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Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives - alba educational Modules 04
For Your Liberty & Ours:
Introduction
By Howard Lurie
Educator/Researcher
West Newton, Mass.
howard_lurie@facing.org

Rationale and Overview of Online Multimedia Educational Programs
The current role and impact of any detailed study of Spanish Civil War volunteers is severely
limited in most state-mandated high school social studies curriculum. At best, the Spanish
Civil War is referenced as another example of fascism of the 1930s. Within this context,
there is a glaring omission of the personal stories of courage, responsibility and volunteerism
both among the Spanish and members of the various International Brigades who fought and
died in Spain. Moreover, the legacies of these rich and vibrant experiences, as well as that of
Spanish fascism remain unknown by the vast majority of high school history students. As
the generation of veterans of the International Brigades ages, it becomes increasingly more
urgent to preserve, collect, and distribute their stories to a new generation of students and
teachers.
The fact that a significant portion of International Brigade volunteers were Jews has also
escaped notice and study. The reality of civilian Jews volunteering for combat in a country
far from their own personal struggles against antisemitism and fascism can be helpful in
countering the of "sheep to the slaughter" stereotype often associated with Holocaust era
Jews. Moreover, the experiences of these Jewish volunteers after the defeat of Republican
Spain in 1939 belies the notion that Jews were helpless in responding to Hitler and Nazi
Germany. For many members of the International Brigades, such as the Abraham Lincoln
Brigade, their experiences in Spain as young men and women influenced their political and
social perspectives for a lifetime. Their stories and legacy offers students a very personal and
powerful link to a time and place far removed from the schools they attend.

The mission, content and design of "For Your Liberty and Ours" offers high school
teachers and students, as well as interested scholars with a rare opportunity to study in-depth
a neglected historical period, while relating its central theme to issues facing adolescents
today. Through the use of this module, students are confronted with questions of identity,
civic responsibility, and political participation. Why do people risk their lives for others?
What kinds of circumstances compel young men and women to reach out beyond their own
family and community, and aid those facing brutal repression and even death? Why do some
people choose to look the other way, while others take a stand? What does it mean to fight
for your own liberty, while also fighting for the liberties of others? These questions and
others are woven into the resources and lessons contained within this module, and serve as
the core essential questions guiding student learning.

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