Press release: Women and the Spanish Civil War

Post date: 03/02/2016

Saturday 12 March 2016, 11am-5pm. Manchester Conference Centre, Sackville Street, Manchester M1 3BB

'Women and the Spanish Civil War'

International Brigade Memorial Trust’s annual Len Crome Memorial Conference

This public lecture day will focus on the varied and crucial roles played by women in the Spanish Civil War. They participated as revolutionary leaders, fighters, nurses, writers and journalists. 


Professor Paul Preston: Pasionaria of Steel – The life of Dolores Ibárruri

Professor Helen Graham: Wars of Development – Margaret Michaelis’ images of 1932 Barcelona

Dr Sylvia Martin: Aileen Palmer and the British Medical Unit – ‘our secretary, our interpreter, our dogsbody’

Dr Linda Palfreeman: Fernanda Jacobsen – samaritan or spy?

The conference will be chaired by Professor Paul Preston, world authority on the Spanish Civil War.

When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, hundreds of men and women from the British Isles joined volunteers from over 50 other countries to fight in the International Brigades in defence of the Spanish Republic against General Franco’s uprising.

Of those who went from Britain and Ireland, more than 500 died in Spain, including women like Felicia Browne – shot dead in August 1936 while trying to dynamite a train carrying fascist ammunition. She was the first British volunteer to die in the war.

Among the leading Spanish communists who rallied to the Republic’s defence was Dolores Ibárruri, a miner’s daughter from Asturias, known as ‘La Pasionaria’ and renowned for her powerful oratory. 

Some of the best-known photographs from the war were taken by Gerda Taro, who accompanied her companion Robert Capa to Spain and was killed while covering the Republican retreat from the Battle of Brunete in 1937.

Thousands of Spanish women worked and fought for the Republican cause. In Britain, many joined the Aid Spain movement, sending ambulances, money and food. Some went to Spain as nurses.

This is the fourth year running that the conference has been held in Manchester. Around a quarter of the British International Brigaders were from the Manchester area.

 The annual lecture is held in memory of Dr Len Crome, a GP from Blackburn who went to Spain in December 1936 and became the chief medical officer of the International Brigades.

For further information contact: Dolores Long  0161 226 2013 (h) 07986 739558 (m)

International Brigade Memorial Trust


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