ON DIVERSION TASKS by Ivan Haris Gromovnik

February 20, 2024

The “Spanija” series translates selected autobiographical accounts by Yugoslavian and Montenegrin volunteers of their actions in the Spanish Civil War. Dr. Ray Hoff used Google translate from Croatian to English and he edited the selections.  As this is a machine translation, the idiomatic features of Croatian or Serbian and the translation of names and places are “best effort”.  The full five-volume collection was entitled:

“The Participants write Spanija 1936-1939: collection of memories of Yugoslav volunteers in the Spanish War”

It was assembled by Editor-in-Chief Cedo Kapor and published by the Initiative Committee of the Association of Spanish Fighters, The War History of our Peoples, Book 130, Military Publishing Institute, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1971, 5 volumes.

Chris Brooks posted and provided links to volunteers.


Ivan Haris Gromovnik, Spanija, Volume 3, pp. 355-369

During my long stay on the American continent, I passed through countries where the Spaniards once sowed hatred. Getting to know the misdeeds of conquistadors, heartless hidalgos and Catholic missionaries, and then coming to their homeland where an honest and unprecedented fight is being waged, is something that puts a person in doubt and forces him to observe things carefully and with a lot of objectivity. By crossing the border, we got to know a people whose spirit and morals were not damaged either by the recent or distant past, with a people who, like any other people in the world, only dreamed of pure and sublime things. The people of Pizarro and Cortes dreamed of freedom, equality and bread, the subjects of the merciless Spanish kings wanted what the oppressed people of Africa and Asia who put all their efforts to free themselves from the centuries-old colonial yoke also dreamed of. Peoples and kings in all times remain the same, the first desiring justice, the second desiring violence and power.

We were amazed by the excitement and enthusiasm with which the Spanish people welcomed us. Our arrival was a symbol that the Spanish people understood in a way that few would understand. It wasn’t just physical strength, it wasn’t divisions that could decide the fight with their numbers and readiness. They were people who brought the conviction that in every, even the most remote corner of the globe, the concepts of freedom and honor live. And we, the Internationals, brought a great message to the Spanish people: the whole world is with you!

lbasete a place on the three borders of the provinces of La Mancha, Valencia and Murcia, was the center to which all the arriving volunteers were sent. This is where people were classified and scheduled. Those who were ready to fight were assigned immediately to units, while the rest, who had to undergo training, were deployed outside to training camps.

I did not hesitate much; to be honest, something has matured in me over the years, since the moment I performed in Ecuador the first diversion. As I knew enough Spanish and English, and I had also had a good command of Russian — which was all thanks to my wandering life and coming into contact with people of all nations. I proved to be suitable for contact with the Russians, who at that time were training saboteurs and organizing sabotage actions.

There is a Soviet expert in Jaen who is supposed to organize guerilla actions and diversions – the Spanish officer who made the schedule told me. Few people can communicate with him, continued the Spaniard, so your benefit, as a man who speaks Russian, would be twofold. Apart from that, sabotage is very interesting… and of course dangerous.

Jaen is located in the south of Spain, on the branches of the Cordilleras Béticas. With Filip Vodopija and several Poles who joined us, I contacted the Soviet expert. His name was Rudolf Wolf. In fact, most of the names I mention and will mention in the future were taken as wartime names, so I didn’t know the real name of many people until the end of the war.

Rudolf Wolf received us nicely. He was especially pleased to learn that we are organized.

I think that our cooperation will be fruitful, we do not differ on anything. We are Communists and we hate Fascists; said because that’s enough, right?

The training started immediately and lasted a little over a month and a half. It only lasted that long for me, because Wolf gave me exceptional attention by instructing me in things that remained a secret for others. Otherwise, the training for each group lasted fifteen days.

“You understand things quickly”, Wolf told me, “especially these things, and it would be a shame if you didn’t improve completely. Sometimes I have the impression that you were born to be a saboteur.”

In addition to Poles and Spaniards, there were also Englishmen and Americans in the camp, so my knowledge of the language was very useful. Fifteen days after my arrival I became an instructor, which at first did not make me very happy because I myself wanted to learn as much as possible; and there were still many unknown things.

“Don’t be afraid”, Wolf told me, “you help me a lot, and in return I will teach you everything I know myself.”

A month later, I knew as much as he did. The comrades I came with had already left, and Filip with them, and I was still both teacher and student. “You don’t wait”, Ljubo Ilić lovingly told me, “you already benefit us more than anyone. Do you know what it means to train so many people, to equip them for such a fight? If I were in your place, I would be very satisfied and proud, because not everyone shows the success you showed in training.”

I could be proud, but I wasn’t satisfied. I came to Spain to fight, not to sit in some kind of camp kilometers away from the front. In America, didn’t I rush into every skirmish without thinking, didn’t I show what I can do and how much I’m worth in those countries where there is no real fight? I crossed the ocean to sit and train people who will fight for me!

“And the party consciousness tells you to do that”, Wolf warned me, but I retorted irritated :

“The party consciousness tells me to fight, not to sit like a crazy person, I study and revise all day long. I’m going to need a pair of glasses soon. There are enough of you, after all, new ones arrive every day; you can find a capable man among them who could replace me” – I finished shouting.

There was a training center in Villanueva de Córdoba similar to the one in Jaen, so I was accepted without hesitation. Besides the Spanish manager, Domingo Hungary, there was also a Russian instructor, who listened to me with great pleasure.

“If you were an instructor at Rudolf’s”, he told me, “then you are here. We need more and more personnel, and there are few people who could prepare these personnel.”

I’m not hiding that I didn’t like this, because I ran away from Jaen wanting to go to some kind of combat unit. And again I came into conflict with the managers, who demanded that I remain mute as an expert.

“And who wants to demolish the railways and destroy the buildings?”, I asked them. “People should be changed, not killed in their fighting spirit.”

I stayed, despite all that, for a few months, exactly as much as I could stand.

The middle of 1937 was approaching, and I still hadn’t even finished the gunpowder. When working with me turned into everyday problems, the managers decided to send me to Granada. “You will show what you know “, the Spaniard told me. “There are several important buildings in Granada that need to be destroyed. You will also find very capable people there.”

In Granada, I was made a Company Commander, given the expertise and recommendations I received, despite my awkward character. As soon as I arrived, I felt that this atmosphere was different from those I had been in before. It felt like a living, fighting movement, it smelled like gunpowder. Coming to Granada was of twofold importance for me: besides the fact that I was finally on my way to fight, in Granada I also met a Yugoslav who would be my inseparable friend throughout the war. It was Peter Vukelic. I loved him not only as a compatriot, as a good man and a friend, but primarily as a person very capable of the work we were supposed to do.

Sabotage group with platoon Ivan Hariš (first from the left) somewhere in the Granada area, July 1937. Among them is Petar Vukelic. 

After arriving in Granada, I didn’t have to wait long for my first assignment. I was filled with a restlessness that even suited me. One day I was told:

“At the foot of the Sierra Nevada, there is a power station that supplies electricity to the whole of Granada, and also supplies the explosives factory that is in Fascist hands. The destruction of that switchboard is a very important, but also difficult undertaking. It is necessary to cross the front line and carry out a diversion in the enemy’s rear. You will make the plan according to your own discretion, and you will get the material you need in the central warehouse.”

I listened to those words like the most beautiful music and remembered my Ecuadorian venture, when I made my first venture with a few pliers and unarmed men. How now all this appeared in a completely new light, how now everything acquired some kind of great and inestimable significance!

I formed a Company to select people, and my head was full of thoughts and possibilities that I had already examined. I studied the map the whole previous night and knew almost every lane, every house I had to pass. At that time, the front line was not so dense and compact, so just passing through it was not the greatest difficulty. It was necessary to think of the building itself, which, considering its function and importance, was certainly very well guarded.

I chose the platoon in which Petar Vukelic was, and dismissed the other people. It was necessary to explain the plan almost to the smallest detail to all those who went with me. The diversion plan was my work, but if even one man failed or made a mistake, we could all pay with our heads. Since most of the people in the water were Spaniards, I believed that crossing enemy territory would not be so dangerous, especially since some of them were natives of Granada.

We brought two hundred and fifty kilograms of explosives and were armed to the teeth. On the way, I was constantly in the company of Vukelić and Spaniard Jose Lama, whom we called Malaga. That Spaniard showed a lively interest in actions of this kind and an unusual amount of understanding, so I immediately paid attention to him. All the men in my company went through the sabotage course, but Malaga stood out from the rest. Even in the first days, I sensed that in him I got my best student and helper, which in fact he was during the whole war.

At dawn we reached the place where the switchboard was located. I remember well: it was three in the morning. We crossed the front line easier than we thought, because at that time the front was very tight, and the center of gravity of the fighting was not on that side.

Before I took any action, I gave the people a rest, which I used to examine the plan once more and assign everyone their place and duty.

The plan mainly consisted of this: it was necessary to first approach the guard post, which was located next to the water supply pipe to the turbines, and remove the guard. I took it upon myself and arranged for Malaga to come with me. Once we had eliminated that danger, several men would carry explosives that the two of us would place next to the pipe and prepare it for detonation. Other people would wait on standby. I appointed Vukelić to control the placement of the explosives and to watch our signal. We thought of every detail; there should not have been an oversight.

Malaga and I relieved ourselves by taking only the essentials weapon. Agility and lightness were the basis of such an undertaking, so a gun or a bomb would only bother us.

I waved my hand to my Comrades as a sign of greeting and left. I felt my heart beating in my chest and my breath becoming faster and shorter. They were expressions of excitement, not fear; I didn’t even have time to think about fear then. Images of all the possible explosions that a man can imagine and about which he fantasizes for months were constantly playing before my eyes.

“To find the heart,” I thought, “you coward, and destroy it with one stroke.”

Malaga followed me almost noiselessly, only his breath gave away.

We had already seen the headquarters building quite nicely, but the guard hadn’t shown up yet. He was probably in cover, and maybe in some bunker that we didn’t know about. What should have been done in case it was not possible to approach him the way we thought? That thought stopped me for a moment. Malaga approached me. We looked at each other. It seemed to me that he understood me. I didn’t want to tell him my fear, I just showed it with his hand in the direction of the building and they continued to babble.

The noise stopped us, petrified us. An armed man was walking about twenty paces from us. From the place where he was standing to us, there was a few meters of complete clearing. The raid had to be carried out quickly and irresistibly. One guard shot would be enough. I looked at Malaga. He signaled me with his hand. He explained to me that we should take off at the same time and both of us fall on the guard, as one man, as an infallible mechanism.

We continued our journey, dragging ourselves along and taking advantage of the moments when the guard was walking, so he couldn’t tell us from his own noise. In front of the empty space, we got stuck once more. It seemed to me that I could hear both my heart and Malaga’s heart. We didn’t we didn’t even dare to make a move, we had to read everything from a look that had to be unmistakable. We looked at each other no how many seconds, and then, as if according to some clear and specific command, jumped into flight. The guard yawned at that moment and stretched, spreading his arms wide. He fell into an embrace from which it is not easy to get out. He didn’t even manage to scream – – the handle of Málaga’s revolver did its job.

We then lay low for some time, and then we tied up our victim well, having covered his mouth beforehand. Before we gave the signal to the people, we examined the surroundings within a radius of ten meters, the other guard could not disturb us, he was more than fifty meters away.

Like ghosts, my men were attracted bringing explosives.

“You will stay”, I said to Peter. “We need someone to bring explosives to us as we go along the pipe. I will set it up, and Malaga will be the connection between you and me.

The others returned to the place where the second part of the platoon was waiting.

I took a certain amount of explosives and went along the pipe. I approached cautiously and feverishly, because destroying the turbine means destroying the power plant. Having reached the place I had designated for placing the explosives, I relaxed for a moment to breathe.

I heard the Malaga dragging them. The hum strangely echoed in that already unreal atmosphere.

Minutes passed, and it seemed to me that we had already spent many hours on an unusual job. Finally, all the explosives were placed. I was showing Malaga how to continue with the preparations, but I saw that it was needless to say, he not only knew the job but also loved it.

A minute later we were already running, hurriedly, in the direction of the place where our Comrades were hidden. There was also a guard held by them, whom we decided to take with us.

I looked at the clock. Four minutes had passed since we had left the turbine, there were still eleven left, because the explosion was supposed to resound exactly fifteen minutes after activation. It seems to me that it was the longest passage of time that I have experienced in my life.

The explosion reverberated more strongly than we expected.

We were not allowed to stay any longer. The plan was executed, and the enemy will know that his attackers are nearby. Pursuing the prisoner before me, I hastened to get away with my own to people whose faces showed satisfaction. Was it possible? that there would be greater joy than completing such a task without one victim! The whole of Granada remained in the dark, and the military factory will have to stop working.

My first independent action was crowned with success and, not only that, it was an introduction to a series of others, to a whole system, from which my future life will be built. Leaving a few days later for the city of Granada itself, I picked up Malaga and Vukelić again, people I could rely on as if I were myself.

“Blow up a formation full of armed soldiers, ready for the front”. It was a laconic order. It seemed to me that I already had countless diversions behind me. I issued orders filled with certainty that was mixed with joy and not impatience. Is the diversion has already become my passion? It didn’t matter to me at all, nothing more urgent, nothing more beautiful than the moment when the detonation should be heard and jets of fire and smoke shoot up into the sky.

“And the composition this time,” I thought, remembering Ecuador, “will fly into the air in the true sense of the word. It will be the kind of fireworks I’ve wanted for a long time.”

During the entire trip, I could not shake off the image of the broken railway line, the breaking composition, the pile of bodies and the destroyed hardware store. Approaching Granada itself was much more dangerous than he was drawn to the switchboard guarded by several guards. It’s more like a city, one of the enemy’s centers, where everything is teeming with troops and vehicles carrying food and ammunition.

Go to the wasp’s nest and do something in it similar to what you did in the Center, you could only dream about it without thinking about the danger.

Luckily, we were attracted to Granada and since we were well informed, we found the railway line without any problems. Admittedly, here and there we encountered armed men, but we easily and skillfully avoided them. Quickly and without much difficulty I found a place and arranged some people. There was no time to waste, because there wasn’t much left until the train arrived, just over half an hour. This time I brought the so-called landmines, which are activated the moment the train runs into them, so they had to be removed immediately after they were placed. It was also a precaution against any other eventuality. We were in the city, and we would indeed be in a hopeless position if we were discovered.

This time I had a completely different situation. In the Central Station, it was enough to destroy the turbines and cut the water supply, but here it was necessary to destroy the composition, which may have stretched for tens of meters. I never for a moment gave up on my theory that it should be completely destroyed, not just damaged. This, however, required a special system, which I already had in my head, so I was very careful and cautious when placing the mines. It was necessary to accurately calculate and adjust the distance, taking into account the length of the train and, perhaps, the length of the entire composition. The latter was just a guess, because there could have been ten, and there could have been more than thirty wagons, which was only a few minutes away. We withdrew, which changed the situation a lot. You had to have a feel for it and intuit many things.

When everything was ready, there were only a few minutes left until the train arrived. We retreated as quickly and unnoticed as possible. We stopped a few hundred meters from the city, finding a place from which we could see very well the part of the railway on which the desired disaster was to occur.

The smoke billowed. We heard the whistle of the locomotive. The heads of curious soldiers could be seen from the windows of the wagons. According to reports, it was a large contingent of Moroccans who came as reinforcements to a rather weakened part of Franco’s front. As I watched the winding snake that was getting closer and closer to the place where so many eyes were riveted, I was convinced that it would never reach a certain place.

The explosion rang out —  one, a second, the last. The train was broken in several places, and these separate parts were pushing each other, bumping into each other, giving up and crashing down the embankment. Mines were laid with unerring accuracy; the length of the composition and the number of wagons were as much as I assumed they should be.

Later we learned that there were about one hundred and twenty dead and many wounded. Sometimes we fight for such a number for several days.

And then what we feared the most happened. We forgot about the danger that surrounds us. As soon as the rumble caused by the explosion subsided, we were discovered. A strong detachment of enemy soldiers was running towards the place where we were hidden. The simplest plan was made immediately. It was necessary to retreat quickly in the direction of the mountains, deceiving the enemy. We did this by always leaving a few people who opened fire to keep the enemy busy, and then immediately ran away, catching up with the others. Our goal was the mountains; getting hold of them meant reaching complete safety, because the enemy would not dare to pursue us through them. In addition, we were armed with American “Thomson” assault rifles, which the enemy noticed at first contact.

We moved further and further without encountering any new dangers along the way. It was enough for one squad to meet us, so that we were completely lost. Admittedly, we were determined to sell our skin as expensively as possible, but we really wouldn’t get anything from that.

The pursuit lasted several hours. Fortunately for us, the mountains were close. We reached them already quite exhausted. Fortunately, the enemy gave up the pursuit. Chasing wolves on the mountain it was not an easy or harmless job.

The word about these and further successful actions, especially about the blowing up of three formations and the exceptionally executed attack on the batteries, spread quickly. The Spaniards loved me and invited me everywhere. They demanded that I go to Extremadura as an advisor to the 133rd Sabotage Brigade. I didn’t object much to this, because I knew there would be work there too, especially since that part of the front was very active at that time.

I went to Extremadura. They were already expecting me in the Brigade. I didn’t even teach a class: I organized courses from which prepared saboteurs came out in a very short time. I found myself back at the job from which I once ran away, but this time it was not difficult for me, because I had the opportunity to participate in the action whenever I wanted to. And here it didn’t have to wait long, because the fight was fought with fluctuating luck. Besides, it was already the second year of the struggle.

Camouflaged trucks on the Estremadura front

With Bruno, the always smiling Platoon Commander, I went on an operation in which we had to blow up gasoline tanks, which we found out about after a local Fascist success. The enemy was preparing a decisive attack on that part of the front and relying in advance on his success, brought in tanks and motor vehicles. All this, of course, had to be supplied with fuel. We were informed that ten kilometers to the north, behind a heavily wooded hill, a base was created overnight, so to speak, from which the next enemy operation will be supplied. The place was very convenient and naturally very protected, and therefore the Fascists dared to make such a risky move. Building a fuel depot in the immediate vicinity of the front meant either underestimating the enemy or preparing a movement and action in the nearest future.

Our troops in that sector were very exhausted and a lot thinned out, so that despite the precious notice, they could not to take on anything more serious. A stronger group, with a sudden strike, could have thwarted that enemy’s adventure, but at that moment we were not capable of anything other than defense.

I asked Bruno to select the people, while I gave the order to prepare the materials. We knew the exact location of the warehouse, and the route was so familiar to us that we didn’t need a map. We conquered that hill at least seven times in the last month and handed it over to the enemy. Every track every path, they were engraved in my memory, so that there was almost no need to make a plan for the approach. The action had to be coordinated, that is, in cooperation with the troops that held that sector and the scarce artillery that we had, but which we used very little, saving it only for critical moments when the enemy went on the attack.

I quickly presented my simple plan to the management of the sector and it was approved in its entirety. At the moment when I set out with the men, the artillery would, according to the agreement, open fire, and that in the direction completely opposite to the depot, and strong patrols would immediately be sent on a forced reconnaissance, so that the enemy would think that it was either a suicide attack of the sudden and unexpected reinforcements we received. This was supposed to take place at the moment of our departure and for everything to suddenly fall silent, so that, ten minutes later, the cannon fire would be repeated, only then supported by the effect of light weapons, even rifles. Then there would be a big break. During that time, we would get quite close to the warehouse. Then, if it were possible, the fiercest fire would begin, followed by shouts as in cases when a chase begins. Since all this had to take place before dusk, the enemy could believe in the possibility of a desperate night attack. As all this was supposed to take place in the direction completely opposite to the one where the warehouse was located, we believed that maximum attention would be directed to that side.

We were not mistaken.

The moment the first cannon was fired, I led the men. We went crawling on the ground for a while, because the ground was covered with very short grass. We knew that the front line was more than five kilometers away and that we had to hurry, because the warehouse was still a good five kilometers behind it. We trusted in the fire and the twilight that was descending very quickly. In the break between firings, we rested ourselves. The second wave of our cannon fire was stunning, so we straightened up and took off running. Sparse undergrowth sheltered us from time to time, and even the twilight became a safer and safer shelter. We stopped about fifty meters in front of the front line and sent scouts who soon returned with favorable news. Since in those days we were fighting with variable luck, no great trenches were dug, especially not on the enemy’s side, because the liquidation of our troops was still only a matter of days, so the enemy felt superior. The Fascists were truly overwhelming, I just saw that that night, and if we had known what kind of force we were up against, we would have retreated tactically. However, even the enemy did not know the size of our forces.

When the hurricane fire started, we moved along the front line. According to the scouts’ information, there was a small valley in which there were no enemy troops, because nobody’s positions were located on two surrounding hills from which the entire terrain, and especially that valley, had excellent visibility. You should simply put your head in a bag and go brazenly under the cover of night and believe that the enemy cannot even expect this feat, and that right under his nose.

It seemed to us that we were crossing that part of the road for hours, although we crossed it in less than fifteen minutes. We went the rest of the way almost ran over it and reached the warehouse when it was half past four wailed the gunfire from our trenches. The sight we saw going around the hill was terrifying.  Several tens of meters away, monsters were blackening, in which we could make out tanks and the entire plateau beyond the hill was covered with the material that was needed to set these monstrosities in motion the next day.

“This is going to be work”, I thought and signaled to the people. To our greatest surprise, the security was nowhere near what we imagined it to be.

The material was placed in a quadrangular area fenced off with barbed wire, but there was so much of it that it was within hand’s reach of a man who could reach to the fence. I knew it was enough to place explosives in only one place, but still decided to place it on two sides, on completely opposite sides from us. Another circumstance worked in my favor. The guards were not walking, they were already sitting in some kind of temporary watchtowers next to it machine gun.

I dragged myself on the ground. Bruno and two others followed me, carrying material. We stopped often, but not to catch our breath, but to listen. Everything was calm and motionless, and the muffled rumbling from a distance was our most precious cover. I crawled to the wire. I had wire cutters, but I didn’t need them — the wire was so high off the ground that I got through without any difficulty. I heard Bruno’s quiet and choked breath. Quickly, with a sure hand, I began to place the explosives, thinking constantly of the group that was supposed to pull in from the other side and do the same. We planned to set the clocks on the mechanism to the same time, so that we would retreat as quickly as we could, since we would not easily be able to retreat in the light that would be produced by the explosion.

I looked at my watch. That group on the other side should have been finished as well. I gave the signal. We only had fifteen minutes to drag ourselves to a decent distance.

Ten minutes later I met up with another group. I asked a dumb question. Nodding my head calmed me down.

“Now, as quickly as possible, back”, I whispered and ran in the direction of the valley.

The explosion rang out like a volcanic eruption, stopping us in our tracks momentarily.

“Run!” I shouted, not paying attention to the blinding light. I only managed to look once. Behind us, both heaven and earth were burning – the entire warehouse was in flames. The explosive was placed in such a way that the gasoline ignited in a single explosion, which for a moment threw everyone into the shadows.

We ran as far as our legs could carry us, without looking back at which was behind us in the immediate vicinity, echoed dully the blows were pieces of metal that were created by the explosion, thrown up with quick force.

When we got to the front line, I decided to go crazy, especially since I saw that the surprised enemy soldiers were disillusioned. I ordered the movement at full speed.

We ran across the valley without a single shot being fired after us, and when we reached our own, it took us more than half an hour to catch our breath.

The next day, the enemy withdrew their motorization, and two days later we retook those positions. Finally came the action that finally took me away from diversionary front until the retreat from Spain. It was necessary to make a diversion in a sector that was all the more dangerous because in that area was a miners revolt miners, seduced by agents of the Junta. Without going into the necessary political situation, I would only like to describe the action from which I was saved only thanks to the unprecedented self-sacrifice of my Spanish comrades.

Two bridges had to be blown up, one of which was of enormous importance for the enemy’s supply. Despite many difficulties, we managed to get hold of the facilities and get the job done. We believed that withdrawal would not cause us greater difficulties, because the terrain was very suitable.

The enemy discovered us when we least expected it, so we had no choice but to engage in open combat.

We retreated slowly with a continuous fight and not dreaming that the Fascists would turn the fight with a group of people into a real battle, with all available means. We have already started to cheer each other up, believing that the worst is over, when the terrible artillery fire started, it did not even allow us to raise our heads. The batteries did not have a difficult job, because they were correctly informed about our position, so they rained shells on us. It was necessary to decide quickly. To stay in place and wait for a bullet to hit you, which was inevitable and would be madness. We could establish contact only with those closest to us, and those who were a few meters away.

From an observation post on one position of the southern front

I raised my head a little and looked around. Through the dust and smoke I could glimpse silhouettes that, as if on command, stood up and played a deadly game. Without any agreement or command, the people decided to seek salvation in the most reckless escape. It could have looked suicidal but there was no other way out. I looked at several Spanish Comrades who were near me and realized that they were thinking the same thing.

We jumped and flew.

At that moment, a real steel hurricane came down.

A swirl of smoke, dust and earth seemed to mix with my thoughts and clouded my consciousness. I felt an impact, a rush of something strong and a sharp pain in my head. I heard moans and screams. I lay unable to move, struggling with the poor and insufficient remains of consciousness.

“That’s the end” — I thought and felt the pain in my head becoming more and more unbearable. Consciousness was on the verge of complete darkness. The voices were still buzzing around me, but they were getting lost more and more. The earth slowly slipped away, running away from the blurred vision, and the body dragged along the rutted ground. What happened?

Later I found out that my Spanish Comrades did not want to leave me at the cost of their own lives and that there were some dead people left on the battlefield.

I woke up in the hospital with a big bandage around my head.

“It could have been worse”, the doctor consoled me. “In a month you will be healthy.”

Comrades were standing next to the bed, eager to hear a word from my mouth, which could have remained closed forever somewhere on the battlefield of Extremadura.







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