Newsletter 9 – 2006
By The Mayor of Hernani
An Official Declaration of Recognition from the Hernani Town Council, Hernani, at the unveiling of the Memorial to Florentino and the members of Comète in Spanish Basque. 26th September 2005. The Comète Freedom Trail 2005.
an OFFICIAL DECLARATION OF RECOGNITION TO FLORENTINO GOIKOETXEA, AND OTHER HERNANI TOWNS PEOPLE FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO CONSOLIDATING DEMOCRACY AND FREEING EUROPE THROUGH THEIR STRUGGLE AGAINST THE NAZIS IN WORLD WAR TWO.
In recent months several European capitals have celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War 2 (1939-45). Circumstances oblige the town of Hernani also to remember in some way its own modest contribution and recognise the work of several of its townspeople in the war effort.
Sixty years have passed since the end of this war of European Liberation from National Socialist occupation and, we may say, the beginning of a political formation of a Europe that is still in the making today. Moreover, 27th July last, marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Florentino Gopikoetxea Beobide, an Hernani man, internationally renowned for his contribution to liberating Europe from the Nazi yoke, by helping to prevent hundreds of people from falling into Nazi hands by playing a prominent role in the escape networks by channelling Allied soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines in occupied Belgium, Holland and France towards safety. Of these networks, the most significant was the Comète Line, some of whose members are here today present, as well as figures whose attendance marks their gratitude for the work of Florentino.
In addition to Florentino, there were others from Hernani who fought against the Nazi’s for a free Europe, amongst who we may mention Tomas Anabitarte, Martin Errazkin, Juan Larburu, and the Arbide and Garaiar families. These and very probably many others made great personal sacrifices in their effort to restore freedom to Europe.
History attests the justice of their cause; their acts attest their profound sense of humanity and democracy. Today we feel great pride in the wonderful steadfastness and work of the members of the Comète Line. And the indefatigable spirit of our countrymen and women projects a splendid image of the country that they always claimed to belong to. Therefore, this extraordinary plenary session of Hernani Town Council RESOLVES;
- TO HONOUR the extraordinary example of brotherhood and commitment which all the aforementioned Hernani people served during the war against Nazi fascist totalitarianism.
- TO RECOGNISE the enormous personal sacrifice of these people in carrying out their moral duty and helping in the struggle for freedom.
- TO MANIFEST the great esteem in which this town holds Florentino Goikoetxea and all other Hernani people who helped to free Europe from the Nazi Yoke.
- TO DEDICATE a memorial, symbolising a ‘bridge’ towards safety and freedom for hundreds of combatants during WW2, and towards the consolidation of democracy and freedom in Europe, to Florentino Gopikoetxea Beobide, Tomas Anabitarte Zapirain, Martin Errazkin Iraola, Juan Manuel Larburu Odriozola, and all the other Hernani people involved in the war effort.