Enzensberger, The Twentieth-Century Encyclopedia…and the Twenty-First Century

Dressed in white, with dilute stripes in the suit of the Master and the Poet, He came in 2011 to be, once again, a witness to the world. He had been for years in Cuban Hope, which was watered down little by little like the Titanic, and that was also his metaphor when time passed and he realized those carnations were, after all, fakes. He was, of course, a child and a teenager in the world war that made his country Germany the origin of a catastrophe that he wrote about many times, especially in one of his last books, A bunch of anecdotes.

But at that time, in 2011, Hans Magnus Enzensbergerwho just died in Munichwhere he lived, at the age of 93 he came to the capital of Spain to watch for himself, as he always did on the trips he made around the world, What was that youth testimony called 15 AD. That Spaniard had drawn his attention because of her youth and also because of the fire she represented: Europe, crushed by economic crisis, and Spain, in danger of political relapse, meant for him, once more, a confused party of broken glass. He believed that young people, and that was why he made that trip, had the words, they were going to point to hope for a peaceful continent that had finally known revolution.

The fact that this revolution took place in Spain was of particular importance to him, because he was, at the beginning of the eighties, He came as a European witness, among others, to see what the hell was going on with the broken glass left by the civil war, the dictatorship and the post-war period. He has conducted this research in a series of articles for which he has written Country, And he never stopped caring about this country. He did not do so simply because behind our history there was a bloody alliance with German Nazism and Italian Fascism, whose imprints are still with us in the bravado we now read in the media and that is so present in the painful impression made by the far-right jurists in Parliament. He did this because he was European, and belonging to Europe gave him the idea of ​​supporting that continental hope that never breaks.

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So his journey to get acquainted with 15 meters up close was not just an expedition for someone facing the scene of history, he was only intellectually curious. He was a European so committed to what this continent was once, and for a long time, such dreadful vestiges of evil, as we see now in Ukraine And not only. He was worried about other aspects of hispanics, because To the horror caused by the sad derivation of Cuba was later added the disaster of Nicaragua, which also failed to trigger a revolution. we will He was of Hispanic descent, even rabidly Spanish, though he was very German. who devoted the greatest efforts of his life to looking inward, to the country he came from and many others, and, of course, Alexander von Humboldtthe genius of it all made his passion for nature (America, Tenerife, by the way, everywhere) a science and also a commitment to knowledge.

I lived in a cul-de-sac in Munich, in a neat, clean house. Her kitchen was also her library. Although he was smoking as if there was no response from the lungs, the house only smelled of books. On the longest shelf were all of Humboldt’s books (all of them, and there were more than forty, I didn’t count them), which he had edited for surcampHis editorial, with jeweler’s precision. He was a classicist, both as a writer and as a human being, but he was also a contemporary gentleman, interested in everything that happened., in heaven, in presses, and on earth. Once we climbed with him to Mount Teide, in Tenerife, where he went to conduct a dialogue with him Vincent VerdueAnd when we thought she was lost among the ancient lava, it turned out that she was standing on the ground as if she wanted to listen to the spirit of the volcanoes. We did not realize then that he had an intellectual connection with Humboldt. There he rediscovered one of the sources of inspiration for his hero, the man to whom he had devoted so much intellectual labor was on the island to find out what that beautiful volcano called Teide was made of.

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Modern thinker

Ennisburger was an extraordinary human being, Luggage always light, light as air like a poet, Essential as a thinker of his time, there was no room for jokes but commitment. However, Enzensberger wrote very sharp books full of humor, and this was the case until the end of time. In January 2022, nothing ever came of it papilla From Country, Where this journalist was still working, a review I did of one of those books that had a knife in it. in A bunch of anecdotes (It has been published as almost everything he wrote Anagram), one of them himself said in the introduction to that review: “It must be read by bells, in libraries and in supplements, so that the reader may know that to lose it would be a personal failure.”

This short and compelling book explored what that child was like when he saw the root of evil revealed before him, Nazism, which had not only destroyed Germany but, unfortunately, had polluted a country like ours. He wrote that autobiography with the strictness of history and with the exclusion of Brechtian from the third person. He did not hide, for his character was called M, and he represented in the scenography of his strange early years, “the misery which will later be a heap of rubble upon which is the music of victory for the Americans who took charge of it, upon that detritus the Germany we later knew shall be made & rdquor; (End of self-quote, sorry).

And thus ended what would be, at least between us, his last book: “When he writes about himself / He writes about another. / In what he writes / He disappeared.” Like the German contemporary Cesare Pavez, he wrote that memory as if saying goodbye to a country that lived in anguish And pain and making others suffer, he had the bitterness and wisdom of self-criticism.

That day when he came to Madrid, once again, to see the reconstructed windows in the 15-meter Puerta del Sol, he was again a European aware that the future must be in the hands of the young revolutionaries, even if they were wrong. There, in that square of future and joy, he met, I remember, with Jose Luis Sampedro, they spoke in English, and became friends with the walking boys. And he returned to Munich. Years later, in 2018, I saw him again in Munich. I asked him about the state of Germany. “Calm more or less. There is a populist right everywhere, as in France and Scandinavia. I’m not worried at all that they won’t win. They are unreliable personalities arguing among themselves & rdquor;. He told me that at that age, close to ninety, He will never return to Spain or anywhere else, which is why he will never make another visit like the one he did to Puerta del Sol.” I will not fly any more. I don’t feel like being in airports, I hate them, they check you everywhere, they take your clothes, your shoes, I don’t accept it! ” At that time there were embers of the Catalan conflict. He told me he was sorry for the nationalist rhetoric. “When speaking Spanish was a problem in Catalonia, I lost my affection for that country. Before, everyone was allowed to speak whatever language they wanted. It’s crazy.”

After he came out in Spain A bunch of anecdotes I wrote to him explaining that the world, the world of pestilence and last fire of an age in Europe, could not be understood when wars began again. He told me that he no longer had the desire or the health to continue to interfere in what was happening. And he died yesterday, a light in Europe, a conscience of the world, an encyclopedic of the twentieth century and mldr; st.

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