Conference: Jews and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

Konferencja "Żydzi a wojna domowa w Hiszpanii (1936-1939)"
Konferencja "Żydzi a wojna domowa w Hiszpanii (1936-1939)", fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

There were over 7,000 Jews among the 50,000 foreign volunteers who took part in the defence of the Spanish Republic in the years 1936-1939. The biggest group of them fought in the Jarosław Dąbrowski XIII International Brigade. The Spanish Civil War was much commented on by the Jewish public, and the memory of the event has been debated until this day.

Conference organisers:

  • Mordechai Anielewicz Centre for the Study and Teaching of the History and Culture of Jews in Poland
  • Institute of History, University of Warsaw
  • Institute of Iberian and Ibero-American Studies, University of Warsaw
  • POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews



10 am Conference opening

10.15 am - 11.15 am Plenary lecture

  • Dr Gerben Zaagsma, (Goettingen University), Jews in the International Brigades in Spain (lecture in English)

Coffee break

11.30 am - 1 pm Jews fighting against Spanish Fascism

  • Dr Gavin Rae (Kozminski University), British volunteers in the International Brigades (in English)
  • Dr Piotr Kendziorek (Jewish Historical Institute), German Jews in the Spanish Civil War
  • Dr Witold Mędykowski (Jerusalem), Volunteers from the British Mandate of Palestine in the Spanish Civil War

Coffee break

1.15 pm - 2 pm The Spanish Civil War as seen by the public of inter-war Poland

  • Dr Alicja Gontarek (UMCS), Polish right-wing press on the Spanish Civil War
  • Dr Magdalena Kozłowska (Anielewicz Centre, Institute of History, University of Warsaw), Jewish bourgeois press in Poland towards Spain (1936-1939)

Lunch break

3 pm - 4.45 pm Disputes over historical memory

  • Dr Bartłomiej Różycki (Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences), Communist Poland towards Jewish veterans of the Spanish Civil War.
  • Prof. Jean-Charles Szurek (Université Paris-X, Nanterre), The image of the International Brigades in French debates after the publication of Black Book of Communism (1997)
  • Dr Aranzazu Calderón Puerta (Iberian Studies, University of Warsaw), Contemporary memory of the civil war as an element of the political dispute in Spain
  • Dr August Grabski (Anielewicz Centre, Institute of History, University of Warsaw), Piotr Grudka (Institute of Political Science, University of Warsaw), Media disputes on the Dąbrowski Brigade soldiers after 1989.

Coffee break

5 pm Screening of the Polish version of the film Madrid Before Hanita (Israel 2006, dir. by Eran Torbiner) which tells the story of the last of the 300 International Brigades volunteers who went to Spain from Palestine/Israel in 1936. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film director.