P A R T I G I A N I !

Roma, 7-8 maggio 2005




  1. NO PASARAN 1936 - 2006 ! MOSTRA / EXHIBITION in MUZEJ JUGOSLAVIJE, 14th September 2006, Belgrade (Srbija)
  2. The War in Spain and the Yugoslavs / La guerra di Spagna e gli jugoslavi
  3. Yugoslavs in the French Resistance
  4. Sui combattenti jugoslavi nella Resistenza francese si veda anche questa richiesta di informazioni


1.

il testo che segue annuncia  per il 14/9 p.v. una iniziativa a Belgrado
di reduci e discendenti dei combattenti jugoslavi della guerra civile spagnola 
nell'anniversario dello scoppio di quest'ultima

---

NO PASARAN 1936 - 2006 !

TESTO ITALIANO

La Spagna fu la prima nazione in Europa a essere aggredita dalle forze dell'asse fascista e nazista. Fu lì che Hitler e Mussolini testarono le loro nuove armi, specialmente la loro aviazione e artiglieria, in seguito usate in altri paesi, tra cui anche la Jugoslavija. Per noi, Jugoslavi, che prendemmo le armi nella Europa occupata, durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale, e fummo il primo popolo a formare una regolare forza partigiana anti-fascista, l'esempio dell'esercito spagnolo repubblicano era assai significativo. Esso fu il primo esercito in Europa composto da forze coerentemente anti-fasciste. La fonte di tale forza era il Fronte Popolare del Popolo Spagnolo e tutti gli elementi democratici e patriottici in Spagna.
Nella primavera del 1936, la coalizione dei partiti progressisti di sinistra vinse le elezioni generali in Spagna. Il governo del Fronte Popolare, dopo la vittoria, iniziò a distribuire la terra ai contadini e a compiere altre riforme democratiche e sociali. I reazionari della Spagna, i latifondisti, l'alta borghesia e la chiesa Cattolica, subito iniziarono a preparare la rivincita. La canaglia reazionaria, con il supporto di Hitler e Mussolini, si ribellò al governo del Fronte Popolare, il governo LEGALE della Spagna! Ciò accadde la notte tra il 17 e il 18 luglio del 1936.
Gli operai, i contadini e i cittadini democratici si posero a difesa della Repubblica! 35000 volontari da 55 paesi combatterono nelle brigate internazionali.
Vi è un'altra ragione del perché ricordiamo la Guerra di Spagna, quest'anno. È il fatto che un gran numero di Jugoslavi, molti giovani, accorsero in Spagna, combatterono nei ranghi dell'Esercito Repubblicano Spagnolo, e versarono il loro sangue per la libertà del popolo Spagnolo. Durante la Guerra di Spagna, il Comitato Centrale del Partito Comunista della Jugoslavia mobilitò le masse lavoratrici della Jugoslavija per aiutare la Repubblica Spagnola inviando volontari e rifornimenti. Il CC del KPJ si occupò, inoltre, del lavoro politico tra i volontari Jugoslavi.
Ciò, e il sostegno dell'intero movimento comunista, giocarono un ruolo importante nella creazione di un alto morale, che era caratteristico dei volontari Jugoslavi durante la guerra. Erano sempre tra i migliori, tra i più coraggiosi. Di oltre 1300 volontari Jugoslavi, 670 rimasero per sempre in Spagna! Diedero le loro vite per la libertà del popolo Spagnolo.
Coloro che, dopo la fine della guerra di Spagna, nel 1941 ritornarono nella Jugoslavija occupata, portarono con se dalla Spagna una ricca esperienza militare e politica. I nostri 'SPANCI', come la gente li chiamava, furono tra i primi consiglieri militari negli organi del Partito Comunista della Jugoslavija, tra i primi organizzatori della nostra rivolta, i primi soldati, comandanti e commissari delle prime unità Partigiane, tra gli eroi più popolari! Solo nel nostro paese, gli ex-volontari in Spagna furono i migliori combattenti contro il fascista oppressore, tra i migliori organizzatori della rivolta armata e partecipi nelle azioni di guerriglia in molti altri paesi europei: Francia, Italia, Polonia.
La Seconda Guerra Mondiale terminò con la vittoria della coalizione democratica. Tutte le nazioni furono liberate dalla tirannia fascista, tutte tranne una, la Spagna. Tale storica ingiustizia era anche più grande in relazione al fatto che era la nazione in cui si era combattuta la prima battaglia contro il fascismo, la prima in cui si versarono fiumi di sangue, in tale battaglia, malamente armati e traditi dagli Stati capitalisti occidentali. Le lotte e i sacrifici della Repubblica Spagnola e dei volontari stranieri costruirono le fondamenta del mondo futuro! Il mondo della PACE, della LIBERTA' e della FRATELLANZA TRA LE NAZIONI!

L'Associazione dei combattenti Spagnoli e dei loro discendenti in Jugoslavija onorerà il 70° anniversario della guerra antifascista Spagnola con una MOSTRA nel MUZEJ JUGOSLAVIJE, il 14 Settembre 2006 a Belgrado (Srbija) ex capitale della Jugoslavija.
 
Rudolf Baloh
Revolucionarni Biro Javnega Informiranja - birokps @ email.si

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio

ENGLISH TEXT

The Spanish were the first nation in Europe to be attacked by the  forces of the fascist and nazi axis. It was there that, Hitler and Mussolini tested their new arms, especially their airforce and artillery, later used  in other countries as well, including Jugoslavija. For us, Jugoslavs, who took up arms in occupied Europe, during second world war and were first people to form a regular anti-fascist partisan forces, the example of the Spanish republican army was very significant. This was the first army in Europe composed of uncompromising anti-fascist forces. The source of its strength were the Popular Front of the Spanish People and all democrats and patriotic elements in Spain. In the spring of 1936, the coalition of progressive, leftist parties won the general elections in Spain. The government of the Popular  Front, after its victory, began to distribute land to the peasants and to carry  out other democratic and social reforms. The reactionary forces of Spain, the landholders, the wealthy bourgeoise and the Catholic church, soon started to prepare a counterblow. Reactionary scum, with Hitler and Mussolini support, rebelled against the government of the Popular Front - against the LEGAL government of Spain! This was in the night between July 17 and 18, of 1936. The workers, peasants and democratic citizens rose to the defense of the Republic! 35000 volunteers from 55 countrys fought in international brigades.
There is another reason why we remember the war in Spain this year.  It is the fact that a large number of Jugoslovanov, mostly young people, rushed to Spain, fought in the ranks of Spanish Republican Army, and shed their blood for the freedom of the Spanish people. During the Spanish war, the Central Committee of the Jugoslav Communist Party mobilized the working masses of Jugoslavija for aid to the Spanish Republic by sending volunteers and supplies. The CK KPJ also took care of the political work among the Jugoslav volunteers. This and the support of the whole communist movement, played an important role in the creation of the high morale, which was characteristical for Jugoslav volunteers throughout the war. They were always among the best, among the most courageous. Out of 1300 Jugoslav volunteers 670 remained forever in Spain! They gave their lives for freedom of Spanish people. Those of them who, after the end of  Spanish war, in 1941 returned to occupied Jugoslavija - brought with them from Spain rich military and political experiences.
Our »SPANCI« as people called them, were among the first military advisers in the organs of Communist Party of Jugoslavija, among the first organizers of our uprising, the first soldiers, commanders and commissars of the first Partisan units, among the most popular heroes! Just as in our country, the former volunteers in Spain were among the best fighters against the fascist oppressor, among the best organizers of armed uprising and participants in guerilla actions in many other European countries: in France, Italy, Poland. World War II ended with victory of the world democratic coalition. All nations were freed from fascist tyranny, all but one, the Spanish nation. This historical injustice is even greater in wiew of the fact that this is the nation, which fought the first battle against fascism, the first to shed rivers of blood in this battle, badly armed and betrayed by the Western capitalist states. Fight and sacrifices of  Spanish Republica and foreign volunteers are built into the foundations of the future world! The world of PEACE, FREEDOM and BROTHERHOOD AMONG NATIONS!

The Association of Spanish fighters and their descendant in Jugoslavija will honour the 70th anniversary of Spanish antifascist war with an EXHIBITION in MUZEJ JUGOSLAVIJE,
14th September 2006 in Belgrade-Srbija ex capital of Jugoslavija.

Rudolf Baloh
Revolucionarni Biro Javnega Informisanja KPS


2.

The War in Spain and the Yugoslavs



Together with the 65th anniversary of the uprising against the fascist
 oppression in Yugoslavia, this year (2006) we are commemorating another
anniversary as well – the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war in
Spain.
The Spanish were the first nation in Europe to be attacked by the
forces of the fascist and  nazi axis.
For us, Yugoslavs, who took up arms in occupied Europe and were the
first people to form a regular anti-fascist army in the centre of the
European fortress, the example of the Spanish republican  army was
very significant.

A large number of Yugoslavs, mostly young people, rushed to Spain,
fought in the ranks of the Spanish Republican Army, and shed their
blood for the freedom of the Spanish people. Those of them, who after
 this war returned to their homes, joined the anti-fascist war raging
 in their homeland. Our "Spaniards" - as the people called them -
brought  with them from Spain  rich military and political
experiences. Because of this, their role in  organizing our uprising
and during the whole liberation war was conspicuous.
The republican government, the anti-fascist parties and the trade
unions  started to organized and arm their units. This way the birth
of the glorious Spanish Republican Army, which bore the main burden of
the fight against the fascist onslaught till the end of the war.
However,  unlike the fascist forces, the republican army received no
help from  abroad. The western "democratic" government, led by Great
Britain  and France, announced a  "policy of non-interference" - first
alone and later in accordance with the  decision of the League of
Nations. On the other hand, all true anti-fascists in Europe and the
rest of the world felt that the war in Spain in character reached far
beyond the borders of Spain.  They knew that the rebellion of the
Spanish generals constituted the first major trial of strength between
fascism and democracy.
Many  progressive parties, especially communist parties, started to
organize aid for Spain, and the most important way to help was to send
volunteers to that country.
The Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ) was among the most active
organizers of aid to the Spanish Republic. KPJ wrote in those days in
"Proleter":
"Not neutrality, but the fullest possible aid is due to the legal
Spanish government from all member  states of the League of Nations.
It is a question of the fascist intention to destroy all nations. It
is a question of the most terrible danger of war. It is not possible
to avoid it by neutrality, which means a blockade of  the legal
Spanish government, but by the speedy and full military, technical and
material aid and support of the world democracy, of all  who want
peace, for the Spanish people."
At  the beginning of October 1936, when the battle of Madrid,
mercilessly  bombed by German and Italian aviation, broke out, the
volunteers, anti-fascists from many countries, among them Yugoslavia,
were already  in the front ranks on the republican side.
The Yugoslavs served in various brigades. Some, especially those from
Trieste and from Istria served in the 12th  "Garibaldi" Italian
brigade; the former "Balkan" company was renamed  the "Dura Dakovic"
company and was incorporated into the "Chapajev"  battalion of the
13th "Dombrovski" Polish brigade. Other were  mostly in the 15th
"Lincoln" brigade, composed of volunteers from English-speaking
countries, which with the Czechs, Bulgarians and other formed the
"Dimitrov" battalion, which included  the "Matija Gubec" Yugoslav
company.
Yugoslavs were always among the best, among the most courageous. Out
of 1300  Yugoslav volunteers, more than half laid down their lives in
Spain. Those  who survived showed their high morale in the new trials,
awaiting them in France, where, with volunteers from other countries,
they were imprisoned in  improvised concentration camps. On the
initiative of the Party  organization, led by Ivan Gosnjak, our
"Spaniards" succeeded in changing these camps into schools for
political and general education. They were in the front line of the
internees' battles against the  attempts of the authorities to change
them into a listless and obedient mass, usable for various tasks such
as clearing mine-fields. Our  "Spaniards" organized hunger strikes and
rebellions against the policy of the authorities and against the
unbearable living condition. With  the help of KPJ, they finally
succeeded in escaping from the camps, and  a large number of them,
about 250, returned by various ways to Yugoslavia.

But their homeland, Yugoslavia,  was already under foreign under
occupation. This was in the summer and autumn  of 1941. The enemy, who
had won in Spain,  has already reached this country and for our
"Spaniards" the battles  began anew. They were among the first
military advisers in the organs of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia,
among the first organizers of our  uprising, the first soldiers,
commandeers and commissars of the first partisan units, among the most
popular heroes.
Many were killed at the  beginning of the war - Zikica Jovanovich,
Milan Blagojevich, Branko Krsmanovich, Slobodan Mitrov Danko... Our
"Spaniards" were among the best known organizers of the regular
National Liberation Army, among the  commanders, commissars and chiefs
of major headquarters and larger operational units. During the closing
operations, in the spring of  1945, when four armies were formed, all
four were commanded by  "Spaniards" - Koca Popovich, Peko Dapcevic,
Kosta Nadj and Petar Drapsin.
Something  of the role played by our "Spaniards" during the National
Liberation  War can be seen by the fact that every fifth has been
proclamation a  National Hero, while every ninth reached the rank of
general.  More than half our "Spaniards" were killed in  action.

Just as in our country, the former volunteers in Spain  were among the
best fighters against the fascist oppressor, among the  best
organizers of armed uprising and participants in guerilla actions  in
many other European countries-in France, Italy, Poland  and Bulgaria.
The  foreign volunteers, Polish, French, German, Yugoslav and of many
other  nations, though outmatched from the military point of view
because of  the aid received by the fascists, were nevertheless a sign
and a symbol  of the forces of international  solidarity  in action.
Their fight and their sacrifices are built into the foundations of the
future world - the world of peace, freedom and brotherhood among nations.


Marijan Kubik
Second secretary
League of Yugoslavian Communist Youth(SKOJ) Belgrade



--- traduzione italiana ---


La guerra di Spagna e gli Jugoslavi

di Marijan Kubik
Secondo segretario della Lega della Gioventù Comunista Jugoslava (SKOJ)
Belgrado

Assieme al 65.mo anniversario della rivolta contro l'oppressione
fascista in Jugoslavia, quest'anno abbiamo commemorato un altro
anniversario – il 70.mo anniversario dello scoppio della Guerra di
Spagna.
Gli Spagnoli furono la prima nazione in Europa a essere aggredita
dalle forze dell'asse nazi-fascista. Per noi, Jugoslavi, che prendemmo
le armi nell'Europa occupata, e che fummo il primo popolo a formare un
regolare esercito anti-fascista nel cuore della fortezza Europea,
l'esempio dell'esercito repubblicano Spagnolo fu assai significativo.

Un grande numero di Jugoslavi, molti giovani, corsero in Spagna e
combatterono nelle fila dell'esercito Repubblicano Spagnolo, e
versarono il proprio sangue per la libertà del popolo spagnolo. Coloro
che dopo quella guerra tornarono a casa, si unirono nella guerra
anti-fascista che imperversava nella propria patria. I nostri
"Spagnoli" - come venivano chiamati - portarono dalla Spagna la loro
ricca esperienza militare e politica. Perciò, il loro ruolo
nell'organizzare la nostra rivolta e durante tutta la guerra di
liberazione, fu cospicuo.
Il governo repubblicano, i partiti anti-fascisti e i sindacati
iniziarono l'organizzazione e l'armamento delle loro unità. Così
nacque il glorioso Esercito Repubblicano Spagnolo, che sostenne il
peso maggiore della lotta contro la furia fascista fino alla fine
della guerra. Tuttavia, al contrario delle forze fasciste, l'esercito
repubblicano non ricevette aiuti dall'estero. I "democratici" governi
occidentali, guidati da Gran Bretagna e Francia, annunciarono la
"politica di non-interferenza" - prima da sole e poi in accordo con la
decisione della Lega delle Nazioni.
Dall'altro lato, tutti i veri anti-fascisti in Europa e nel resto del
Mondo sentirono che la Guerra di Spagna aveva una natura che superava
i confini della Spagna. Capirono che la ribellione dei generali
spagnoli costituiva la prima grande prova di forza tra fascismo e
democrazia. Molti partiti progressisti, soprattutto i partiti
comunisti, iniziarono a organizzare gli aiuti alla Spagna, e il modo
più importante di aiutare era l'invio di volontari nel paese. Il
Partito Comunista di Jugoslavia (KPJ) fu tra i più attivi
nell'organizzare gli aiuti alla Repubblica Spagnola.
Il KPJ scrisse in quei giorni, sul "Proleter":
"Non la neutralità, ma il più pieno aiuto possibile è dovuto al
legittimo governo spagnolo da tutti gli stati membri della Lega delle
Nazioni. Si tratta dell'intenzione fascista di distruggere tutte le
nazioni. Si tratta del più tremendo pericolo di guerra. Per evitarlo
non è possibile la neutralità, che significa imporre un blocco al
legittimo governo Spagnolo, ma serve il più rapido e pieno aiuto e
sostegno militare, tecnico e materiale del mondo democratico, di tutti
coloro che vogliono la pace, per il popolo spagnolo."
All'inizio dell'Ottobre 1936, quando la battaglia di Madrid,
bombardata senza pietà dalle aviazioni tedesca e italiana, esplose, i
volontari, gli anti-fascisti di molti paesi, tra cui la Jugoslavia,
erano già al fronte dalla parte repubblicana. Gli Jugoslavi
combatterono in varie brigate. Alcuni, soprattutto quelli di Trieste e
dell'Istria, combatterono nella 12.ma brigata Italiana "Garibaldi";
l'ex compagnia "Balkan" venne ridenominata "Dura Dakovic" e venne
incorporata nel battaglione "Chapajev" della 13.ma brigata Polacca
"Dombrovski". Altri si trovavano nella 15.ma brigata "Lincoln"
composta, soprattutto, da volontari dei paesi anglofoni, Cechi,
Bulgari e altri dell'ex  battaglione "Dimitrov", che includeva la
compagnia Jugoslava "Matija Gubec".
Gli Jugoslavi erano sempre tra i migliori, tra i più coraggiosi. Più
di 1300 volontari Jugoslavi, più della metà, lasciarono la propria
vita in Spagna. Coloro che sopravvissero dimostrarono il loro alto
morale nelle nuove prove che li attendevano in Francia, dove, con
volontari di altri paesi, vennero imprigionati in improvvisati campi
di concentramento.
Su iniziativa dell'organizzazione del Partito, guidato da Ivan
Gosnjak, i nostri "Spagnoli" tramutarono tali campi in scuole
politiche e di istruzione generale. Furono in prima linea nelle
battaglie interne contro i tentativi  delle autorità di trasformarli
in docile e obbediente massa, utile per vari compiti come la bonifica
dei campi minati. I nostri "Spagnoli" organizzarono scioperi della
fame e rivolte contro la politica delle autorità e le insopportabili
condizioni di vita.
Con l'aiuto del KPJ, riuscirono ad abbandonare i campi, e un grande
numero di loro, circa 250, ritornarono per varie vie in Jugoslavia.

Ma la loro patria, la Jugoslavia, era già sotto occupazione straniera.
Ciò accadeva nell'estate-autunno 1941. Il nemico, che aveva vinto in
Spagna, aveva già raggiunto il paese e per i nostri "Spagnoli" le
battaglie ricominciavano.
Essi furono tra i primi consiglieri militari negli organi del Partito
Comunista di Jugoslavia, tra i primi organizzatori di rivolte, tra i
primi soldati, comandanti e commissari delle prime unità partigiane,
tra gli eroi più popolari. Molti  vennero uccisi all'inizio della
guerra - Zikica Jovanovic, Milan Blagojevic, Branko Krsmanovic,
Slobodan Mitrov Danko...
I nostri "Spagnoli" furono tra i migliori organizzatori del regolare
Esercito di Liberazione Nazionale, tra i comandanti, commissari e capi di
stato maggiore del quartier generale e delle maggiori unità operative.
Durante le ultime operazioni, nella primavera del 1945, quando quattro
armate furono create, tutte erano comandate da "Spagnoli" - Koca
Popovic, Peko Dapcevic, Kosta Nadj e Petar Drapsin. Alcuni dei ruoli
avuti dai nostri "Spagnoli", durante la Guerra di Liberazione
Nazionale, possono essere visti dal fatto che una cinquantina vennero
proclamati Eroi Nazionali, mentre una novantina divennero generali.
Più della metà dei nostri "Spagnoli" vennero uccisi in azione.

Proprio come nel nostro paese, gli ex volontari di Spagna furono tra i
migliori combattenti dell'oppressore fascista, tra i migliori
organizzatori delle rivolte armate e tra i migliori partecipanti nelle
azioni di guerriglia in molti altri paesi europei: in Francia, Italia,
Polonia e Bulgaria. I volontari stranieri, Polacchi, Francesi,
Tedeschi, Jugoslavi e di molti altri paesi, benchè surclassati dal
punto di vista militare a causa dell'aiuto che i fascisti ricevevano,
furono tuttavia un segno e un simbolo delle forze della solidarietà
internazionale in azione. La loro lotta, il loro sacrificio hanno
costruito le fondamenta del mondo futuro - il mondo della pace, della
libertà e della fratellanza tra le nazioni.

(Traduzione di A. Lattanzio, revisione del testo a cura del CNJ)




3.

YUGOSLAVS IN THE FRENCH RESISTANCE
Small in number, great in sacrifice


Sui combattenti jugoslavi nella Resistenza francese si veda anche questa richiesta di informazioni


-----Original Message-----
From: democrite <democrite(a)starnet.fr>
Date: 16 May 1999 17:55
Subject: Yugoslavs in the French Resistance


SMALL IN NUMBER, GREAT IN SACRIFICE

YUGOSLAV IMMIGRATION

Relatively speaking, Yugoslav immigrants died the most. Small in
number, they were great in sacrifice.  As early as 1939, at the time of
mobilisation, more than 1,500 Yugoslavs had voluntarily joined the
French army.  Later, at the time of occupation, nearly 3,000 took part
in the various Resistance movements.  Everywhere, in Pas-de-Calais,
Corrèze, Haute-Savoy, Moselle and Paris, Yugoslavs distinguished
themselves by their bravery and courage.  The attitude of the Yugoslav
fighters and Resistance workers was always inspired by the strong
friendship and sincere loyalty they felt towards the countries which
welcomed them, and they gave ample proof of their attachment at the
darkest times.
At Nîmes, in the Maritime Alps, in the Ardennes and in Haute-Savoy,
more than fifty Yugoslavs fell victim to Nazi barbarity.  The first
thing the Yugoslav Resistance fighters had done had been to direct their
activity towards the Croatian troops dragooned into the ranks of the
Wehrmacht.  It was thanks to such action that near Grenoble, a Croatian
unit blew up a depot where a large amount of ammunition and explosives
were stored, killing many Germans.
At Villefranche-de-Rouergue resided a regiment of engineers made up of
about 1,300 Croats.  They had ended up in this region - where the
peasants reminded them of their far-off homeland by their sobriety and
the homespun of their clothes - after having refused to leave for the
Eastern front.  These soldiers found it quite natural to consider France
as a country of friends and the population was quick to recognise them
as such.  A mutual current of friendship soon formed.  It was not long
before the soldiers heard of the maquis and decided their duty was to
act too.  They thought up a plan of escape.  But out of the 1,300, there
was one traitor.  Seeing they had been exposed, the others took action.
After a judgement in the name of Tito, they shot their officers,
occupied the town and proclaimed liberty.  Immediately, Hitler's forces
flooded in from the surrounding centres - Toulouse, Albi, Limoges and
Rodez.  The men hardly had time to split up into small groups and take
to the maquis.  They left the town together so that the population would
not be trapped between two enemy fires, and took up position in the
surrounding hills ready for an unequal battle.
200 Croats were killed in the fight.  More than 400 were taken prisoner
and shot in the barracks courtyard.  The remaining 600 or so were able
to escape and carried on fighting by the sides of the French Resistance
fighters.
In the Ardennes, there were groups of immigrant partisans.  The
"Marshal Tito" corp., of which two leaders died during combat, was made
up of Yugoslavs.  In the region of Nancy, on the road to Germany, it was
groups of immigrants of Yugoslav origin and Soviet prisoners who had
escaped, who prevented the Nazis from coming to the aid of Wehrmacht
groups cut off from their bases.  The names of these heroic brigades
were "Paris Commune", "Stalingrad" and "Jelezniack".
From the ranks of these fighters came Resistance leaders, like General
Ljubomir ILITCH, who by their courage and their self-sacrifice in the
struggle against the fascist occupying army, won the friendship of all
the Resistance workers.  In homage to the participation to the struggle
of Yugoslavs against the common enemy, the French authorities gave the
names of two of their heroes, MIRNIK and BOLTAR, who were shot by the
Germans, to two streets in the towns of Avion (Pas-de-Calais) and
Toulouse.  In the South of France, near Toulouse, sixteen Yugoslav
immigrant fighters were awarded either the War Cross or the Resistance
Medal for their courage and dedication.

GENERAL ILITCH

General Ljubomir ILITCH, former commander in the International Brigades
in Spain, commander of the F.F.I. of the resistance of immigrants in
France during German occupation, and one of the most active organisers
of the maquis guerrillas, tells in his memoirs how he managed to join
the Resistance movement in France.
"In 1940,  the Germans and the Vichy leaders decided to shut up in the
camps all the "troublesome" elements who had shown in the past true
attachment to the cause of liberty, of democracy and, thus, to France.
All the committed antifascists were thus imprisoned and their situation
got worse as clandestine resistance became active and it transpired
clearly what role all the foreigners living in France were to play!  The
Vichy and Gestapo jailers split the prisoners up into the "ringleaders",
who were strong and thus a danger to them, and the majority who were
less spirited, weakened as they were by hunger, deprivation and
demoralisation.  We "dangerous" ones were sent to the prison of Castres,
which was used as a depot and as a station passed through by prisoners
on their way to concentration camps in Germany. When we were undressed
and stripped of our papers, baggage, family photos and even identity
cards, we understood that our departure for the death camps was
approaching.  That was how the Germans arranged the papers of the
political deportees and kept them carefully in their archives.  Among us
in prison there were also French officers and allies who had dropped by
parachute, and  Belgian and Polish officers, doing intelligence work for
the allies. We were totally cut off from the outside world yet even then
we were able to study all the obstacles in our way, the safety catches,
the alarm bells and electronic alarm systems set up by the Germans in
case of a possible escape.  The escape took place in broad daylight,
thanks to each one of us carrying out perfectly our tasks according to
given instructions.
There were 36 of us who escaped, plus two women from the English
intelligence service.  We made it to the mountains, and made those
chasing us lose all trace of us.  At last, after a week, we established
contact with the clandestine maquis and partisans and got down to action
at once.  Four of us were Yugoslavs:  we all wanted to join Tito without
delay to fight in our own country.  But the difficulties in leaving were
great: we would have had to pass through Spain, and we had stayed there
as volunteers in the International Brigades in '36 - '39.  Our faces
were known there... So while waiting to go, we all put ourselves at the
disposal of the French Resistance and began to work together with the
F.T.P."(1).

Jean STANKOVITCH

An article in the 4th September 1946 issue of "Le Havre Libre" recalled
the memory of this young hero of Yugoslav origin.
Born in Le Havre, Jean Stankovitch, after studying at Dicquemare
school, was taken by the Obligatory Work Service in '43. Refusing
immediately to go to Germany, he stayed for some time hidden in the town
under the name of Jean Coquelin.  However, the inaction to which his
illegal situation constrained him was not suited to him.  He suffered
from it, and often opened up about his feelings to his friend Maurice
Leboucher, who was to be much talked of later.  Leboucher, understanding
well that Jean Stankovitch was driven by a burning desire to make
himself useful, did not hesitate to advise him to come and join him at
the German submarine base, in Le Havre, where he was able to get him
hired as electrician.
Jean Stankovitch spent some time there, and enjoyed the good tricks his
friend and himself played on the occupying forces, good tricks which
could be called, in other words, sabotage. "They think I'm from an
electricity school!" he would say to his close friends.  And this trick
alone was enough to thrill him.
His mother, however, fearing bombings, soon decided to go and live in
Belleville.  Jean followed her, most unwillingly.  But he could not
remain inactive there either.
And in the days following the arrival of the allies, he was glad to act
as a courier for them, passing through the barricades that then isolated
Le Havre.  For, unknown to his mother, he was a member of the Resistance
group "France before all".  There he had met a young man, three years
younger than him, and the two of them had fomented multiple projects to
undermine German organisation wherever their modest means might be used,
whenever the time came to get down to action.
On Saturday 2nd September, when the tanks were officially announced,
the two comrades could no longer keep still.  Despite their families'
advice to be cautious, they escaped and ran to meet the tanks.  Bernard
Lefebvre who was heading for Saint-Cyr was glad to be able to get a lift
on a tank.  He felt as if he was driving up the road of triumph.
A few kilometres on, they heard that a volunteer was wanted to carry a
letter from the allies' lines to a certain castle of Fontenay where
there was still a German officer.  Jean proposed himself, and set off at
once in company of a young lady who spoke German.  Once they got there,
they were kept waiting for over an hour, after which they were chased
away: the message was an order to surrender!  Startled, the young lady
and Jean Stankovitch found themselves in the road with bursts of fire
beginning to rain down on them.  They were amazed to still be alive, so
much anger had they read in the eyes of the officer to whom they had
unknowingly been assigned to propose capitulation.  And even though they
had failed in their mission, they were still glad to get away from their
goal.
That evening, after having served as liaison agents between the many
Resistance groups, Jean and Bernard met up and, together with the other
comrades, discussed besides the English tanks.  It is not known how an
Alsacian soldier managed to slip up to them and ask them to be kind
enough to accept to serve as an intermediary between ten of his comrades
and the Allies to whom they wanted to surrender.  Promised that they
would not be hurt, they decided to meet by a farm between 6.30 and
7.00am.  At the decided moment, Stankovitch and Lefevbre went to the
place as arranged and waited.  The firing from the barricades became
heavier, and it was difficult for them to believe that the Alsacians
would manage to get there under such an avalanche of bullets.  And yet,
since they had given their word, they were bent on keeping it, and tried
to stay put.  What happened in the moments which followed?  Doubtless a
shell exploding nearby or a low burst of gunfire took them by surprise.
Both of them were touched.  Bernard Lefebvre was killed outright and
Jean Sankovitch, fatally wounded, died one hour later, after terrible
suffering, at the first aid centre at Rolleville which he had been taken
to.

Sava KOVATCHEVITCH

Sava Kovatchevitch, originally from the Lika district, had come to
France in 1937 to earn a living and help his family a little.  After
occupying France, the Germans sent him to do labour in Düsseldorf,
Germany.  There, he began with the other workers to do sabotage, but the
Gestapo was after him, especially as he was teaching the deported
workers how to commit sabotage.  He left at the moment he was about to
be arrested.  At the time, he was already in contact with Yugoslav and
French prisoners and, alongside the patriots of Lorraine, was helping
them.
He was in Lorraine under the name "Pierre" and had a heavy, dangerous
task.  With the help of the patriots of Lorraine, he created a huge
organization to get people through Germany and Lorraine towards France
and its maquis.  He made false identity papers with the help of the
mayor of Baynville, Pierre Semmoni and Victor Florch, a post inspector
in Nancy.  Alongside the patriots from Lorraine - Emile Kodari, Louis
Vagner, Albert Vaguer, Alphonse Vagner, Victor Picrona, Pierre Vagner,
Jeannette Koisser, from Metz, and Louise Florch, also from Metz - Sava
got men through into France and saved thier lives.  French and Yugoslav
prisoners in camps in Germany knew of this and those who escaped from
the Stalag XII F.  came to find him.  He obtained them civilian clothes,
false identity papers and food; he got them over the border and the
rivers near Metz.
Sava was discovered by Pavelitch's oustachis in charge of keeping tabs
on the Croatian workers deported to Germany.  The Gestapo arrested him
and tortured him for 72 days , starving and beating him, so that he
would denounce the organisation by which war prisoners, civilian
deportees and saboteurs got away into France.  This son of the Lika held
out and never even thought of letting out anything at all.
"If I must die, I may as well die as a man, and not tarnish my Lika, "
Sava would say.
In the end, the Gestapo sent him to join a labour company.  He
succeeded in escaping, and started his work once more, even more
secretly than before.  He was searched for intensely, and in August 1944
the place became too hot beneath his feet and he was forced to leave.
He made it to France and joined the maquis again.
Among the Yugoslav fighters who died in action, let us mention:
Dimitri KOTOUROVIC (1911 - 1944), former fighter in the International
Brigades in Spain, initiator and organiser of the first F.T.P. (ndlt:
Franc Tireur et Partisan) groups in Marseille.  Was killed heroically at
his post in April 1944.
Victor FILIPIC, shot by the Gestapo after committing sabotage at
Sallaumines.
Sava PAVLICEK, killed while fighting on August 18th 1944 in Sauppe.
Givorad BOGOSAVLJEVIC, killed by the Germans during battle in August
1944 in Quincy-Voisins.
Stanko NOVAKOVIC, killed in action at Verdun in August 1944.
Michel ARIEFF, nicknamed "Tito", killed in action at Mausouées Farm in
August 1944.
Zika PETROVIC, 25 years old, escpaded war prisoner, killed in action in
Meaux.
Rudolf CUCEK and Victor ERJAVEC, two miners in Pas-de-Calais, together
shot by the Germans.
BRUNOVIC, from Bruay-en Artois, killed in action in August 1942.
FAJS, from Bruay-en Artois, killed while he was opposing resistance to
the police who had come to arrest him in May 1943.

Notes:
1.  Quoted in "Unis" bulletin n° 52, 17.2.1946.
(On les nommait des étrangers, Les immigrés dans la résistance, by
Gaston Laroche, F.T.P.F. colonel, Boris Matline)

Souvenir Franco-Soviétique,
Jean LEVEQUE,
Villa "Florelle",
28410 BROUE

Translated from the French by P.M.

--
Les "Editions Democrite" publient un mensuel en francais :
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portugaise...) sur des evenements qui interessent des lecteurs
communistes.
Editions Democrite, 52, bld Roger Salengro, 93190 LIVRY-GARGAN, FRANCE
e-mail : democrite(a)starnet.fr



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