Internationals in Ebro exhibition
As the name implies this is a topical exhibition that concentrates on the involvement of foreign nationals in the Spanish Civil War
and the Battle of the Ebro
. It is located in the pretty little town of La Fatarella
in the Terra Alta region of Catalonia, Spain
This is another one of the 'interpretation centres' under the aegis of the Consorci Memorial dels Espais de la Batalla de l'Ebre (COMEBE), who also run the 115 Days exhibition
and the interpretation centre in Batea about the Blood Hospitals
What there is to see:
The design of this exhibition is similar to COMEBE's main one, the 115 Days
interpretation centre in Corbera d'Ebre
, i.e. rather dark with very targeted lighting and a few audiovisual elements. Another similarity is that here too you can borrow a booklet with English translations of the various text panels in the exhibition, as these are in Catalan and Spanish only throughout. But for the audiovisual material you're left without any English subtitles or translations.
Topically the focus here is on the people, namely the various foreign nationals involved in the Spanish Civil War
in general and the Battle of the Ebro
in particular – and that on both sides. In the exhibition these two sides face each other on opposite walls – quite literally: you have photos of members of the International Brigades on the Republican side on the left (of course) of the main exhibition room, and the Nationalists' German Nazi and Italian Fascist allies on the right (naturally).
The exhibition is thematically subdivided into three sections: Quick Internationalization of the conflict in Spain
, the Dimensions of International Participation, and the Munich
Agreement and the End of the War.
The main thing here, however, is individual stories. You are introduced to a large number of characters, including some well-known figures, such as George Orwell or Ernest Hemingway, as well as other less well-known ones, such as the African-American Luchell McDaniels of the Lincoln Battalion, who was given the nickname “El Fantástico”, apparently for his skill at throwing hand grenades.
Also new to me was the involvement of a certain Harold Adrian Russell “Kim” Philby, the (in)famous double agent who as a member of the British
intelligence service spied for the USSR
, where he then defected to after being uncovered in 1963. As a young man he went to Spain
in 1937 to work as a correspondent for “The Times” reporting on the Spanish Civil War
from the Francoist side (while also already working in intelligence for multiple sides) – see also Spy Museum Berlin
I also found it interesting to see just how many nationalities were involved. I had known about Americans, Britons, Italians and other Europeans, but didn't know there were also Internationals from as far away as South-East Asia.
The variety of nationalities was less diverse on the Nationalist side, where it was mainly Nazi Germany
and Fascist Italy
that provided the most significant support for Franco, primarily through military technology (especially the air force, including the infamous German Condor Legion – see Guernica
!), but also personnel. On display are some photos of almost too clichéd German Nazi
faces from those military contingents, but also images of the big players, Hitler
as well as Portugal
's dictator Salazar.
The final section of the exhibition features the flags of all the main nations involved and is about how the Munich agreement between Germany
(in the false hope it would appease Hitler
) influenced the outcome and end of the Spanish Civil War
, and how in central Europe it quickly led to WWII
All in all
, I found this one of the most engaging of the several exhibitions I visited during my tour of the Ebro
. Its breadth of coverage is less than the equally good 115 Days exhibition
, but the focus on people rather than military minutia was more to my liking – and also very illuminating and educational. Highly recommended.
on the western side of the Old Town of La Fatarella
, Catalonia, Spain
, on the corner of Carrer del Centre and Carrer Sunyer at No. 3 on the latter.
Access and costs: quite restricted opening times, but inexpensive.
Details: Easy enough to locate, as it's on the main street that winds around the western and northern sides of the Old Town with its narrow cobbled alleyways (don't get lost there!). But the opening times are quite limited, so you have to plan ahead:
Opening times: Normally only every other week and only over the weekends, beginning Fridays 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday also from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sundays only from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At Easter and on Labour Day (1 May) as well as a few other special days there are somewhat longer opening times. Best check ahead for the schedule on the batallaebre website.
Admission: 2 EUR.
Time required: Between half an hour and perhaps a full hour – depending on whether you can read Catalan/Spanish or are willing to use the English brochure to the full.
Combinations with other dark destinations:
Just a few steps up the road is the Lo Riu exhibition
, which is a far more battlefield-archaeology-oriented outfit and unlike the Internationals exhibition doesn't cater well for foreign visitors . But if you are with a guide such as the one I used when I visited the region (see under Ebro
), then a visit to both these places does make sense, given the geographical proximity.
For yet more see under Ebro
and also under Spain
Combinations with non-dark destinations:
See under La Fatarella
- Internationals 1 - entrance
- Internationals 2 - very compicated opening-times schedule
- Internationals 3 - into the exhibition
- Internationals 4 - concrete commodification
- Internationals 5 - some prominent ones
- Internationals 6 - on the other side
- Internationals 7 - battle details
- Internationals 8 - screen
- internationals 9 - flags of key players