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Surviving Members of Brigades That Fought Fascism in Spain to Mark Their 50th Anniversary

Surviving veterans of the International Brigade, the army of volunteers which fought on the side of the Spanish Republic against the Nazi-backed rebels under Gen. Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, will gather in Jerusalem next Monday for their 50th anniversary congress.

The veterans, from 15 countries, will be joined by 60 Israelis who were among the volunteers from Palestine in the first effort to stem the tide of fascism in Europe a half century ago. According to Jerusalem-born Salman Salzman, organizer of the congress, 300 volunteers from Palestine fought in Spain, all of them Jews except three Arabs and two Armenians.

He said at a press conference here Wednesday that 20 percent of the 40,000 volunteers were Jewish, including members of the American Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the Thaelman Brigade made up of German anti-fascists.

The congress will open with an address by President Chaim Herzog of Israel. A grove of more than 1,000 trees will be dedicated near the Beth Shemesh-Jerusalem highway in honor of the Spanish war volunteers. Known as the Peace and Brotherhood Grove, it is financed by Salzman out of his personal savings.