A Danish Trotskyist in the SCW

October 11, 2010

An oral history account of Åge Kjelsø, who served in the Thälmann Battalion and was arrested after the May 1937 events, published in Danish in the mid-1970s and recently translated:

From Albacete I went to the Andalucian front in southern Spain, and in the war of manoeuvre there we came up against the very skilful Moroccan sharp-shooters and foreign legionnaires, who, among other things, perched up in the olive trees and shot at us as we advanced. … I saw the horror of war at close quarters and in many ways. In the south I saw endless horrible lines of refugees, and the material superiority of the fascists, which was especially manifest in the air, showed itself often by German planes in particular attacking the crowds of refugees. During the war in the south I also saw the disfigurement of the corpses of comrades, and in the University City in Madrid, where I spent the winter of 1937 in the trenches, I experienced a true hell. The civilian population of the capital received almost as much bombardment as us at the front by the way. Aerial bombardments with great destruction and many dead and wounded were a common occurrence. Myself, I was wounded in the leg by a bullet and, physically exhausted and mentally depressed, I was taken to a hospital in Madrid, near the Puerto del Sol.

More here.