EDITORIAL, 1 NOVEMBER 2022
MEP Jordi Cañas asks what action will take the EC to prevent programmes such as ‘Zona Franca‘ and ‘Està passant‘ from mocking those deported to the Nazi extermination camp of Mauthausen.
The scandal of the mockery of the deportees to the Mauthausen extermination camp made in the TV3 programmes Zona Franca and Està passant has reached the European Commission (EC). Ciudadanos MEP Jordi Cañas has submitted a question to the EC with a request for a written answer in which he asks for explanations for these mockeries.
Cañas regrets, in the explanatory memorandum of his complaint, that “on 18 and 20 October, the presenters of the public television of Catalonia (TV3) Joel Díaz, Toni Soler, Jair Domínguez and Lluís Jutglar “Peyu”, trivialised Nazism and the suffering of the Spanish victims deported to the Mauthausen extermination camp in the TV3 programmes Està passant and Zona Franca. In response to these comments, the Association Amical de Mauthausen, which brings together survivors and relatives and friends of the victims of the extermination camp, asked TV3 to rectify its comments and apologise, which it refused to do”.
“Humour,- writes the Ciudadanos MEP-, cannot be used as a vehicle to violate Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 1 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights which state that human dignity is inviolable and must be respected and protected.”
The question reads: ‘What action will the Commission take to prevent programmes on Catalan public television (TV3) from propagating this type of repugnant commentary which violates fundamental rights and the founding principles of the EU?” The European Commission’s management will now have to decide which Commissioner will answer this question.
On 18 October, Toni Soler, Jair Domínguez and Lluís Jutglar ‘Peyu’ commented on the news that four geese had disappeared from Parc Nou in Olot and recalled that six others had already disappeared in April. Toni Soler, who is the director of Està passant, began a sentence saying: “You are a goose, they take you to the Parc Nou de Olot…”. Jair Domínguez interrupted him to say: “Holy shit! It’s as if they were taking you to Mauthausen. They’re already in the lorry…” and he shouted like a terrified goose. Soler closed his sentence: “you’re already predisposed”. And Peyu rounded off the joke: “They’ve taken the guy to Parc Nou, poor thing! He already takes it for granted that he won’t get out of this”.
Two days later, Joel Díaz began the Zona Franca programme by commenting on the Frankfurt Book Fair. “Catalonia has sent many booksellers there. So you haven’t seen so many starving Catalans in Germany since Mauthausen was closed”, he said. The audience did not laugh and the presenter reacted by saying: “No, no? Not yet… hasn’t enough time passed yet for this to be funny”.
Juan Manuel Calvo, president of the association Amical de Mauthausen, an organisation that brings together former Republican deportees from the Nazi concentration camps as well as the families and friends of both survivors and deportees who were murdered, has been calling since the 21st for a rectification of this mockery in Zona Franca. Not only has this rectification not taken place, but in the first programme after Calvo’s complaint, Joel Díaz interviewed a guest, Adri Romeo, who called Amical de Mauthausen “sons of bitches”.
The director of TV3, Sigfrid Gras, justified not making the rectification requested by Juan Manuel Calvo because, in his opinion, it would be counterproductive. “We consider that it would be even more negative to apologise on the programme because people would go looking for what we were apologising for,” Gras argued at the parliamentary control session of the Catalan Audiovisual Media Corporation (CCMA) last Friday. The director of the programme, Adrià Serra, sent a letter to the president of Amical de Mauthausen apologising “if he had felt offended”. Logically, these apologies do not satisfy Amical de Mauthausen, which continues to demand that the retraction be made during the broadcasting of Zona Franca.
Zona Franca and TV3 will not be able to turn the page of the scandal with these explanations. The European Commission now has the floor. The PSC, for its part, has presented a motion for a resolution in the Justice Committee with this wording: “The Parliament of Catalonia rejects the trivialisation of the suffering of the victims of the Nazi concentration system, considers it particularly serious that it occurs in programmes broadcast by the public television of Catalonia, and demands respect for the memory of the victims of the deportation in the concentration and extermination camps of Nazism”
In Mauthausen and its satellite camp at Gusen, which was opened when the former was overrun, 4,427 Spaniards were murdered during the Second World War, of whom 936 were Catalans. Of the Catalans, 469 were from Barcelona, 209 from Tarragona, 143 from Lérida and 115 from Gerona.