Moisès Broggi i Vallès (1908-2012)

March 18, 2013
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Moisès Broggi i Vallès. Photo Domenec Umbert.

Moises Broggi i Vallès, Catalan surgeon who served in the 35th International Division Medical Services, passed away on December 31, 2012. As a young doctor, working in an on call capacity, he provided medical care in the Military Hospital of Barcelona from the first day of the war. In early 1937 he was appointed to the International Brigades Medical Services of the 14th Brigade where he served from Jarama to La Granja. During the battle of Brunete in July 1937, he was transferred to one of the mobile surgical teams operating out of the famous “Auto-chirs.”

Two American women were on Broggi’s team: Esther Silverstein as surgical nurse and Irene Goldin as ward nurse. Broggi continued to serve in the IB medical services and was promoted to head surgeon of the 35th Division by October 1937. At Teruel Doctor Vallès’ team was stationed very close to the front at Casas Labradas. He fell ill during The Retreats of early 1938 and was evacuated to Barcelona, where he worked until the city fell to insurgents in January 1939.

Tried by military tribunal shortly afterwards, he narrowly escaped execution and was then prohibited from working in the public hospital system. In order to provide for his growing family, he opened a private practice which became well known in postwar Barcelona. Through the years since Franco’s death in 1975, Broggi was widely recognized for his medical accomplishments as well as his social and moral convictions.

In 2006 he said of his experiences, “I took part in the war as a free citizen unaffiliated with any political party. I fought against an evil power that opposed freedom and justice. That struggle was and is international.”

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