The agreement was formally signed in the assembly hall of La Nau last Monday. It states that the Universitat de València receives the documents belonging to the personal archive of the republican professor Alejandra Soler and her husband Arnaldo Azzati, who was son of the famous journalist Félix Azzati.
The Principal of the Universitat de València, Esteban Morcillo, and the Vice-Principal for Culture and Equality, Antonio Ariño; were present at the formal event. One of the people who compiled the information, Pilar Sanz, and her nephews Elsa and Emilio Azzati attended the event as well.
Alejandra Soler passed away last year in Valencia at the age of 103. She was a member of the Federación Universitaria Escolar (FUE) since Secondary School and worked as a teacher during the Second Republic. Alejandra Soler was given the Medal of the Universitat de València on behalf of the Federación Universitaria Escolar in September 2001. In addition, Alejandra Soler was named honorary citizen of the city of Valencia and received the high distinction of the Spanish Government.
The documents in the archive have been deposited at the Historical Archive of the university. Materials are contained in 59 archive boxes. Documents address diverse information. It includes the relation with her family, profession and friends. The manuscripts for her books and the notes for her public interventions are the most important pieces of the collection.
Arnaldo Azzati’s translations are very important too. He was part of the Moscow Translator Group, whose members were the first ones to translate important political, philosophical and literary pieces of work from Russian into Spanish. Among other books, they translated the Complete Works of Lenin and Soviet press cuttings (as they lived in the USSR for 30 years). The collection also includes administrative documents, the awards given to Alejandra Soler, correspondence and a large number of transparencies and photographies of professional and personal trips. In addition, several interviews are being compiled in CD and DVD. They will be integrated in the archive.
People who compiled this information were Pilar Bonet, Doria Roso, Pilar Sanz and Encarna Signes. They were advised by Irene Manclús. All of them developed great bonds of friendship with Alejandra Soler. In 2014, they started to work with her on some of the documents that were collected in her house.
They started to order and classify the documents with the help of the data provided by Alejandra Soler and the information that they already knew of her life. When she passed away, they continued working thanks to the generous contribution of her family as they had the same objective: they wanted Alejandra Soler’s wish to become true. This is preserving her documents and testimonies so that they can help to regain the democratic memory.
“Our commitment with Alejandra has been successful. We have known her better and we have kept the memory of her friendship. We have also found out about Arnaldo, she told us a lot about him” they indicate.
A life of commitment
Alejandra Soler was born in Valencia in 1913. She studied in the Institución para Enseñanza de la Mujer and graduated at Luis Vives Secondary School, where she joined the Federación Universitaria Escolar (FUE), a student movement that fought to modernize education and took part in the student riots during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera.
In 1935 she joined the Communist Party because of right-wing government’s repression following the uprising of the miners in Asturias. One year later, she graduated in Philosophy and Literature.
In 1937, they followed the Republican Government to Barcelona, as Arnaldo Azzati was a journalist of A.I.M.A. Meanwhile, Alejandra worked as a teacher in the Secondary School of Tarrassa.
In 1939, they exiled from Barcelona to the URSS. They returned to Madrid in 1971, and six years later to Valencia.
Alejandra Soler graduated in Philosophy and Literature. She was a referent of student associationism as she was a member of the Federación Universitaria Escolar (FUE), an entity that was distinguished with the Medal of the Universitat de València in 2001. Alejandra received this distinction on behalf on the FUE and gave the acceptance speech.
Alejandra Soler’s commitment to citizens and public education was recognised by the Universitat de València when she turned 100, in an event celebrated at the Principal Peset Hall of Residence.
In 2013, at the age of 101, she took part as an activist in the first anniversary of Primavera Valenciana and she was recognised as the grandmother of 15-M movement. In 2015 she was distinguished as Honorary Citizen of the City of Valencia and received, in 2016, the High Distinction of the Valencian Government in the 9 de Octubre Awards.
Alejandra Soler lived with Arnaldo Azzati (1913-1986) for more than 50 years. He was one of the sons of journalist and translator Félix Azzati. Felix was a friend, disciple, collaborator and political successor of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez; as he became director of El Pueblo since 1907 and occupied his seat as member of the Spanish Courts from 1907 to 1923.