Juan Carlos Esteban

Gardel, the twenty-three pillars of his identity

he legitimacy of the judicially accepted holographic testament after the a posteriori expert opinion by the legists Torre and Fenoglio closed definitively the objections of technical or speculative nature. The pretension of questioning its veracity was never a matter of juridical or documental appeal. It was never based on doctrine save as a rhetorical resource. It is a subjective subtlety bordering science fiction.

Consequently, the testament reestablishes his original family name —Gardés— and it is the key piece that legitimates and ratifies the documentation we enumerate as follows:

1) Book sheet of the Hospital of La Grave, in Toulouse, where Marie Berthe Gardés was admitted on November 10, 1890. Her delivery was Nº 237 in the Book of Births of the Hospital.

2) Administrative record, by alphabetical order, where in letter G, his birth appears as Nº 235 ratified by Louis Laurans.

3) Birth Certificate Nº 2481, Folio Nº 311, on December 11, 1890.

4) Acknowledgement Certificate, by Marie Berthe Gardés Nº 280 on December 22, 1890, legalized by the Town Hall of Toulouse, France.

5) Baptism certificate on December 11, 1890, Folio Nº 191, signed by the priest Bertrand with Marie Arnold as witness.

6) In the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Uruguay is filed the record Nº 790/35 in which the president Gabriel Terra desists from his claim to repatriate Carlos Gardel’s remains. This initiative was carried out by the ambassador Theddy of the neighboring country based on the documentation provided by Argentina.

7) Probate proceedings in Argentina in August 1935 Nº 16326, Book Nº 7108, of the Court of First Instance in charge of the Judge Horacio Dobranich. The testament is duly recorded in the book of notarial records, its original family data are ratified and his family name of adoption is rectified before the Consulate of Uruguay of 1920, as Carlos Gardel.

8) Probate proceedings in Montevideo in charge of the Judge of the Court of First Instance, Francisco Jurdi Abella, that declares without oppositions, on April 14, 1937 that Doña Bertha Gardés is the universal heir of her son, identified, indistinctly, as Carlos Gardés or Carlos Gardel in the File record Nº 35, Folio Nº 66, Nº 747/42, based on the documentation required by the Uruguayan state to France, by diplomatic via, taking into account the holographic testament already filed in the notarial records.

9) The Judiciary of the city of Buenos Aires, in the person of Judge Fabiana Schafrik, by Resolution Nº 268/69 rejects a test of DNA requested by the Centro de Estudios Gardelianos, grounding its denial according to items F and G as res judicata. «In both Probate proceedings –the Judge ratifies- it has been decided that the only heir was the mother of the renowned Argentine singer, Mrs. Berta Gardés».

10) Expert report of the police department of Buenos Aires confirming that the fingerprints that appear in the passport of Carlos Gardel of 1923 and those taken by the police laboratories of La Plata that appear on the writ of arrest of Carlos Gardés in 1904 are identical.

11) Diplomas, Grade Cards, School Certificates, Admission Applications, as born in Toulouse (France), of ages concomitant with his Birth Certificate. Letters of recommendation by the Salesian authorities about his behavior and proper diligence. Registries of the Salesian boarding school with the detail of his expenses, paid by his mother, Berta Gardés. Such schooling was ratified by Gardel in statements published in journals.

12) Calligraphic test, abnormal features were not found, made on the original holographic testament of November 7, 1933 written by Carlos Gardel, certifying the change of family name for a sobriquet due to artistic reasons. (“Policía y Criminalística”, Volume 362, p. 41, October 2005, Ed. Policial).

13) The French state, by official letters of the president of France, Jacques Chirac, on August 9, 2006 and of the now president, Nicolas Sarkozy, on February 20, 2008 ratifies, according to the documentation in possession of the Chancery, the French origin of Carlos Gardel.

14) Indistinct and alternated use, that is kept in documents, of his original family name and his sobriquet in the newspapers that gave news about his show business tour of 1913 in different counties of the province of Buenos Aires.

15) Writ of arrest Nº 1614 of September 11, 1904 in Florencio Varela which says he was thirteen years old, typographer, literate, French, son of Bertha Gardés, with domicile in Uruguay 162 C. Federal. He has a scar on the right ear lobe. He made his signature and left his fingerprints which were coincidental with later forensic surveys.

16) On January 30, 1913 his mother, Bertha Gardés, went to the Federal Police quarters -Division of Investigations- and under oath she declared the absence of his son Carlos Gardés, 22 years old, French, with a scar on the right ear (similar to the one of 1904), asking for the search of his present whereabouts. There appear the signatures of his mother, the police officer and the seal of the institution.

17) Certification of the National Migrations Office that on March 11, 1893 Bertha Gardés and her son Charles arrived in Argentina from Bordeaux.

18) Writing in the Migrations Page by which is evidenced his return to the country after a tour on October 24, 1915 that says he was Argentine, married, 42 years old, catholic, artist, on the Re Vittorio steamship. Official register of C.E.M.L.A. The identity card he carried is not kept. It is evident that he used forged documents. According to the Eduardo Morena’s research the overseas chips were subjected to requisition by the German fleet. As he was French he could not run the risk. He was neither married nor Argentine, nor that age, nor that family name.

19) The documents that certified that Bertha Gardés resided in Venezuela from 1875 to 1882 are filed in the record. From that date until 1886 she was in Burdeaux, France. In 1889 and 1890 in Toulouse until 1893 when from Paulliac she embarked to Buenos Aires. At that period there are neither customs or migrations registrations in France or in Uruguay nor verifiable clues of the supposed permanence of Bertha Gardés in the oriental territory.

20) On November 26, 1936 at the French embassy in Buenos Aires, in the presence of the ambassador Marc Pelleterat de Borde, the birth certificate, the holographic testament and the court sentence that declared Berta Gardés the sole heir were formalized. The notarial deed Nº 150 with the signatures of the ambassador, Bertha Gardés, and Bertha’s proxy before the representative of the French public powers, Mr. Victor Joseph Edmond Leroy. That legal instrument was sent to the French Chancery where Carlos Gardel was registered as Charles Romuald Gardés, French, deceased. That instrument plus the ones filed at the Toulouse Town Hall were the basis for the categorical statements about his origin by Nicholas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, among other French officials.

21) On July 1, 1935 the journalist Segundo Bresciano published an interview of June 1930 in the newspaper El Debate of Montevideo in which Carlos Gardel had said that his parents were French and his father was a typographer and owned a printing house. In fact, Paul Jean Lasserre, his probable father, worked in the “Sirven” printing house of Toulouse with branch in Paris. P. J. Lasserre appears as lithographist in the Toulouse recruitment lists, under N° 251 and with registration number 1151.

22) In 2003 UNESCO declared Carlos Gardel’s voice as Mankind Heritage after an Uruguayan petition but, after consultation with its body of jurists and against the pretension of the petitioner, they declared him an Argentine singer born in France.

23) Nullity of his entry as Uruguayan. The documents that Gardel carried were issued as consequence of a save-conduct exclusively created to help and protect the Uruguayan citizens abroad that declared to be Uruguayan (Article N° 82 of Law N° 3028 of 1906). But that law had a specific objective and was not an equivalent of the birth certificate. On the contrary, its article N° 79 ratifies, confirms and authorizes the validity of the Certificate or Save-conduct for those precise purposes as long as it complies with a sine qua non condition. In fact, the “forgotten” article N° 79 warns, in advance, that: «The consular agents shall not give any help, without previously making certain of the Uruguayan nationality of the helpless person». Therefore, the Save-conduct N° 10052/1920 —main document— in Gardel’s possession, because it had not fulfilled its requirement and had not complied with the exclusive formality ordered by law or because when for its validity it depended on its instrumental formality, the respective instruments that derived from it are also null. On the other hand, nullity is always deemed as terminated by an act of law, because it does not need a claim by one of the parties. And as Manuel Osorio states in his Diccionario de Ciencias Jurídicas (Dictionary of Juridical Sciences), page 621, Editorial Heliasta:

«In conclusion, the nullity is the inefficiency in a juridical act as consequence of lacking the necessary conditions for its validity, whether they are intrinsic or extrinsic ones or vices inherent to a juridical act, it has been carried out with violation or omission of certain indispensable formalities or requirements to deem it as valid, due to which the nullity is regarded as implicit in the act itself, having no need of a declaration or judgment».