By Verónica Sierra Blas
The Soviet Union was one of the countries which supported the Republican Government during the Spanish Civil War. Stalin sent troops, arms, food supplies and sanitary material to Spain, and also accepted the 2,895 children that were evacuated between 1937 and 1938 in order to protect them from the war. The Republican Government and the Soviet Regime both believed that these children would be away from their country for a few months only, but Franco’s victory and the outbreak of the Second World War made it impossible and transformed the evacuation into permanent exile for a majority of them. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the majority of these children (now teenagers) decided to participate to the war effort by helping in the rear or fighting on the frontlines. Fighting alongside the Soviets was a way for these Spanish children to express their gratitude for the care and acceptance they had received, and was also the best demonstration that they were prepared to fulfil the role of their destinies: continue the fight against fascism that their families had begun in Spain. This article briefly relates their stories thanks to the diaries, letters, memoirs and autobiographies that they wrote before, during and after the Second World War.