Commemoration at the International Brigade Memorial, London South Bank, 4 July 2015

Post date: 05/07/2015

Opening remarks by IBMT Secretary Jim Jump…


We should note that 2015 is of course the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.


The volunteers who went to Spain warned that a world war would be inevitable unless fascism was stopped in Spain. They were proved right, and the Spanish Civil War became the prelude of the Second World War. 


International Brigaders carried on the fight against fascism in that war. So did thousands of exiled Spanish Republicans. They fought in every front – from Stalingrad to Burma, from Norway to Italy and from Normandy all the way to Berlin. 


Veterans of the war in Spain were also the backbone of much of the underground resistance to Nazism, whether in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Italy or France. 


The Second World War was for them and for millions around the world a people’s war against fascism and against the failed economic and political order of the 1930s – an order that had brought misery to millions and had appeased and secretly supported Hitler, Mussolini and Franco.


Sad to say, but there are attempts nowadays to rewrite and downplay the story of the great victory they achieved in 1945. In particular, the leading role played by communists, socialists, anarchists and others of the left is ignored or denigrated.


Memorials to the International Brigades are being removed and destroyed in some countries of Eastern Europe – while at the same time Nazi supporters and collaborators are being rehabilitated as nationalist heroes.


We were told only this week that the city authorities in Warsaw plan to rename the street named after the Dombrowski Battalion of Polish volunteers in Spain – simply because there were many communists among them.


All this is a disgrace. It’s also very dangerous. Our political elites flirted with fascism in the 1930s. They must be stopped from ever doing so again.

We won’t forget that these men and women, whether in the British Battalion, the Dumbrowskis, or any other of the International Brigades, were proud to be on the left and were proud to be fighting for a world free of fascism, free of militarism, antisemitism, oppression and economic and social injustice. 

All photos are © Andrew Wiard

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