International Volunteers in the POUM Militias
Written by Andy Durgan, historical consultant for the Ken Loach film Land and Freedom, the article also contains a list of international volunteers in the POUM militia.
Source: FUNDACIÓN ANDREU NIN
Up to 700 foreigners fought with the 10.000 or so militia organised by the Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM) between July 1936 and June 1937. They were from at least 28 different countries; French, Italian and, above all German fighters being the most numerous.
From a military point of view, these volunteers played a far less significant role in the Civil War than those of the International Brigades, not only because they were far fewer in number, but also they spent most of their time away from where the most important fighting took place. However, the POUM’s foreign volunteers have attracted attention both because of George Orwell’s well-known description of life on the Aragon front, where most of them were stationed, Homage to Catatonia and more recently due to Ken Loach’s award-winning film Land and Freedom. While the military contribution of these volunteers was inevitably limited by the POUM’s own isolation, their experience as witnesses to the unfolding political drama in the Republican zone and, in some cases, as direct victims of that drama gives more significance to their role.
The POUM had been formed in September 1935, out of the unification of the ... READ IT ALL HERE.