Abraham Lincoln brigade veteran speaks March 4
Jenny Brown
February 1997

Jack Penrod, who fought in the Spanish Civil War as a member of the international brigades, will speak about his recent trip to Spain for the 60th anniversary of the brigades. The event is at the Civic Media Center, 1021 W. Univ. Ave. on Tuesday, March 4th. The film "The Good Fight" about the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, will be shown at 6:30 p.m., and Penrod will talk at 8 p.m.

Forty thousand men and women volunteered from all over the world starting in 1936 to help the Spanish Republic when it was under attack by fascist General Francisco Franco. Franco had been exiled as the Spanish Republic enacted land reform and beat back the power of the church in public life. In retrospect, the war is seen as a testing of the waters by the fascist forces in Germany and Italy, who were planning attacks which soon plunged all of Europe into war. Germany first tested aerial bombing there, targetting civilians and cities.

Members of the American brigade, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, many of them members of the Communist Party, were labelled "premature anti-fascists" and hounded upon their return to the U.S., defeated after three years of war. Penrod received hundreds of calls from the FBI trying to make him name people he had fought alongside in Spain. Franco held power in Spain until his death in the 1970's.

The international brigade veterans who returned to Spain last fall, at the invitation of the Spanish government, were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and gratitude from the Spanish people, who remember that the brigades provided help and solidarity to them while most of the world--with the exception of the Soviet Union and Mexico--embargoed the Republican forces while Franco recieved massive military support from Germany and Italy.

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