MADRID — Josep Almudéver, the final identified survivor of the Worldwide Brigades who had volunteered to combat in Spain’s Civil Warfare within the hope that they may cease Fascism, died on Might 23 in Pamiers, in southwestern France. He was 101.
His loss of life, in a hospital, was confirmed by his daughter Sonia Almudéver. She didn’t specify the trigger.
Mr. Almudéver was born in France to Spanish dad and mom and held twin citizenship. He was a teen dwelling in Spain when Francisco Franco and different generals launched a army coup in July 1936 in opposition to Spain’s Republican authorities and plunged the nation right into a three-year civil warfare.
He needed to lie about his age to enlist in a Republican militia, however he was quickly wounded and despatched house. It was then found that he had been too younger to combat. However after recovering from his harm, he managed to rejoin the warfare as a member of the Worldwide Brigades, wherein tens of hundreds of foreigners had enlisted with a view to combat Franco.
Mr. Almudéver was one in every of lots of the Brigades’ left-wing volunteers who seen the battle in Spain as a broader combat in opposition to the advance of Fascism throughout Europe; Franco was receiving army help from Nazi Germany and Italy.
Giles Tremlett, a British journalist and historian who final yr printed a book concerning the Brigades, stated that the loss of life of Mr. Almudéver “brings the curtain down on what was a outstanding phenomenon of a transnational volunteer military, whose creation was in contrast on the time to what had occurred in the course of the Crusades.”
Folks traveled from all around the world to hitch the Worldwide Brigades, however Mr. Tremlett famous that the items had additionally included Spaniards, a few of whom, like docs or artillery engineers, helped fill particular wants.
The Brigades, a drive that was formed partly by Soviet adviser, enlisted a complete of about 35,000 foreigners in the course of the warfare and at their peak numbered as many as 42,000 troopers.
Most of the foreigners needed to sneak into Spain as a result of their nations, together with the US, had remained impartial. (The final identified American member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Delmer Berg, died in 2016 at 100.)
Josep Almudéver Mateu was born on July 30, 1919, in Marseille, France, to folks who had come from the japanese Spanish area of Valencia. His father, Vicente Almudéver Mari, was a builder who had moved to France looking for work. His mom, Adela Mateu Paterna, was a homemaker who in her youth had been a part of her household’s touring circus and who had met her husband whereas touring in France.
After dwelling in Marseille, the household briefly moved to Morocco, then returned to Spain in 1931 when Mr. Almudéver’s mom fell significantly ailing, simply because the Republican authorities was taking energy.
Mr. Almudéver was detained by Franco’s troops in Valencia in 1939 on the eve of Franco’s victory and held in work camps and prisons till his launch in 1942. Decided to proceed the wrestle in opposition to Franco, he joined an underground Communist labor union that was serving to guerrilla fighters in northeastern Spain.
When some fighters had been caught and executed in 1947, he fled on foot throughout the Pyrenees to the French city of Pamiers, the place one in every of his brothers lived. A yr later his spouse, Carmen Ballester Vicens, managed to hitch him in France.
Almudena Cros, the president of the Association of Friends of the International Brigades, which was shaped in Madrid within the Eighties, stated that she was “99 % positive” that Mr. Almudéver was “the final man standing” and that there was no different surviving member of the Brigades.
She stated that he had contributed significantly to selling the historic significance of the Brigades, not least as a result of he had remained “so sharp, forceful and clear” when recalling his wartime expertise.
“He beloved every time he might go to faculties and communicate to younger folks concerning the lesser identified facets of our personal Spanish historical past,” Ms. Cros stated.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain said on Twitter that Mr. Almudéver had stood out due to his “political engagement and perseverance,” noting that he had not solely fought for democracy and in opposition to dictatorship however had additionally suffered “postwar repression and exile.”
Like his father, Mr. Almudéver labored within the development trade whereas devoting a lot of his spare time to conserving alive the reminiscence of the civil warfare, his daughter Sonia stated. He printed an autobiography in 2014 and two years later joined Ms. Cros on a tour of Spain to mark the eightieth anniversary of the Brigades’ creation.
In an interview that yr with La Marea, a Spanish publication, Mr. Almudéver stated that he nonetheless had shrapnel in his leg from the wound he suffered in the course of the warfare. The civil warfare, he stated, was misplaced as a result of the Republican authorities was “stabbed” by his personal French authorities and since different nations had didn’t help the Republicans in opposition to Franco.
Mr. Almudéver is survived by one in every of his three siblings, Vicente, who additionally fought on the Republican facet in the course of the civil warfare and is now 103. Along with his daughter Sonia, his different survivors embrace 4 extra youngsters, 10 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. His spouse died in 2006.