19 avril 2007

Solidarity with the Spanish Civil War Veterans in Poland

So, as I promissed to start posting in English once in a while, let us open this trend with a call for solidarity.

I recently received a petition signed by an association called "Amis des Combattants en Espagne Républicaine", concerning yet another completely scandalous move of the twin brothers in Poland. After having tried to get rid of women's right (they failed an attempt to change the constitution in order to ban abortion), they are now willing to starve off the polish veterans of the International Brigades and to erase their memory of the polish national history.

The text reads as follow:

Warsaw’s Government is currently putting up measures aiming at erasing from their national History the memory of the polish « brigadistes » who defended the Spanish Republic against the aggression of Franco, Hitler, Mussolini and Salazar. The Polish authorities are qualifying the brigadistes as “traitors and criminals”.

Several dispositions and a law proposal are being elaborated now against the brigadistes: suppression of the war veterans’ grant, renaming of streets and schools in Warsaw that were named after the veterans of the Dombrowski brigade. In the eye of the polish government, the brigadistes are traitors as they went fighting in Spain “in order to build up communism” and as they allegedly contributed to strengthen the “totalitarian regime” by becoming an “influent group” inside the polish communist party.

Polish authorities had already stroke off the warsaw’s monument to the unknown soldier, the name of the main battles the Polish brigadistes took part in in Spain (Ebro, Brunete and Jarama).

After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, many Poles, whether communist or not, joined in the International Brigades. Their own was named after Dombrowski
[1]. Several hundreds among them were killed in action, and many veterans took an important part in the resistance to the Nazi occupation. Poland is kicking the brigadistes out of its history, while Estonia is paying repeated official homage to former SS. Without the EU voicing any reaction – while these two countries are to be counted among the “27”.

Measures announced in Warsaw are provoking strong reactions in Spain. In Paris, the “Association des amis des combatants en Espagne Républicaine” invites you to sign the protest petition to be addressed to the polish government.

People who had known me for some time know by now that I'm more attracted to black and red than to the hammer and sickle. And I would probably not feel perfectly at ease with the people in this Association, considering that communists were not exactly tender towards Anarchists and Trots in the late thirties in Spain.
But still, the attitude of the Polish Government is outrageous, and a complete historical nonsense.
I think it is well worth the pain to remind some people that
1. the Communist Party of Poland was not in speaking terms with Stalin in the thirties (mainly because of its radical anti-nazi attitude standing in the way of the Germano-soviet Pact). To the point that it has been dissolved and many of its leaders fell in the 1936 trials under the ridiculous accusation of "Trotskyism and Fascism".
2. most of the Brigades' veterans were either in the Resistance during the war... or in the Mauthausen concentration camp - and were not too eager to go back to a place were the new reformed polish communist party did not want to welcome them anyway.

So, pretending that these people became an important totalitarian group inside the Polish Communist party sounds a bit like an overstatement.

Show the veterans of the Spanish Civil War your support and let us make sure that, neither in Poland, nor in the rest of the world, people forget what these men and women did to fight fascism in Spain. Sign here!

[1] Dombrowski was a protagonist of the Commune de Paris – not to be confused with a general of Napoleon’s. Translator's note ;-).

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