Fighters and Friends of the Spanish Republic
Victor Grossman, of the German organization “Fighters and Friends of the Spanish Republic” sent a brief overview of their annual Spain Conference in Berlin to share with the ALBA community.
“Held in late October 2014, the annual Spain Conference, as always included friends from similar organizations in other countries – this time Spain, France, Italy, Russia, Denmark, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. The group was especially happy to welcome one of the very last IB survivors, Joseph Almudever, 95, who has lived in France for many years. Almudever was known by many for his participation in ceremonies in Spain. He was as amazingly vital as ever, both singing and speaking vividly about the history of the war, including his own participation and lucky escape afterwards.
Of great interest were also remarks made by the Danish visitor, Allan Christiansen, speaking about the first four Danes to fight in Spain – almost from the beginning – and the contribution by Col. Pavel Vranský, 93, who fought not in Spain but in North Africa and with Czech forces flying out of England. As president of the Czech organization of all anti-fascist veterans he hopes to establish a small group, similar to that in Germany, with descendants of Spanish volunteers and others close to the cause of the Republic.
A highpoint of the conference was a screening of , “Goodbye Barcelona”, a British musical about the war and the participation of a young British volunteer and his mother. Most of the audience was curious as to whether a musical could offer love duets and dancing, while packing a political, as well as an emotional message. Many admitted afterwards to having tears in their eyes – and were
convinced of its clear, strong punch and fair story-line – and hoped it can be shown to many youthful audiences.
In less dramatic but also interesting discussions, participants discussed how best to coordinate activities in the next few years, especially to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Europe (except Spain) from fascism in May 1945 and then, in October 2016, the 80th anniversary of the founding of the International Brigades, aiming for well-popularized events in many parts of Europe before concluding in Barcelona, Albacete and Madrid.
As every year, there was also a moving gathering, with short speeches and songs, at the statue, plaque and large relief honoring International Brigaders.”
Victor Grossman, November 17 2014