Jorge Semprum in Memoriam

Paris-based writer and politician Jorge Semprun, a Communist who survived the Nazi death camp in Buchenwald to become culture minister in his native Spain, died on Tuesday evening, 7 June in Paris. He was 87.

Semprun was born in Madrid in 1923 but grew up in exile largely in France.

Jorge Semprun was a Resistance fighter of Nazism, and was deported to the camp at Buchenwald. He was an anti-Franco communist activist.

He dedicated himself to writing, in French and in Spanish. His first of more than a dozen books, The Long Voyage(1963), told the story of his deportation.

Screen play and dialogue writer of films “Z” (1969) and “The Confession” (1970 ), Jorge Semprun also collaborated in the cinema of Yves Montand and the director Costa Gavras.

He was named Spain’s culture minister under Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, from 1988 to 1991.

I thoroughly enjoyed some of his books, particularly La escritura o la vida (Tusquets, 1995) and Veinte años y un día(Tusquets, 2003). This last one can be considered a crime fiction novel. I’m planning to write a post about this book later on. Stay tuned.

Veinte años y un día (Twenty years and one day) won the Premio de Novela Fundación José Manuel Lara Hernández for the best Spanish-language novel published in 2003. Tusquets Editores(in Spanish).