Enrique of the Silver Tongue

Christopher Tayler

  • The Impostor by Javier Cercas, translated by Frank Wynne
    MacLehose Press, 429 pp, £20.00, November 2017, ISBN 978 0 85705 650 4

Enric Marco, an energetic pensioner with time on his hands, joined the Amical de Mauthausen, an association of Spanish survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, in 1999. To the elderly Republican deportados and their heirs who ran the outfit on a shoestring from an attic in Barcelona, he soon came to seem a useful person to have around. Under Franco the Amical had been a clandestine organisation providing legal advice and practical support. Now the generation it had been founded to help was dying off, and it was in the process of reinventing itself as an educational body. Marco, who was born in 1921, which made him quite young for a deportado, was an amateur historian and, unlike many survivors, spoke often and vividly of defeat in the Civil War, of having been arrested in France and handed over to the Gestapo, and of the 28 months he had endured in the Flossenbürg camp. He also had administrative experience and contacts in the Catalan parliament, which in 2001 gave him the Creu de Sant Jordi for his career as a campaigner, trade unionist and underground opponent of the Franco regime. A tireless giver of talks, which often moved his audiences to tears, he was elected to the Amical’s presidency in 2003.

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