The political instability which engulfed Spain from the late 1920’s until the early 1930’s (the fall of the monarchy, the proclamation of the Second Republic and the Statute of Autonomy of 1932) was, perhaps, the cause of the Catalan PEN centre’s brief period of crisis, which prevented it from attending the association’s annual congresses between 1929 and 1932. However, with the Statute of Autonomy, the tide turned and J.V. Foix was to attend the historic Congress of Dubrovnik in 1933 as the Catalan delegate. En route, the poet from Sarrià wrote two poems in Trieste and Ljubljana, which he would later on include in his volume On he deixat les claus… (Where have I left my keys…). The debate in Dubrovnik is more intense than ever and PEN’s strategy as a protector of freedom and human rights is defined. For the first time, an international association denounces and condemns Nazism, an ideology that starts to inspire more fear than joy.

Foix sends “Mirador” magazine a telegram from the “The Union of Men of German Literature Abroad”, expressing strong opposition to Nazism. “The men of German literature, worthy of such a title, are condemned to remain silent: half of them are in concentration camps, and the other half have no possibility of expressing themselves whilst living “freely” in Germany (…)[1]

As the end of the Congress approaches, on 24th May, Foix sends a postcard, Foix sends a postcard to Carles Riba to inform him that Barcelona has been accepted to host the 1935 Congress: “Riba, my friend, our proposition has just been approved: PEN’s 35th Congress will be in Barcelona. Unanimity. Lately, the Serbs have nearly over stepped the mark. The Congress is official for both the State and the Municipality. Regards. Foix.” [2]

[1] J.V. Foix in the international congress of 1978. Josep S. Cid, The Catalan PEN Centre. Seventy years of History. Barcelona, 1992 (p. 13).

[2] J. V. Foix in the International Congress of 1878. The written section of the postcard was reproduced, thanks to Carles-Jordi Guardiola, in PEN Català’s bulletin (II Època. Juliol 1993, núm. 4).