Nancy Phillips reports from the KFSR international annual meeting in Berlin on 25-27 August…

The annual meeting of our German comrades, Kämpfer und Freunde der Spanischen Republik 1936-1939 (KFSR) included guests from Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and the United States. 

The subject of the meeting was the XII International Brigade, which was formed in Albacete in December 1936 and included the famous Thälmann Battalion as well as Italian and French anti-fascists. The historian Werner Abel lectured on General Pavel Lukacs and the writer Gustav Regler. Marco Puppini, Italian historian, spoke on the XII Battalion.

Patricia Ure, the secretary of the Asociación de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales (AABI) spoke on the danger of the past disappearing in Spain. She had invited Victoria Pacha, the daughter of the Commissar of the XII Brigade, Eugenio Pacha. 

Victoria related the odyssey of her father, who was also Secretary of the Spanish Communist Party until 1949 after the defeat by the fascists. They were first interned in camps in France, then arrested in 1950 and deported to Algeria. Through political contacts, they were later able to move to Hungary and, from 1963, lived in Cuba, where Eugenio died in 1989. ‘For me it is very important that he is remembered here in Berlin today,’ said Victoria. 

Laying flowers at the International Brigade memorial.

I spoke about the letters of Paul Wendorf, recently published in Spain in Spanish, and read several passages from the letters. 

There were greetings via Zoom from Álex Cambró, president of the association Lo Riu in La Fatarella who related that the 85th anniversary of the Battle of the Ebro was commemorated in July with the laying of Stolpersteine. There were also greetings on behalf of the International Brigade Memorial Trust (see below). 

On Sunday, as every year, we all honoured the members of the International Brigades at the Monument to the Spanish Fighters in Volkspark Friedrichshain.

Greetings from the IBMT

Text of the message sent to the KFSR…

The International Brigade Memorial Trust sends warmest greetings to everyone attending the KFSR’s International Annual Meeting in Berlin.

We hope you will celebrate the international spirit of solidarity that inspired the volunteers to help the Spanish Republic and to fight fascism.

Their spirit is needed more than ever today. Fascism and the twin evils of militarism and nationalism are on the rise. So too are attempts to rewrite 20th century history in a way that denigrates the role played by the International Brigades and their comrades on the left in the 1945 defeat of fascism. We must do all that we can to stop this dangerous process.

The IBMT is holding its Annual General Meeting from 5-7 October in Stockton-on-Tees. You are all invited to attend. ¡No pasarán!

Jim Jump (IBMT Chair)

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