By Lisa Burgess • 04 February 2020 • 13:43
LIBRARY DONATION: Alfaz’s librarian with culture and residents councillors. Photo credit: Alfaz town hall
THE town hall’s residents department has donated a copy of Las Mamas Belgas to the Alfaz public library.
Written by Svent Tuytens, a Belgian radio and television correspondent, the book is the fruit of his investigations into 21 Belgian women, volunteers during the Spanish Civil War. On his first day in Spain, Tuytens saw a photograph of a group of Belgian women taken on May 1st, 1937, in Barcelona’s Plaza de Cataluña. All of Jewish origin and all communists, they had set out from Antwerp to fight fascism, Tuytens found. They belonged to a group of 21 women, volunteers who nursed wounded soldiers in the Republican Military Hospital in Onteniente (Valencia) that was financed by Belgian trade unions and the Socialist International.
Tuytens tells the story of these women whose strong political beliefs had already led them in 1934 to help political refugees fleeing to Belgium from Nazi Germany. Convinced that armed conflict was inevitable in the fight against fascism, they travelled to war-torn Spain, remaining there until the fall of the Second Republic in 1939. From Spain they went to Algeria, returning to Belgium and another war during the 1940 occupation, where many died violently or perished in the death camps.
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