Erik Reis Godliauskas Zen (University of São Paulo)
This paper presents an analysis of the left-wing political activities of Lithuanian residents in North America and South America during the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. Special attention is given to the mobilization of the International Brigade and to the Lithuanian volunteers who travelled to Spain in order to defend the Second Spanish Republic.
During the 1930’s, the Lithuanian left was able to build information networks to exchange publications and newspapers across the American continent, spreading among their community the antifascist speech and conceptions of the Popular Front, oriented toward the Comintern (Communist International). Lithuanian immigrants also organized associations in Canada, United States, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in order to support and send supplies to the Popular Front. From these countries, they engaged in the International Brigade as volunteers. In Spain, Lithuanians formed groups which maintained information networks connected to their community in America. These groups also debated the political issues they were facing and denounced war atrocities. As a result of all these activities, letters and articles were sent from the front to be published by Lithuanian newspapers in different countries.
By analyzing a series of archive documents and material from newspapers, this paper seeks to understand the participation of Lithuanian immigrants in the Spanish Civil War—one of the major conflicts of the twentieth century—taking into consideration insights from the field of immigration studies.