Jorge Semprún

Jorge Semprún (1923-2011) was a Spanish writer, political activist, leader of the Spanish communist’s underground in the 1950s, and Buchenwald survivor. With the bursting of  the Spanish civil War, his family escaped to France where he attended the elite Lycée Henri IV and the Sorbonne University. During the Nazi occupation of France, Semprún joined the French Communist Resistance and was subsequently deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp where he survived for 18 months. After the end of the war, he became the leader of communist activities against Franco’s dictatorship using the pseudonym Federico Sanchez. Yet by the 1960s, Semprún became a strong opponent of the Stalinist totalitarian repression and in 1964 he was expelled from the Spanish Communist Party. He lived in France for the next two decades where he dedicated his life to literature, by writing novels, memoirs and screenplays. In 1969 he was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay Z. From 1988 to 1991 he served as Minister of Culture of the Gonzalez government. In 1996, he became the first non-French author elected to the Académie Goncourt.

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