Jorge Semprun was active in Spanish politics, albeit behind the scenes, in campaigning against the rule of General Franco. But 13 years after Franco’s death, he played a more open role in Spanish government.
The Spain’s prime minister at the time, Felipe Gonzales, said: “I brought him back from Paris to be a minister. I don’t know if I am right in thinking it, but he said it was probably the greatest joy of his life. Not only being able to return to Spain, but to return as part of a government that I led at the time.
He was a social democrat, a liberal — those terms sound terrible now when you write them or say them — but they have so much value and merit in essential self-critical evolution. He was able to understand and see very different realities and he was, without doubt, an excellent culture minister.”
Semprun also wrote for the cinema. He scripted the political drama ‘Z’ in 1969. The movie, which won two Oscars and was nominated for three more, starred Yves Montand and was directed by Costa-Gavras.
The Greek director said of Semprun: “Above all he was a very good-natured man, with an immense political and intellectual honesty. Yes, I think he was the most unique person I’ve met in my life. He had such clarity and such political honesty.”