THIS year's 26th Dowling College Mediterranean Conference in Palma came to a close yesterday, with organisers hailing it a remarkable achievement.
Dr. Norman Holub, the Director of Events for the week, said: The people in Palma have been extraordinary. The fact that the city-fathers Matas, Serra and others, have made this happen is remarkable, he added. The event, which began on Tuesday, attracted leading academics from across the world to give lectures on their areas of expertise.
At the closing banquet yesterday evening held at the Es Baluard Museum Dr. Holub, who has had a house in Soller for 34 years, thanked all those involved.
Lectures throughout the week have ranged from the Spanish psychological reaction to terrorism to a talk yesterday on Majorca's role in the Spanish Civil War.
There were also sessions on modern art, wine in Spanish history and on Italian studies.
This year's conference, held at the Saratoga Hotel and Soller Museum, was set to be Dr. Holub's last as director, however due to the overwhelming success he has had to reconsider. This was to be my last conference, but since I announced this at the opening ceremony, I've been deluged with invitations, he said yesterday.
A former art gallery owner in New York, Dr. Holub said the level of papers presented at the conference was extremely high. The Spanish Civil war was a topic of discussion yesterday, with Dr. David Pike talking on Majorca's involvement.
Director of Research at the American Graduate School in Paris, Dr. Pike told a group of academics what will be remembered about Majorca during the Spanish war is the atrocities that occured on its shores as a result of a nationalist rebellion.
He said: At the opening of the war, the military garrison here in Majorca rose against the Republican authorities and won.
Anyone who stood up for the Republican cause was murdered in cold blood. This is what's known as the massacre on the beaches, he added.
A book, written by 20th Century scholar Georges Bernanos, which literally translated means The large cemeteries under the moon', retells the atrocities witnessed on the island.
Dr. Pike, who has 34 years of experience at Paris under his belt, said the fact that Bernanos was a Catholic monarchist means his account is not partisan and therefore can be trusted.
The description of the rebels' behaviour was, at the time of writing in February 1936, also a blow to the nationalist cause.
I don't think any other book during the whole civil war was more devastating to the nationalist cause, he said after the conference.
Dr. Pike, fluent in five languages and attending his 15th conference has written 10 books in his career. His latest book, called Españoles en el Holocausto, (Spanish in the Holocaust) sold out within two months of going to print. He said: Palma is one of the very best and most enjoyable conferences I've attended. Events this week have also taken place in the Soller Museum, where art work from Majorcan artist Castaldo was displayed. Dr. Holub, who asked for seven of Castaldo's murals to be shown, commented that: I think it's extraordinary that he's Majorquine. I put him in the same class as Picasso and Dali, he added.
Next year's Mediterranean Conference will be in Dbrovnik, and the following year in Tarquinia, where Etruscan art from the 3'000 year old civilisation will be eagerly awaited.