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Eulogy to the Dead
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Ernest Hemingway

Note: Celebrating the continuing success of the democratic struggles in post-Franco Spain, one thousand New Yorkers gathered on February 25th, 1979, on the occasion of the 42nd Anniversary of the V.A.L.B. to pay tribute and to extend special recognition to the Black Americans of the V.A.L.B. who fought heroically in the first integrated U.S.A. military force against fascism, in defense of democratic Republican Spain and to rally the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion in their determination to raise high the banner of struggle against growing racism and oppression of Black Americans.

This was also a demonstration and expression of international solidarity with the fighting and resisting Blacks of South Africa against apartheid and in support of the victorious march to victory for independence of the Zimbabwean guerilla resistance fighters.

The heroism of these Black American fighters of the V.A.L.B. united with their white comrades in arms, fighting and dying on the anti-fascist battlefields is forever inscribed in the never forgotten "Eulogy to the Dead" (printed below) by the great American anti-fascist author and humanist, Ernest Hemigway.

"The dead sleep cold in Spain tonight. Snow blows through the olive groves, sifting against the tree roots. Snow drifts over the mounds with the small headboards (where there was time for headboards). The olive trees are thin in the cold wind because their lower branches were once cut to cover tanks, and the dead sleep cold in the small hills above the Jarama river. It was cold that February when they died there and since then the dead have not noticed the change of seasons. 

[[image -Ernest Hemingway]]

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"It is two years now since the Lincoln Battalion held for four and one-half months along the heights of the Jarama, and the first American dead have been a part of the earth of Spain for a long time now.

"The dead sleep cold in Spain tonight and they will sleep folk all this winter as the earth sleeps cold with them. But in the spring the rain will come to make the earth kind again. The wind will blow soft over the hills from the south. The black trees will come to life with small green leaves, and there will be blossoms on the apple tree along the Jamara river. This spring the dead will feel the earth beginning to live again.

"For our dead are a part of the earth of Spain now and the earth of Spain can never die. Each winter it will seem to die and each spring it will come alive again. Our dead will live with it forever.

"Just as the earth can never die, neither will those who have ever been free return to slavery. The peasants who worked the earth where our dead lie know what those dead died for. There was time during the war for them to learn these things, and there is forever for them to remember them in.

"Our dead live in the hearts and minds of the Spanish peasants, of the Spanish workers of all the good simple honest people who believed in and fought for the Spanish Republic. And as long as all our dead live in the Spanish earth, and they will live as long as the earth lives, no system of tyranny ever will prevail in Spain.

"The Fascists may spread over the land, blasting their way with the weight of metal brought from other countries. They may advance aided by traitors and by cowards. They may destroy cities and villages and try to hold the people in slavery.

"The Spanish people will rise again as they have always risen before against tyranny.

"The dead do not need to rise. They are a part of the earth now and the earth can never be conquered. For the earth endureth forever. It will outlive all systems of tyranny.

"Those who have entered it honorably, and no men ever entered earth more honorably than those who died in Spain, have already achieved immortality."

Ernest Hemingway
February 14, 1939

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