The goal of the Digital Platform Volunteers Spanish Civil War project is to create a biography database of all the Dutch who fought in Spain between 1936 and 1939 for the preservation of the Spanish Republic against the forces of General Franco, who was supported by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
An exhaustive investigation into the Dutch volunteers that went to Spain to fight for the Republic and to fight against fascism has never been done.
In the Netherlands, the Spanish Civil War is in many ways a forgotten war. Estimates of the number of Dutch Volunteers that played a role in that war, vary widely. We aim to collect information which gives an outline of the background of these mostly forgotten fighters. We want to give these people a face, and to tell something about their lives.
The database will contain at least some basic information, such as date of birth and death, years in Spain, profession and political background. In addition, we hope that for a large number of these people we can publish a more complete biography, with references to interviews, literature, links to other websites, etc.
For this project the renowned International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam have been consulted. The idea is to involve some students from the University of Amsterdam, who will perform the research and the digitisation of the collected data, under the supervision of and with the help of the Institute. The study is accompanied by Yvonne Scholten who has done research on the Dutch volunteers in the Spanish Civil War for several years.
The search for grants took some time. The Democracy and Media Foundation pledged an amount for half of the budget. From September 2014, followed the now successful crowdfunding. This initiative was warmly supported by the Dutch Committee of Spain 1936-1939. The Committee organises the annual commemorations at the Spanish Civil War monument in Amsterdam and maintains contacts with family members of former Spanish Civil War Volunteers.
In the beginning the study will focus on several major archives in the Netherlands, including those of the International Institute of Social History, the National Archives, and several regional archives. The research will also include literature, internet research, especially consulting sites like Delpher (historical newspapers site of the Royal Library) and archives of the Intelligence Services.
The research period will run from January to April 2015; the data will be processed in that period by the Institute and then the first result will be published.