Dolores Ibárruri was born in Gallarta, Spain, on December 9, 1895, into a family of miners. She experienced poverty as a child and eventually became a seamstress. In 1916, she married a miner, an active trade unionist who was later imprisoned for leading a strike. After reading the works of Karl Marx, Ibárruri joined the Communist Party (PCE) and wrote articles for the miners’ newspaper, El Minero Vizcaino, under the name Pasionaria (passion flower). In 1930 she was elected to the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party, and used her position to advocate for improving women’s conditions in Spain and against the emergence of fascism in Italy and Germany. In 1936, Ibárruri, now known widely as La Pasionaria, was elected to the Cortes, the Spanish legislature, and was was the chief propagandist for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War. The speech below, her last address in Spain before leaving for the Soviet Union, shows her disappointment regarding the fate of Republican Spain.

Source: La Pasionaria [Dolores Ibárruri]. "Farewell Address" (speech, Barcelona, Spain, November 1, 1938).


It is very difficult to say a few words in farewell to the heroes of the International Brigades, because of what they are and what they represent. A feeling of sorrow, an infinite grief catches our throat—sorrow for those who are going away, for the soldiers of the highest ideal of human redemption, exiles from their countries, persecuted by the tyrants of all peoples—grief for those who will stay here forever mingled with the Spanish soil, in the very depth of our heart, hallowed by our feeling of eternal gratitude.

From all peoples, from all races, you came to us like brothers, like sons of immortal Spain; and in the hardest days of the war, when the capital of the Spanish Republic was threatened, it was you, gallant comrades of the International Brigades, who helped save the city with your fighting enthusiasm, your heroism and your spirit of sacrifice. And Jarama and Guadalajara, Brunete and Belchite, Levante and the Ebro, in immortal verses sing of the courage, the sacrifice, the daring, the discipline of the men of the International Brigades.

For the first time in the history of the peoples’ struggles, there was the spectacle, breathtaking in its grandeur, of the formation of International Brigades to help save a threatened country’s freedom and independence—the freedom and independence of our Spanish land.

Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, Republicans—men of different colors, differing ideology, antagonistic religions—yet all profoundly loving liberty and justice, they came and offered themselves to us unconditionally. They gave us everything—their youth or their maturity; their science or their experience; their blood and their lives; their hopes and aspirations—and they asked us for nothing. But yes, it must be said, they did want a post in battle, they aspired to the honor of dying for us. ...

We shall not forget you; and, when the olive tree of peace is in flower, entwined with the victory laurels of the Republic of Spain—return!

Return to our side for here you will find a homeland—those who have no country or friends, who must live deprived of friendship—all, all will have the affection and gratitude of the Spanish people who today and tomorrow will shout with enthusiasm—

Long live the heroes of the International Brigades!