Tangled connections: From Victor Jara to Monika Ertl

I love browsing, and sometimes I do too much of it.  Today, listening to Inti-Illimani mix on Youtube, next in the lineup was the song Vientos del Pueblo, written by Victor Jara, but sung here by Carlos Puebla.  Then since half of the “proposed videos” are about Che Guevara, I clicked on an interesting video about the woman who avenged Che Guevara, Monika Ertl.  Daughter, apparently, of a Nazi filmmaker who ended up in Bolivia, she became in her mid-20s a revolutionary, and joined the Bolivian liberation army after Che Guevara was killed in 1967.  She went back to Germany in 1971, and allegedly killed Roberto Quintanilla, a member of Bolivia’s secret police then working at the Bolivian consulate, who was responsible for cutting off Che Guevara’s hands “for identification.”  She returned to Cuba, and then back to Bolivia, where she was ambushed and killed in 1973.  Her body was never recovered.

But the German journalist who reported this story about Monika Ertl was Jurgen Schreiber.  Turns out he is well-known in Germany for another story about the most famous post-war German painter, Gerhard Richter (for me Betty has been a touchstone of what contemporary art should be, with its central idea of “shifting the gaze” as her face is turned away).  Another of Richter’s well-known paintings, Tante Marianne, has as subject the painter as a child, with his young aunt, sister of his mother.  The aunt was murdered by the Nazis, in a program of “euthanasia” and the team that carried out these murders included Richter’s own father-in-law.  Two lives, two complications.


About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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