This article was translated by John R. Bopp
Last Friday, Aintzane Aguirre Zabala, the eldest daughter of Lehendakari José Antonio Aguirre, passed away. With her, the last member of the nuclear family of the first Basque Lehendakari, and one of the people who’s left the most indelible marks on our country since Sabino Arana declared, “Euzkotarren aberria Euzkadi da”, has left us.
We’ve been thinking for a few days about about writing an entry to remember the life of a family who experienced, in the hardest ways, the consequences of remaining faithful to their Homeland, and to the defense of Freedom and Democracy. The Aguirre-Zabala family, like thousands of other Basque families, did so. And just like thousands of other Basque family, that behavior forced them to live a very hard life, far different from the life of comfort they could have led.
Finally, we reached the conclusion that in order to pay homage to and remember José Antonio Aguirre, María Zabala, and their children Aintzane, Joseba, and Iñaki, instead of our words, regardless of how “Aguirre-ist” we are, it’d be better to hear the words of those who knew them and those, who like them, lived through the hardships of exile due to their commitment to the Cause of the Basque People.
We don’t believe that it’s necessary for us to say that those who write and promote this blog are Basque nationalists. But we must also confess that we’re also, as we’ve said, “Aguirre-ist”. This leader, statesman, Basque, European, abertzale, social rights defender, pragmatic, radical, pacifist absolutely fascinates us.
That man had to have something that allowed him, during the hard times of the Spanish Civil War, to create a government where all the parties that represented our country and which defended Democracy, be it Basque or Spanish, were represented. He had to have something that kept his advisors faithful to their Government and that Lehendakari even when expelled from their parties. He had to have something so that his legacy would be remembered even today.
We only got to know the shadow of this extraordinary person, but we did get the chance to meet some of his children (one of them even taught us class in university). But mostly we’ve gotten to know his legacy, which we take on as our own. It’s a legacy that is the compendium of everything the lives of these amazing Basques, committed to the defense of Freedom and Democracy, has shown us.
A generation of role models of commitment and dignity is what they leave behind with us. Some died in battle, or were assassinated by the insurgents, or died in the concentration camps run by totalitarian governments. The Lehendakari died at only 56, and we’re convinced that his heart broke as he saw, once again, how democracies preferred to recognize the totalitarian regime of Franco instead of defending Freedom. And now the last of those defenders has left us.
But they have all left behind their example, and we have a lot to learn from it. Aintzane Aguirre Zabala, agur eta ohore.
We’re sharing two articles dedicated to her memory. One was written by Arantzazu Amezaga Iribarren, and another by Iñaki Anasagasti. We’ll also leave you with an article by Iñaki Aguirre about his father, and a memorial of his life that was published in the Bilbao newspaper by María Jesús Cava Mesa.
Deia – 19/2/2018 – Euskadi
Aintzane Aguirre Zabala: La orden de aita, no perder la muñeca
Conocí a Aintzane hace muchos años en las oficinas del Gobierno vasco en París. Me agradó su cortesía, la fresca y sonrosada piel de su rostro y, sobre todo, la amabilidad de su sonrisa que iluminaba sus ojos claros y burbujeaba en sus labios. Hablamos del doloroso Exilio del pueblo vasco, de la dificultad del retorno, de aquel sentirse prisionera de dos patrias.
Deia -16/2/2018 – Euskadi
La muñeca de Aintzane
Acaba de fallecer en Santa Marina (Bilbao) la hija del Lehendakari Aguirre, su hija mayor Aintzane. Mujer que se caracterizó por su bondad y discreción. Era imposible sacarle dos palabras sobre la rica historia que le había tocado vivir y por eso cuando hablamos de ella, comentamos generalidades.
Euskonews – – Euskadi
José Antonio Aguirre en la memoria de un hijo
Rememorar a un padre cuando uno tiene sesenta años no resulta un ejercicio fácil. Máxime teniendo en cuenta que yo tenia sólo dieciséis años cuando murió.
Periódico Bilbao – 3/2010 – Euskadi
José Antonio Aguirre, Primer Lehendakari
Cuenta A. Irigoyen que entre los pasajeros del buque mercante sueco Vasaholm que bajaron a tierra en Río de Janeiro el 27 de agosto de 1941, las autoridades aduaneras anotaron el ingreso al país del doctor panameño José Álvarez Lastra y la venezolana María de Arrigorriaga, ésta última en compañía de sus hijos José y Gloria Guerra