Jean-Claude Larronde

Jean-Claude Larronde studied at the Instituto of Political Studies and the School of Law in Bordeaux.  In 1972, the defended his doctoral thesis on Law on the origins of Basque nationalism.  This thesis was then published in San Sebstian in 1977 with the title “Basque Nationalism: its origins and ideology in the works of Sabino de Arana-Goirí”, the first work in the genre.  Since 1975, he has worked in Angelu, Labourd as a legal counselor for corporations.

A few days ago, we brought you the story of the donation of two important family archives to the Basque Historical Archives: those of Andrés de Irujo and of Basque-Philippine Manuel de Ynchausti.

When referring to the latter, we admitted that we still had quite a few “uncharted areas” in our blog, one of them being the presence of Basques in the Philippines.  We’re very aware of the important work, influence and projection of the Basque community there, not only in colonial times but also after the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898.

We committed ourselves to try to fill in that gap, and to share what we found about this important part of the history of our People.

Among the Basques to come out of this most excellent Basque community is Manuel de Ynchausti.  His biography shows him to be an extraordinary man who acted in an extraordinary way during a complicated time in our history.  The diary written by Lehendakari Aguirre during his escape from fascism all over Europe proves it.

So, there could be no better way to get to know the Basque community in the Philippines better than by sharing this extraordinary person’s story.  So, we asked someone who has really researched the topic: Jean-Claude Larronde.

Jean-Claude Larronde is one of the Basque historians who has best studied the 20th century history of the Basque Country, and more specifically Basque nationalism.  And he has done so in a way far removed from Spanish or French “unionism”: that is to say, Basque history as told from a Basque perspective.

Among his works is the book Manuel de Ynchausti (1900-1961) Un mecenas de gran elocuencia.  That’s why we asked him to write an article that could give us an idea of who this extraordinary person was, because, as is often the case with many great Basques, most of us are not familiar with him.

 

MANUEL DE YNCHAUSTI, A BASQUE PATRIOT

Jean Claude Larronde

Manuel de Ynchausti
Manuel de Ynchausti

Manuel de Ynchausti is for many still a great unknown.  The thing was, he was a modest and discrete man who didn’t occupy the spotlight.

Throughout his life, Manuel de Ynchausti appears to be a man inspired by his faith in God, his love of the Basque Country, and his to build and organize without being destroyed by setbacks, always coming up with new ideas.

Origins and Basque exile

It was the grandfather of Manuel de Ynchaus­ti, originally from Gipuzkoa, who moved to the Philippines, to Manila, in 1850.  Soon after, he set up a maritime commerce company which did not take long to develop and diversify until it became a large and important group.

When Manuel de Ynchausti was born in Manila in 1900, it was just two years after the islands had come under US administration.

In 1933, Manuel de Ynchausti decides to take over many of the industrial activities of his company, and moves to San Sebastian.  After the Spanish Civil War broke out, he evacuated, along with his family, on July 26, 1936.  He moved to the other side of the border, to Ustaritze, the old capital of the province of Labourd, and immediately made himself available to the Basque Government.

In the tragedy of exile, which was a consequence of the Spanish Civil War, he was content to be on the side of his people of those broken Basque families, of those children who had been separated from their parents, and of assuaging evils as far as he could.  For over two years, in Jatxou, he creates, finances, and organizes a colony of 34 Basque children with solid enthusiasm and quality attention.

The International League of the Friends of the Basques

THE ILFB was by far the most important thing Manuel de Ynchausti ever created, especially its French section: all the merit of the inspiration and founding of the League belongs to him.

El diputado democratacristiano Ernest Pezet junto a Manuel de Ynchausti, uno de los principales promotores de la LIAB. (Sabino Arana Fundazioa)
Christian Democrat deputy Ernest Pezet alongside Manuel de Ynchausti, one of the main leaders of the ILFB. (Sabino Arana Fundazioa)

The League would go on to coordinate all the specific activities aimed at Basque refugees, and would be an important player in denouncing the Franco regime.  It brought together at its core diverse and prestigious people, including François Mauriac, Jacques Maritain, Cardinal Verdier, and Edouard Herriot, among others.

The American Period

From 1939 to 1947, Manuel de Ynchausti and his family resided in the suburbs of New York.  In the fall of 1941, he had the great joy of receiving his friend, José Antonio de Aguirre, the president of the Basque Government in exile, at his home.  Despite the serious heart condition that affected him starting in 1942, he continued working.  He was a major player in the Delegation of the Basque Government in New York, and tirelessly proclaimed the cause of the Basque people with church leaders and American intellectuals.

Manuel Ynchausti with Lehendakari Agirre at Mr. Ynchausti’s home in White Plains, New York, November 1942. Photo: Ynchausti Foundation Archives.
Manuel Ynchausti with Lehendakari Agirre at Mr. Ynchausti’s home in White Plains, New York, November 1942. Photo: Ynchausti Foundation Archives.

He also worked on two projects in the US that were close to his heart: the creation of an International Catholic Aid organization and the creation of a Basque World Union.

Cultural Action in the Northern Basque Country

Back in Ustaritze, Manuel de Ynchausti rapidly revived old ties with the most eminent representatives of Basque Culture on both sides of the Bidassoa, most of whom were friends of his.

He played an important role in organizing the 7th and 8th Congresses of Societies of Basque Studies (Eusko-Ikaskuntza) in Biarritz in September 1948 and in Bayonne, July—September 1954.

He was named consultant at the Basque Museum in Bayonne in March 1951, where he conceived and had built the hall on the Basque diaspora throughout the world.

In April 1961, his disease finally overtook his tired heart.

For many of his compatriots, who haven’t forgotten him, he left behind the memory of a clairvoyant patriot, an exemplary Christian, and an “inspired patron”.

Jean-Claude Larronde: Manuel de Ynchausti (1900-1961). Ediciones Bidasoa-64330 Villafanque (Labourd), 139 pp.