IBMT Chair Jim Jump sent the following in to the Morning Star, in response to news last week that the Spanish government might offer citizenship to descendants of the International Brigade volunteers.
British Anti-Tank Battery at the Ambite base in Autumn 1937.
The Morning Star (17 September) reports that Spain plans to offer citizenship to the descendants of the International Brigaders who fought in the Spanish Civil War. This was announced by the country's Deputy Prime Minister and leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, and was widely reported in the Spanish media.
However, the draft of the new Law on Democratic Memory has now been published and it says that citizenship will be offered only to the International Brigaders themselves.
Though a welcome gesture by the socialist-led government, this move is mainly symbolic. To our knowledge there are no foreign volunteers still alive apart from one 101-year-old who is already a dual French-Spanish national. The same offer of citizenship was in any case enacted in Spain’s 2007 Law on Historical Memory, and taken up at the time by the small number of surviving veterans in Britain.
The new draft Bill has to go through public consultation and then be approved by the Spanish Parliament. We can only hope that there will be support for the original measure flagged up by Pablo Iglesias.
Spanish citizenship for the Brigaders and their families would fulfil the spirit of the historic pledge made on behalf of the Spanish Republic by politician and ant-fascist icon Dolores Ibárruri (la Pasionaria). She said that Spain would always be a home for them. At their farewell parade in Barcelona on 28 October 1938 she told the volunteers, many of them in tears, that: ‘We shall not forget you, and, when the olive tree of peace puts forth its leaves again, entwined with the victory laurels of the Republic of Spain, come back.’
Posted on 22 September 2020.