Oriol Civil

Interviewed November 16, 2017 for Catalunya Barcelona docuseries.

My name is Oriol Civil i Desveus, I was born in Sabadell, which is near Barcelona, 20 km away, on the 18th of December 1937, during the war, precisely

What is/was your profession?

Well, I studied my diploma, the diploma is a secondary study, and I studied it at a time when very few people could study it because I remember that during the years ’50, ’52, ’54, Sabadell had over 50.000 inhabitants and the number of diploma students didn’t get to 25, counting boys and girls

Very few, there was no high school, during those years, there was only a nun’s school and a priest’s choir school, but actually, very few made it to college

I studied industrial engineering here in Barcelona and after that, I worked basically during three periods of my life

I worked as an industrial engineer making fridges, fridge-freezers, everything related to cold technology

After that, I was in computering for 20 years too

And my last professional years I dedicated myself to politics

I was councilor in Sabadell’s City Hall, I was a deputy at the council, I was the president of the Regional board, and now I’m retired


When and under what circumstances did your family move to Barcelona?

Well, my family moved to Sabadell

My father was the son of a doctor from Barcelona but his father died when he was 16, that means he paid for his doctor’s career by putting injections, which was the new medical technology those years, I’m talking about the early XXth Century

My mother was a teacher and they met in Rubí, precisely because my mother was teaching in a school that was related to Rubi’s church because she knew the priest, and my father went to Rubí as a doctor after being in an other village, and there they met

After that, as my mother was from Sabadell, some years later, I believe it was before they had their first child that was born healthy, because they had two twin girls that died just after being born, well, so they went to Sabadell, where my mother had her family

And that’s why they moved to Sabadell

Did you hear any stories as a child about tragic week in 1909?

Well, when I was a kid I already knew what the Tragic Week was, but it wasn’t anything serious in Sabadell

My mother remembered that during those days, there were cannons in Sabadell, there were two sides in the streets, one in favor, one against, and there were some shots

I remember one anecdote my mother used to tell about houses in Sabadell, they were the classic house of a door and a window, as we say, just like some neighborhoods in Barcelona, or you can see them in Sarrià, so people would jump in the courtyards so they didn’t go to the street, because it was where you could’ve been shot

But no… I’ve read about the Tragic Week lately, but I have no familiar memories

And my father, who should’ve been a diploma student back then, it was a tumultuous period but I don’t remember any other anecdote than the ones I read in the newspaper later on

The 2nd Republic?

Well, the 2nd Republic is a different thing, although I wasn’t born yet

But of course, here it is where I’d talk about language

Well, historically, I’ve learned this reading history, but there was the public schoold oficially in Spain in the late XIXth and early XXth Centuries, but it didn’t reach all kids

And the public school was basically in Spanish

It was the main point of the XIXth and XXth Centuries when the Protective Action of Catalan Education was created, just at the end of the XIXth Century, it was created by a teacher and so, they started giving a chance to teach Catalan at school

I’m saying this because when my mother was a teacher in Rubí, she’d only teach Catalan a little bit on Saturday mornings to her older students and they barely had pedagogical material and aside from some poetry book, they’d read El Patufet, which was a very popular children’s magazine those years

And in the ’23, the first dictatorship, the one of Primo de Rivera, they had a lot of trouble to keep teaching Catalan

And with the republic, it was like a spring we lived here because it gave freedom in the Catalan culture during those years, political parties were being chased in relation to language and freedom

And the republic didn’t last much, because from the ’31 to the ’39, when the war was over, I mean, peace didn’t last too much, but anyway, my father, who created Democratical Sabadell Union of Catalonia, in those years, a center-right party, but moderated

And this, together with the fact of being Catalan, after the war, one of the first laws that Franco created was to pursue the liberal professionals to revise them, so they didn’t have bad ideas, so to say

That’s why the republic was a nightmare because it ended the war but that hope was killed eventually

Elders’ experiences during the Spanish Civil War?

Well, the first story that my parents told at home was that, my father was a doctor and they didn’t have medical attention centers back then, and doctors had to go and visit their patients at their homes, they had their office house to house

And, on July 1936, the war started with the military uprising, the republic, and a few weeks later, in August, someone killed the doctor that lived in the house right next to ours

That’s the anecdote, it is a sad story, I heared them tell it many times, my father was republican and catholic and that got him out of death, and so, he could keep being a doctor

That neighbor was more conservative, a good person, and my father used to tell him ‘Ferran’, as his name was Ferran, ‘Ferran, hide, go away, they can come for you’

And he said ‘Well, I haven’t done anything bad’ and precisely, the war messiah came for him and killed him with the harsh that killing a father of a family represents, that’s something we’d lived in our home because they’ve told me that many times, that even if my father and him didn’t coincide ideologically, well, they were friends, and neighbors, and that they kill him, that’s something you really feel

And well, war is full of people, friends, relatives, fathers, sons…

That’s the first thing, and the second issue of war? Famine

I was the sixth and last of my siblings, I was born on the ’37 and of course, 12-year-old, 14-year-old, 19-year-old kids, they were hungry and people suffered from famine in the city

And the anecdotes of my siblings eating bread crumbs that had been left on the table and maybe my family having to eat carob tree and other things, that’s that kind of anecdote that my siblings had told me many times at home

There’s an other anecdote that may also tell the clime of the war and that is that there was people hiding at houses, people that didn’t want to go to war, people that had had a little business and they were chased for being bourgeois or capitalist, priests or maybe Christians related to church…

And then, for example, my father and other doctors from Terrassa, they changed their patients because if you see a doctor going to a house where two, three people lived and you knew them and knew that everyone was healthy, no one was ill there, they’d ask ‘what’s a doctor doing at that house?’

Then my father went to Terrassa, to some house where someone had discreetly seen him and there was someone ill but it cannot be known that he or she was hiding

And the same, I guess, I’m sure some doctor from Terrassa would go to houses in Sabadell so that people thought he was his cousin, or uncle, or friend but not a doctor

The revolutionary activity that concludes with the May Days?

I just have one anecdote about this, it is a comment from my mother when she was 90, little before she died, she said ‘the beginning, the first days of 1937, we thought that war was ending’, but I’ve even looked in newspapers and periodical libraries to see if there’s something before May 1937

But of course, what my mother told me, she was the one who lived more years, she lived until her 91 years old, practically, of course, humour, excitement, pain and anguish would go up and down, one day you’d be more optimistic, an other more pesimistic, one day there was a good new, it wasn’t like now with Whatsapp, I mean, there were radios and people’s comments

There were days of a certain optimism, I was born at the late 1937 and I remember my mother telling me ‘look, when we knew I was pregnant with you, we thought that war was ending’

It is that kind of things, but of course, the anxiety that nobody’d say anything, there was almost a hidden person, he was a priest from Tarragona that throught the contact of my father, well, he’d arrived home, and well…

Because of course, now that I’m mentioning the priests, it is an other fact that it was the white side and the red side, there were fascist priests, actually, there were quite a lot, or maybe they were friends of fascist conservative people, or they’d be more open minded and had contact with less bourgeois laborers, so to say

And of course, this priest, that I later knew was a part of the open minded ones, as my father who also was and they weren’t… they could say lots of things about my father but they couldn’t call him fascist

Life under Franco in the post-war period 1939 – 1959

Well, let’s see… I was born in 1937, I was in Montserrat, in the choir school from 1947 to 1951, therefore, until my 10… and also I was quite ill when I was 5, and I didn’t go to school until I was 9, back then, some would go to school when they were little, but the most part would go when they were 7, 8, 9…

As I had had heart issues and had been ill, I totally forgot about it later on, but I mean, I was very ill, so it turns out I don’t have many memories

The ones I have, which I’ve been revising after that, for example, they had my father expelled as a doctor because he was not in favor of the regime, because he was a part of a republican political party, because he was Catalanist

Well, like all doctors used to have, they retired his doctor license, and they gave him a new one

That means that if my father had been a doctor since 1919 or 1920, in 1940 they gave him a new license as if he was a doctor as of that moment

And so, he stopped having the same jobs, etc

A lot of people had worse time, but this image of my father as someone who defended his ideas but that was frowned upon, I have it

As a citizen, before you’re 10, you don’t see much, I mean, you see that people hide to talk on the other side of the door or very low, discreetly, and you think if there’s something, but you don’t guess what’s going on

And then, those years, I mean, the ones that went to church, they had to pray in Spanish, you couldn’t have anything printed in Catalan, if you wanted to because it was a familiar thing, you had to go to a friend that printed, and during the night, when he didn’t have any workers, he’d print it for you

I mean, we lived all those uncommon things, but I was little

The hunger and economic issues after the war?

Well, you cannot compare the ’40s to our present

Well, I, as a doctor’s son could study at college, I didn’t have much money because my father barely could win for him, we were quite a few siblings, I mean, we didn’t miss anything after the war because we didn’t have much… at that time, we never went on vacations, my father used to have a car before the war but they confiscated it from him and then, he couldn’t buy a new one

And when he was older, he used to take a cab because to go and visit the patients, which is not very common now, but some years ago, doctors used to do it, even at night, I remember my father when he was 60 years old or so and that someone would knock at our door at 4 in the morning, ‘pam, pam’, the vigilant would come and he’d go with him to visit someone that suffered from whatever, an attack, something like that…

And when I was little, I’d use my siblings’ old shoes and many things, it was quite discreet, people saved a lot of money doing that, and I even remember an image, it’s something simple but we used to live in front of the Sabadell Bank, this bank that has moved to Alicante, people that worked there at that time, everyone wore a tie and a suit but they weren’t brand new, people wore simple clothes

And after that, poor people asking for money at the houses, I mean… bread was very bad, it was a bread that wasn’t white, the white bread of Franco was what there was but of course…

Think that we’re talking about when I was 10 years old… when you’re 10, you want to play to your friend’s houses, and they didn’t let you go to some specific houses because they prefer that you weren’t in contact with people that could come after you, I mean…

The Catalan language?

Well, people would speak what they wanted in the neighborhood, in the shops, with their friends, at school, all that, and in the environment where everyone spoke Catalan, everyone spoke it

But I’ve said before that for example, at church, priests… church would put pressure… I mean, if you couldn’t afford going to the movies, the one place where you’d find people was the church

And priests needed to pray in Spanish, and books written in Catalan I believe it was in 1942 when there’s the first book written by a poet priest and it’s called ‘Mystical Rose’, if you pay attention, the own title can be in Catalan and Spanish, and they were all sort of mystical poems, sweet, so to say, but taking advantage of the common lexeme of many words, their common lexeme in the language

Then, of course, teaching Catalan, I’ve learned it at home because my mother was a teacher, she didn’t work back then because we were many siblings, and I guess that my mother thought she wouldn’t live that many years, and so I had to learn Spanish, to write it, in order to get into the diploma school at the age of 9

Therefore, I read and wrote in Catalan, and that led to people telling me ‘you write your notes in French just like that’ and I said ‘no, no, this is Catalan’

Then, of course, there were no books, or they were from older books and you couldn’t go to a book shop and if they knew you, they’d sell them to you

Then, it was at the end of the ’50s, in the early ’60s, when it started being like that, but you watch shows, or party programmes, all that is in Spanish until…

And still, in 1979, when the first democratic City Halls of Catalonia, of Spain, I remember that in order to do the program of the local festivities in Catalan or in Catalan and Spanish, you needed to convince people that were scared still

Life under Franco after 1959

Well, then, what I remember is that there were groups, ones about socio-cultural with an entity, other ones socio-Christian because I was there too

When you wanted to held a conference, ask for an speaker or a singer, but conferences, above all, it was quite hard, honestly

Then, there is an anecdote in Sabadell, that the bank of Sabadell had an auditory that if they knew you, you could book it

And they knew me because of my father… They knew we were good people, so to say

But one day, the teacher [Manuel] Jiménez de Parga came, a doctor of the University of Barcelona, from the faculty of law, and he held a conference and precisely, in that conference, there was Muriel Casal’s father, who died from an accident with all this… one of the leaders of this Catalan issue

And at the end, they were talking and a group came, Cristo Rey’s guerrilla, when did this happen? I don’t know but I wasn’t married yet, and so they hit them

Then, if you didn’t have a government permission in the bank, they didn’t let you the place

Then, where could we go to held conferences or speechs? Churchs, we could only go to churchs, by knowing the curate, the dean, knowing some friend from the church, and then, see, you could have meetings, sometimes at schools too, private schools, not the public ones, if you knew a teacher, they’d let you the key, or the teacher was a part of that group, then you could call it ‘school parents reunion’, you could do these things

Now it is funny to think about these things, but back then, where could you do it? That ideological exposure or that speech, or that thing that was important for us and it you did it, you didn’t want to be caught

Franco’s death?

Of course, he had been ill for weeks, in 1974, he had a thrombus and people thought it was over, but he lasted for over a year

I remember then, because of the work, I was into computer issues, we had a delegation in Zaragoza, an other in Madrid, and I used to go there quite a lot

And I remember that I used to check the newspapers and the radio every morning, when I was at home or at a hotel, to see if there had been news, and the day Franco died, of course, people were scared still

Because I remember I had to interview an economist for the teamwork of a little company in an office I had in Reus, the delegation we had, and he didn’t show up, that surprised me, it was the day that Franco had died, and the day after or two days after, I was talking with an other partner of this delegation and he told me ‘well, of course, his father was a moderate man and he had told him not to go out’, that is, all people were scared

And then, look, we started to lose fear, some issues were going on and in the protests of February 1976, you started to discover with some partners who was actually a democrat or from the communist party, the PSUC those days, I was more into the socialist world, and well, the fear went away but you were always with the pressure of what would happen, of what wouldn’t happen

And actually, what I remember years before was about learning to read the newspapers, I had been to many conferences and to some courses of the philosopher Arenguren, and he said ‘you need to learn to read the newspaper, when they tell you that cows in Germany have typhus or any illness, just that you know that there are sick cows in Asturias or in the Pyrenees too’, I mean, it was always this…

And also, newspapers talked more about international issues than about our country in that time, not to mention Catalonia…

And I have an other anecdote, I was a member of cultural OMNIUM in Sabadell too, and one day, Sabadell radio asked to do an interview, and I dare to say ‘the country’ and the interviewer was shocked and he said to me ‘it’s the first time that the word or the expression our country has been used in this radio’

I mean, it’s a trifle but they were symbols of paying attention and care, specially if… I don’t know, for example, I remember the excursion center in Sabadell, for example, in order to hold conferences, they didn’t let them do them, so they had this trick, they said ‘commented slides’, then a teacher would come, or an excursionist that would pass the commented slides and this passed the control

On the other hand, if they called it Mr. Or Mrs. Something, they wouldn’t let him do the conference because they didn’t have a guarantee of what you could say

Now it’s funny, but it was like this

And well, when someone discovered a trick, everyone would learn it, then all the union issue, I, as an engineer, it turns out that engineers were quite weird in a labor union because we were too much bourgeois, too rich, but trade union have these long stories, I never went to jail but people that went to the Model in Barcelona, and other places… yes

The transition

Well, the transition… my father didn’t do any political material, he wanted to but didn’t dare because of what was going on, I guess… but now, studying in Barcelona, at the engineering school, with meetings at college, the Capuchinada, as it is called

In March ’66, there was the democratic union trade of students that was ilegal, it was created by Capuchines of Sarrià, here in Barcelona, I was working already

Precisely that day, I was in Madrid, and a version of the ABC arrived to my hands, a newspaper of Madrid, and they used to write eight to ten reviews of things in a page, and they said that the Capuchines of Sarrià had been caught caught a group of evil ilegal people, I don’t know what they had done

And below that, there were the Rome Franciscans, that had been found with whiskey and tabacco contraband, I mean, that was part of that savoir faire of the press back then, they would put you against the Capuchines and the Franciscan in the same page, they belong to the same group, very similar, well, then they did contraband, that meant they were unreliable people

I was in non political groups, we created what now is called Catalonia’s Assembly, which was quite important, well, there was this democratic Assembly of Sabadell, and they did a lot of reunions trying to fix the world over night, and you’d go to sleep after a couple of cognacs and of smoking quite a lot and you’d sleep a few hours and the next day you’d have to work from 6 or 7 am, or whenever

But then, of course, there was a certain… how would I call it, involvement among union trade people, in the political world, the Catalanist people, the democratic people, that is, different colors, and we had a lot of meetings but we couldn’t fix the world

And then, when the elections in ’77 came, there was a strong rush in the consitution of parties, with the City Halls in ’79, then… we started to separate from those black days

The signing of the Constitution

The day of the signing… I remember the constitution referendum, let’s see, and also, there was an other referendum in ’76, I think they called it political reform, and our group which then ended up in the socialist party we didn’t like that referendum because… no, we didn’t like it

And we abstained, or we put a blank vote, I don’t remember now, but the thing is that the next day, there were no abstentions nor blank votes, nothing at all

Then, in ’78, two years later, because I think they both were in December, we voted… I voted in favor of the Constitution, we knew that Alianza Popular, the PP’s previous party, they didn’t vote

But well, then, in ’77 there were the constituent elections at the Congress of Deputies, and then in March ’79, there were elections at the first Constitutional Congress, and in April and in June too, then the thing started to speed up

The coup of 1981

The 23-F, my anecdote is that I was in Paris, I was a councilor at the City Hall back then but I didn’t fully dedicate myself to it, although I was with the government, the PSUC and PSC at that time, and I was in Paris because of my job, because the company where I was working there was related to a Paris’ company

And I remember my wife came with me because she wasn’t working at that time, and there was this system that if you’d go with an other person, she’d pay half a ticket, then I said in the company ‘buy a ticket for my wife, and I’ll pay half a ticket for her’ and we’d go a Sunday afternoon and I had to be there from Monday to Wednesday, I think it was a Monday the 23-F

And I went to work and my wife went to visit Paris and then she organised everything for us to go to the theatre and before going there, we called home from the hotel, there were no mobile phones then, and at my mother-in-law’s there were the three girls we had and their grandparents and we asked them ‘what’s up?’, ‘we’re good, watching tv’ and it turns out that five or ten minutes after that call, there was on tv the image of Tejero with a gun and all that

And we went to the theatre and then we went to eat something to a restaurant nearby, an Argentinian place

And we were talking to the waiter, because he knew where we were from, and he said ‘hey, there has been a coup in Spain’, and I said ‘no, you don’t know… they chose an other government president today’

He said ‘no, no, it hasn’t been serious but there was one…’

Then, of course, we didn’t have any radio or tv at the hotel room, it was a medium place but I had that in mind, what’s happened? And the next morning, before going to work at 7 am, I woke up earlier and went to the nearest kiosk and bought the Figaró or any newspaper and there was the photo of Tejero with the gun next to the Congress’ president

And so, I tried to call some friends and when I was back at home, as I was a City Hall councilor, they told me ‘oh, you already knew something was going to happen’, and I said ‘no, but of course…’

And well, my brother was living in the South of France and I thought ‘well, if things get worse…’ because of course, if you’d think about the war, it was bad for all the City Hall councilors, so I thought ‘look, someone brings our kids near Perpignan, where my brother was, and we’d meet there’

Luckily, it wasn’t that serious, and well, in Sabadell, my partners spent the night at the City Hall, etc, then, there was a protest in Barcelona when I was already here, but of course, it was something really anguishing

Even though I was out of Sabadell and Catalonia that day

The Olympics of 1992

Well, I’d say it was a common excitement for many people

Obviously, there were people that didn’t agree with the Olympics, but it was beautiful, I could go with some friends to the opening and the closing ceremony, my family couldn’t because the tickets were very expensive

And it was very beautiful, well, the design, the euphoria, the Mayor [Pasqual] Maragall’s words, some were worried because when people were checking the place and how it worked at Montjuic’s stadium, there were problems regarding terrorists, or some aggressive pro-independence group, there could’ve happen something… it didn’t, some minor problems happened but no

And in Sabadell, I was at the City Hall in that moment, I was the leader of the socialist group, I wasn’t with the PSUC or Iniciativa at that time, the Mayor [Antoni] Farrés didn’t want because he didn’t like it, I’d tell him ‘listen, you’re losing investments that can be given to Sabadell and they can stay here later on’

But apart from these political issues, you take advantage of a weakness to expand it, so it was beautiful, but there was almost nothing in Sabadell

There was only a football match against the Catar team, people barely know that Catar existed back then, then Barça fans do know that Catar exists, and well, they improved Sabadell’s stadium, but I went to the opening and closing ceremonies of the paralympics with my family, but there was an exciting time, I’d say, I have a nice memory, personally

And also, it was a mess the volunteers matter, I wasn’t a part of that, because my kids were very young, they couldn’t do it, but I have friends that were there, it was quite an interesting matter

Do you have any anecdote we haven’t mention…?

Well, as I knew you’d mention it… Of course, the language, that was forbidden, it is the link of a certain Catalanism somehow, but of a Catalanism that I’ve shared a lot, it is important and this attempt of ‘you have to speak in Christian’, I mean, you couldn’t speak Catalan at any place, you had to speak Spanish

And even the postcards that people wrote, because postcards were very important back then, because well, I have some in my family from my grandparents, they had some relatives in Masnou and they’d send a postcard a Wednesday or a Thursday and they received it on a Friday and it said ‘when you come here on Saturday, bring a dozen of eggs’

I mean, it was the system because the telephone wasn’t something… think, I got married in ’65, and it took us 6 years to have a telephone at home, 6 years

When I asked for one they told me ‘you’ll have it soon’ and I said ‘oh, there’s no rush’ and it took them six and a half years, that means mail was really important

And then, of course, a lot of people used to write postcards without an envelope, of course… I have this, so you can see about the language, I’ve brought this, my father was a doctor, I’ve said it before, he’d do this receipts when someone visited him and I have this one here, well, they let him use some papers he had… here, Miquel Civil, doctor, Sabadell and it just said Mr. and 10, the amount of pesetas that they owned him, here you have

So well, he had to go to an office in Sabadell, and they needed to stamp ‘Arriba España’ on top of it, because as there wasn’t much paper, there was a misery after the war, they had burned or they were ruined, so they let him use it and one says ‘Arriba España’ and it says ‘Temporary authorised form for its use in the official Spanish language’

I mean, it’s not important, but it is this kind of things…

Well, there was something important I haven’t mentioned

My father was a republican and catholic and that wasn’t very common, and maybe that saved his life during the war, because he was a republican but he had some problems then because of that

And then, in ’47, there was a catholic issue in Montserrat, they were doing a new throne for the Mother of God, there was a reappearance of the Christian Catalanism, because of course, there was also the libertarian and other groups, society is not all the same, obviously

And so, some little commissions were created in villages and then they related that… you knew that a certain barber or a bulb seller were reliable but there were some that weren’t, these things happen in villages and neighborhoods

One thing we’re looking for is insight into the death of Luis Carrero Blanco, who was he? How did he die? How did his death affect he regime?

Well, the regime… In the end, [Luis] Carrero Blanco was [Francisco] Franco’s heir

I was in Madrid that day too… but I didn’t put the bomb, I had to go to Madrid often because of my job, and to Zaragoza, etc, and I was there the night before and the day after

Of course, everybody was shocked, because I knew that neighborhood, of course, a Dodge Dart, a very heavy car, on top of the roof of a two or three floor building, or four, I think it was a Jesuit building, I was at a hotel four or five blocks away, but I wasn’t there that morning

But the next day I saw the whole on my way back, they didn’t let you go near it, right? The whole that was left there

Well, I think that from that moment, that happened in September ’73, and in July, Franco suffered from that thrombus when Juan Carlos was proclaimed king, and the government started doing some thing for some weeks and then it all started…

But of course, that never ended, I mean… [Luis] Carrero Blanco’s event was really impressive, it is that kind of thing that you cannot believe, like the Twin Towers in New York, I have a brother in Chicago, and he was in Barcelona back then because he was a college teacher and he had a flat here and he said to me ‘can I come to your place to watch tv?’

We were in Sabadell and I said ‘of course you can’, because there had been the first attack and I remember we were on the couch at home, and the second plane attacked and we watched it on tv, it is that kind of thing… you never imagine that, I mean, you’re speechless, right?

And of course, [Luis] Carrero Blanco had anti-francoist enemies, this is an anecdote but I had a company in Madrid, that I was considering buying, considering if we wanted to buy it or not, I was a worker there, but I mean, that was my job

And the next day someone told me ‘oh, Oriol, you must be happy’, he wasn’t pro-Franco, people were happy because [Luis] Carrero Blanco didn’t want American companies to set in Madrid and they had great legal difficulties and they’d blame [Luis] Carrero Blanco

I mean, all the politics are hard

But I remember the next day ‘hey, you must be happy’ because of course, in privacy, having lunch or dinner, eveyone knew how you’d think, right? Or they pretended to think in a certain way and I remember that, so he told me that Carrero Blanco’s assistants were the ones that put obstacles because he wasn’t a friend of North American people

Well, if it was North American or ETA’s fault, I don’t know

In our conversation, you mentioned that you eventually became very politically active. What led you to become politically active?

Well, I didn’t totally agree with my father in certain matters, as all kids, but the fact of the seriousness, the intransigence… and then, they wouldn’t give him a job that he’d had before the war helping poor people in Sabadell because, I don’t know how this works now, but at that moment, City Halls had the assistance of poor people from the village and the doctors that worked there, there were not many of them, but a few, and that helped and also, it’d gave the city some recognition

So, my father was always very politically intransigent with that, he never gave in to that

And I had a political understanding that I’ve changed later on, obviously, I say this because as my father was a member of Democratic Union, I’d been following it, even going to Italy, to the Italian Christian democracy and one year to Turin to a students meeting, and an economy democratic teacher came and I didn’t like it much

But I had an image of the first Italian Christian democrats, like [Alcide] De Gasperi, Don Asturso, and all the professors and leaders, people of a monastic or friar austerity, as we’d call it, right?

But after that, 40 years later, that part of the democracy was a thief’s cave, but then, I started creating groups with some partners that were more passionate than me, and we created Socialist Convergence in ’74, Franco was still alive and after ’78, there was the union with the socialists with the PSOE’s federation and some from the POUM

And so, I kept working but I was a member of the team during the first election for the City Hall, I started being a culture councilor for four years, very passionate years, there was a lot of poverty a lot of things needed to be done, but I have a very beautiful memory

And after that, I was at the City Hall for twenty years, I was president of the Regional Board the second period of time, I was a Road Deputy at the Council Office… I mean, I was there for a while and I had a great time

And so, I was already 65 when I got retired and they told me I was too old, that I was useless, so I started to dedicate myself to immigration matters in an immigrants welcome entity and now I’m retired twice, now I go for a walk, on excursions, but I keep an eye on politics but it has changed a lot the transition and clandestine politics we did and then, things are really difficult, you just need to see what happens daily because everything is very, very complex

What are your thoughts on the referendum, and more generally, Catalan independence?

Yes, I’m not ashamed, I sympathize with it [independence] and some relatives of mine are more involved there, let’s see

I sympathize but I always tell my friends I’m a member of the socialists, I’m the freak of the group, we go to do excursions to the mountain weekly

And that the lack of complicity outside Spain doesn’t allow independence

Although, the big mistake of these later years, for me, we could talk about older things, but it was when a new statute was done in Catalonia, the statute of 2006, it passed all the procedures at the Catalonia’s Parliament, at the Congress of Deputies, at the Senate, the king of Spain, the official bulletin, the referendum in Catalonia, well, whatever the order was

And finally, the PP asking Spain for signs against Catalonia, for me, that’s the offense in the new years, let’s not talk about previous things… was the statute perfect? No, there’s nothing perfect in politics, everything is an arrangement, approximations, agreements, but of course, I’ve never seen anyone from the Madrid’ government or the Popular Party saying ‘I’m sorry, we messed up, we shouldn’t have done that’

But that happened, then it turns out that there are people here… you know, the pro-independence movement wasn’t successful at all some years ago, very few people, little groups, respectable but very little, and now, of course, it is a very serious matter

Then, what’s going to happen on the 22nd of December? I don’t know, I think that they’ll have to talk, to reach an agreement sooner or later

But of course, the headlines… now everything is speed-up, let’s see, I feel very far from the political world now that I’m retired, but Pedro Sánchez says that he’s going to reach an agreement with Mariano Rajoy, that they’ll create a commission to reform the constitution, the first commission is created, the pre-commission, and the PP’s representative says ‘no, we’re just going to reform one little thing, to improve it’

Of course, this is the world we live in, apart from the things that happen in Spain, and I don’t want to be a puritan here, but there are some political scandals that I don’t picture happening in Germany or France, to name some close countries

I don’t imagine that happening in England either, but it’s not that close… at least to me, maybe because I studied Germany and had German friends and all that, I don’t imagine them…

Well, there are things done badly everywhere, frauds, machinations, thefts… yes, but I don’t imagine that happening at this level

Of course, we’re in an economical situation that seems that Spain is worse than…

If petroleum changes its price in two days, it only takes that it increases its price a 10 per cent, and it turns out that the European central bank collects a commission, some deposits, now it’s not charging anything, I don’t know what’d happen to Spain

Well, I’m optimistic, I’d like it to go well