The following is a brief report from Comrade, FIBI member Damien Keogh on his attendance at KFSR’s Conference in Berlin, September, 2022.
I went to Berlin on 2nd September 2022 as per our invite from KFSR, for delegates to attend their international annual meeting.
The theme of the meeting was from Jarama to Ebro – battles in which the Irish battalion had fought.
I brought along a Connolly Colum flag and a Tricolour, which the organisers displayed in a prominent position on the platform.
I was asked, and welcomed the opportunity, to talk about FIBI – and James Connolly. I went on to tell them that FIBI commemorates brigaders both in Ireland and Spain. I conveyed to the meeting that Eddie O’Neill and comrades had gathered and brought 32 stones from every county in Ireland, to Madrid, and built a cairn with them in Rivas to commemorate the Irish brigaders, and all comrades who were killed at the Battle of Jarama.
After the meeting I was approached by a woman of Roma heritage. She told me they did the same by bringing stones from the area that the Romas originated from. This was to commemorate 600,000 Sinti and Roma victims who were exterminated by the Nazis .
With these stones they built a memorial in the Tiergarten, near the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. It is very impressive to see. If any of our members or family are in Berlin it is well worth a visit.
The Connolly Colum flag was donated to the KFSR and I gave a brief history lesson on James Connolly, how he was murdered by British Imperialists and, of course, his relevance to Irish brigaders.
I was then invited to take part in a rally to the “Deutsche Interbrigadisten” monument in Volkspark Friedrichshain The KFSR brought the flag of the Connolly Colum to the memorial, where it was clearly displayed.
We attended the conference closing party afterwards and gave them a rendition of Christy Moore’s “Viva La Quinta Brigada”. All in all, it was a worthwhile trip and we should keep in contact with this group in the future.