Anti-fascist fighter Marina Ginestà (29 January 1919 – 6 January 2014) who died yesterday aged 94 was a French veteran of the Spanish Civil War, who was a member of the International Brigades. She became famous due to the photo taken by German Hans Gutmann (later Juan Guzmán) on the rooftop of Hotel Colón in Barcelona. It is one of the most iconic photographs of the Spanish Civil War.
Ginestà was born in Toulouse, France, and moved to Barcelona with her parents at the age of 11. Ginestà later joined the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia. As the war broke out, she served in the International Brigades as a reporter and a translator assisting Mikhail Koltsov, a correspondent of the Soviet newspaper Pravda. Before the end of the war, Ginestà was wounded and evacuated to Montpellier. As France was occupied by the Nazis, she fled to Mexico and later to the Dominican Republic where Ginestà got married. In 1946 she was forced to leave the country because of the persecution of dictator Rafael Trujillo. In 1960 Ginestà got married to a Belgian diplomat and returned to Barcelona. She moved to Paris in the early 1970s. Marina Ginestà died there at the age of 94 in January 2014.
The slogan of the resistance to Franco’s Fascists was “No pasarán!” They shall not pass! Credit for the Spanish version of the slogan goes to the fiery Spanish Communist party leader Dolores Ibárruri (1895-1989), whose popular nickname was “La Pasionaria” (“The Passion Flower”). On July 18, 1936, mutinous Spanish Army troops led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco invaded the Spanish mainland from Morocco, with the goal of overthrowing Spain’s elected Republican government. This was the beginning of the bloody Spanish Civil War.
The next day, July 19, 1936, Ibárruri made a brief but eloquent speech on Radio-Madrid. She urged her fellow citizens to put aside their other political differences and join together to fight against Franco’s Fascist forces. “Young men, prepare for combat!,” she said. “Women…fight alongside your men in order to defend the lives and freedom of your sons…All workers, all anti-fascists must now look upon each other as brothers in arms.” Ibárruri ended her speech with the famous words:
“The fascists shall not pass! THEY SHALL NOT PASS!”
(“Los fascistas no pasarán! NO PASARÁN !”)
Dolores Ibárruri “La Pasionaria”
“No pasarán” became the motto of the anti-Fascist side during the Spanish Civil War. It is still used as a slogan for other causes today. Ultimately, the Spanish Fascists did pass and took over the country in 1939, starting a long era of dictatorship by Franco. Ibárruri survived and continued on as a fervent supporter of Communism in other countries, first in France and later in the Soviet Union.
In 1977, two years after Franco died, “La Pasionaria” returned to Spain. She remained active in politics there as a member of parliament and honorary president of the Spanish Communist party until her death at age 93 in 1989.