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Dolores Ibárruri in 1978.

Dolores Ibárruri Gómez (9 December 1895 – 12 November 1989), known more famously as "La Pasionaria" (passion flower) was a Spanish Republican leader of the Spanish Civil War and communist politician of Basque origin, perhaps best known for her defense of the Republic with the famous slogan ¡No Pasarán! ("They Shall Not Pass"), during the Battle of Madrid.

She grew up in Gallarta, the daughter of a local Basque miner and a Castillian mother. Upon her marriage to the revolutionary Socialist miner Julián Ruiz Gabiña, Ibarruri moved to Somorrosto (Bizkaia). It was here, during the 1920s, that the once Carlist Catholic young woman became a revolutionary militant activist and one of the first members of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) when it was founded in 1921. In the 1930s, she became a writer for the PCE publication Mundo Obrero, and was elected to the Cortes as a PCE deputy for Asturias in February 1936 during the Second Republic. After the end of the Spanish Civil War and her exile from Spain, she was appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Spain, a position she held from 1942 to 1960, when she was made President of the PCE. She would hold this position as Party President from 1960 until her death in 1989. Upon her return to Spain in 1977, she was reelected as a deputy to the Cortes (Spanish Parliament) for the same region she had once represented during the Second Republic. She is usually regarded as being one of the greatest public speakers of the twentieth century[1].



Born into a poor Carlist and Catholic mining family[2] in the town of Gallarta (municipality Abanto Zierbena),Vizcaya province, in the Basque Country of Spain, Ibárruri was the eighth of eleven children of Antonio Ibárruri and Juliana Gómez who was originally from Soria. She wanted to teach, but her family could not afford to pay for her schooling.[3] In 1916, at the age of twenty, she married Julián Ruiz, a miner and political activist. She had six children, but four died before adulthood, due in part to their extreme poverty.

After his participation in the general strike of 1917, Ruiz was imprisoned, which exacerbated the family's financial hardship. Ibárruri studied the writings of Karl Marx and joined the Communist Party (PCE). She wrote articles for El Minero Vizcaíno, the miners' newspaper, under the pseudonym of La Pasionaria, passion flower.

In 1920, she was elected to the Provincial Committee of the Basque Communist Party. She gained respect and popularity, and in 1930 she was elected to the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party.

With the advent of the Second Republic in 1931 she moved to Madrid, where she became editor of the left-wing newspaper, Mundo Obrero. She worked for the improvement of conditions for women. Later she was elevated to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party. Due to her activities, she was arrested and imprisoned several times. Her speaking abilities made her one of the chief representatives of the PCE. She was a delegate to the Communist International (Comintern) in Moscow in 1933.

Communist Party of Spain

Spanish Civil War
Popular Front

PCE federations
Mundo Obrero - CC.OO.
United Left
European Left

Dolores Ibárruri
Enrique Líster
Santiago Carrillo
Julio Anguita
Francisco Frutos

Politics of Spain
Political parties in Spain
Elections in Spain

World Communist Movement

She was elected to the Spanish Congress of Deputies in 1936, and campaigned for improved working, housing, and health conditions. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War she raised her voice in defense of the Republic with the famous slogan ¡No Pasarán! ("They Shall Not Pass"), during the Battle of Madrid. Her speeches rallied a large part of the Republican population, particularly women, to the anti-fascist cause. She took part in different committees with personages like Palmiro Togliatti to win aid for the Republican cause. Nevertheless, after three bloody years, in April 1939, with the capture of Madrid, the Nationalist forces prevailed. Ibárruri went into exile in the USSR, where she continued her political activity. Her only son, Rubén, joined the Red Army, and perished in the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942.

Enrique Líster accused Dolores Ibarruri of ordering (with Santiago Carrillo) in 1945 the killing in an internal purge of the old PCE militant Gabriel León Trilla [4].

In 1942 she became General Secretary of the PCE, a position she held until 1960, when she took over the title President of the PCE which she held until her death. In the early 1960s she was granted Soviet citizenship. Her political work was recognized during these years by the Soviet Union and she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Moscow. In addition she received the Lenin Peace Prize (1964) and the Order of Lenin (1965). Her autobiography, No Pasarán (They Shall Not Pass), was published in 1966.

After the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, she returned to her native land. She was elected a deputy to the Cortes in June 1977, representing Asturias region in the first elections after the restoration of democracy.

Ibárruri died of pneumonia at the age of 93 in Madrid. Ernest Hemingway wrote of La Pasionaria in his famous novel about the Spanish Civil War, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

A statue of La Pasionaria stands on Clyde Street in Glasgow in tribute to the men of Scotland who went to Spain to fight Fascism.

In her own words (Quotations)

June 16, 1936 (Madrid).

Excerpt of the reply given in Parliament to Gil Robles and to José Calvo Sotelo. This rebuttal by Dolores Ibárruri in the parliamentary debate moved by the two foremost exponents of the Spanish Right is highly significant because it occurred less than one month before the assassination of Calvo Sotelo on July 13 and the start of the Spanish Civil War five days later.

Gentlemen of the Right! You come here outraged to rend your vestments and to dab ash on your foreheads even while, as colleague De Francisco has said, someone whom you know and whom we are not unacquainted with as well [probably José Antonio Primo de Rivera], orders the making of Civil Guard uniforms with intentions known to you and not unknown to us, and while in addition across the Navarre border—Mr. Calvo-Sotelo!—enter firearms and munitions wrapped in the Spanish flag with less noise, with less outrage than the provocation orchestrated by the miserable assassin Martinez Anido in Vera del Bidasoa [a township of the Basque Country] with whom the Honourable Member collaborated; and to the shame of the Spanish Republic justice has not been meted out either to him or to the Honorable Member who colluded. As I say, the facts are more telling than the words. I shall mention not only those that have taken place since the sixteenth of February but also those from a little earlier because the gales of today are the consequence of the winds of yesterday.

What happened since the truly Republican constituents and the Socialists relinquished power? What happened from the time when men who, varnished with a deceptive Republicanism, under the pretext of wishing to broaden the popular base of the Republic, joined you, anti-Republicans, and the Government of Spain? This is what happened: The expropriations in the countryside were carried out collectively, the City Halls of the Basque Country were persecuted, the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia was curtailed, all the democratic freedoms were assailed and crushed, all the Labour Codes were ignored, the Law of Municipal Boundaries was revoked [the Law of Municipal Boundaries forbad an employer the hiring of workers living outside his circumscription]—as colleague De Francisco was saying—the workers were mistreated, and all this kept storing up an enormous amount of hatred which necessarily had to climax in something, and that something was the glorious October, the October which makes us proud, all Spanish citizens who have political discernment, who have dignity, who have a sense of responsibility about Spain's destiny in the face of scheming Fascism.

And all these actions carried out in Spain during the period aptly dubbed "The Black Biennial" were executed—Mr. Gil Robles!—by resorting not only to the police, to the coercive apparatus of the State, but to the underworld, to those criminal elements that every capitalist society harbours, men without roots, the cross of the proletariat, who were hired, given arms and immunity to kill, and who murdered the workers who stood out in the struggle and also men of the Left: Canales, Socialist; Joaquín de Grado, Juanita Rico, Manuel Andrés and so many others who fell victim to these gangs of gunmen organized—Mr. Calvo Sotelo!—by a lady [a reference to Pilar Primo de Rivera the sister of Falange's founder] whose name if cited stokes the hatred of Spanish workers for the shame and ruin it has brought to Spain and by pretentious dandies who dream of the victories and blood-soaked glories of Hitler or Mussolini.[5]

July 19, 1936 (Madrid).

Excerpt of the rallying radio address from the Ministry of the Interior the day following the start of the Spanish Civil War.

Workers! Farmers! Antifascists! Patriotic Spaniards! Everyone rise to defend the Republic against the Fascist military uprising, to defend the common freedoms and the democratic triumphs of the people!

The country realizes the gravity of the current situation through the bulletins being issued by the government and the Popular Front. In Morocco and in the Canary Islands the workers are fighting beside the Armed Forces loyal to the Republic against the military rebels and Fascists.

To the cry of "Fascism shall not pass! The executioners of October shall not pass!" the workers and farmers of the various provinces of Spain are joining the fight against the enemies of the Republic declared in armed rebellion. Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, Republican democrats, the soldiers and services loyal to the Republic have inflicted the first defeats on the insurgents, who drag through the quagmire of Treason the military honour they have boasted about so much.

The whole country roils with fury at those savages who want to plunge democratic and the people's Spain into a hell of terror and death.

But they shall not pass![6]

September 8, 1936 (Paris).

Conclusion of the speech delivered to a Convention of Solidarity organized in Paris as part of an official mission by the Popular Front to the French government asking for the lifting of the arms embargo against the Spanish Republic.

Our people exude heroism, but a heroic spirit is not enough. The armament of the rebels must be confronted with rifles, airplanes, field guns. We defend the cause of freedom and peace. We need planes and guns to fight, to defend ourselves, our freedom, to prevent the insurgents bombing our open cities, murdering our women and our children. We need arms to defend freedom and peace!

Don't you forget—and let noone forget—that if today it falls to us to resist Fascist aggression the struggle does not end with Spain. Today it is our turn, but if the Spanish people are allowed to succumb, it will be your turn—all of Europe will be compelled to face up to aggression and war.

Help us to forestall the defeat of democracy because the consequence of such a defeat would be a new World War, which we are all interested in avoiding but whose first battles are being fought in our country already. For our children and yours! For the sake of peace and to oppose war demand that the border be opened! Demand that the French government fulfill its obligations with the Spanish Republican government! Help us obtain the arms we need to defend ourselves with! Fascism shall not pass! It shall not pass! It shall not pass![6]

March 5, 1937 (Valencia).

Opening address at the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party. Significantly her appeal discloses that by this time the Republican side had splintered into quarrelling factions.

Stand up, people of Spain!

Women! Defend the life of your children, defend the liberty of your men! [Endure] Every conceivable sacrifice rather than grant the victory of the forces which represent a past of oppression, a past of tyranny.

Everybody against the Reaction! Everyone against Fascism! One front only! One faction united shoulder to shoulder until the enemy is defeated!

Down with the rebel generals! Down with the counter-revolutionary elements! Long live the brave popular militias! Long live the loyal Forces that fight alongside the workers!

Long live the Republic. Long live Democracy. Down with Fascism. Down with the Reaction.[7]

November 1, 1938 (Barcelona).

Listen to the transcript of Ibárruri's farewell address to the International Brigades read in English by Maxine Peake by clicking on the hyperlink provided with Note...[8]

The International Brigades were honoured twice by the losing Republican side, first on October 25, 1938 at Les Masies (Tarragona) where General Chief of Staff Vicente Rojo Lluch presided and the legendary Republican commanders Enrique Líster and Juan Modesto attended[9] and seven days later in Barcelona where La Pasionaria bid them farewell as they paraded down April The Fourteenth Avenue to the cheers of more than 250,000 people.[10]


Autobiography: The Only Way.

The 1905 Russian Revolution, which evoked the solidarity of the Spanish proletariat, also had its song amid the workers of our country and I learned it from the miners of my region when I was a little girl,

Do not cave in, Russian people,
Keep fighting steadfast.
For the International cleaves itself
To your revolution.
A reprisal we ask
For that autocratic rabble.
Let autocratic blood
Flow through the streets unceasingly.

On those days when the workers were allowed to place the red flags of their organizations on the windows of the Workers' Centre the district bustled with life. Even to those not affiliated with the Centre the red flag said something which escaped their conscious understanding yet shook them to the depths of their soul.[11]

September 28, 1973.

Excerpt of a radio broadcast about the repression in Pinochet's Chile. Radio España Independiente (La Pirenaica).

Two names that are quite a symbol go together in death in this tough and very cruel fight that the Chilean people are called upon to wage for their own life and for the freedom of their homeland: Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda, Socialist one, Communist the other, who will live forever in the grateful memory of their people and of all peoples. The Reaction passes away, but the people endure. And after this bloodbath with which the Chilean Reaction at the service of the Imperialists has wanted to bury for all time the democratic regime headed by President Salvador Allende, who enters History immortalized by his life and by his death, Chilean democracy, enriched with the blood of so many heroes fallen in the beastly repression, will be reborn and the Chilean people will rebuild that democracy in whose defense fell the noble and heroic President Salvador Allende and so many other anonymous heroes of the Chilean people, victims of the criminal Fascist military aggression—of the vile agents of North American imperialism who as our comrade Luis Corbalán denounced in a speech given in March of this year were plotting against the Chilean democracy.[12]


  1. ^ Vid. Oxford Dictionary, Speaker entry
  2. ^ Dolores Ibárruri. "They shall not pass: The autobiography of La Pasionaria", 1966, ISBN 0-7178-0468-2, p.42
  3. ^ Dolores Ibárruri. "They shall not pass: The autobiography of La Pasionaria", 1966, ISBN 0-7178-0468-2, p.58
  4. ^ Enrique Líster. "¡Basta!", published in 1971 in Paris and in 1978 in Madrid. Cited by Ricardo de la Cierva in Carrillo Miente. 156 documentos contra 103 falsedades, 1994. ISBN 8488787830. Page 302.
  5. ^ Dolores Ibárruri: "Discurso de La Pasionaria en las Cortes el 16 de junio de 1936 (en el debate promovido por Calvo Sotelo y Gil Robles)." Lorenzo Peña. España Roja.
  6. ^ a b Dolores Ibárruri: "¡NO PASARÁN!." Lorenzo Peña. España Roja.
  7. ^ 1937—Discurso de Pasionaria. Youtube.
  8. ^ Maxine Peake: "Dolores Ibarruri (Farewell to the International Brigades)." Youtube.
  9. ^ Brigadas Internacionales.
  10. ^ Despedida de las Brigadas Internacionales (Disbandment of the International Brigades). Youtube.
  11. ^ Dolores Ibárruri, María Carmen García-Nieto París, María José Capellín Corrada: El único camino. Madrid: Editorial Castalia, 1991; p. 92.
  12. ^ Dolores Ibárruri: "Sobre la represión en Chile; Allende-Neruda." Audio: Discursos de Dolores Ibárruri, Pasionaria. La Conquista de la Civilización Socialista. Blogchevique.

List of works

  • Dolores Ibárruri: Speeches & Articles 1936-1938, New York, 1938.
  • El único camino, Moscow, 1963.
  • Memorias de Dolores Ibarruri, Pasionaria: la lucha y la vida, Barcelona, 1985.
  • They Shall Not Pass: The Autobiography of La Pasionaria, New York, 1966.
  • Memorias de Pasionaria, 1939-1977: Me faltaba Espana, Barcelona, 1984.
Preceded by
Position created
President of the Communist Party of Spain
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Preceded by
José Díaz
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain
Succeeded by
Santiago Carrillo

See also

External links

Redirecting to Dolores Ibárruri

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