The Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939 aroused strong responses in the Jewish Yishuv in Palestine. The support for the Spanish Republic—prevalent in the Zionist left as well as among the Communists—resulted in young Jews and Arabs volunteering to fight in Spain. These volunteers, primarily Jewish Communists, became part of a cult created around the war by the Communist Party. This article will examine the content of this cult while relating it to parallel groups in the West and in East Germany. Through this analysis, the ideological elements, heroes, modes of memory, and dissemination of the memory of the war will be explored.
amir locker-biletzki is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. His dissertation dealt with the cultural practices of the Jewish Communists in Palestine/ Israel. His current research examines the cultural history of Communism in Palestine/Israel, including how Israeli Communists conceptualized the presence of Western, that is, British and American, powers in the country, and the concurrent changes in the theory and practice of Zionism.