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The memoirs of Einstein’s cousin, the lost plans of the Alhambra or the helmet of a war hero, at the Benalmádena flea market?

If we hear about the helmet of a World War IIhero, the missing plans of theAlhambra or the memoirs of a Jew who was a relative of Albert Einstein, logic leads us to locate these objects in renowned international museums or in private collections of famous personalities or businessmen with great fortunes, but in this particular case, all these rarities have a curious and unthinkable nexus in common: the mercadilloof Benalmádena. And it is that, if you already go home happy if you find a bargain on the flea market or that piece that is no longer manufactured of that device that we keep in the attic because it cost us an arm and a leg, to find a treasure of the kind of those rescued by the judicial expert and antiques appraiser, Jose Fernández, it has to be something similar to feeling, even for a moment, like an authentic Indiana Jones.

Jose Fernández, an expert in art and antiques, will soon release his book The Antiques Appraiser.

Beyond the economic value of these treasures, the Benalmadense locates its true worth in “rescuing them from oblivion” and perhaps for this reason, he defines himself as a “historical recuperator” who greatly enjoys the excitement of these discoveries, but gives it more importance ” to donate them so that everyone can enjoy them and get to know them, as they are part of the history and heritage of humanity and deserve to be shared ”.  

His latest find are the memoirs of Walter Bohne, a Jew from a wealthy family who narrates in 254 pages the history of his ancestors from the 18th century, going through his own experiences during the Firstand Second World Wars, and his subsequent escape. to New York. A surprising discovery in which several publishers have already set their eyes to turn it into a book, which, due to the moving testimony and the curiosity of the story, is destined to be a success. These memoirs are typewritten – part in French and part in German – and include personal annotations by the author, as well as various photographs and drawings.

The memories found by Fernández include photographs and various annotations, as well as drawings.

As Fernández explains to Ole Benalmádena, “it is the custom of Jewish traditions to remember their ancestors through writing”. These memoirs, in a first part, compile a list of the author’s ancestors as a genealogical tree to later reel off their experiences in the 30s and 40s. Bohne came from a wealthy merchant family who, according to his own account, during the Second World Warthey fled to New York and Switzerland.

Fernández points out that it is curious to read how the document speaks of “cousin Albert Einstein”, who was a relative of the author’s wife, and of whom “different experiences and shared family moments are collected”. He also pays special attention to another of his cousins, who seems to be “the most rebellious” and who was captured by the Gestapo.

The author, in addition to sharing important moments in his life and that of his relatives, tells in detail what happened in the world throughout the different eras remembered, and compiles news collected in publications and newscasts, historically contextualizing the story even more if possible. of their life experiences. The one who found Fernández It seems that it is not the only copy of these memories because in them, the protagonist states that he makes 9 copies in order to distribute them among his relatives since his main purpose was that the history of his family was not lost and the new generations knew with total certainty where they came from.

Drawing of the Star of David with the word ‘Jew’ made by Bohne in his memoirs.

Bohne‘s story ends, or at least in writing, when he is 45 years old. At that time he tells that he lives in New York where his name was changed to Walterand he professionally reinvented himself as a pianist. Fernández explains that “he managed to garner a certain reputation in this area as I have even found scores with copyright, por lo que se puede afirmar que le fue bien como pianista”.

Another of the findings in the mercadilloby this expert calligrapher and art expert who have led Benalmádena to make headlines in national news and renowned rotaries, are the lost plans of La Alhambra, that precisely this month will be donated by Fernández to Patronato de Granada in order to be given the place they deserve. The folder with the plans of the walled enclosure of theAlhambra, -where you can even see annotations in pencil-, were accompanied by the obituary of Manuel Gómez-Moreno, who was an archaeologist, painter and president of the Patronato of the Nasrid monument.

Fernández will donate the lost plans of the Alhambra to the board of trustees.

Fernández-who has also given training on the appraisal of works of art- explains that, after subjecting them to ultraviolet light, “I verified that they were original plans”. The only doubt that haunted the investigator and antiquities expert was related to the authorship of the same since Manuel Gómez-Moreno had a son with the same name, but the inscription stamp of the state, as well as the date of its accomplishment in 1886 ruled out the possibility that they belonged to the son. The manuscripts reproduce the entire walled enclosure, with the perimeter drawn and numbered, as well as all its towers, differentiating those that are Arab from the later ones. Describe one by one with their names and their name changes over the years. The annotations specify that during the Napoleonic occupation eleven towers were blown up, specifically in the flight of the French soldiers. The people who lived in these towers are even pointed out. In addition to standing as an important unique historical testimony, they take on even more relevance because they were made before the fire in 1890, in which numerous testimonial jewels were lost forever.

Now, thanks to the luck in the discovery of Fernández, and above all to his generosity, they will return to theBoard of the Alhambra, where the Benalmadense hopes that “they will give them the place they deserve and I include they can be the mainstay of new investigations”.

If these stories are astonishing, the discovery in the Benalmádena flea market of the helmet of a true aviation hero: John Randall Daniel Braham, who is credited with the downing of 29 enemy planes and a recognized gift for operating in the airplanes, is not far behind. night air battles.  

John Randall Daniel Brahan is one of the most decorated pilots in the British Navy in World War II.

Fernández confesses that, “I bought it because I knew it was from World War II and it piqued my interest ”, but the real surprise came when I was cleaning it and in one of the headphones“ I found folded a medal design document containing the distinctions awarded between 1939 and 1945, as it used to be given to soldiers that they were awarded medals for their work in the act of service, and the four initials of the owner: J.R.D.B”. After studying the medals awarded and the initials of the laureate British Navy members, “only one matched and it was none other than John Randall Daniel Braham“, one of the most decorated Royal Army Force (RAF) pilots of theII World War.

Jose Fernández he has held numerous charity exhibitions with items from his personal collection.

José Fernández is also a collector. In fact, he was the promoter and general director of Expohistoria held in the neighboring town of Torremolinos, a unique event in Spain that brings the crème de of the crème from the world of antiques and collecting . He has this “virus”, as he himself calls it, which makes him visit a flea market every time he can, which he arrives with the same enthusiasm he had when he was a child, and his grandfather took him by the hand to visit the flea market to find some treasure together. Una emoción que a Fernández le gusta compartir y prueba de ello son las exposiciones de sus colecciones privadas que ha llevado, por ejemplo, a los colegios de la ciudad. “You can’t imagine the little faces when I put a real astronaut helmet on them or they have a real meteorite in their hands,” he confesses, and is that for this judicial expert “that feeling is priceless.” In short, Fernández will surprise us with another of his facets: that of a writer, with the publication of his bookEl tasador de antigüedades, which we hope will be very successful.

Ole Benalmádena has managed to make a commitment out of him, and the next time he makes a visit to the city’s flea market, he will let us accompany him so that we can tell you in first person what it feels like when one recovers a piece of history from oblivion.

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