Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Max Aub

Max Aub Mohrenwitz (1903 –1972) was a experimentalist novelist, playwright and literary critic. 
Aub was born in Paris to a Jewish French mother and German father, who was a travelling salesman. At the outbreak of World War I, his father was in Spain on business and could not return to France, as he had become an enemy alien. Max and his mother joined him there and they all took Spanish citizenship. Aub and his family settled in Valencia. In 1921, he became a Spanish citizen. In 1929, Aub joined the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party and remained a lifelong member.
During the Spanish Civil War, the Republican government posted him to Paris as a cultural attaché and in 1937, he was responsible for placing Picasso's "Guernica" on display at the International Exposition, and took part in the organisation of the Second Congress of Anti-Fascists Writers. 
In February 1939 Aub left Spain with André Malraux and the film crew of L'espoir. By 1940, the Franco regime had come to consider him a serious opponent, and in March 1940 he was denounced to the new Vichy government of France as a militant communist and a "German-Jew", and therefore a possible spy or traitor. He was imprisoned for a year in Camp Vernet, then deported to the forced labor camp of Djelfa in Algeria.] In 1942, with the help of a guard, he escaped.
Max Aub in the prison camp of Djelfa, Algeria, ca. 1941-1942
Soon thereafter, he was able to find passage from Casablanca to Mexico, followed shortly by his wife and children. There he joined other Spanish exiles — including Luis Buñuel, with whom he formed a working friendship. In Mexico he worked as screenwriter. He also wrote for the newspapers Nacional and Excélsior and worked as a Professor at the Film Academy in Mexico. He became a Mexican citizen in 1955 and lived in Mexico City until his death. In 1972, he was elected Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Government.

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