April 28, 2024

The Spanija series translates select 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 Croatioan 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.




Veliko Vlahovic, Spanija, Volume 2, pp. 453-491

Terror. Human life has become cheaper than a rifle bullet. Those who rose up against the people have to spend a lot of bullets, because in order to win power they have to destroy a lot of lives.

On August 18, 1936, the famous drunken Fascist general Quiepo de Llano appeared on the Seville radio and threatened with the following words: “Eighty out of a hundred Andalusian families are fighting against us and we will not hesitate to take even more drastic measures.” Testimony about the measures taken was given by a correspondent, “Pari Suara”, who two days later sent a report to the editors about the entry of fascist troops into Seville, in which he writes: “When I managed to visit the destroyed workers’ quarters the next day, I stumbled upon the corpses of people pierced with bayonets or slaughtered with knives. It was wild slaughter”. Among others, the “black legion” took care of the slaughter, one of whose commanders, Ramon Ruiz Alonso, also killed Frederico García Lorca.

Terrible news was coming in about the massacre in Badajoz, about 7,000 shot in Navarre. Zorž Bernan wrote an exciting book “The Great Cemetery under the Moonlight” in which he stated that under the command of the Italian General Rossi, during the first four months of the war, over three thousand one hundred soldiers of the island of Majorca were killed. “The flower of the Spanish intelligentsia is underground, and among those shot are mostly teachers and professors. In Biscay, the fascists shot 15 priests in just one day.

The Fascist newspaper “La Voz de España” wrote that after the eye of Bilbao, the cleaning forces during the first month of the eye of the eye, did not shoot more than a thousand people.

Republican newspapers are full of horror stories of individuals who managed to escape from the Fascist hell. The winds of Spain do not bring the smell of terror and despair from the regions under Fascist occupation. European governments would like these to be winds of silence.

Victims of war

The Spanish nights trembled, confused, hoarse with cries and moans, but the powerful, who decide the fate of the people, cover their heads with a thick blanket of shame.

Spanish nights in this war are unusual. They do not care about the fate of innocents who are taken to be shot. For thousands of lives, the thread of humanity is torn, the limits of living are drawn, and the nights are feasting. However, witnesses remain, memory remains, which turns into conscience and a guardian of history, a memory that warns even those who pretend not to notice crimes and criminals, who would like to see the drama of the Spanish people declare it an operetta.

It is fortunate that there are far more people in the world who want to keep secret – is it possible to know suffering and pain, what were the last words of those who were shot and were they even the last? Did they say all they could say? Are these springs without water? Have they turned into illegals?

We know that the shot and slaughtered do not need funeral masses and lamentations, blackness and pathetic obituaries. They don’t need big words, because today’s death mixes with the time to come. In the machine of today’s and future revolutions, dead and shot fighters walk, even if they are the shadows of the living. We know that even in the conflict between truth and lies, the truth often finds itself shot and buried, and yet emerges into the light of day.

The country covers crimes, but they can never hide them. She would have to constantly tremble from the pain and injustice. Curse the innocent rush across the land like whirling storms. Fascists generously gave the land to the dead, but they cowardly stole their light and the blue of the sky. And yet their death has more life and freedom than the life of their executioners. If they could, the fascists would kill time, so that it would not betray them, to hide their crimes. Time cannot bypass the bells of truth. It does not keep secret thoughts and spoken words.

Today there are too many criminals, but there are far more witnesses to crimes. Crime burns like an ember. The line between the executed and their executioners is all too visible. On one side of the border is crime embodied in fascism, on the other revenge embodied in revolution.


You can feel the proximity of the front. A cannonade is heard. Hospital cars pass. Various couriers and staff officers are scheming. Some are clean, well-groomed, shaved. Others wrinkled, grown into beards and hair.

A short meeting is held, before going to the front. A Spaniard from the headquarters of the front speaks. Liquid, flammable. The hands are constantly in motion. Translated by Spasoje Zabunov, our worker from Argentina. He seems to translate only part of what the speaker is saying, and adds the other part himself. It can be seen that translation is not his trade. Both wishes a lot. Probably, even Spasoje exaggerates.

The Spaniard says that socialism will bring equality to all people. Spasoje translates that everyone will have equal wages and that everyone will live equally.

One comrade from our company, a miner from Belgium, barely literate, with an accent from western Herzegovina, asks: “Let the comrade say whether under socialism there will be digging in the mines and whether the fields will be plowed, whether there will be clerks and offices?” When received an affirmative answer, he turned to us and muttered to himself: “There won’t even be equality then. I’m going to the mine again, and you students are going to the offices”. There was laughter.

I imagined that only communists would come to Spain none, even the best, most fighting ones. The reality of my battalion shows that a considerable number of non-members of the party came, but they were ready to sacrifice themselves for the freedom of the Spanish people and for new revolutionary victories. Here at the front, the differences between party members and non-members are slowly being erased. We are all going through one of the cruelest, but also the most magnificent lessons of history together.

Here I became convinced that every poor person has a revolutionary spark. That spark needs to be ignited, and not everyone can do that. It is a great skill to awaken people, to light the fire of struggle and to direct the struggle along the paths that lead to victory.

These semi-literate workers, today still non-members of the party, deeply believe that the supporters of Lenin’s ideas can and do lead them to victory. It is a big thing to justify that trust.


On the left wing of the “Dimitrov” battalion, after the bloody battle of February 14, one battalion retreated. Volunteer young men, ardent anti-fascists, who held their own brilliantly in the battle at Casa del Campo, at Majadahonda and Las Rosas, found themselves in confusion, because, in addition to two company commanders, their battalion commander was also killed.

None of the young and inexperienced remaining commanders thought that he should take over the battalion, which by retreating led the ” Dimitrovci” into danger, and they suffered great losses under the rain of bullets. Two Prague students from the Dimitrov battalion, seeing that disaster threatened, jumped out in front of the battalion. They had a hard time communicating with the Spaniards.

“Where? It must not be deviated from …”

“But our battalion commander is dead!”

Marko did not hesitate for long, but “exclaimed”: “I am your new commander! Long live Spain.

Forward!” and pointing to Krsmanović, he added: “And this is my adjutant.”

Suddenly, our tanks appeared there as well. A student from Jugoslavia at the head of the Spanish battalion, followed by tanks, came on the attack.

After half an hour, the battalion got a real new commander, and the self-styled “commander” and his “adjutant” returned from where they came: to the ranks of non-ranking fighters.


In February 1937, the Jarama River repeated the history of the Neva. The detachments of the

Spanish proletariat, hand in hand with the International Brigades, welcomed the wild hordes of Fascists with their chests like ramparts. An old man next to an underdeveloped boy, a worker next to a student, all united by a great thought, born in pain: save freedom, save civilization. Days and nights passed in the fire. Airplanes, tanks, cannons, machine guns, bombs, guns and meat, human flesh. Shrapnel burst above us, dum-dum bullets exploded, grenades fell, a source of iron was buried in the suffering muscles of peasant workers, but platoons, companies, battalions, brigades of brave anti-fascists boldly marched forward. The friend next to me spent twenty years working against war, for peace, for freedom. He’s killing today. He tells me: “However, today I am an even bigger supporter of peace, I defend it with a rifle in my hand and I hope that we will defend it.” The working people did not want this, but when their blood is spilled, it is dearly sacred… Our hands are as heavy as large steel electric hammers in the factories, and our arms are like the passes of the Sierra de Guadarrama.” We fall silent and shoot. In the distance behind we hear the explosion of airplane bombs. Behind us is the village. Houses huddled together like a flock of frightened wild pigeons and in them old men, women and children. Black smoke curls ominously above the ruined houses as if it wanted to hide, at least for a moment, the barbarity of the fascist invaders. Our airplanes. They have the color of joy. Black fascist birds that look like dark birds of prey flee. We think: why do fascists kill women, children and old people? Barbarism, sadism… Children are creatures that would like to eat alive, enjoy life. “Junkers” and “Caproni” are all gone in the winter.

They take me out of the front line with three wounds as heavy as lead. Three sources of hot blood say that a few minutes ago, three red-hot irons ran through your throat. The size of the bloody fountains indicates whether the bandits used a dum-dum or an ordinary knife. They mixed both… Hospital. Blood and wounds of workers and peasants under one roof. Muffled moans and gnashing of teeth. A friend is lying next to me. My bed is numbered 6, his is 7. Big black eyes peek out from under the covers. A child’s head with a difficult past written on it. He is sixteen years old, sixteen heavy burdens of hunger and continuous work for another. We fought on the same front. It’s been seven months since he volunteered for freedom. In August, he defended the birthplace of Granada, the cradle and tomb of the great poet García Lorca. In the first days, he carried ammunition, food, and water to the older soldiers. One day when the August sun was burning with all its strength, when the air was flickering on the hills around Granada, he was carrying water. Next to him, machine guns and grenades were singing, bullets whistling and the smell of gunpowder mixed with the fumes of human corpses. He went from one to the other through the trench. Suddenly a scream. He stepped on a man who was writhing and riddled with bullets. It was his brother. He still had enough strength to hand him the bloody rifle and he breathed his last. From that day on, he replaced clay water jars with rifle fire. He worshiped his brother and defended his birthplace. He spent the months of September and October at the front near Toledo, always in the front lines. November and in December he defended the heart of Spain, Madrid. January and February in Jarama. Days, weeks and months followed, but the fire did not stop. In the sky above Madrid, the slogan of the Spanish proletariat floated, “No pasaran!” Day by day, new and new heroics continued. Spanish battalions and the international community in the history of the struggle for freedom and human rights wrote the page that the proletariat will write with their own blood, another page of February, a boy from Granada lost his boyhood. It is a brother for the ages to be a lamp in the struggle of the working class. On the fourteenth, an explosion of a hand grenade and a thick cloud of smoke stopped the steel he still had left, he crawled towards the tank, which spewed fire, which was burning. The little Granadan was going through the most difficult hours. For a moment he saw only the tank man crawling towards each other. The tank was on fire, but it was not moving at all. The scream from Granada was repeated on Jarama and others his brother was dead. The boy stretched out his hands and took a step towards his brother’s dead body, but on the first step he fell to the ground. The bullet went through his right and exploded out of the rabbit’s left leg.

The little friend next to me has been thinking a lot in recent days. This surprises me, because his pain has already stopped and his wound is healing. He often tells me about his brothers with tears in his eyes, but when asked about his father, mother and fourteen-year-old sister who stayed somewhere near Granada, he shuts up. One day I ask him how he is. ”I would like to write to my mother and sister and…” and… he cries. “Do you need papers?” “No…”, ”Ink?” “No…” I wonder what’s wrong with him. I suddenly remembered the disease of the Spanish proletariat. Illiterate?” “Illiterate” answered the boy and cried again.

It’s been more than a month since I’ve been teaching my little friend to read and write. We decided that tomorrow he and I would write a joint letter to his parents. The first of May is the day when the Spanish proletariat works with double strength, because the enemy is in the trenches and must be defeated. The written letter stands before us as a great document of our time. Two friends, a student from the Montenegrin hills and a boy from Granada, wrote a joint letter. One is happy because he is able to write to his parents, who gave everything for the freedom of the Spanish proletariat, parents. who did not cry over the graves of their sons, the parents, who put all their strength into a great building, which today is being built on 14 Spanish fronts. The other is looking forward to the letters, which the boy’s hand wrote quite clumsily, which for him at 16 years old were unheard of.

On the evening of the twenty-third of May, we part. The little friend is happy, because he is going to the front again. Tell me how to be humane to those who kept him illiterate for so many years, who killed his two brothers, who spill the blood of innocent children and women every day! At parting, he gives me a small piece of paper. Connecting the clumsily written letters, I read his address: Julio Casada 38th Brigada Mixta, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Company, Frente de Guadalajara.

A fighter and a child


A delegation came, not to call me, but to take me to the regional party conference, which is being held in the cinema hall.

Doctors shake their heads suspiciously. I’m all in bandages. One is changed three times a day. Kolomer, former worker, Commissioner of the hospital, convinces the doctors that they will handle me carefully. The doctor leaves it to the wounded to decide.

For me it is a return to life. Return to active partial work. Is it necessary to wait until the wounds heal? So, even crippled like this, my comrades, the Party, need me. It doesn’t matter that it is the Spanish Communist Party.  Just like it’s mine. We fight for the same ideals. We have the same thoughts and aspirations. Our fate is the same. The Spanish Communists are today in the front lines of the Revolution. I should deliver them greetings of solidarity, to testify with my presence that solidarity is not an empty word. I agree with the delegate’s proposal.

They bring me in on a stretcher. I’m not the only one with bandages. I notice a lot of bandages and crutches. The delegates stand up. Applause from makes my hair stand on end. For a moment, my thoughts are transferred to the big physical room at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade in which such applause echoed.

I’m already on stage next to the presidency. Stretchers are stood up. It has been a long time since my eyes were not riveted to the ceiling, but now to several hundreds of people who had gathered to agree on what should be done to help the front even more. Many people came from the various fronts, and after the conference, many will go to different fronts again. The sudden change makes me a little dizzy.   I feel great satisfaction in front of such a large gathering, I can publicly say what I had to hide in Belgrade:

“A brotherly, fighting comradely greeting from the members of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, which, together with our entire people, and heart and thoughts, today together with you”. Again, hilarious applause. The words come out by themselves. It is my first speech is in Spanish.  A language created for songs, but it is also for conveying revolutionary thoughts and feelings.

A group of young men and women hand me bouquets of flowers and a red scarf. “International” echoes.

It seemed to me as if I had merged with the mass, as if the bandages and wounds had disappeared, as if life was back in full swing.


In this revolutionary and wartime Spanish reality, the past is encountered at every step. One of the most interesting encounters with the past is certainly bullfighting. For several months, there was a fierce discussion about banning bullfighting.  In spite of the mass mood to continue them, they were cancelled. Security reasons from frequent attacks prevailed fascist aviation.

I attend the last bullfight in Alicante. A huge mass of the world came to say goodbye to their favorite pastime. People are sad as if saying goodbye to a burnt home. Among the spectators were a large number of wounded people from the city and its surroundings. Many of them are in casts, bandages, and some are being carried by healthier friends on a stretcher. The arena smells like hospital rooms.

The usual ritual is followed to the last detail. Accompanied by music playing “paso doble”, toreadors, picadores, banderilleros, matadors enter the arena. The main matador on horseback approaches the box of the president of the municipality, removes the key from the gate behind which there are locked bulls in front, takes off his sombrero and skillfully grabs audience seats.

The first fights and the hilarious shouts of the spectators begin. My friend, a doctor, explains to me that bullfighting in Spain is transferred from the Moors, who ruled part of Spain for several centuries, until, at the very end of the fifteenth century, in Granada that right at the time when Columbus was discovering America. It is the time of the definitive expulsion of the Moors from Spain. The Moors left, but the Spaniards continued to chase the bulls through the city streets. The boys tried to take the bull by the horns, while the townspeople, especially the girls, watched the boys’ successes and failures from the floors and balconies. Some ardent bullfighting enthusiasts go further, claiming that the first matador was the mythological son Theseus, who killed the Minotaur from the labyrinth of King Menos. Maybe Crete really is the birthplace of bullfighting.

Just as the folklore changed and enriched, so did the bullfight. Today’s event is being held in honor of the thirtieth anniversary since the famous matador Juan Belmonte modernized bullfighting and elevated the calling of the matador to the greatest favorite of the audience. Before that, it seems that the role of the matador (butcher) was insignificant. Belmonte by bringing the mullet (red scarves) closer to the body, increased the danger for the matadors, because the horns of an irritated animal have to pass only three to four centimeters from his body, while the matador stands still.

Before killing the bull, the matador has to make a series of dangerous figures with a red scarf near a bull, which was previously provoked by picadores and banderilleros. I was surprised how much the audience knows the quality of the figures and how loudly they complain if the matador did not perform them well.

The Spaniards are able to argue for hours whether the more famous matador is El Galo (the rooster) or Lalanda with his famous mariposa move in which the matador runs backwards, waving his scarf right and left behind the back, so that the bull constantly changes direction. However, the most talked about was Ortega, an illiterate shepherd from the vicinity of Toledo. Although he was stocky, the bulls listened to him so much that he did whatever he wanted with them.

The times are war, so even the bulls are not fed. As soon as one bull came out of its hiding place in the arena, it knelt down on its front legs, watching frantically what was happening around it for several minutes. One part of the audience protested loudly, while the wounded men called the camilleros (practicantes with stretchers) to take the bull out.

Since I’m watching the bullfight for the second time, I’m trying to understand its essence. It is a mixture of ritual, ceremony and combat. Perhaps it is nostalgia for polytheism. For part of the audience, it is a knight’s game, expectation of victory or defeat. Bullfighting is certainly the greatest similarity between the ancient past and the present. These are traces of mysticism and pagan faith in the most Catholic country, enriched by the language of folklore and choreography. The totality of the artistic expression is a combination of the play of the body and the matador’s inner feelings. This wealth of movement is also the biggest bond with the audience. The synthesis of the bullfight consists of the toreador’s cold-bloodedness, the excitement of the audience and the wild power of the bull. Toreador is an actor, a director and a fighter. Bullfighting changed and became richer, but only those changes that did not break the continuity of tradition were accepted.

The dead bull is dragged across the arena by mules with a chain, a sweeper with a birch broom cleans the trail. And these war mules they look strange. While standing, they bow their heads as if they were on a cross. When the beater hits her, she starts limping.

At the end, the main bullfighter greets the audience again on his horse, who shower him with applause, shouts of “ole” and cushion him with something from the seat. Nietzsche said that he can only believe in a god who plays. In Spain, there is a deity who plays and fights, who is the diva — toreador.


I spent the first decade of September 1937 working on a special job in the counter-intelligence service of the International Brigades (Servicio de Investigation Militar). In those ten days, I encountered a completely new world, which I knew existed only from newspapers and spy novels. This work can be interesting for people who have a passion for it, who enjoy unraveling the dark labyrinths of espionage, or for those who write novels and need to complete the gallery of types, characters, destinies. Obviously, I was neither. Well, nevertheless, from party discipline I received a new duty, to investigate arrested spies.

In the early days I worked on the case of Paladin and his wife. An Italian by origin, a spy for the Gestapo and OVRI of Italian descent. His file was already sorted. It had to be completed with certain irrelevant details. A decision on further proceedings was awaited from a higher authority. I neither knew nor cared about who that authority was and where it was located. The case was very interesting. In fact, it was about an old spy, who worked on sabotage on warships during the First World War. He came to Spain, ostensibly, as an anti-fascist. Nimble, with knowledge of several languages, he pushed himself up to the rank of captain and head of the representative offices of the International Brigades in Valencia. After the evacuation of Madrid, all the central government and political spokepersons were located there. A wide field for espionage activity. Large sums of money passed through his hands, but the handling of the funds of the International Brigades was orderly. He took care not to compromise himself with petty thefts. After all, his bosses didn’t let him run out of money.

He was discovered by accident. During the spring uprising in Barcelona, there were also street fights. A bunch of grenades was thrown into a villa, from where a group of insurgents fired from machine guns. The explosion blew a hole in the wall. In the same place, there was a walled-up Gestapo file, in which, among other things, information about Paladin was found, from which it was seen that he was sent to Spain with special tasks.

Reading the materials from the file, a whole area of the current struggle bursts before one’s eyes, which is invisible, but very intense and important for the outcome of the war. In this field, the Fascists obviously have a great advantage, because they have a huge amount of money, experienced personnel, a base among the reactionary layers, and especially in the organization of the Catholic Church, not so much spiritual, but secular.

The most tragic thing is that in everyday life, honest a man can often turn out to be a fool. They are in such a situation found by associates of Paladini in Valencia. They worked with him, had lunch, they were joking, thinking they were dealing with a real man, but they weren’t with a Fascist stalker, who is preparing death for them.

Destroying such poison is a very rewarding job, but it requires, in addition to devotion to the revolutionary struggle, a lot of skill, sacrifice, renunciation, and sleepless nights. For our conditions, such a job requires the highest degree of camaraderie and human relations between people working to find spies and their networks. However, there is too much bureaucratic mentality in this institution. It seems that it is not independent, it depends on the mood and understanding of the invisible bosses, who live far away from here in Barcelona or Valencia.

Paladini himself, since he is in prison, looks smaller than a poppy seed, behaves servile, sycophantic. A man is disgusted when he looks at him and listens to him. I suspected he hadn’t said half of what he had to say. He talks extensively about less important things, he is careful not to mention any of the names of his accomplices.

The work around Paladin was not yet completely finished, and I got a new “protege”, who had just been arrested, the only thing we knew was that he was a Gestapo officer, that he participated in the National Socialist action of blowing up the power plant in Klagenfurt, that he fell into the hands of the Austrian police, convicted and that he had until recently served his sentence in a Viennese prison. It was our countryman, Drago, a Slovenian from Maribor. And his arrest happened by accident. From the Casas Ibañez training camp, one of our comrades sent me letters, who during the first attempt to transfer to Spain, was arrested at the Austrian-Swiss border, served three weeks in a Viennese prison and was handed over to the South Slovenian authorities, where he also served time.  A few weeks after his release from prison, he still managed to illegally transfer to Spain. There, in Casas Ibañez, he met Drago, who had arrived a few days earlier. He met him in the Viennese prison, while walking around the prison grounds. He found out that he was being tried as a National Socialist and what he was being tried for. He knew that he and his group enjoyed a privileged position in the prison, because the days of the Anschluss between Germany and Austria were approaching. The Austrian police cooperated more and more with Germany. He hoped for nothing when he met this same man here in Spain, in the uniform of an anti-fascist fighter of the International Brigades. This case is really interesting. Drago was immediately arrested and brought to Albacete. He did not know how and why he was arrested, because he did not recognize the other.

I gave him a pen and paper to write a lengthy autobiography. It was an innocuous, at first glance quite ordinary profile of a young man, who had just set foot. No mention of the headquarters in Klagenfurt and the Viennese prison.

Every morning, I demanded that he tell more about his activities from 1934 until his arrival in

Spain. I pointed out to him that we are less interested in the life at the business school in Maribor and the names of the friends he studied with, but about other things, which he himself can conclude from the fact that he ended up in prison. On this occasion, differences appeared in comparison with the first text.

On the third day, Drago was given more papers and tasked to describe his life for the last four years, with particular reference to his stay and activities outside of Yugoslavia. During this conversation, he was nervous, he lost his confidence. He was surprised that no one put any pressure on him, that the behavior and treatment towards him was humane, not even a hint of insult. At one point he started to cry, but quickly stopped. he was thinking whether he should start confessing and what to confess. He saw that we knew something, but what and how much, he didn’t know. It confused him.

The next day, a new piece of information appeared. Longer stay in Munich. The confession started modestly, and then the ball started rolling. In Munich, he attended the National

Socialist Spielberg School. Among other things, he specialized in poisoning drinks including the poisoning of wells. Fascism took away from this young man everything that is human in man and turned him into a creature, a human nothingness. The whole story started with a bench in the Maribor Park, where he met a girl who was already in the Gestapo network. And then slowly the devil came for his own. He completed a diversionary course in Munich. The acquired knowledge was put to the test in an action to blow up the power plant in Klagenfurt. Arrest, trial of prisoners and Viennese prison. At the beginning of 1937, following the intervention of the Gestapo, he was released from prison, transferred to Ljubljana and prepared for a new assignment in Spain. He became a triple spy. In Ljubljana, OVRA agents found him and took him to Italy for a short briefing. He also received tasks from a Colonel Jaklić, along the lines of the Yugoslav Intelligence Service. According to Drago’s statement, Jaklić was also connected with the Italian OVRA. The whole speed circuit.

In the whole thing, I was most interested in the whole matter how and through whom he got a connection with the party channels, because he got to Spain through those channels.

It turned out that in Ljubljana he was directed to Janez Butinar, a party functionary, who directed him to Spain. The same Butinar also sent Troyer to Spain, who was also suspected of being an enemy agent. He held meetings with Colonel Jaklic in the premises of the “Ilirija” sports club.

For the sake of further investigation, Troyer should also be arrested and questioned. Filipović did not fulfill my request. In addition, he told me that he would not send Paladini and his wife to court , but hire them to work for the Spanish intelligence service until the argument between me and Filipović, which ended with my energetic request to leave that job and move to Madrid, as was the earlier decision of the party representative, which Parović told me when he visited me in the hospital in Alicante. Filipović dissuaded me for a long time, pointing out that Madrid is a front, that the city is constantly being bombed, that I, as a severely disabled person, cannot take shelter, that he does not want to take responsibility. He did not understand at all how it is that I like the atmosphere of the front more than this in the deep background. I took it upon myself to speak and already on September 12, uncle Sreta Jakovljević drove me in the direction of Madrid.


Comrade August Cesarec was with me. My meeting with him was interesting. One day I suddenly received a phone call from Barcelona. The military police report that they have arrested, after getting off the ship, one suspicious person. I listen to the detailed description. Thick, middle-aged, he wears “pumphozn” {pumpkin} pants. He looks like a merchant, or a traveling salesman, and he pretends to be a Croatian writer. They suspect that he is someone’s spy, because by his appearance he could be anything but a writer. I ask what is his name? Answer: August Sesarek {sic}.  I immediately remembered that he was Cesarec, because we were expecting him in those days.

In the car, I tell him how I rescued him from the Barcelona prison where he spent several hours. He very vividly describes the guys he spent those few hours with. In particular, a French woman caught his eye, a photojournalist, whose cameras and films attracted the special attention of the military control authorities.

Cesarec is interested in detail as to why I left “S.I.M.” after only ten days of work. Instead of an answer, I asked him what he would do if he had to choose between working in stuffy rooms spending whole hours talking to the social dregs, and working in Madrid, at the front, where I will live with the citizens of a city of millions who have been working, rejoicing, dying, burying and mourning the dead for a year in the most difficult conditions, with the citizens and fighters who gave the greatest defeat to fascism so far.  Something irresistibly draws me to the city of barricades and trenches, the city of courage and pain, the city for whose freedom I was riddled with Fascist bullets, the city where I will most often meet my comrades fighting on the front. I work with him in the Commissariat of International Brigades. I consider it a party obligation. Parović is dead, but the party duty must be fulfilled. Cesarec agreed with my position without hesitation.

At the entrance and exit of almost every village, the control stops us. They are asking for a “Salvoconducto” travel permit. Most of the inspectors are illiterate. Every scene surrounding the examination of papers is more fun than serious. For Cesarec, it’s all new, interesting. He laughs and is surprised how the “controller” turns papers around several times. His friend asks him if he has a “stamp”. When he got an affirmative answer, the passage was open. It doesn’t matter what kind it is and whose stamp it is. Cesarec adds: “It looks like you could pass here with the stamp of the Zagreb police”.

Everything was new, unusual for Cesarec. Uncle Sreta Jakovljević, once a delegate at the Vukovar Congress, and now driving a car on Spanish roads in a military uniform, was also unusual for him. Česarec inserted himself into conversations from Serbia to Canada about the life of our emigrants. About the great way of human misery, in the years of the most severe economic crisis, the greatest unemployment and starvation on the American continent. He spoke simply, without boasting. Sometimes he would use an English word. He could have done it in It’s his fault that they call him “Uncle Sreta” and they don’t let him go to the front. He did not come to Spain to drive a car.   He could have done that in Canada.  The car was moving quickly through the villages of New Castile. Autumn days are approaching, but this autumn in Castile is gloomy. There are a lot of weeds in the fields, and in the houses there is a lot of emptiness, anxiety and sadness. Next to the stone troughs, women are washing clothes, and small children are running around them. Faces are worn out. Rags and patches are thinned and faded in the sun.

The pleasant September sun was still warm when the three of us Yugoslavs passed the last document check and passed the Madrid bullring to Velasquez Street, where the Commissariat of the International Brigades was located. Cesarec came to write a book about Spain and our fighters. The party will help to print it in Belgium or Canada. The first pages of the book were already printed.


The daughter of the sky, the goddess of the earth, the wife of Saturn and the mother of Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto {sic, Saturn married Rhea…. Cybele was adopted into Rhea}, is walled and fortified {this is the Fuente de Cibeles – rmh}. She was secured against fascist shells and bombs.

Lions and goddesses of beauty in chariots do not see what is happening around them.

The goddess, the embodiment of mother nature, the source of life, is hidden from seeing the sources of death. It was built by Spanish workers in order to preserve it for Madrid after the war, as they did with other cultural and artistic values.

Until a year ago, Madrid’s loving couples used to have meetings at Guapa, “the beauty”. Even today, they meet at the “Hidden Beauty”, but usually in uniform and without a long stay or a walk.

The daughter of the sky didn’t seem to deserve this much attention. She left the sky for Fascist squadrons. The goddess of the Earth as if is indifferent to what is happening on Earth. The mother of three sons don’t arouse the tears of mothers whose sons die on 14 Spanish fronts. Will she at least be grateful to these illiterate workers and villagers those who invested so much effort to preserve her untouched for future generations?

In an unusual way, a Spanish peasant, whom the landowners thought was mute, spoke. The sight of the Madrid workers is unusual, whom the bosses thought they could only look at them with downcast eyes. Instead of the daughter of the sky, they fixed their eyes on the sky.

Towards the future. Instead of the Earth goddess, they prepare to rule the Earth not as gods, but as men.


The Commissariat of International Brigades in Velasquez Street was visited daily by individual comrades. Most of them stayed for a few hours. Some stayed the night. In my darkened room under the roof, conversations would often take place until dawn. About anything and everything. The most frequent visitors were Danko Mitrov and Braco Vais.

I met Braco in 1935 at “Six Poplars {Sesta Topola, a restaurant in Belgrade}”. He studied engineering in Prague. He spent the summer holidays at his family’s house in French Street. His sister Maria was a children’s teacher. He told us about the life of Czech students, about the arrogant behavior of the Sudeten Germans, about Fascist organizations at the German Polytechnic in Prague, where he also studied. Sometimes we met in a small square at the top of Krunska Street. We would occupy both benches and, with the sound of the guitar, a young man’s song would softly echo. The beauty of the voice made Veso jump, he was from Podgorica.  Sometimes agents and gendarmes on duty hung around the square, but they didn’t touch us.

I was at the front together with Braco. Later he was a tank driver for a couple of weeks. Tank Driver, Ukrainian Kolja from Bijela Churches {probably Bila Tserkva – rmh} near Kiev, our mutual friend, a merry man, died at Jarama in a tank in which Braca was the machine gunner. Braco was now in the partisan brigade. It is, in fact, was a sabotage squad, which crossed the lines twice a month front, with special tasks, and after the completed task returned back to base.

One evening, after returning from the vicinity of Toledo, where they blew up an important bridge, we had a long discussion about the Partisans and the tradition of partisan struggle in Spain. We wondered why this experience and tradition of the people’s struggle is not used more, because there are ideal conditions. Some detachments were created already in the first months of the war in 1936. Our current party representative in Spain, Comrade Bolidar Maslaric Feliks, a former professor of mathematics, who had to earn his living as a porter on the banks of the Sava River near Kalemegdan, was in command of one detachment. It didn’t help that he defended Belgrade in 1914 and 1915 as a volunteer in the detachment of the legendary Duke Vuk {Vojin Popović -rmh}, that he was wounded in the defense, that he retreated with the Serbian army through Albania. The communist professor could not educate the children, not even in mathematics.

Maslaric was wounded as a Spanish partisan. His comrades barely got him out of Franco’s territory. Now he found himself together with his unsuspecting Dacians, who nevertheless became Communists without a Communist professor, because Lenin’s teaching crossed all possible boundaries.

A dozen Yugoslavs fight in various partisan “Brigades”. The unit under the command of Ljuba Ilic became famous.

Braco talked in detail about his life as a subversive, about Franco’s rear lines, about the accumulation of German and Italian hatred.

I found several books in the library, which revealed to me the past of the Spanish people, especially the causes of the disaster of Napoleon’s occupation. I have often wondered why that experience is no longer used.

Napoleon’s marshal Suchet, Duke of Albufera, wrote in his memoirs:

“Various peoples invaded Spain, one after the other. They conquered the country in the course of long and bloody wars and established their rule in a number of cities. Since they were not able to subjugate the Spanish people, in the end they were defeated or driven out by the courage and persistence of the population.”

It is known from history that the Iberian population waged a partisan war with the Roman Empire for two hundred years. The legend about the partisan leader Virnatu {unknown} has been preserved from those times. The epoch of the Reconquista – the epoch of the eighth-century struggle of the Spaniards against the Arab conquerors – is in fact an epoch of partisan warfare.

Spanish partisans wrote the most famous pages between 1808 and 1913 in the fight against the French occupiers. In the ” Historical Memoirs of the Spanish Revolution”, I came across the information that an average of 100,000 Frenchmen died each year during the course of six years. The Spanish partisans were actually the first to dim the halo that had been created around Napoleon’s name, here the glory of his invincibility darkened.

Here, in Madrid 130 years ago, a powerful voice flared up against King Joseph, Napoleon’s brother, who drove out the Bourbons and ascended the Spanish throne. Thirty to forty thousand citizens and surrounding peasants fought heroically in the city with French troops. Marshal Murat’s army was driven out of the capital, but not for long. Due to the disunity (as similar things are repeated now), the non-unified attitudes of the government junta, the French returned on May 2 and organized an outrageous massacre already on the first night. Count Segur succinctly says in one place in his memoirs that on that night the French caused a fire all over Spain that was destined to be extinguished only under the ruins of the Empire.

If the current and former executioners could come to life and meet, they would be the most dramatic stories from the modern history of Europe, and at the same time the most shameful.

The people themselves created military committees, armed themselves, introduced their own self-governing power. As always, the highlanders from Asturias took the lead. The flag of the fight against the Arab yoke was raised in it. Three years ago, Asturias was the first to raise the flag of the fight against fascism.

In a proclamation dated June 6, 1808, I found the following words:

“Even if we are destined to die, we will die in battle, as befits the brave”.

Aren’t those words being repeated today, when the Spanish people are shedding blood from the Pyrenees to Gibraltar?

Flipping through the history of the partisan war against Napoleon. I came across such descriptions that speak of the limitlessness of human courage, when people fight for their freedom.

Saragoza was besieged by 12 thousand French soldiers. She was protected by the citizens in insufficiently protected walls. The siege lasted two months, and in the course of ten days between August 4 and 14, the French, with heavy losses, managed to penetrate only one street (Santa Ingracia) and occupy four houses. In the end, they raised the siege and retreated. The same thing happened with Valencia now.

The worst defeat was suffered by Napoleon’s army after the conquest of Cordoba, when it found itself surrounded from all sides . The slopes of the Sierra Morena were teeming with partisan detachments. In La Mancha, peasants occupied military warehouses, attacked and captured smaller detachments and isolated units. The exhausted, decimated troops of General Dipon, 20,000 of Napoleon’s soldiers, surrendered to the Spanish insurgents at Bailen.

General Taybolt honestly writes about the echo of that victory of the Spanish partisans in his memoirs: “Faith in the invincibility of our army was destroyed. From Messina to Petersburg, from Vienna to Texel, from the shores of the Baltic to the Mediterranean Sea, the hateful, horrible fruit that ripened in the many pores of the winter of our enemies has awakened the hope of revenge everywhere. For us, it was no longer about winning new laurels , decorating our weapons with new victories: we were left with a team for insults; we have already started down that path of misfortunes, just to weaken the force of the blows that fell on us and that all that had to, after a long and convulsive agony, lead to the invasion of France, its dismemberment and the fall of the great empire”.

At the end of 1808, Napoleon personally appeared in Spain: he managed to recover Madrid and other cities, but at what cost.

I have read the most dramatic description of the resistance to the occupier, which was again offered by Saragoza, during the second siege. Fifty thousand French soldiers fought a bloody battle for over two months to capture Saragoza. At the end of February 1909 {sic}, the French occupied the city where an epidemic was raging. Saragoza lost 54,000 men. On the day the French troops entered, there were 6,000 unburied corpses, most of them children, women, and old people. They were all fighters. The rest of the population did not want to give up. They even tried to overthrow the defense junta, which signed the capitulation and to perish until the end.

Another city of Gerona withstood an equally terrible seven-month siege. In the last days of the siege, when people were dying en masse from hunger and epidemics, the population ate their own hair. A third of the population died during the defense.

Formally, Spain was conquered again, but Marshal Marom complained in a letter at the beginning of 1811: “Nothing can be gained here without the use of force”, and later he wrote in his memoirs that he ruled “only those places to which he was the shadow of French bayonets was falling”. Another Frenchman writes: “We were surrounded by an atmosphere of hatred, we felt like we were on a volcano”. When Marshal Masena came to the Iberian Peninsula, he described the regions he was passing through: “All the crops have been destroyed, the inhabitants have gone somewhere, leaving behind only hunger and earth for graves.”

The word “guerrilla” is a small warrior on Spanish soil. Spanish women also fought in numerous partisan units. The detachments numbered from several dozen to several thousand people. The detachment of the famous commander Mini, who held the banks of the Ebro, numbered around ten thousand fighters.

Describing the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Walter Scott wrote about Spain: “Chasing the guerrillas was just as futile a thing, like chasing the wind, and trying to surround them, is the same thing and draw water with a sieve.” Today’s saboteurs are not the same as the guerrillas of that time. In Franco’s background, there are no names like the legendary peasant El Empesinado, who was fear and terror for Napoleon’s army, who ended his life on the gallows at the hands of the Spanish reactionaries in 1825, or as it was Francisco Mina, one of the most talented guerrilla leaders, who had to flee his country after the liberation of Spain.

Why are there no guerillas in Franco’s background, when the people are against Franco, when from the ranks of workers, peasants, students, gifted warriors, commanders and commissars spring up every day?

Those who will write the history of the Spanish war will have to answer that question.


October 1937

This morning, at dawn, the Fascist artillery again woke up the citizens of Madrid and the tired soldiers at the front from their restless sleep. Several shells exploded only a hundred meters from the house where I live. Our artillery from the park responded with several platoons. Soon they fell silent. Saving ammunition. Fascists are flaunting their wealth of grenades this morning, like yesterday, the day before yesterday, all these days. They live in fireworks, killing, house demolitions, smoke and fires.

The sun prayed, as if it had rolled down the only smooth road that connects Madrid and Valencia. A scrum of thin, transparent cloud covered him. It’s better that way, because otherwise it would shine too much light on the misfortunes of this great martyr city, and Madrid wants to cover up its plight. He tells the whole world about heroism, exploits, and he wraps wounds and ruins with hundreds of visible and invisible bandages.

From my room, in the building of the International Brigade Commissariat, Calle Velasquez, located almost in the roof of the building, with a small terrace facing the front, you can see the whole Madrid, even the ash hills on the west side. You see the serpentine front line that cut off the city next to the others quarter and the University District, the pride of contemporary Madrid of architecture, until yesterday the scene of fiery discussions, one of the hotspots of Spanish anti-fascism. The students of yesterday dug in get into deep trenches and cover themselves with a blanket of water over the “rifle discussions” with fascists.

During the day, life flows. The streets are full of people. Actions open. Trams, trucks and some cars glide through the streets in various directions.

When the fascist planes come and the sirens wail, then Madrid in all its beauty is gloomy, haunted. With sirens wailing, the human river flows into the Metro. I think it is already an apartment for a part of the population. They sleep, cook and even work there. It is a warehouse of goods. There are also workshops. During the bombing, it is the main shelter. For a few minutes the street is empty. In those moments, Madrid looks like a dead city. The skeletons of the buildings defy the bombs, and the soul of the city crawls underground.

They are strange buildings during the bombing. Multi-story buildings seem to be unafraid, and old houses helplessly surrender to fate. Their old stones have seen a lot. It’s like they’re fed up with everything. They crowded into narrow streets, into high church towers, into steep staircases, into chained doors with a mandatory lock. Many of these chains will no longer be touched by human hands. After the bombing, life goes on again. It all looks like a movie show in which the film strip is often torn. But even during the bombing, an experienced observer can notice a different kind of life. Our artillery observation post is located on the top floor of the main post and telegraph skyscraper, the tallest building in Madrid. Observers remain there during the bombing. They fly left and right. They provide information. Their shadows continuously play on the walls facing the sun. In those moments, the spy game with mirrors begins. In Madrid, there are still strong remnants of the “fifth column”. Fascist agents use mirrors to send information to their own. Other mirrors respond from the Fascist front line. The conversation with the mirrors is short-lived, because at those moments our snipers come into action. The mirrors splash, and next to the broken glass the light goes out and some life goes out. This game of mirrors of life and death is unusual.

At night, the windows darken. On warm autumn nights like this, it’s best to sleep on the terrace, from where you can see the roofs of Madrid, the Madrid sky, the flight of individual rockets, explosions near the University Quarter, listen to the whining of a woman coming from the working-class district of “Carabanchel”, acquisition of my machine gun, and then sudden silence which is sometimes interrupted by solitary gunshots, again silence disturbed by the steps of a guard walking up and down in front of the entrance to the Commissariat building.

One such night I sat for a long time with August Cesarec on this same terrace. A warm September night. Cesarec has never experienced a night like this before. In the middle of the story, a stray bullet hit the wall overhead. Fine mortar is sprinkled on Cesarac. A speck fell into his eye. Indeed, the beauty of this night is truly amazing. This bullet brings us back to reality. And in this beauty, when the silver bands of the moon’s shadow slide across Spain, death also wanders in the moonlight. And in this night, they kill. Only a speck of mortar brought tears to the Cesarec’s eyes. In a night like this, the eyes that will no longer tear are killed, not only the eyes that keep watch on the sentry. They kill passionate children and girls, just like last night and the night before after the bombing of Madrid. They echo the nocturnal platoon that mows the prison slaves, as the platoons echoed last year over Granada when death closed the pupils of García Lorca.

Tomorrow at dawn, ours and Fascist artillery will speak again. Ours is modest, but Fascists superior. I will again listen to the eerie hum of shells overhead, because our artillery is in the park, right at the end of Calle Velasquez. Were new Velasquezes and Goyas born, who will perpetuate these moments of Spanish and world history full of tragedy and greatness?


Madrid. Today, unexpectedly, another gloomy day. Why is life so harsh and merciless? Death has broken a friendship again. It just started to bud. It carried the richness of hopes, longings, all the beauty of human feelings. It lasted less than a week. It came suddenly and ended suddenly.

Her name was Pilar. A common Spanish name. She left medical school and stepped into blood and wounds at the age of twenty.

At the first meeting, she was speechless. She looked crazy. Beauty, warmth, naivety and curiosity radiated from the large black eyes. I broke the silence. The next day, a long friendly conversation. A conversation between old acquaintances. And the first song. One of those songs whose value is not measured by aesthetic rules, but by the circumstances in which it was born and the reason why it was created. Pilar grew up in Granada and loved Lorca’s poems. When asked why, she answered simply: because of Granada, because of Lorca, because of her youth and wild dreams. That day I also fell in love with Lorca.

Five next mornings, five new girl songs. Gentle ones. Pure as morning dew. She confused me with excessive admiration and respect for me. She said to me: “Eres un hombre de hierro”², I got angry and asked: Is the war so harsh that even in moments like this the word iron has to be used?

Aren’t there more beautiful, warmer, softer words? Every morning gave birth to a new song Every morning she hopped across the square to buy me a morning newspaper. She bought

“Mundo Obrero” with a hammer and sickle in the header. She was there a communist, as well.

This morning she brought a poem and took my peseta to buy a newspaper. She never came back. One of those treacherous shells that knows no poetry, that destroys, flew from the front

She fell disfigured in the square in front of the kiosk, clutching my peseta tightly in her hand. I found her lying on the pavement. She wasn’t alone, but I didn’t notice the others. For her as well, as for most of the inhabitants of this city, Madrid’s cobblestones have become a deathbed. What is this way that in a few months I realize how death sheds a fuller light on many things, especially on human feelings and how at the same time it raises countless questions?

Spanish hospital staff with the wounded

Why do the most beautiful moments of life turn into the past so suddenly, insidiously, suddenly? Does it have to be like that?

Why does the most beautiful flower have to be picked first?

Why are her eyes looking into the distance? Why so far?

Why instead of the glow in the eyes, there is death’s bell?

Why instead of boiling blood in the veins, spilled clotted blood on the pavement?

Why, instead of a combed bun, tousled hair?

And her blood? Why did she want her to run away? I know that people sometimes try to escape from their judgment stage. Why was this girl’s blood curving? Why do I above her I stand petrified? Did my heart freeze too? It also looks like a heart it will temper like steel. It heats up to the point of incandescence, flames, and a fire bursts through the cheeks, eyes, lips. And then suddenly there is a blow, a pain. The heart freezes. Swelling from frostbite that needs to be bandaged, treated, and prevented from forming deep scars, which will be injured by every slightest shock. I’ve already started to get used to the fact that my heart is gripped by frost. The new frost will not harm him much. Only warmth and tenderness can cause pain. There is no such warmth today, although the gentle autumn Mediterranean sun is warming. These are the days when tears don’t flow down your cheeks. Tears are swallowed.

Two sycamore leaves fall on the disfigured body. I don’t know if they were torn off by the fall or the explosion. Anyway.

“I’m sorry A passage from the song “Mlada garda” is constantly playing in my head, which is sung by a troop of the young, not far from us:

“And maybe our it will be our way sprinkled with youth blood”

And then her song, which she brought me this morning. The song that lived in her for several hours:

“En el fondo de la mar

Nacio la perla”3

The words will remain, the words will remain, and the paper will disappear in the storm like Pilar.


The first days of October over Madrid. The air is full of moisture. Dark clouds cover ruined houses and torn-up streets. Soldiers in wide, warm raincoats are passing by. In the trenches, the fighters are preparing for the winter. In front of the entrances of cinemas and theaters, girls, women and soldiers, who pass through the city from the front or to the front, crowd. Countless posters shout slogans in large letters in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the October Revolution, in honor of the first anniversary of the defense of Madrid.

An occasional cannon shot shakes the wet fog but leaves people indifferent.

At home, among the pile of letters that arrive daily to freedom fighters, I received a letter with the following content:

“I know that you don’t have time, that every minute is precious to you, but still write at least sometimes. It’s our friends enough there, we are interested in them, every letter of theirs is of great importance to us. Our new school year will be marked by your work, your examples will be guideposts in the fight that awaits us. Do not worry. Our University will always hold the flag of freedom. Your absence will be felt, but your examples will raise the elan, enthusiasm and combativeness of us young people who follow in your footsteps.

I know that people are needed on all the fronts of our struggle and work, but I think that down there, at the front, where our fate is decided in secret, all forces should be concentrated. The words: “under Madrid, the fate of humanity, progress and freedom are decided” should not remain phrases, they should be given substance, and the substance is people and weapons.

You keep us informed through “Dimitrovac” about your struggle, about life at the front, about everything that happens there. I am sending you a picture of a wall newspaper, dedicated to your comrades, who went down before you. Our first newspaper this year will be dedicated to those who they are also leaving for you, who have left. Your departure will be felt, especially at first, but don’t worry, we are arriving, growing and strengthening. One day, when you return to us (and we will fight to make it possible for you) you will be satisfied. Stay close to us even though you are far away. Once again I greet you all, I wish you good luck in the fight and I shake your hand.

Your friend A.”

That’s what a student writes. The letter is not intended for me, but for someone else, who recently fell. But I read it carefully. Let all the other comrades read it and respond to the young comrade with the same brotherly love and solidarity with which she addresses them. Maybe it will soften the weight of the blow, which is waiting for her in the place of the desired answer.


Madrid, November 1937.

An eternity has passed since sunrise. The lives of many comrades with whom we have held a forward position in the olive grove since the dawn of time have been extinguished. We were ordered to stay awake at night and not to deviate. And we don’t deviate. Dimitrov’s battalion retreated to our left and Thaelmann’s to our right. My strike group, about forty of us, was composed mainly of Yugoslavs, Czechoslovaks and Germans. I met most of them for the first time last night. How many different destinies and dreams do death take a shortcut to bury under these olive trees on the way to Madrid! Without the last moving, no messages. How simple and easy it is to say goodbye to life!

A dead comrade lies next to me. We dug a shelter together last night next to an old olive tree. A few seconds ago we were still talking. He bandaged my wound half an hour ago. He followed with blue eyes the inclination of the February Spanish sun towards the west. The last words were a reproach to the sun: “How slowly it moves. Only if they could hold out until dusk.” At that moment, dusk came suddenly. A burst from a Fascist machine gun, from a tank that was slowly moving down the slope of the hill, found the exposed ice. Olive betrayed him. Everything failed him.

I used to imagine death on the battlefield differently, more glorious, more epic. Is this how Byron died? Is this how the Paris Communards, the heroes of the October Revolution, died? Is this how my uncle and his uncle died? And this here is all the more prosaic, simpler. Instead of music and speech, a symphony of battle, the barking of machine guns, explosions of dum-dum bullets, sometimes an exclamation or a frantic cry, then a brief silence. In moments of sudden silence, the smell of freshly dug earth from the trench that my friend and I dug until dawn prevails. This is what the soil on a freshly dug grave smells like. Did we dig our own grave last night without knowing what we were doing? Will the comrades know how we died?

I watch the blood, mine and my friend’s, being absorbed thinner into loose soil. Dark spots remain on the ground. I’m thinking if this blood will make the olives bear fruit better. And then, suddenly, the verses we sang in prison ring in my head: “A lot of blood will be spilled, but the day will come when every man will be happy, free”.

Perhaps this Spanish land, drenched in the acrid peasant sweat, will embrace this blood, preserve the memory of the one who came from far away to defend it, to be its own. Maybe she will become the pillar of his struggle, his dreams and his longings. Grass will grow in this place. I am sure it will be tender, fragrant, tame grass and not weeds or thorns. Perhaps the grass will tell the torrents of unspoken words, which stopped today on the lips of a dead comrade, in a non-mushy language. He did not fall like a severed slender stem in the forest. He did not enter the vast expanse of death as an intruder. He marched to his death through the wide-open gates of battle.

Fascists will not bother to bury us. It is better that we dug the trenches-graves ourselves. I’m thinking that it would be best if a farmer, an olive grove owner, or a policeman appeared after the colors, who would throw a few shovelfuls of this over the dead.

Land that was so mysteriously smoking and evaporating early this morning after sunrise.

It may happen that no one will know about these graves. In Viča city concentration camp, we often sang a Russian song in which it was said that no one will know about my grave unless the nightingale sings on it in early spring. There are no sparrows here on Jarama, let alone nightingales. The infernal fire dispersed all but the soldiers.

Blood flowed from my friend’s chest instead of a song about life.

Next to my dead friend and me, there is a lonely slob, who is he? He was cut quite low this morning by a machine gun burst. The vines on the Jarama will not be cut by the winegrowers this spring. It cuts the war. Grapes leave more eyes on the vine. The machine gun left only one. Only to restore life. Sometime around noon, tears began to flow from his wound. They are as clean as spring water. Drops fall at regular intervals on the forehead of a fallen comrade. There is something shocking, deeply primal and at the same time defiant, vital in these tears. Maybe it’s a substitute for mother’s tears. I know it’s not the life-giving water from a fairy tale, but I’m glad that nature didn’t turn its back on a fallen friend. When a tear drops from a squirm, it spreads like fine dew on a cold forehead. Signs of life seem to return to the dead comrade, as if beads of sweat broke out on his forehead. Ä then the forehead dries and again a new drop and new beads of sweat.

And this spring, vines are being cut in Spain. For some reason, it seems to me that Spanish vineyards will shed many more tears this year than in previous years. Can the vineyards fall behind the abundance of tears of mothers, sisters, brothers, orphans. They are no longer lonely thin furrows on some cheeks. This is becoming a matter of course, because in Spain even blood no longer flows in drops. Even sighs are no longer hidden and lonely. If they could gather in one sigh, it would be a hurricane of enormous power, a hurricane of hatred, a hurricane of protest and pain.

Many will read in the newspapers tomorrow the brief reports about our battles, about the dead and wounded. How lifeless it will be! Often cynical. Why don’t the newspapers write about the murdered youth? Why don’t they say what caused the blood to flow in the veins of this young man who is lying dead next to me? What do people who write for newspapers know about big dreams in the hearts of fallen comrades, about thunderbolts of hatred towards tyrants, and what about dormant dreams and interrupted imaginations?

In Belgrade, in Prague, in Paris, youth at sunset goes for a walk, looks for fun, dresses up for dances. How much will remind them that their peers, youth from various countries, in this olive grove, among other things, so that the young can go to the young. Aren’t we young too, have we overestimated life and youth? We despised fascism, human slavery and humility. We felt that we can know the beauty of life only in battle, no matter how cruel and bloody it may be, even if it means death for individuals or the majority. We know that we will not be alone, no matter how many young ones fall, no matter how many springs are shot. Different springs must sprout from this kind of struggle.


April 1938.

Two months of staying and working in Barcelona, in the personnel commission of the International Brigades, allowed me to look into the soul of this wonderful and somewhat unusual city.

The Fascists advanced towards the sea, cutting Republican Spain in two. I was given an urgent task to evacuate the wounded of the International Brigades from Alicante, Denia, Valencia and hospitals along the way. The wounded, who were already healing their wounds, were joined by new ones who arrived in those April days of 1938 from the Aragonese and Levantine fronts. There were many of them. Among them I found a group of Yugoslavs: Marjan Krajačić Gašparac, Miljenko Cvitković, Ratko Vukičević and others. Marian was seriously wounded by an explosive bullet in the lower jaw. Bloody bandages, unshaven, with a swollen tongue and sunken eyes with which he wanted to say something, because he could not open his mouth. They were naked and barefoot. From the salary I received in those days, I bought everyone a pair of underwear and a shirt in Valencia.

My friends tell me about difficult battles and new sacrifices. Since the beginning of the year, the Fascists have been deploying large concentrations of troops and military equipment. The future was replaced in London by Halifax, and Germany and Italy get a free hand and openly send troops and the most modern war equipment. At the beginning of March, the fascist offensive began in the direction of Catalonia and the Levant. The Valencia-Barcelona railroad and all the major cities on the coast are continuously bombed. I experienced a great bombing in Alicante. Valencia, Sagunto, Tarragona , Barcelona are on fire. Whole neighborhoods are blown up, burying thousands of victims under their ruins. The Spanish people are surviving the most difficult hours in their struggle. No panic, no de-moralization. On the contrary, tens of thousands of new volunteers leave the plows, workshops, schools, offices and in columns, almost bare-handed, go straight to the front, to bravely and defiantly stop the fascist invasion. Only one slogan is heard everywhere! “Resistir!” Fascist troops, despite huge casualties, were stopped at the borders of Catalonia and on the slopes of the Levant.

In the defense of the Levant, the battalion “Duro Dakovic” also became famous. The Commander of the Battalion, Major Bauman (Comrade Demnijevski from Macedonia) was seriously wounded. My compatriot Moishe Stefanović was also killed. I worked together with him and fought in Belgrade in the student movement. Killed are comrades Brkic and Lilić. The battalion gave many victims. The wounded comrades constantly talk about them.

In Valencia, we formed an ambulance train that was supposed to transport the wounded comrades to Barcelona along the barbed railway. I stayed on the train with my friends, even though I had a car at my disposal. I felt that I was more necessary and wanted to sleep on the train, so that I would be at hand if needed.

The train was moving slowly. In some places the railway was being repaired, in others Fascist planes were dropping deadly cargo. Food and bandages were scarce. In the wagon, the heavy smell of undressed wounds. Some have fallen asleep, others are quietly moaning, others are grinding their teeth and trying to hide their pain.

I arrived in Barcelona at first darkness. Ambulances took the wounded to various hospitals. Together with Sreten Zujović, who was staying in Spain in those days, I looked for a place to stay near the station and pier. We stayed in the remains of a hotel that had been cut in half, because this particular area experienced the biggest demolitions. The toilet door led into the abyss and opened up a unique view of the sea and the starry sky. The bomb cut through the building and took away half the toilet. And the hotel, under the administration of anarchists, still works. This hotel can be symbolically compared to the halved republic of Spain, which is fighting. The porter tells us that only since the last bombing there were 800 dead and over 2,000 wounded.

Someone wrote about Barcelona that “he has the eyes of his soul open to all ideas of progress, to all rays of true light, to all impulses of ambitious and noble activity”.

Today, Barcelona opened homes for thousands of new workers, for immense streams of refugees from Aragon and the Levante, for families split in half, for women with children, for old men pulling overloaded two-carts. The city was pushed by the mountains and fell towards the sea, and the influx of wounded and refugees made it even narrower.


A bombed oil warehouse on the outskirts of Barcelona in 1938

Barcelona is often called the pearl of the Mediterranean. The surroundings of the city, its coast and itself formed a harmonious whole. Fascist planes disfigured the beauty, piled up ruins on streets, especially in the pier, but the harmony of the said beauty created by nature and people remained. The war brought turmoil to this harmony. This restlessness is felt at every corner, even in front of the hundreds of bars on Parallel, in the lines of people waiting for groceries with supply tickets, in the eternal street crowd and noise. In the late night, there seem to be moments of peace, but it is apparent, false. This unrest is not only told by the ruins, or the escapees, or the transports of the wounded, but also the crooked hulls of the sunken ships, lowered shutters on the houses, extinguished street lamps, and especially the restlessness in the eyes of the children. It seems to me that Columbus, who is standing on a forty-meter high pillar above the port, is also restless. It’s as if his trembling hand is pointing in the direction of America, a country that today has completely forgotten him, satisfied that it has achieved “its deal” and that it has gotten out of a major crisis. Columbus has his back turned to Aragon, as if he too is running away from the Fascist invasion, as if at any moment he will step into the sea and seek salvation in flight.

Barcelona is sometimes called the Spanish New York. But I don’t believe that New York has such squares as the Rambla de las Flores, nor natural palm trees on the boulevards. Maybe the banking skyscrapers, the dock crowd, “Chinatown” and various night spots are similar to the New York ambience. Cafes with tables on the sidewalk are closer to Belgrade than New York.

In front of one such tavern, I watched an elderly gentleman with a top hat, a black jacket and worn corduroy pants, as he twirled around a smoked cigarette on the sidewalk. He struggles between his pride and the overwhelming need to smoke two cigarettes.


September 1938

I read in this morning’s Paris papers about the revolt of the Moroccans in El-ksar-el-Kebir. About three months ago in June, I read in the Barcelona papers about the anti-Fascist uprising of the Moroccans in Tetouan.

The problem of Morocco, the problems of the Arab world intrigued me since the day I first encountered Moroccan troops in a fierce battle on the Jarama front. The more I rummaged through the literature, I felt that the problem is both simple and complicated. Simple, because every nation has the right to national independence and free development. Complicated, because a spider’s web of European, and not only European, colonialism has been woven around Morocco, in which Spain has a special place and a special role.

There is an episode in “Don Quixote” that talks about how a group of Spaniards escaped from Algeria with a beautiful Moroccan woman, who fell in love with the leader of the group. After various adventures in the Mediterranean, the group disembarked on a Spanish beach and went to meet the people. She ran into a shepherd who saw a beautiful Moroccan woman and the leader of the group with a white turban around his head. He rushed through the forest shouting at the top of his voice: “Moroccans, the Moroccans are on land.” Moroccans, Moroccans. To Arms. To Arms.”

The fear of Cervantes’ hero is actually the fear of the famous writer “Don Quixote”, because

Cervantes fell into the hands of Algerian pirates in his youth, was wounded and barely escaped. This fear of Servantes has been creeping into the villages and towns of Spain from one and the other side of the front for two years.

For eight centuries, the destinies of Arabs and Spaniards on the soil of Spain were intertwined. The Balkan Slavs were also on the panorama of that great historical game. Among other records, I came across one that says that during the rule of the Arabs in Spain, Slavs were given leadership positions. Historical documents reveal that the Slovene guard of the Umayyad Caliph in Cordoba numbered 13,750 men. I knew that the Spanish knights from the crusade companies, tired and sick, fed up with wandering and empty promises, stopped, among other things, in Montenegro, settled there and merged with local population. I did not know that our distant ancestors got to know the Spanish climate long before us and cruised on Spanish roads.

A lot has passed since the time around the year 1000, when the legendary Spanish hero Cid, a native of Valencia, led a fight against 6,000 Moors, or when the last Moroccan king shed tears on a ship that blocked his view of Granada, during his definitive departure from Spain. they lead down the rivers of history. It seemed that the Moroccans would never return to Spain. Fascism proved that such a return is also possible.

Entire legends have been spun about the fight against the Moors in Spain. Guillén de Castro, whose real name is Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, wove these legends into El Cid. Poor Rodrigo never dreamed that his descendants, at the head of Moroccan troops, would ravage the towns and villages of Spain. Cid was saying:

“Ellos lo temen, ca non lo pienso yo.

No los ire buscar, en Valencia sera yo”.

He did not want to look for Moroccans through the Strait {Gibraltar}. He wanted to live in peace in Valencia. Franco and international Fascism made sure they were brought home to him. They haven’t reached Valencia yet, but the way things are going in Spain, the day is not far when the

Moroccans will feast in Rodrigo’s home. Rodrigo did not want him to cross the Strait, but Fernando and Iza Bela and their dukes wanted it. It began with the Duke of Medina, who created large feudal estates on Moroccan soil. The Inquisition banished hundreds of thousands of baptized Muslims and Jews to the northern coasts of Africa, and Isabella “made sure” to take these Spanish-speaking people under her “protection”.  What was this protection of the Spanish Court, Catholic Church and Spanish feudalism are best witnessed by Arab tribes. In the meantime, England got involved in the colonial game, occupied Gibraltar and tied the hands of the Spanish colonialism, which was losing one position after another. A Spanish bourgeois historian wrote: “Gibraltar cut the road, it became the cradle of a foreign spirit between two peoples who, for eight centuries, had mingled most intimately in war and peace.”

The same historian continues:

Spain leaves Cuba and the Philippines, defeated by the United States of America, she lost the remains of her empire, her ports were full of repatriated soldiers, who were suffering from fever and hunger, she showed no appetite for new adventures. Her dream was to live in peace and for a long time, without telegrams about famous people’s

“misery” followed by lists of the dead and wounded. “Spain wanted a break from a life full of excitement, it wanted work, order and peace.”

Today, it can be seen that the Spanish soldiers did not retreat from Moroccans. Maybe she would have more peace and more work.

This is how they can exclaim along with Sancho, who after this short experience as a ruler exclaimed in “Don Quixote”:

“Desnudo naci, desnudo me hallo. Ni pierdo, ni gano ”

Unlike Sancho Panza, Spain can say:

“I lost my colonies, but I will get everything when I am free from the last remnants of the former colonial greatness”.

The Moroccan troops who are raiding Spain are not aware of their tragedy. These are apparently the same people who, under the command of General King Alfonso XIII, died fighting against their own brothers, participating between 1921 and 1924 in the battles against Moroccan insurgent and liberation people’s army, led by Abd-el-Kerim who founded the

Republic of Rif and in two moves inflicted heavy defeats on the Spanish army and arrogant Spanish generals. They are traitors in their own country. There are also traitors and mercenaries in Spain. Drafted fellows, they saw the only way out, to feed their families after successive droughts, if they joined Franco’s legion and by setting aside a part of the three pesetas they receive a day, to buy a hundred ears of grain. Many were also attracted by Franco’s promise that they were allowed to loot in occupied villages and towns .

Among Moroccans, the most famous are Rifis, unsurpassed snipers, imitators of hyenas, vultures and other birds of prey.

One of the Rifs crossed over to our side in February 1937. He fought alongside Abd-el-Kerim. The story goes that after the defeat, many of Kerim’s fighters, hungry and disappointed, found themselves with Franco. They baked the craft of war well. This friend of ours talks about Mustafa Ibn Kal’s failed attempt to create a Moroccan anti-Fascist legion.

In those days, Laza Latinovic passed like that shepherd from “Don Quixote”. After long and tiring fights, he fell asleep behind a stone. Our Moroccan came by and started to wake him up. When Laza opened his eyes, he saw a living Moroccan above him, jumped as fast as he could, began to run and shout: “Moroccans, Moroccans.” In those days, there were many dead Moroccans in the olive groves. Many were in a sitting position, leaning against an olive tree. Their white teeth could be seen from a distance. It looked like they were laughing. That’s where the idea came from, “you’ll laugh under the olive trees too”.

The ancestors of Kabila and Rif brought the Moorish culture to Spain, they built the famous Alhambra in Granada, the Patio in Seville, and now their descendants carry desolation, ruins, wild roaring, all death.

Imperialist Europe is primarily to blame for their tragedy, but even the Spanish Popular Front did not find it necessary to proclaim Morocco’s independence. In October 1936, the National

Congress of the Moroccan Front was held in the French part of Morocco. The government of Leon Blum, the government of the French Popular Front, refused to meet the reformist demands of Moroccan nationalists.

Such a policy revealed the great weaknesses of both the Spanish and French Popular Fronts. These were also the weaknesses of the French and Spanish communists and socialists who did not have the courage to stand before their bourgeoisie openly with the request to help the liberation of the Arab peoples. Such a wrong policy added water to the Fascist mill. Germany and Italy used this abundantly, undermining the positions of the Popular Front. Their slogan that Fascism is the “protector of Islam and Arab nationalism” found, albeit temporarily, a certain resonance.

This morning’s news about the rebellion in El-Ksar-el-Kabir is very scarce, so that larger conclusions could be made. It is hard to believe that large-scale mass movements are possible, at least for the foreseeable future, in this situation.

I remember when they brought a captured and wounded Moroccan to Alicante hospital last year. Both of his legs were previously broken. He behaved like game in a trap. Apparently, they told him so many things that he expected a knife to his throat at any moment. He looked frantically and shook all over when the doctor brought him the injection needle. For days he didn’t want to say a word. Later, when he saw that nothing would happen to him, he began to recover. Illiterate, beaten down, scared. It was not the exception, but the rule. He listened dully to stories about brotherhood and equality between people. It was hard to understand what was going on in his head. He woke up only when he realized that a peasant, a wage earner, a Spaniard from Andalusia was lying next to him. Also illiterate, also poor. He began to understand that the poor have no place next to Franco and his generals.

Horrible stories about the rampage of Moroccans in conquered cities and villages reach us. I have the impression that all the crimes of Spanish and foreign Fascists are blamed on Moroccans. Maybe the Fascist leaders really want to direct the hatred and fear of the ordinary people in the wrong direction. This does not mean that these stories are not at least partially true. But, the role of the Moroccan in the Spanish Cavalry varies in three stages, both in terms of causes and consequences.   The real actors of the contemporary drama of humanity embodied in Hitler and Mussolini, in Franco and Quiepo de Llano, in the heads of the Catholic Church who are educated on the crimes of Torquemada and the bulls of Pope Innocent, who gave the ideological-theoretical basis to these crimes. Moroccans are not to blame for the concentration camps among the compatriots of Goethe and Heine, Marx and Engels, for the blacks and black shirts in Europe, for the rivers of refugees of anti-Fascists and Jews, for the Gestapo equipment of modern torture centers, which could be envied by the Jesuits of the Inquisition. In addition to the disgusting position in which the illiterate Moroccan fellows found themselves, I sometimes fear that the Spanish and European man will not draw the wrong conclusion from these and other facts, a conclusion that would force water into the mill of colonialism and the ideologues of colonial oppression. The greater tragedy is that the labor movement in the industrial countries of Europe did not learn almost any lessons from Marx’s and Engels’ theses, speeches, articles and letters about colonialism.




Paris 1939.

In the February sleet, our fighters said goodbye to the Spanish battlefield with rifle in hand, fighting their last battles on the slopes of the Pyrenees. They fought on the last piece of solid Spanish land. They left Spain facing the Fascists with their faces, not their backs.

Comrades inform me from the camp that in those final days that the last victim from the ranks fell in the fighting of the Jugoslav units. The fallen comrade Sigi Bastijančić – student– went to Spain from Prague. We are together in Spain from Prague. A good skier in the Krkonoše

Mountains, a good student, he was in Spain and a good fighter. His relatives and friends in Slovenia knew him as a peaceful young man. They did not, nor will they recognize him as a determined fighter, who became an officer of the Republican Army through combat skirmishes and during the two-year struggle met the Fascists on almost all fronts in Spain.

Today he lies in the night watch as a silent witness of what Spain means now.

Fascist leaders pulled out the most brilliant suits and luxurious togas from the closet of history, but they cannot cover the shame and misery they bring to the country. The fanfare of the fascist victory has been roared and feasting has been going on for days at the expense of yesterday’s blood. The fascists celebrate the victory, and the people mourn the dead. Days of sadness and immense tragedy are coming for the Spanish people.

Hundreds of thousands of people crossed the Pyrenees, leaving their homeland behind, walking the paths of uncertainty. In Spain, hundreds of thousands of others are heading to prisons and concentration camps with their heads bowed and handcuffed. Today, Spain is the country where foxes and barbed wire are mostly produced. Millions have died, and other millions are dead for life, even though they are formally alive.

Sigi stepped onto the Spanish soil together with us on that bright day when Spain was bathed by the first warm rays of near spring and the rays of great human hope. He remains in that country during the times of deep agony of a nation. When he came to greet him, the melody of Riego, the melody of the working day, greeted him. He remained with the subdued sounds of Wagner, as a witness of superhuman efforts and the most human aspirations of a generation.


Paris in April 1939

Madrid has fallen. That knowledge burns, painfully echoes to the bottom of the heart, to the marrow of the bones. Fascism plays a victory lap on the ruins of our heroic city. The uproar from the pyre of the victor, the echo of which I read in this morning’s Paris newspaper, causes tears, pinches the eyes, draws a veil of darkness in front of, until yesterday, a bright and clear view.

Fascist spokesmen, their trumpets and talambas, announce new victories. Fascism is on the march. I imagine what it would be like it was our joy that the situation was reversed. That would be fun for the poor, oppressed and persecuted, people who know how to rejoice. Today, the people are watching with sadness the celebration of the fascists head and finches in the soul for today and tomorrow.

The fall of Madrid may cause depression among a part of the progressive forces. There are already slanderers who preach to us, saying that the fight in Spain was in vain. They turn the hook into the wisdom of life.

I almost made a mess in the Paris police today. Riding the elevator with other comrades, to the third floor to obtain our important documents “Refue des sejours” for the following three days, the elevator driver gave me a scathing remark, “There, you left your leg in Spain, and today Franco is celebrating his victory. What’s did you need that for?” I cursed him loudly and left. I like Gašparac held his hand. Wretched, probably poor. Earns a cover bread bowing humbly to the police inspectors. From a height looks at thousands of refugees from Germany, Austria,

Czechoslovakia, Spain, who have to pass through this building next to the Seine. He doesn’t know that tomorrow he too can wander the dusty roads and beg the Gestapo officer for a residence permit in his own country. Today’s roads are impenetrable and difficult of Europe.

The struggle in Spain cannot be in vain, because no revolutionary struggle has ever been in vain. We fought with honor. We have awakened in millions of people what is human in them. The cabinets of Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo were afraid of us, and maybe London, Paris and

Washington. Tonight, the gentlemen the ministry can sleep more peacefully. They also played a part in Franco’s victory. The giant of Madrid, all riddled with three years of struggle, was laid on both shoulder blades. But don’t be fooled by the Fascists and their secret and public friends. There is no more peaceful sleep. The storm over Spain, which subsided tonight in the Madrid night, will appear at dawn tomorrow, with new force, in other places as well.

In history, sometimes only one day is glorious. The Madrid years are a great epic. Millions of people, from all continents, believed in Madrid, spoke about it with enthusiasm, showed examples of solidarity and sacrifice, awakened in themselves convictions, points of view, aspirations, which created new personal and social values from them. These values are increasingly becoming a serious factor in the life of modern society.

Can tonight’s fascist party in Madrid, Berlin, and Rome darken those values? No, and a thousand times no!

That revel warns. It is a threat to freedom. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people with blocked ears and closed eyes. They believe that Fascism will be satisfied with its past successes. How many naive and fools are there in the world? As I write this, as if to spite me, there is a page of some old newspaper from March 8, 1936 in front of me, in which the grocer wrapped a kilogram of coal for me. I am reading an excerpt from the report on Hitler’s speech in the Reichstag. Looks like he held it the day before. “In Europe, we don’t have any territorial claims,” exclaims the Führer. And the fools believe it. Only three years have passed. Austria and Czechoslovakia were occupied. Spain fell. And the fools still believe that peace has been preserved in Munich, that Hitler will respect signature on a piece of paper. While I was lying in the hospital, I read official Fascist denials that dum-dum bullets, which are prohibited by the Geneva Convention , are not used in Spain. And I was lying riddled with German dum-dum bullets, from German rifles, with the participation of the SS from the legions, “Condor”. And in Europe there were plenty of fools who accepted such denials for granted. Even today in Paris, the right-wing press expresses the hope that Fascism in Spain will be merciful. Where does such hope come from?

Which is why people don’t see that the fall of Madrid means the same thing as the declaration of totalitarian war against the democratic forces of the world. Today, the star of April 14 went out, the dawn of July 19 was clouded, but that did not tear the last page from the calendar of the Spanish revolutionary struggle. The Spanish people will have the last word, not Hitler, Mussolini and Franco. From millions of fresh mounds, from overcrowded prisons and dungeons, from columns of refugees and exiles — a new force will be born that will throw off the fascist shackles and dispel the Fascist darkness with the torch of freedom.

From today, two Spains will live together in Spain. The Spain of Franco and his killers, which will not want to leave alive the witnesses of its own crimes, and Spain, the national anti-Fascist, crucified, scarred, desecrated, but vital and defiant. Both speak the same Castilian language, but they will never be able to understand each other. Today, Spain can say the words of Garcia with sadness Lorca:

“On the broken windows of my day, Blood untangled its hair”.





1  “Dimitrovac” No. 7 of August 25, 1937 (list of the battalion, Dimitrov”).

2  You are a man of steel! which destroys lives and friendships.

3  “A pearl is created at the bottom of the sea”

4  From the brochure “Blood and life for freedom.”



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