Cabinet backs Swiss Spanish Civil War fighters

The government says it supports the rehabilitation of Swiss volunteers who fought alongside the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.

This content was published on November 26, 2008 - 12:18

Backing a motion from a parliamentary legal commission, the cabinet said the punishments handed down to the volunteers when they returned home no longer corresponded to contemporary sense of justice.

It added that history had shown that those fighting for democracy between 1936 and 1939 deserved recognition.

Civil war broke out in Spain after an attempted coup by parts of the army against the government of the Second Spanish Republic. It ended three years later with the victory of the rebels and the founding of a dictatorship led by the Fascist General Franco and the defeat of the supporters of the Republic.

In many countries, including Switzerland, there was great sympathy for the Republican government camp – demonstrations were organised and funds were collected.

But the Swiss government, mindful of the country's neutrality, intervened, banning fundraising and recruiting activities. Despite the government ban, around 800 volunteers came from Switzerland, including a small number of women.

Around 170 of the Swiss contingent died in the fighting. Defeated and humiliated by the Nationalist rebels, the rest returned home where they had to face the justice authorities.

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