Grandizo Munis Archive

Ernest Rogers

A Visit to Munis


Source: Revolutionary History, Vol.2 No.2, Summer 1989. Used with permission.

It was in 1962, along with Dennis Levin and Colin Henry of the Workers League, that I had a two-day discussion with Munis in Paris. The discussion was mainly on the civil war in Spain. He mentioned that Hugo Oehler, Rosalio Negrette, Witte (Demetrios Giotopoulos) and, I believe, August Thalheimer were all living, for a period, in the same house in Barcelona. Although amiable and generous, in discussion he was very undisciplined. You would listen to him in silence whilst he made his contribution, then in the middle of your first sentence in reply he would interrupt and keep on interrupting. The Anarchist in him coming out? It was most exasperating. No wonder the discussion went on through the night and the empty wine bottles piled up.

Natalia Trotsky, with whom he had a close friendship and collaboration over several years, old, ill, and in hospital, was not allowed to see him before she died. Over this Munis was not so much bitter as sad – sad that comrades in the movement should have been so ungenerous. He was concerned over what to do with the many letters Natalia had written to him.

Whilst walking with him on the Left Bank, he pointed out Rudolf Klement’s favourite cafe. A Spanish guitarist had played there. I mention this as it does not quite accord with the picture of Klement’s ‘almost complete clandestinity’, given by Pierre Broué in the first issue of Revolutionary History (Spring 1988, p.16). The last time I saw Munis was in the winter of 1965 in Paris. By this time he had a daughter about two years old, Natalia, named after Natalia Trotsky. She was very bright. The striking thing about her appearance was the whites of her eyes – they were pale blue. She had just been out and seen her first snow, carried a snowball up to the flat, tried to clean it under the hot water tap and ended up in tears looking at a wet puddle on the floor. Villon’s phrase ‘Where are the Snows of Yesteryear’ prompts the thought: where is Natalia Munis now?

Munis’s companion and mother of young Natalia, Arlett, worked in a Spanish hospital on the outskirts of Paris. My wife was concerned at Natalia being looked after, all day in a small room, by a constantly cheroot smoking, thesis typing Munis. Heredity, I am sure, favoured Natalia’s survival.

Ernest Rogers


Last updated on 25.9.2004