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The research project SIDBRINT revives the history of the International Brigades who fought during the Spanish Civil War

The director of CEHI Antoni Segura, the Vice-Rector Jordi Alberch and the researcher Lourdes Prades during the presentation of SIDBRINT.

The director of CEHI Antoni Segura, the Vice-Rector Jordi Alberch and the researcher Lourdes Prades during the presentation of SIDBRINT.

The researchers Mirta Núñez, Manuel Requena, Lourdes Prades, Marta Platero and Walther L. Bernecker.

The researchers Mirta Núñez, Manuel Requena, Lourdes Prades, Marta Platero and Walther L. Bernecker.

17/06/2015

Thousands of people from different countries all over the world fought on the Republic side during the Spanish Civil War, within the International Brigades. They represent the international consequences of the Spanish Civil War and how it became a symbol against fascism. Now, a research project of the University of Barcelona (UB) combines history and documentation together with the use of new digital technologies to recover historical memory and know the trajectory of each member of the International Brigades. Some were writers and prestigious intellectuals, but most of them were anonymous people. SIDBRINT— acronym for “Sistema d’Informació Digital sobre les Brigades Internacionals” (Digital Information System on the International Brigades)— allows researchers and people in general obtaining information about brigadistes, for example their country of origin, profession, the battalion in which they fought, etc. So far, SIDBRINT has information about 7,000 brigadistes. The aim is to collect information about more than 35,000 people who fought in our country, according to bibliographical sources.

 

“In fact, among many other aspects, the project has to corroborate that a total of 35,000 brigadistes fought during the Spanish Civil War”, points out the director of the project Lourdes Prades, author of the PhD thesis that gave rise to SIDBRINT and head of the CRAI Pavelló de la República Library. Prades emphasizes that SIDBRINT has two main objectives: to contribute to the historical knowledge of the Civil War, particularly, of the International Brigades, and to shed light on the personal history of this group of volunteers in order to recover historical memory. For example, in the case of the engineer Hams Amlie, we know that he came from the United States and was wounded in Boadilla del Monte, where he fought in the Lincoln Battalion. He left Spain as a way to protest against the application of the death sentence to those brigadistes who did not obey orders. Another example is Felicia Browne, the first British victim who died in 1936 in Aragón. Moreover, the website includes the bibliographic references of the sources that contain information about this group of international volunteers.  

By means of databases and a map to locate the trajectory of each brigadiste, SIDBRINT details the documentary sources —books, press and newspapers, archives, etc.— where information was found. This accurate documentary information facilitates the search for information and the research on the International Brigades, an important aspect considering that sources come from very different origin and ideologies. The project requires an important task of information retrieval and selection. “Several volunteers are working with sources and we are receiving new requests to collaborate”, says Prades. Besides the providing personal information about each member of the International Brigades, SIDBRINT allows doing specific searches, for example you can locate the different battalions and to look for the exact reference of documentary sources. It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 sources about the International Brigades. Nowadays, SIDBRINT quotes about 1,000 sources and it aims to cite the whole of them.

SIDBRINT emerged from the PhD thesis that Lourdes Prades submitted in 2008 at the Faculty of Geography and History of the UB, supervised by Professor Montserrat Sebastià. Prades was able to develop her study thanks to a grant conferred by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and it turned into a research project led by Professor Sebastià until her death in February 2014. The project was developed in collaboration with other institutions like the Complutense University of Madrid, the University of Salamanca, the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, the Carlos III University of Madrid, the Universitat Politècnica de València, the University of Girona, the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, the University of Castilla-La Mancha (together with the Centre for Studies and Documentation of the International Brigades), the University of Bologna, the University of Zurich, the Exile Memorial Museum, the Association for the Friends of the International Brigades, etc.

 

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