Farewell to the International Brigades

The final parade through Barcelona in October 1938
The final parade through Barcelona in October 1938

The depleted ranks of British volunteers did not leave Spain immediately. On 17th October all the foreign volunteers in the 35th Division were paraded and reviewed, and several of their number received promotions and commendations.

The final appearance of the battalion was at a farewell parade in Barcelona at the end of October, at which important Republican figures, including President Azaña and Prime Minister Negrín, expressed their thanks to the Internationals. The speech by Dolores Ibarruri, the Communist deputy from the Asturias forever known as La Pasionaria, delivered to the more than 13 000 watching Internationals, was the highlight of an extremely emotional occasion:

Comrades of the International Brigades! Political reasons, reasons of state, the good of that same cause for which you offered your blood with limitless generosity, send some of you back to your countries and some to forced exile. You can go with pride. You are history. You are legend. You are the heroic example of the solidarity and the universality of democracy… We will not forget you; and, when the olive tree of peace puts forth its leaves, entwined with the laurels of the Spanish Republic’s victory, come back!


Fred, Thomas, To Tilt at Windmills: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War, East Lansing: State University of Michigan Press, 1996.

Click here to read the full text of Pasionaria's speech

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