bear the memory of the century, which has gone through history as much as it has been crossed by it.