La Pasionaria  (Dolores Ibarruri, Member of the Spanish Parliament)

Farewell to the International Brigades in Barcelona, Spain



It is hard to say a few words in farewell to the heroes of the International Brigades, both because of what they are and what they represent.
A feeling of sorrow, an infinite grief catches our throats ... sorrow for those who are going away, for the soldiers of the highest ideal of human redemption, exiles from their countries, persecuted by the tyrants of all peoples... grief for those who will stay here forever, mingling with the Spanish soil or in the very depths of our hearts, bathed in the light of our gratitude.

You came to us from all peoples, from all races.  You came like brothers of ours, like sons of undying Spain; and in the hardest days of the war, when the capital of the Spanish Republic was threatened, it was you, gallant comrades of the International Brigades, who helped to save the city with your fighting enthusiasm, your heroism and your spirit of sacrifice.
For the first time in the history of the peoples’ struggles, there have been the spectacle, breath-taking in its grandeur, of the formation of International Brigades to help save a threatened country’s freedom and independence, the freedom and independence of our Spanish land.

They gave us everything:  their youth and their maturity; their science or their experience; their blood and their lives;  their hopes and aspirations — and they asked us for nothing at all.  That is to say, they did want a post in the struggle, they did aspire to the honor of dying for us.

Mothers! Women!  When the years pass by and the wounds of the war are being stanched; when the cloudy memory of the sorrowful, bloody days return in a present of freedom, peace and well-being; when the feelings of rancor are dying away and when pride in a free country is felt equally by all Spaniards, then speak to your children.  Tell them of these men of the International Brigades.

Tell them how, coming over seas and mountains, crossing frontiers bristling with bayonets, watched for by raving dogs thirsting to tear at their flesh, these men reached our country as crusaders for freedom, to fight and die for Spain’s liberty and independence which were threatened by German and Italian fascism.

Today they are going away.  Many of them, thousands of them, are staying here with the Spanish earth for their shroud, and all Spaniards remember them with the deepest feeling.

Comrades of the International Brigades:  political reasons, reasons of state, the welfare of that same cause for which you offered your blood with boundless generosity, are sending you back, some of you to your own countries and others to forced exile.  You can go proudly.  You are history.  You are legend.  You are the heroic example of democracy’s solidarity and universality.

We shall not forget you, and when the olive tree of peace puts forth its leaves again, entwined with the laurels of the Spanish Republic’s victory  -- come back!

Come back to us.  With us those of you have no country will find one, those of you who have to live deprived of friendship will find friends, and all of you will find the love and gratitude of the whole Spanish people who, now and in the future, will cry out with all their hearts:  

“Long live the heroes of the International Brigades!”