La Séréna was an agricultural commune in the mountains near Nice (France), founded by Clara and Paul (Pavel) Thalmann in 1953. It existed at least until Clara’s death in 1987.
Clara Thalmann-Ensner and Paul (Pavel) Thalmann were Swiss revolutionaries. They began their political activities as members of the Swiss communist party, but were expelled in 1929. Until 1936, they were active in Communist Opposition and Trotskyist groups. Going to Republican Spain, they were members of the anarchist Durruti Column, met George Orwell, and, like Orwell, were imprisoned by the Stalinists. After an international campaign, they were released and went to Paris. During the 2nd world war, they became members of the clandestine “Groupe révolutionnaire prolétarien”, which became the ”Union des communistes internationalistes“ in 1944. Their home soon became a safe house for Jewish and revolutionary refugees trying to escape. They were never caught and were able to help many people in this way.
After the liberation of France from German Fascism, Clara and Pavel grew tired of life in Paris and eventually moved to the south of France. Inspired by the anarchist collectives in the Spanish Revolution, they founded an agricultural collective/commune called ‘La Séréna’ in the mountainous northern outskirts of Nice.
La Séréna took on the aspects of a guest house and youth hostel, and it soon became a meeting place for revolutionaries, political activists and students from all over the world. From the sixties until Clara’s death in 1987, people who were interested in finding out about the Thalmanns’ experiences were welcomed to La Séréna.
Pavel died there in 1981.
Shortly before her death in January 1987, Clara sent the following message to a friend,
“Ich werde die Revolution im Himmel machen – I am going to make the revolution in heaven – Voy hacer la revolucion en el cielo – Je vais faire la révolution dans le ciel”.
„Die lange Hoffnung“ : Erinnerungen an ein anderes Spanien mit Clara Thalmann und Augustin Souchy, Trotzdem 1985, ISBN 3-922209-54-8 (Also a documentary film)
“Revolution für die Freiheit” Thalmann, Clara. – Grafenau-Döffingen : Trotzdem Verlag 1987, ISBN 3-922209-20-3
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