1568 Lyon Benoist Rigaud

De castel Franco fortira l’assemblee,
L’ambassadeur non plaisant sera seisme:
Ceux de Ribiere seront en la meslee,
Et au grand goulphre desnier ont l’entree.

This quatrain is most relevant to General Franco of Spain. Ribiere is either a regular French family name or frenchification of the Spanish surname Rivera via ‘rivière’. (A subsitution of ‘b’ for ‘v’ was not so common but acceptable.) Here’s a six-pack selection of my musings and then my very best shot:

1. castel Franco = Castle of Francois?

In the the Old City of Cognac (Western Central France) is the Castle where François/Francis de Valois-Angoulême was born. In 1515 he became the French King François Ier, a light to the path of the Renaissance and even host to Leonardo. He signed his famous 1539 Edict at his castle at Villers-Cotterêts and a wing of the Château of Blois is named for him.

About ‘grand goulphre’:
This odd term (probably not a version of Guelph, a Medieval faction important to the House of Hanover, the pronunciation of which may have given rise to the term ‘whelp’)looks anachronistically like ‘great golfer’ or a source of Tolkien’s ‘Gandolf’ or else a bit like ‘grand gruper’ though it is is more likely ‘great engulfer/grandee engulfed’ or ‘bounded by a big space’. If ‘grand goulphre’ were a now-lost term for a symbolic aquatic creature then this could well be the prized term Dauphin that came from Guy de Vienne who used the dolphin as his personal emblem. It came to mean ‘the successor prince’, more or less the prince of whales. Francis as Duke of Brittany had displayed four on his shield. His grandson was Francis II who was crowned when too young to wear it and had Catherine de Medicis as his Mother Regent plus some guidance from the De Guise family, a royal cadet branch that is still making claims. He had four dolphins and two lions on his shield as Dauphin of France and King Consort of Scotland. (He died not long after marrying Mary. Never pair your dolphin with a lion? ) In Nostradamus Quatrain VI 44, Line 3, ‘Arabique Goulphre grand classe’ means ‘large fleet in the Arabian Gulf’. (The seignurial system from which the title Dauphin was first procured for royalty was a part of the feudal division of land method that even reached Canada/New France.)

2. castel Franco = Castel Francisco = the Vatican?

Papal successives  Pius X, Leo XIII and Benedict XV all effectively barricaded themselves inside the Vatican in political protest. The ‘Ambassador of God’ was not agreeable to losing Rome on top of losing the Papal States and adopted a pose of deliberate separation, never crossing the road into Rome. Italy’s Mussolini intervened in this old-hat scuffling, making a deal with Pius XI.   The Italian leader arranged, inter alia, that the papacy enjoy free passage through Rome and Italy again and the Pope deigned to reside at Castle Gandulfo the papal Italian Summer Palace. (grand goulphre = gandulpho, a portmanteau of its old Latin name Gandulphi and the newer name Gandolfo?)

3. castel Franco = Castelfranco, an elegant Tuscan walled town?

4. Likewise, Castelfranco Veneto near Venice?

5. castel Franco = Franco’s castle?

General Franco acquired a former summer castle in Galicia, North-West Spain. The sumptuous, turreted Pazo de Meiras was given as a gift to the dictator by his own obsequious regime in 1939 at the end of the Civil War. This 1893 modern castle was built from the proceeds of a book on arrogant aristocrats. Fascist Franco’s descendants were later to refuse entry to the public, despite the law being on the public’s side, and old wounds reopened.

6. castel Franco = a castle of the Franks?

Possibly one of several built around Greece/the Kingdom of Jerusalem by Crusaders/Templars in the Thirteenth Century for social as much as military reasons.

OK, now this is heavy,

French Jewish History: the Finaly Family Affair

Even today France is not fully recovered from the Dreyfus Affair. Years later, the Finaly family story was stinging France in a similar way . The French nation was characterized by fervent Catholicism but France was a strictly secular State; a potential break-point.

By deception under wartime conditions a well-to-do, brave, convinced Catholic called Ms Antoinette Brun had obtained temporary guardianship over two Jewish children she had saved from the Nazis (and yet never nurtured them personally). They were Robert and Gerald Finaly born at LaTronche near Grenoble. After stalling their worried relatives for years things took a turn in 1952 when Brun defied a Court Order and refused to return the orphaned Jewish children, now being raised as Christians, to surviving family members despite that their aunt Margarete Fischel had made very thorough arrangements for them to live with her. Another aunt, in Israel, called Annie Rosner was also involved.

All-in-all this reversion to the Midde Ages (church vs synagogue; church law vs civil law; international diplomacy vs private agency) was blown up out of all proportion and may have hastened the arrival of ‘Vatican II’ ecumenism. After the powerful French religious establishment had challenged the secular democracy suspected accomplice nuns and priests in Grenoble were arrested and eventually charges were brought against Ms Brun.  There was a fear that the children would cross to Spain. In 1953 a car driven by M. Fagalde took them to Renteria on the border.

The escape organiser, Father Laxague, had Father Pagola drive ahead and meet with them then transfer the boys to another car. They waited then crossed the mountains and went on to Lazkao/Lazcano. The French Minister of the Interior Andre Marie instructed border police to hold back. Two Rabbis complained to the Jewish then-Prime Minister but he  greatly feared this divisive scandal. Religious matters were getting too close for comfort. The Press then helped obfuscate it all. Mother Superior Antonine of Notre Dame de Sion later revealed, under prison interrogation, that she had helped hide the children for several years. She also told Germaine Ribiere that she had accepted Brun’s version of the facts but this devious lady had deceived her. Cardinal Gerlier appointed Ms Ribiere to negotiate with Spain for the return of the children.

Ribiere, a private person, followed the chain of Basque priests involved until she came to directly face the fascist dictatorship government of Franco. She made numerous trips to fiercely Catholic Spain to achieve this. Gerlier also appointed a bishop to visit. Ribiere established a line of communication with the Spanish authorities but they clearly had no intention of releasing these children back to the secular state of France. General Franco decreed that the children were not to return to their Jewish family and way back then Israel was not even recognized by the pro-Arab regime in Spain. In fact the Finaly Affair was usefully reopening diplomatic doors, and some business doors too, for the internationally isolated, fenced-in pariah regime.

Through her efforts as the main mediator, Miss Ribiere had come in contact with older Basque priests who were willingly hostile to the Franco government’s position but Press reports had lied that Israel would kidnap the boys when they resurfaced in France and the Spanish Foreign Minister was also minded to keep this problem/change in his circumstances rolling so as to ease him out of quite a marooned international position.

Jumbled in the letters of Nostradamus Quatrain IX 16 as a whole may be found ‘Fagalde’, ‘pere de l’Eglise’, ‘Pagola’, ‘Margarete Fischel’, ‘Antoinette’, ‘Notre Dame de Sion’ and ‘Grenoble’, let alone ‘France’ and ‘Espagne’.  
Line 1 provides ‘Lascano’, likely the Medieval frenchification of ‘Lazcano’, ‘Israel’ and ‘freres’.
Line 2 houses ‘Andre Marie’ and ‘Renteria’.
Line 3 has OF ‘Annie’,  ‘Rosner’, ‘Rabi/Rabieux’ (Rabbis) and ‘Moise’, ‘Robert’, ‘Brun’.
Line 4 contains ‘Gerlier’ and ‘Gerald’.
Lines 2 + 3 give up ‘Laxarge’.
Lines 3 + 4 yield ‘Antonine Mere Superieure’, ‘LaTronche’ and ‘Germaine’.

There is some duplication here but the hit rate is high and two major player’s names in this tale of the Twentieth Century, ‘Franco’ and ‘Ribiere’, were actually spelled-out correctly way back in the Sixteenth Century.

This was all documented in “In the Shadow of Vichy: the Finaly Affair” by Joyce Block Lazarus and the protracted and difficult legal case is in M. Keller’s “L’Affair Finaly” published in French by Librarie Fischbacher, Paris, 1960. Moise Keller of Grenoble got screamed out of the room by Ms Brun after volunteering to plead the childrens return on behalf of their aunts.

What more can the serious skeptic want?

Line 1, OF ‘De’ = of, to, at, from, out of, off, by, with, than. OF ‘castel’ = chateau, castle, prison, fortress.  OF ‘sortira’ or ‘fortira’? OF ‘fortira’ means removed from or go out of. OF ‘assemblee’ = meeting, combination, group.
Line 2, OF ‘ambassadeur’ is a key messenger or the message deliverer. OF ‘non plaisant’ means unamusing as in taken seriously. OF ‘seisme’ = an earthquake or a schism
Line3, ‘Ceux de Ribiere’ = those of Ribiere’s group.  OF ‘meslée’ = ‘mêlée’ = a mess, crowd or mixture
Line 4, OF ‘goulphre’ = gouffre = gulf, chasm, maw, vortex, abyss, enclosure. OF ‘desnier’ = denial (including specific denial of justice). OF ‘ont l’entree’ = have the entrance

From or to Franco’s prison fortress (Spain) the group removed or go out ,
The dignitary or principal messenger unsettled by the schism:
Those with Ribiere will be in the heart of the mess,
And the encircled General, denying justice, holds the keep.

 PAPAL FOOTNOTE: An historic letter adds even further to the dis-repute of “eccentric” wartime Pope Pius XII. Dated October 20 1946* it was sent by a Vatican department to Angelo Roncalli, future Pope John XXIII, who at that time was papal envoy in Paris and reveals that the Vatican secretly instructed the Catholic Church in France not to return Jewish children to their families after the Second World War.

The children had been entrusted to Catholic families or the Church to save them from German death camps. Children were only to be returned to any returning parents if the children “have not received baptism”.

“Children who have been baptised may not be entrusted to institutions that are not in a position to guarantee them a Christian upbringing”.

“Please note that this decision has been approved by the Holy Father.”

*as published in Corriere della Sera and quoted by the Guardian.

                                                            Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012