Ulf Hjertonsson: "The Swedish government sent me to Chile to help the Ambassador Harald Edelstam"

 

 

 

Mexico City. - In digital interview from Sweden, Ulf diplomat speaks Hjertonsson Havsbävning Book: "A weekend of 1969, we were in Isla Negra. My wife Karin gave him a bronze dolphin Pablo Neruda and he got very excited, suddenly Paul tells Karin: 'give me a dozen woodcuts creatures of the sea that the waves leave the beach'. We laughed a lot about this and did not take very seriously, but after two weeks got a letter from Paul asking, 'how many woodcuts Karin had done?'. Then my wife went to his studio to work for real. Karin decided the reasons, did the woodcuts, and Paul wrote the verses. " Hjertonsson again met his friend in September 1973.

Ulf Hjertonsson is mentioned in three pages of Jorge Edwards: Goodbye poet (Tusquets, 1990) and historian Mario Amoros interviewed him for the book: Shades of Black Island (Ediciones B, 2012). Hjertonsson Neruda visited the Santa Maria Clinic, at 16 or 17 hrs. of September 22, 1973: "does not remember that the poet would be in a state of feverish excitement," he wrote in his book-Amoros, Neruda spoke Swedish diplomat "of the terror that unfolded the military junta." In an exclusive interview with Clarin Ulf Hjertonsson recalls: "The Swedish government sent me to Chile after the coup to help Ambassador Harald Edelstam in their heroic struggle for human rights. I took care to negotiate rather Passes to the refugees in our embassy. "

MC. - Ambassador Ulf Hjertonsson, whom he met during his first diplomatic appointment in Chile?, Whose friend was in Santiago and Isla Negra?
UH. - Thanks to my friendship with Neruda, and invited me to visit him as often in Isla Negra, I met friends who were 20 or 30 years older than me. They were important people in Chilean society, a young Second Secretary of the Embassy of Sweden never would have known if it were not for Neruda. From friends I made friends, in particular, with Foreign Minister Gabriel Valdes, Flavián Levine-President of the Peaceful-Steel Company, Senators Carlos Altamirano and Volodia Teitelboim. Also the beautiful Silvia Celis-ex-wife of Carlos Altamirano, diplomat and writer Jorge Edwards. I should also mention Nemesio Antunez, the most important Chilean painter of that time.

MC. - His wife, Swedish painter Karin Havsbävning Oldfelt published book (poems of Neruda Oldfelt with illustrations), what was the creative process Havsbävning book?, Do you have republished in Sweden?
UH. - A weekend of 1969, Karin and I were in Isla Negra, Karin had begun to make woodcuts. After dinner was working with their instruments on a wooden plate to make a bronze dolphin. Karin gave it to Paul and he was thrilled with the dolphin, suddenly Paul tells Karin: "give me a dozen woodcuts creatures of the sea that the waves leave the beach." We laughed a lot about this and did not take very seriously, but after two weeks got a letter from Paul asking "how many woodcuts had Karin?". Then my wife went to his studio to work for real. Karin decided motives, made woodcuts and verses Paul wrote. The book is reissued in Sweden for a decade, in a nice edition, I did the Swedish translation of Neruda's poems.

MC. - In September 1973 he returned to Chile, have you asked to collaborate with Ambassador Harald Edelstam?,? Influenced his friendship with Neruda for new diplomatic mission?
UH. - The Swedish government sent me to Chile after the coup to help Ambassador Harald Edelstam in their heroic struggle for human rights. I took care to negotiate rather Passes to the refugees in our embassy. The September 11, 1973 I was in the Ministry of Information and suddenly I fell like a stone on the head. I was very concerned about the fate of the Chilean friends.

MC. - When I asked the Ambassador Gonzalo Martinez Corbalá into the alleged murder of Neruda, said: "To be honest I had never heard the version of a possible murder, until I read the interview with Manuel Araya" (Clarín 22/06/2011 ). What did you think when you read the complaint Neruda's driver?
UH. - I can answer as did Ambassador Martinez Corbalá: I had never heard of a murder of Neruda, until I read the book by Mario Amoros.

MC. - In an interview with historian Mario Amoros, you stated that the September 22 Neruda visited the Santa Maria Clinic, when he spoke for the first time in public or private, on the death of Pablo Neruda?
UH. - I spoke privately with my colleagues at the Swedish Embassy in Santiago, when I returned from the Santa Maria Clinic on the afternoon of September 23. In public might I first talked about Neruda's death when I was interviewed by Swedish Radio.

MC. - Back in Sweden, did you look at academic and translator Arthur Lundqvist?
UH. - Returning to Sweden went to talk to Arthur Lundkvist was already my friend. I told him all the details of my last conversation with Paul on 22 September at the Santa Maria Clinic.

MC. - I read Neruda's poetry in Spanish or Swedish translations into Lundqvist Arthur?
UH. - I read a lot of poetry of Neruda, in Castilian or in Swedish. In the seventies my Castilian was pretty good. Sure I read translations of Söderberg and Lundkvist.

MC. - Our friend Abraham Quezada said they met in New York, probably the Chilean historian and diplomat asked if unpublished letters preserved Neruda, what used to talk to his colleague Abraham Quezada?
UH. - I have about ten letters Neruda, all written with green ink. They are all that I keep, unless some very personal. I have shown all the cards of Abraham Quezada Neruda. A letter is interesting because it is dated May 1970 and Paul says he wants to come to Sweden to see the museum and the home of Selma Lagerlöf. Paul wrote that she had invented magical realism that was so important in Latin America. When García Márquez received the Nobel Prize I dined with him at the home of Arthur Lundkvist. I asked what he thought Gabriel García Márquez on Selma Lagerlöf and Gabo said: "She has had a great influence on my work." But Neruda's trip to Sweden was canceled by his illness.

MC. - Finally, in 1966, Arthur Jorge Sanhueza Lundqvist and organized the exhibition of books on Neruda in Labor Studies Association of Sweden. Did you visit the exhibition Neruda Library in Stockholm?
UH. - I know very little of this exhibition. Never visited. But Jorge Edwards, who had a slip at the show, I said that was irrelevant to give the Nobel Prize to Paul. It was the immense work of Arthur Lundkvist within the Swedish Academy which resulted in the jury's decision to award the Nobel Prize in 1971

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