Died when: 85 years 322 days
Star Sign: Capricorn
Eugeni Xammar i Puigventós (Barcelona, January 17, 1888 – L'Ametlla del Vallès, December 5, 1973) was an international journalist, career diplomat, and polyglot translator (he spoke seven languages and wrote five) who lived most of his life outside of Catalonia as a correspondent in Europe during the stormy, unstable years of the First and Second World Wars. He worked as a correspondent in Buenos Aires, Paris, Madrid, London, Berlin, Washington DC, and Geneva, and traveled to Italy, Russia, and Austria, among others. As a correspondent, he collaborated principally with Catalan media outlets, writing in Catalan, like La Publicitat, La Veu de Catalunya, or Mirador magazine, which he complemented with activities in Spanish in South American publications and the Madrid-based newspaper Ahora. His mastery of languages allowed him to work as a translator for international organizations like the UN, WHO, World Bank, and FAO. His longest assignment was in Berlin, between 1922 and 1936, during the Weimar Republic, when Xammar published in 1923 an alleged interview of Hitler, the first known such of the future Führer, in which he explains how he was incubating what he called "the serpent's egg". Eighty years later, the authenticity of this interview was called into question by Lluís Permanyer and Albert Sánchez Piñol. These are the years in which he coincided with Josep Pla who was also a correspondent and with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship. From Berlin, he narrated the repercussions of the First World War on the German populace that led to the evolution of Nazism and Hitler's arrival to power. Always committed to the Republic and to the Government of the Generalitat de Catalunya, of which he was a representative in Paris during the postwar period under President Irla, his actions led to Francoist reprisals and extradition, as well as the disappearance of his name and his work for an entire generation of students until his posthumous memoir was published in the mid 1970s. Xammar defined himself as a democrat, Republican, and Catalanist. He stated: "when it comes to Catalonia, I have never taken precautions". He was very critical of those who, despite sharing positions like his own, considered themselves "non-belligerents" with the postwar Francoist regime, like for example the intellectuals who contributed to Destino magazine, despite it being a key liberal, Catalanist, democratic source of the times.