A photo of the Gibraltar Socorro Rojo committee. / SUR

Garrison Library issues a call for information

The library hopes someone with local knowledge will know more about the Gibraltar Socorro Rojo committee during the Spanish Civil War

DEBBIE BARTLETT GIBRALTAR.

Do you have any information about the work of the Socorro Rojo Internacional Gibraltar Committee during the Spanish Civil War? If so, the Garrison Library would love to hear from you.

The Socorro Rojo Internacional was established in 1922 by Communist International as an NGO that functioned along the same lines as the Red Cross, albeit as an independent and secular organisation.

The Spanish Socorro Rojo was established some years later, in 1934, following the October Revolution in Asturias, which occurred that same year and was part of the general strike sweeping Spain at that time. However, it was during the Civil War that we see the Spanish Socorro Rojo providing food and clothing for children in Republican zones as well as supporting soldiers with libraries and hospitals.

The Gibraltar committee of the Socorro Rojo followed similar initiatives by collecting donations of food and clothing from the local community to provide aid to Republican children and families in the immediate Spanish hinterland. Donors would receive a small postcard with the headshot of Manuel Azaña, the President of the Republic, in return.

Women were mostly involved in taking any supplies donated across the border into Spain, as their likelihood of being searched was less than for their male counterparts.

A local man who is researching aspects of the Spanish Civil War recently took some photographs of the Socorro Rojo Gibraltar Committee to the Garrison Library, in the hope that it held some further details on the work carried out by this committee.

There is some suggestion that the Gibraltar committee had a collection office close to the Garrison Library, possibly by the printworks and, therefore, not immediately visible from Town Range. Still, there is no clear indication of the actual location of their office, and details on the work of the Socorro Rojo at Gibraltar remain very limited.

It may be that someone who knows Gibraltar can assist in filling in the remaining gaps, which include helping to identify the names of the committee members.

Please contact the library on (00350) 200 77418 or at chris.tavares@gibraltargarrisonlibrary.gi with any information that might help.