Chinese volunteers in the Spanish Civil War

An estimated 100 Chinese volunteers fought in the Spanish Civil War for the Republic, though only one person is thought to have come directly from China to fight, as the rest already found themselves in Europe working. A book has just been translated into Spanish on them: “Los brigadistas chinos en la guerra civil. La llamada de España (1936-1939)”. More here 

And here: El soldado Xie Weijin contra Franco

Chinese volunteers imprisoned together with other brigaders, I think in France.


Photomural by Josep Renau

Photomural by Josep Renau 1937

Striking photomural by Josep Renau, exhibited at the Spanish Pavilion of the 1937 Paris World’s Fair (as was Guernica), contrasting a woman from Salamanca in bridal dress and a militiawoman from Barcelona – in trousers as she strides confidently forward.. The legend on the glass under the militiawoman confirms this message: “The New Woman of Spain has rid herself of the superstitions and misery of her past enslavement and is reborn and capable of taking part in the celebration of the future”

Below text from here:

“Superimposed on a glass wall, and standing side by side, are life-sized photos of two Spanish women. One woman is dressed in a traditional, elaborately constructed, and richly decorated wedding dress. The other woman, a Republican militiawoman, is wearing an open-collared shirt and trousers. The woman wearing the traditional dress appears weighted down by its voluminous multi-layered skirt and long sleeves. Her arms hang down limply by her side, her mouth is tightly closed, and she stares straight ahead. In comparison, the fabric of the trousers and shirt of the militiawoman is lightweight enough to appear to be moving as she strides confidently forward. Her arms convey strength and movement, as does her left shoulder, which seems to more toward the viewer. The woman’s mouth is open and she appears to be issuing some sort of command. Her eyes are piercing and intent. Her head is uncovered and her hair is pulled off her face. Unlike the bride in the other photograph, this woman appears to be walking out of the display straight towards the visitor. The only adornment on her clothing is a leather strap across her shoulder–possibly a gun holster–investing her with an aggressive and militaristic persona. ”
Explaining the intended message of Renau’s photomural,

Jordana Mendelson writes:
…Renau contrasted the Arxiu Mas image of traditional culture with the forward stride of a young militia woman. The photomural
used the visual comparison to reinforce a message about the liberation of women under the Republic: shedding her age-old
traditional dress, the new woman of the revolution would find freedom in her fight against fascism.

The legend on the glass under the militiawoman confirms this message: “The New Woman of Spain has rid herself of the superstitions and misery of her past enslavement and is reborn and capable of taking part in the celebration of the future” (Graham 112 n.7).

For visitors to the 1937 World’s Fair, the trousers on the miliciana would have been the most obvious sign of Spanish women’s new emancipation and alignment with aggressive political action. As Nash explains … for [Spanish] women the wearing of trousers or monos [blue
overalls] acquired an even deeper significance, as women had never before adopted such masculine attire. So for women, donning the
militia/revolutionary uniform not only meant an exterior identification with the process of social change but also a
challenge to traditional female attire and appearance.

Indians in the Spanish Civil War

indians in Spanish Civil War

Event organised by the Spain-India Committee to raise funds for the Spanish Republic on Friday 12 March 1937 in London . Note classical dancing from India and National dances of Spain. Text “FOR SPAIN INDIAN EVENING ARRANGED BY SEHRI SAKLATVALA MIRA DEVI Brilliant Classical Dancer from INDIA ANDRIEVA DANCERS IN NATIONAL DANCES OF SPAIN By courtesy of Madame Andrieva SHANTA GANDHI Indian Folk Dances A. BHATTACHARYA INDIAN ORCHESTRA OF CENTURIES-OLD INSTRUMENTS and BABY BHATTACHARYA Speakers : JOHN STRACHEY ISABEL BROWN INDIRA NEHRU (Daughter of President Nehru) ” Source:

Note mention in poster to Indira Gandhi

[Indira Gandhi ] would frequently travel by train from Oxford to London and dine with Fcrozc, Krishna Mcnon. and others at Indian restaurants. Indira also became associated with an organization that solicited volunteers for the International Brigade. The Brigade fought on hehalt of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. and Indira was clearly entranced by that war, Shanta Gandhi—no relative of Indira or Fcro/c Gandhi, but a schoolmate of Indira’s from their Poona days— recalls that Indira often helped her organize fund-raising events for the London-based Aid Spain Committee. Shania Gandhi would perform Indian classical dances at some of these events. On one occasion, according to her, Indira impulsively offered her dainty meenakari bracelet for an auction. The filigree bracelet fetched fifty pounds, an impressive sum in those davs. Source

Sent to me by Alan Warren

In T.C. Worsley’s “Behind the Battle”, when he was in Barcelona in January 1937, he mentions meeting an Indian journalist he calls “Krishna” who was writing for 50 Indian newspapers. I dont think it is his real name (though he calls Stephen Spender, Spender, but has an American doctor he calls “Rathbone”, who I think is Dr. Barsky from what he is doing). The American journalist Fernsworth asked how he billed all the newspapers for his reporting, to which “Krishna” replied that he was not paid, but was doing it to let people in India know what was happening in Spain. Fernsworth was astounded!

Ambulance donated by the Spain-India Committee to “the courageous Spanish democrats in the name of the people of India and Ceylon.”

india in Spanish Civil War

See also Nehru in Barcelona


Madrid 1937 – The Black Planes

Los Aviones Negros (The Black Planes)

Madrid 1937 under fascist bombs – Los Aviones Negros (The Black Planes) (1937) by Horacio Ferrer Morgado. In Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

Note: Los Aviones Negros (The Black Planes) was the painting the Basque government wanted for the Paris World Fair – they didn’t like a certain painting Picasso had produced.

Meanwhile today those who tried to stop this murder in Madrid are to have a small monument to them pulled down while those responsible for the city’s bombing still have huge arches built to the name of their “victory”

International Brigade memorial under threat in Madrid

ib memorial madrid

Unbelievable….except it isn’t anymore. “Madrid’s Complutense University has been given 10 days (from 3 June) to remove the memorial to the International Brigades that was unveiled on 22 October 2011 in the presence of four IB veterans, including David Lomon. The order was made by a Madrid court, the Tribunal Superior de Justicia, on the grounds that the monument had been erected without planning permission. The IBMT donated 500 euros towards its cost.”

The Guardian Well worth reading this article.

“It is often said that history is written by the winners. But what is happening in Madrid is not just an asymmetrical exercise of historic memory. It is an intolerant, dangerous, dysfunctional way to treat the past and sits uneasily with the image Madrid likes to project as an open, diverse and transparent city of the future.”

And here too also in the Guardian

Posters by Evarist Mora Roselló

Poster by Evarist Mora Roselló, “Don’t send your products to the free market. Sell them to the agricultural unions” The “free market” is represented by the wolf. Catalan Dept of Agriculture Barcelona 1937


“Hikers / be careful with fire! : your lack of care could destroy your best friend, the forest.” Catalan Dept of Agriculture Barcelona, 1930s.


Anti-fascist mural, Clot, Barcelona

Anti-fascist mural, Clot, Barcelona
Brilliant new mural in Clot, Barcelona “Fascism never again” by artist Roc Blackblock using two famous photos of the the war. It seems it was defaced yesterday (“never” crossed out) but is I believe being restored. Thanks to Steve Cedar for making me aware of this. Must go and see it. Location: Carrer de Bilbao with Rambla de Guipúscoa. Subtitled with “A people which forget its history is condemned to repeat it”.