Posts Tagged ‘Tita Cervera’

The Thyssen Dynasty – “As seen on TV”

Back in June 2010 we predicted that Germany was due to be subjected to a whitewash documentary about The Thyssen Dynasty; made by Broadway TV for transmission by ARD. We hoped our prediction would be proved wrong, but not a bit of it. In fact the program was even more of a ‘hagiography’ than we had foreseen. It appeared to have been yet another attempt by ThyssenKrupp, doubtless with the assistance and encouragement of The Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, to clean-up their past, mainly by omissions rather than lies. Even the members of the Thyssen-Bornemisza main branch of the dynasty were obviously too embarrassed by the whole ghastly project to want to take part. The only exception was Francesca Habsburg who appeared in support of the accusations against Tita Cervera and charges of her responsibility for attempting to steal the family fortune and polute the Thyssens’ ‘noble’ reputation.

Meanwhile the same old historical myths were reheated and served up yet again. We were encouraged to believe that Fritz Thyssen had seen the error of his early support of Hitler and the Reich and paid a heavy price for his resistance. No mention was made concerning his tax evasion and illegal foreign currency transactions. They also claimed him to be considered a German hero for opposing the Versailles Treaty, the allied occupation of The Ruhr and the stringent reparation payments imposed by the allies. This was of course hardly something that could be considered unique. In fact Germany as a nation has been ‘somewhat remiss’ in paying their debts for either World Wars. We were also asked to believe that Fritz had really rather liked Jews and even had some as personal friends.

At the same time, Heini’s father Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza was treated with a great deal less generosity, presumably because, following our revelations, they were obliged to admit that throughout the war he had continued to profit from his industrial contribution in supplying armament for the Reich. It was also made to sound like an activity entirely independent of the Thyssen organisation. Predictably, no mention was made of his banking and financial contribution. They even got Federico Zichy-Thyssen to claim that his uncle’s behaviour had rubbed off on Heini and that his grand-mother had warned him ‘never to do business with Heini’. He didn’t mention that the same grandmother had joined the Nazi party three years before her husband and returned from South America after the war to take charge of the Thyssen organisation and found The Fritz Thyssen Stiftung. But he did remind us how much unhappiness his fortune had brought him and how his children constantly fought over their inheritance; which must have sounded familiar to Francesca.

Then the story moved on to the Rechnitz Massacre for which the program makers wheeled in none other than Wolfgang Benz, the retired professor of antisemitism research at Berlin University; the same Wolfgang Benz who originally reacted to my feature in FAZ by denying that the massacre had ever taken place. Making no mention of his original claim, or why he had changed his mind. In an effort to eliminate Margit Batthyany-Thyssen as a suspect he insisted that only uniformed Nazis had been involved in the massacre, though he gave no evidence to support his claim. The program even claimed that Margit hadn’t known about the massacre until she was told the following morning. Paul Gulda, of all people, then insisted that Franz Podezin, one of the main perpetrator, had only been ‘following orders’! He even mentioned the ficticious telephone call that so many apologists claim to have instructed Margit’s lover to shoot the Jews. But the fact that she had helped two of the guilty to escape justice was ignored. I was mentioned as the author of ‘The Thyssen Art Macabre’ which was dismissed by the program as being inaccurate and disregarded by ‘experts’. They also claimed that I had accused Margit of actually shooting some of the victims of the massacre herself, which I didn’t, despite being quite convinced she did, but unable to prove such an accusation. They insisted it was not a book that should be taken seriously, without giving any reason why they were mentioning it in the first place.

Broadview TV then moved on to more recent times by claiming that Heini, who Simon de Pury described as the best collector of his time, had ‘donated’ his art collection to Spain, while Francesca insisted that the only reason why the Bermudan court case had collapsed was because his children had withdrawn all charges so that their father could die a happy man, despite Tita’s attempts to get her hands on all his money.

Finally the program makers brought ThyssenKrupp back into focus by getting its long-time Chief Executive Dieter Spethmann to say what a deeply wonderful company it was and how much it had contributed to Germany’s wealth, well-being and economic miracle. Since the documentary was shown, the company has announced plans to cut its global workforce by some 25% and admitted that the recent sale of shares was an effort to reduce its enormous debts.

It is doubtfull that even such a misleading documentary could have any effect on the fortunes of ThyssenKrupp or the Thyssen families (either Zichy or Bornemisza) but if the program had been more accurate and less misleading at least, ThyssenKrupp, The Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, ARD and Germany’s academia may have retained some degree of credibility.

Portraits of Elisabeth and Dieter Spethmann by Warhol.

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All My Own Work

Dear Francisco Valdepenas Maruenda,
In answer to your question concerning  my work as a painter, I have nothing small enough to scan in, so I have included an illustration I did for the documentary I made for Paul McCartney. Funnily enough, it also seems to have some relevance for the unfolding story of Tita Cervera and the El Mundo revelations concerning her alleged use of her son Borja’s sperm for the impregnation of the surrogate mother of her adopted ‘angels’.

To see the film, click here: (unfortunately, the video has now been removed)

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Litchfield’s Controversial El Mundo Thyssen Paternity Claims

This interview with me appeared in El Mundo (La Otra Cronica) on Saturday 19 December 2009. I wish to make one very important correction to its contents, as I have been misquoted on the aspect of English law concerning the Thyssen inheritance battle that is ongoing in Spain between Heini’s widow Tita and her son Borja.

I did not say ‘Under English law, the Baroness can disinherit Borja. I said ‘As far as I know, no European country permits total disinheritance’.



Eso es lo que David R. L. Litchfield, amigo de Heini Thyssen durante 25 años, desvela en esta entrevista en exclusiva. «Si es bajo legislación inglesa, la baronesa podrá desheredar a Borja»


El último capítulo en el enfrentamiento de los Thyssen acaba de escribirlo Tita Cervera asegurando que su hijo Borja esta «abducido por una secta». La guerra en esta familia, como en los 90 sucediera entre el barón Thyssen y sus hijos mayores, se repite como un bucle. David R. L. Litchfield, autor de La historia secreta de los Thyssen (Temas de Hoy), la conoce bien. El biógrafo del barón analiza en exclusiva para LOC las claves del enfrentamiento entre Carmen y Borja. Su trayectoria como escritor y periodista, así como la amistad que mantuvo con ellos durante 25 años, le avalan.

Pregunta.- ¿Qué le parece que Tita no fuera a la boda de su hijo?

Respuesta.- Sé que se casaron y que Tita no fue. Conocí a Blanca hace años. Tita me confesó que contrató a Blanca para que alejara a las cazafortunas que se acercaban a Borja. Ella le ha educado como a un príncipe. Le ha sobreprotegido siempre. No quería que se le acercara una cualquiera, entonces contrató a Blanca para que su hijo estuviera vigilado. La cuestión no es que Tita odie o no a Blanca. Simplemente no estaba en el plan que su hijo se terminara casando con la «funcionaria».

P.- Hay quienes ven un paralelismo entre las vidas de Tita y Blanca. ¿Blanca (la aprendiz) ha superado a Tita (la maestra)?

R.- Bueno, las comparaciones son odiosas, pero veamos: Blanca ha formado una bonita familia, tiene un marido fiel, un hijo con él, disfruta de la fortuna de los Thyssen… Tita tiene un montón de cuadros que todos vais a pagar, un hijo con el que está enfrentada y dos hijas de dudosa proveniencia. Tú eliges quién gana o quién pierde.

P.- De hecho, durante muchos meses se ha especulado con que Borja pueda ser el padre biológico de las hijas gemelas de Tita. ¿Lo ve posible?

R.- No creo que Borja sea el padre. Borja no es un Thyssen. Me creo más la posibilidad de que el padre de esas niñas fuera Heini. Es una mera hipótesis, no lo afirmo. De esa forma Tita aseguraría el porvenir de las gemelas. [El barón murió en 2002 y para concebir a las niñas, nacidas en 2007, su herencia genética debería haber sido preservada en un banco de esperma].

P.- ¿Tita mira a Blanca con los mismos ojos con los que Francesca, la hija del barón, la miraba a ella en el pasado?

R.- Sin duda. La mira de la misma forma snob. Es una cuestión de dinero y estatus social.

P.- Presuntamente, Tita exigió a Borja que se hiciera las pruebas de paternidad, ya que desconfiaba de que Sacha fuera su nieto. ¿Hay algún precedente en la familia Thyssen?

R.- Y tanto que los hay. Que yo sepa, hasta en tres generaciones se han planteado problemas de este tipo. De los cuatro hijos de Heini Thyssen (George, Francesca, Lorne y Alexander), sólo Francesca es hija biológica. Y no lo digo yo, me lo confirmó el barón.

P.- ¿Cómo cree que terminará esta historia?

R.- No va a terminar, al menos mientras tengan dinero para seguir pagando a los abogados.

P.- ¿Le sorprende que la baronesa haya demandado a su hijo?

R.- No me sorprende, pero creo que lo hace para desviar la atención sobre sus negociaciones de arte en Málaga y San Feliu. Ella está intentando vender su colección de arte, al igual que lo hizo el barón.

P.- Borja ha declarado recientemente que es beneficiario, junto a su madre, de parte de la colección de arte de Heini Thyssen. ¿Contradice esto el Pacto de Basilea (el acuerdo alcanzado por Tita y los hijos del barón en relación al reparto de la herencia)?

R.- Borja no tiene ningún derecho sobre la colección. Sólo tiene derecho a los cuadros que pertenecen a su colección privada, pero no a los del barón. Igualmente, habría que recordarle a Borja que sus cuadros están cedidos al Estado español a través de un acuerdo de préstamo.

P.- Pero, ¿tiene derecho Borja a reclamar parte de la herencia?

R.- Borja puede hacer lo que considere, pero conociendo a Tita como la conozco, saldrá perjudicado. Su madre hará de todo para que ese dinero no le llegue. Pero la cuestión es: ¿bajo qué jurisdicción sería resuelto el caso? ¿española, suiza o británica?

P.- Según la baronesa, la británica. Se dice que Tita desheredará a Borja.

R.- Si es bajo la legislación británica, la baronesa podrá desheredar a su hijo si así lo considera.

P.- Después de todo lo que ha llovido, ¿cree posible una alianza entre Borja y Francesca en contra de Tita?

R.- Es posible, pero poco probable.


MISMO PATRÓN. David R. L. Litchfield ha vivido de cerca las tensiones entre el barón Thyssen y su familia. «Los conozco hace más de 25 años. Al barón le fascinaba encomendar biografías. Cuando leyó uno de mis libros le entusiasmó la idea de que le escribiera una, pero no llegó a buen puerto. Tras varios años sin hablarnos, en 1996 me llamó Tita diciendo que finalmente el barón estaría dispuesto a que yo fuera su biógrafo. Tampoco salió bien. Sin embargo, eso no me impidió sacar mi libro La historia secreta de los Thyssen, con toda la información que recabé durante todos esos años a su lado». Su relación con Tita y Heini fue «fluida». «Podían ser un grano en el culo, pero estamos cortados por el mismo patrón, así que no hubo problemas».

On 23.09.2016, Vicente Fredelosa of comments: “Yo no estoy convencido con lo aqui escrito, pienso sinceramente que hay muchos factores que no han podido ser tomados en cuenta. Pero valoro mucho vuestra opinion, es un buena web.

The edge of Villa Favorita, Lake Lugano, Switzerland

Heini Thyssen and David Litchfield at Villa Favorita, ca. 1989 (photo: Nicola Graydon)

Heini Thyssen in his gallery, Villa Favorita, Lugano, ca. 1989 (photo: Nicola Graydon)

Heini Thyssen (photo: Nicola Graydon)

Lake Lugano seen from Villa Favorita

Breakfast at Villa Favorita

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