Tàrrega to honor graves of International Brigade soldiers
Historical memory initiative aims to restore tombs of two volunteers buried in local cemetery
An initiative to honor the graves of two members of the International Brigades who died during the Civil War is underway in the western Catalan town of Tàrrega. Two men who fought for the Republicans in the paramilitary units made up of foreign volunteers are buried in the local cemetery, and the aim is to restore their graves on the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Segre, which took place along the nearby Segre River in 1938 and 1939.
Until now, the graves of the two soldiers have been unmarked, but the historical memory initiative carried out by the Tàrrega town council and other local organisations aims to restore the graves of the two Brigade members who died in 1938. American Williams Mitchell Digges and Juan Medina Palmero, of unknown nationality, who were buried side-by-side, will also be the subjects of a ceremony to take place on Saturday.
At the same time, the ceremony aims to recognize the sacrifice of all the International Brigade members, who came from countries all over the world to volunteer for the Spanish Civil War and to have the opportunity to fight fascism. During the commemoration, the Urgell-Tàrrega county museum will also unveil an informative plaque providing information on the history of the International Brigades.
"Tàrrega wants to rescue the memory of the two brigade members at rest in the cemetery from obscurity, something which the local people knew nothing about until now,” said Tàrrega mayor, Rosa Maria Perelló. Williams Mitchell Digges, who was from New Orleans, was killed in an accident on May 28 1938 at the age of 30. Juan Medina Palmero, of unknown origin and who was no more than 20, died four days earlier of an illness.
During Saturday’s commemoration, representatives of various historical organisations will speak, while a floral tribute will be also laid at the graves, and Ricard Bertran will sing two popular Brigade songs. Meanwhile, members of a local group will perform a historical recreation and the event will conclude with a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the Spanish Civil War.