Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

New book reveals Kiwi role in Spanish Civil War

Kiwi role in Spanish Civil War revealed in new book


The long-forgotten exploits of some of the extraordinary New Zealanders who took part in the Spanish Civil War are revealed for the first time in the latest book from Canterbury University Press.

Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War offers the first account of the role New Zealand and New Zealanders played in the war, which began as a military revolt against the Republican government of Spain in 1936 and ended with the government’s overthrow and the start of the 40-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco in 1939. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the conflict.

Edited by writer and historian Mark Derby with a foreword by the Spanish Ambassador to New Zealand Marcos Gomez, Kiwi Compañeros not only tells the personal stories of New Zealanders and post-war immigrants who took part in the action in Spain but also provides accounts of those who worked for the Spanish cause in New Zealand by raising funds, lobbying politicians and spreading propaganda.

Featuring contributions from some of New Zealand’s leading writers and historians, the book draws on personal letters, recently released military documents and previously unpublished photographs.

Mr Derby, who has worked for Te Ara, the online encyclopaedia of New Zealand, the Waitangi Tribunal and as South Pacific correspondent for Portuguese newspaper Jornal Expresso, said the aim of the book is to preserve the long-forgotten stories of Kiwis who took part in what proved to be a brutal foreign war.
“It is a subject which has practically been overlooked and forgotten. There are no other books on New Zealand’s involvement in this conflict and virtually no mention of New Zealand combatants in any other books on the civil war,” he said.
Mr Derby stressed Kiwi Compañeros was not a military history.

“It is a book about a country’s response to a political situation overseas.”

While New Zealand did not officially become involved in the Spanish conflict, a number of New Zealanders volunteered their services as soldiers, doctors, and nurses, or covered the war as journalists. Some left New Zealand to take part in the war while others already based overseas headed to Spain.

Among the stories told are those of a Cromwell surgeon who operated as close as possible to the battlefield; a Christchurch-born academic who risked his life to work as an intelligence agent; a Wellington film-maker and show-jumper who fought for General Francisco Franco’s fascists; and a Wellington pilot who landed his plane with a shattered shoulder then headed to Hollywood to make movies with Errol Flynn.

“Generally speaking those who went to Spain were motivated by anti-fascist beliefs,” said Mr Derby.

“They saw the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy and believed it was a dangerous movement that would eventually lead to war. They saw the overthrow of Spain’s legitimately-elected government as a victory for fascism and wanted to stop it.”

The book is based on papers delivered during a 2006 seminar on the war organised by the Trade Union History Project (now the Labour History Project) and supplemented by further research.

Kiwi Compañeros, published in association with the Labour History Project, will be launched in Auckland on 15 May at the Auckland Central Library; in Wellington on 28 May at Unity Books, Willis St; and in Christchurch on 3 June at the Madras Café Bookshop.

Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War, edited by Mark Derby, published by Canterbury University Press, May 2009, RRP NZ$45.00, Paperback, 304pp, ISBN 978-1-877257-71-1.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>


Howard Davis: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>


Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>


Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland