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Chapter 13

IN Barcelona, during all those last weeks I spent there, there was a peculiar evil feeling in the air--an atmosphere of suspicion, fear, uncertainty, and veiled hatred. The May fighting had left ineradicable after-effects behind it. With the fall of the Caballero Government the Communists had come definitely into power, the charge of internal order had been handed over to Communist ministers, and no one doubted that they would smash their political rivals as soon as they got a quarter of a chance Nothing was happening as yet, I myself had not even any mental picture of what was going to happen; and yet there was a perpetual vague sense of danger, a consciousness of some evil thing that was impending. However little you were actually conspiring, the atmosphere forced you to feel like a conspirator. You seemed to spend all your time holding whispered conversations in corners of cafes and wondering whether that person at the next table was a police spy.

Sinister rumours of all kinds were flying round, thanks to the Press censorship. One was that the Negrin-Prieto Government was planning to compromise the war. At the time I was inclined to believe this, for the Fascists were closing in on Bilbao and the Government was visibly doing nothing to save it. Basque flags were displayed all over the town, girls rattled collecting-boxes in the cafes, and there were the usual broadcasts about 'heroic defenders', but the Basques were getting no real assistance. It was tempting to believe that the Government was playing a double game. Later events have proved, that I was quite wrong here, but it seems probable that Bilbao could have been saved if a little more energy had been shown. An offensive on the Aragon front, even an unsuccessful one, would have forced Franco to divert part of his army; as it was the Government did not begin any offensive action till it was far too late-- indeed, till about the time when Bilbao fell. The C.N.T. was distributing in huge numbers a leaflet saying: 'Be on your guard!' and hinting that 'a certain Party' (meaning the Communists) was plotting a coup d'etat. There was also a widespread fear that Catalonia was going to be invaded. Earlier, when we went back to the front, I had seen the powerful defences that were being constructed scores of miles behind the front line, and fresh bomb-proof shelters were being dug all over Barcelona. There were frequent scares of air-raids and sea-raids; more often than not these were false alarms, but every time the sirens blew the lights all over the town blacked out for hours on end and timid people dived for the cellars. Police spies were everywhere. The jails were still crammed with prisoners left over from the May fighting, and others--always, of course. Anarchist and P.O.U.M. adherents--were disappearing into jail by ones and twos. So far as one could discover, no one was ever tried or even charged--not even charged with anything so definite as 'Trotskyism'; you were simply flung into jail and kept there, usually incommunicado. Bob Smillie was still in jail in Valencia. We could discover nothing except that neither the I.L.P. representative on the spot nor the lawyer who had been engaged, was permitted to see him. Foreigners from the International Column and other militias were getting into jail in larger and larger numbers. Usually they were arrested as deserters. It was typical of the general situation that nobody now knew for certain whether a militiaman was a volunteer or a regular soldier. A few months earlier anyone enlisting in the militia had been told that he was a volunteer and could, if he wished, get his discharge papers at any time when he was due for leave. Now it appeared that the Government had changed its mind, a militiaman was a regular soldier and counted as a deserter if he tried to go home. But even about this no one seemed certain. At some parts of the front the authorities were still issuing discharges. At the frontier these were sometimes recognized, sometimes not; if not, you were promptly thrown into jail. Later the number of foreign 'deserters' in jail swelled into hundreds, but most of them were repatriated when a fuss was made in their own countries.

Bands of armed Assault Guards roamed everywhere in the streets, the Civil Guards were still holding cafes and other buildings in strategic spots, and many of the P.S.U.C. buildings were still sandbagged and barricaded. At various points in the town there were posts manned by Civil Guards of Carabineros who stopped passers-by and demanded their papers. Everyone warned me not to show my P.O.U.M. militiaman's card but merely to show my passport and my hospital ticket. Even to be known to have served in the P.O.U.M. militia was vaguely dangerous. P.O.U.M. militiamen who were wounded or on leave were penalized in petty ways--it was made difficult for them to draw their pay, for instance. La Batalla was still appearing, but it was censored almost out of existence, and Solidaridad and the other Anarchist papers were also heavily censored. There was a new rule that censored portions of a newspaper must not be left blank but filled up with other matter; as a result it was often impossible to tell when something had been cut out.

The food shortage, which had fluctuated throughout the War, was in one of its bad stages. Bread was scarce and the cheaper sorts were being adulterated with rice; the bread the soldiers were getting in the barracks was dreadful stuff like putty. Milk and sugar were very scarce and tobacco almost non-existent, except for the expensive smuggled cigarettes. There was an acute shortage of olive oil, which Spaniards use for half a dozen different purposes. The queues of women waiting to buy olive oil were controlled by mounted Civil Guards who sometimes amused themselves by backing their horses into the queue and trying to make them tread on the women's toes. A minor annoyance of the time was the lack of small change. The silver had been withdrawn and as yet no new coinage had been issued, so that there was nothing between the ten-centime piece and the note for two and a half pesetas, and all notes below ten pesetas were very scarce. [Note 13, below] For the poorest people this meant an aggravation of the food shortage. A woman with only a ten-peseta note in her possession might wait for hours in a queue outside the grocery and then be unable to buy anything after all because the grocer had no change and she could not afford to spend the whole note.

[Note 13. The purchasing value of the peseta was about fourpence.]

It is not easy to convey the nightmare atmosphere of that time--the peculiar uneasiness produced by rumours that were always changing, by censored newspapers, and the constant presence of armed men. It is not easy to convey it because, at the moment, the thing essential to such an atmosphere does not exist in England. In England political intolerance is not yet taken for granted. There is political persecution in a petty way; if I were a coal-miner I would not care to be known to the boss as a Communist; but the 'good party man', the gangster-gramophone of continental politics, is still a rarity, and the notion of 'liquidating' or 'eliminating' everyone who happens to disagree with you does not yet seem natural. It seemed only too natural in Barcelona. The 'Stalinists' were in the saddle, and therefore it was a matter of course that every 'Trotskyist' was in danger. The thing everyone feared was a thing which, after all, did not happen--a fresh outbreak of street-fighting, which, as before, would be blamed on the P.O.U.M. and the Anarchists. There were times when I caught my ears listening for the first shots. It was as though some huge evil intelligence were brooding over the town. Everyone noticed it and remarked upon it. And it was queer how everyone expressed it in almost the same words: 'The atmosphere of this place--it's horrible. Like being in a lunatic asylum.' But perhaps I ought not to say everyone. Some of the English visitors who flitted briefly through Spain, from hotel to hotel, seem not to have noticed that there was anything wrong with the general atmosphere. The Duchess of Atholl writes, I notice (Sunday Express, 17 October 1937):

    I was in Valencia, Madrid, and Barcelona . . . perfect order prevailed in     all three towns without any display of force. All the hotels in which I stayed     were not only 'normal' and 'decent', but extremely comfortable, in spite of     the shortage of butter and coffee.

It is a peculiarity of English travellers that they do not really believe in the existence of anything outside the smart hotels. I hope they found some butter for the Duchess of Atholl.

I was at the Sanatorium Maurin, one of the sanatoria run by the P.O.U.M. It was in the suburbs near Tibidabo, the queer-shaped mountain that rises abruptly behind Barcelona and is traditionally supposed to have been the hill from which Satan showed Jesus the countries of the earth (hence its name). The house had previously belonged to some wealthy bourgeois and had been seized at the time of the revolution. Most of the men there had either been invalided out of the line or had some wound that had permanently disabled them--amputated limbs, and so forth. There were several other Englishmen there: Williams, with a damaged leg, and Stafford Cottman, a boy of eighteen, who had been sent back from the trenches with suspected tuberculosis, and Arthur Clinton, whose smashed left arm was still strapped on to one of those huge wire contraptions, nicknamed aeroplanes, which the Spanish hospitals were using. My wife was still staying at the Hotel Continental, and I generally came into Barcelona in the daytime. In the morning I used to attend the General Hospital for electrical treatment of my arm. It was a queer business--a series of prickly electric shocks that made the various sets of muscles jerk up and down--but it seemed to do some good; the use of my fingers came back and the pain grew somewhat less. Both of us had decided that the best thing we could do was to go back to England as soon as possible. I was extremely weak, my voice was gone, seemingly for good, and the doctors told me that at best it would be several months before I was fit to fight. I had got to start earning some money sooner or later, and there did not seem much sense in staying in Spain and eating food that was needed for other people. But my motives were mainly selfish. I had an overwhelming desire to get away from it all; away from the horrible atmosphere of political suspicion and hatred, from streets thronged by armed men, from air-raids, trenches, machine-guns, screaming trams, milkless tea, oil cookery, and shortage of cigarettes--from almost everything that I had learnt to associate with Spain.

The doctors at the General Hospital had certified me medically unfit, but to get my discharge I had to see a medical board at one of the hospitals near the front and then go to Sietamo to get my papers stamped at the P.O.U.M. militia headquarters. Kopp had just come back from the front, full of jubilation. He had just been in action and said that Huesca was going to be taken at last. The Government had brought troops from the Madrid front and were concentrating thirty thousand men, with aeroplanes in huge numbers. The Italians I had seen going up the line from Tarragona had attacked on the Jaca road but had had heavy casualties and lost two tanks. However, the town was bound to fall, Kopp said. (Alas! It didn't. The attack was a frightful mess--up and led to nothing except an orgy of lying in the newspapers.) Meanwhile Kopp had to go down to Valencia for an interview at the Ministry of War. He had a letter from General Pozas, now commanding the Army of the East--the usual letter, describing Kopp as a 'person of all confidence' and recommending him for a special appointment in the engineering section (Kopp had been an engineer in civil life). He left for Valencia the same day as I left for Sietamo--15 June.

It was five days before I got back to Barcelona. A lorry-load of us reached Sietamo about midnight, and as soon as we got to the P.O.U.M. headquarters they lined us up and began handling out rifles and cartridges, before even taking our names. It seemed that the attack was beginning and they were likely to call for reserves at any moment. I had my hospital ticket in my pocket, but I could not very well refuse to go with the others. I kipped down on the ground, with a cartridge-box for a pillow, in a mood of deep dismay. Being wounded had spoiled my nerve for the time being--I believe this usually happens--and the prospect of being under fire frightened me horribly. However, there was a bit of manana, as usual, we were not called out after all, and next morning I produced my hospital ticket and went in search of my discharge. It meant a series of confused, tiresome journeys. As usual they bandied one to and fro from hospital to hospital--Sietamo, Barbastro, Monzon, then back to Sietamo to get my discharge stamped, then down the line again via Barbastro and Lerida--and the convergence of troops on Huesca had monopolized all the transport and disorganized everything. I remember sleeping in queer places--once in a hospital bed, but once in a ditch, once on a very narrow bench which I fell off in the middle of the night, and once in a sort of municipal lodging-house in Barbastro. As soon as you got away from the railroad there was no way of travelling except by jumping chance lorries. You had to wait by the roadside for hours, sometimes three or four hours at a stretch, with knots of disconsolate peasants who carried bundles full of ducks and rabbits, waving to lorry after lorry. When finally you struck a lorry that was not chock full of men, loaves of bread, or ammunition-boxes the bumping over the vile roads wallowed you to pulp. No horse has ever thrown me so high as those lorries used to throw me. The only way of travelling was to crowd all together and cling to one another. To my humiliation I found that I was still too weak to climb on to a lorry without being helped.

I slept a night at Monzon Hospital, where I went to see my medical board. In the next bed to me there was an Assault Guard, wounded over the left eye. He was friendly and gave me cigarettes. I said: 'In Barcelona we should have been shooting one another,' and we laughed over this. It was queer how the general spirit seemed to change when you got anywhere near the front line. All or nearly all of the vicious hatred of the political parties evaporated. During all the time I was at the front I never once remember any P.S.U.C. adherent showing me hostility because I was P.O.U.M. That kind of thing belonged in Barcelona or in places even remoter from the war. There were a lot of Assault Guards in Sietamo. They had been sent on from Barcelona to take part in the attack on Huesca. The Assault Guards were a corps not intended primarily for the front, and many of them had not been under fire before. Down in Barcelona they were lords of the street, but up here they were quintos (rookies) and palled up with militia children of fifteen who had been in the line for months.

At Monzon Hospital the doctor did the usual tongue-pulling and mirror-- thrusting business, assured me in the same cheerful manner as the others that I should never have a voice again, and signed my certificate. While I waited to be examined there was going on inside the surgery some dreadful operation without anaesthetics--why without anaesthetics I do not know. It went on and on, scream after scream, and when I went in there were chairs flung about and on the floor were pools of blood and urine.

The details of that final journey stand out in my mind with strange clarity. I was in a different mood, a more observing mood, than I had been in for months past. I had got my discharge, stamped with the seal of the 29th Division, and the doctor's certificate in which I was 'declared useless'. I was free to go back to England; consequently I felt able, almost for the first time, to look at Spain. I had a day to put in to Barbastro, for there was only one train a day. Previously I had seen Barbastro in brief glimpses, and it had seemed to me simply a part of the war--a grey, muddy, cold place, full of roaring lorries and shabby troops. It seemed queerly different now. Wandering through it I became aware of pleasant tortuous streets, old stone bridges, wine shops with great oozy barrels as tall as a man, and intriguing semi-subterranean shops where men were making cartwheels, daggers, wooden spoons, and goatskin water-bottles. I watched a man making a skin bottle and discovered with great interest, what I had never known before, that they are made with the fur inside and the fur is not removed, so that you are really drinking distilled goat's hair. I had drunk out of them for months without knowing this. And at the back of the town there was a shallow jade-green river, and rising out of it a perpendicular cliff of rock, with houses built into the rock, so that from your bedroom window you could spit straight into the water a hundred feet below. Innumerable doves lived in the holes in the cliff. And in Lerida there were old crumbling buildings upon whose cornices thousands upon thousands of swallows had built their nests, so that at a little distance the crusted pattern of nests was like some florid moulding of the rococo period. It was queer how for nearly six months past I had had no eyes for such things. With my discharge papers in my pocket I felt like a human being again, and also a little like a tourist. For almost the first time I felt that I was really in Spain, in a country that I had longed all my life to visit. In the quiet back streets of Lerida and Barbastro I seemed to catch a momentary glimpse, a sort of far-off rumour of the Spain that dwells in everyone's imagination. White sierras, goatherds, dungeons of the Inquisition, Moorish palaces, black winding trains of mules, grey olive trees and groves of lemons, girls in black mantillas, the wines of Malaga and Alicante, cathedrals, cardinals, bull-fights, gypsies, serenades--in short, Spain. Of all Europe it was the country that had had most hold upon my imagination. It seemed a pity that when at last I had managed to come here I had seen only this north-eastern corner, in the middle of a confused war and for the most part in winter.

It was late when I got back to Barcelona, and there were no taxis. It was no use trying to get to the Sanatorium Maurin, which was right outside the town, so I made for the Hotel Continental, stopping for dinner on the way. I remember the conversation I had with a very fatherly waiter about the oak jugs, bound with copper, in which they served the wine. I said I would like to buy a set of them to take back to England. The waiter was sympathetic. 'Yes, beautiful, were they not? But impossible to buy nowadays. Nobody was manufacturing them any longer-- nobody was manufacturing anything. This war--such a pity!' We agreed that the war was a pity. Once again I felt like a tourist. The waiter asked me gently, had I liked Spain; would I come back to Spain? Oh, yes, I should come back to Spain. The peaceful quality of this conversation sticks in my memory, because of what happened immediately afterwards.

When I got to the hotel my wife was sitting in the lounge. She got up and came towards me in what struck me as a very unconcerned manner; then she put an arm round my neck and, with a sweet smile for the benefit of the other people in the lounge, hissed in my ear:

'Get out!'

'What?'

'Get out of here at once!'

'What?'

'Don't keep standing here! You must get outside quickly!'

'What? Why? What do you mean?'

She had me by the arm and was already leading me towards the stairs. Half-way down we met a Frenchman--I am not going to give his name, for though he had no connexion with the P.O.U.M. he was a good friend to us all during the trouble. He looked at me with a concerned face.

'Listen! You mustn't come in here. Get out quickly and hide yourself before they ring up the police.'

And behold! at the bottom of the stairs one of the hotel staff, who was a P.O.U.M. member (unknown to the management, I fancy), slipped furtively out of the lift and told me in broken English to get out. Even now I did not grasp what had happened.

'What the devil is all this about?' I said, as soon as we were on the pavement.

'Haven't you heard?'

'No. Heard what? I've heard nothing.'

'The P.O.U.M.'S been suppressed. They've seized all the buildings. Practically everyone's in prison. And they say they're shooting people already.'

So that was it. We had to have somewhere to talk. All the big cafes on the Ramblas were thronged with police, but we found a quiet cafe in a side street. My wife explained to me what had happened while I was away.

On 15 June the police had suddenly arrested Andres Nin in his office, and the same evening had raided the Hotel Falcon and arrested all the people in it, mostly militiamen on leave. The place was converted immediately into a prison, and in a very little while it was filled to the brim with prisoners of all kinds. Next day the P.O.U.M. was declared an illegal organization and all its offices, book-stalls, sanatoria, Red Aid centres, and so forth were seized. Meanwhile the police were arresting everyone they could lay hands on who was known to have any connexion with the P.O.U.M. Within a day or two all or almost all of the forty members of the Executive Committee were in prison. Possibly one or two had escaped into hiding, but the police were adopting the trick (extensively used on both sides in this war) of seizing a man's wife as a hostage if he disappeared. There was no way of discovering how many people had been arrested. My wife had heard that it was about four hundred in Barcelona alone. I have since thought that even at that time the numbers must have been greater. And the most fantastic people had been arrested. In some cases the police had even gone to the length of dragging wounded militiamen out of the hospitals.

It was all profoundly dismaying. What the devil was it all about? I could understand their suppressing the P.O.U.M., but what were they arresting people for? For nothing, so far as one could discover. Apparently the suppression of the P.O.U.M. had a retrospective effect; the P.O.U.M. was now illegal, and therefore one was breaking the law by having previously belonged to it. As usual, none of the arrested people had been charged. Meanwhile, however, the Valencia Communist papers were naming with the story of a huge 'Fascist plot', radio communication with the enemy, documents signed in invisible ink, etc., etc. I have dealt with this story earlier. The significant thing was that it was appearing only in the Valencia papers; I think I am right in saying that there was not a single word about it, or about the suppression of the P.O.U.M., in any Barcelona papers, Communist, Anarchist, or Republican. We first learned the precise nature of the charges against the P.O.U.M. leaders not from any Spanish paper but from the English papers that reached Barcelona a day or two later. What we could not know at this time was that the Government was not responsible for the charge of treachery and espionage, and that members of the Government were later to repudiate it. We only vaguely knew that the P.O.U.M. leaders, and presumably all the rest of us, were accused of being in Fascist pay. And already the rumours were flying round that people were being secretly shot in jail. There was a lot of exaggeration about this, but it certainly happened in some cases, and there is not much doubt that it happened in the case of Nin. After his arrest Nin was transferred to Valencia and thence to Madrid, and as early as 21 June the rumour reached Barcelona that he had been shot. Later the rumour took a more definite shape: Nin had been shot in prison by the secret police and his body dumped into the street. This story came from several sources, including Federico Montsenys, an ex-member of the Government. From that day to this Nin has never been heard of alive again. When, later, the Government were questioned by delegates from various countries, they shilly-shallied and would say only that Nin had disappeared and they knew nothing of his whereabouts. Some of the newspapers produced a tale that he had escaped to Fascist territory. No evidence was given in support of it, and Irujo, the Minister of Justice, later declared that the Espagne news-agency had falsified his official communique. [Note 14, below] In any case it is most unlikely that a political prisoner of Nin's importance would be allowed to escape. Unless at some future time he is produced alive, I think we must take it that he was murdered in prison.

[Note 14. See the reports of the Maxton delegation which I referred to in Chapter II.]

The tale of arrests went on and on, extending over months, until the number of political prisoners, not counting Fascists, swelled into thousands. One noticeable thing was the autonomy of the lower ranks of the police. Many of the arrests were admittedly illegal, and various people whose release had been ordered by the Chief of Police were re--arrested at the jail gate and carried off to 'secret prisons'. A typical case is that of Kurt Landau and his wife. They were arrested about 17 June, and Landau immediately 'disappeared'. Five months later his wife was still in jail, untried and without news of her husband. She declared a hunger-strike, after which the Minister of Justice, sent word to assure her that her husband was dead. Shortly afterwards she was released, to be almost immediately re-arrested and flung into prison again. And it was noticeable that the police, at any rate at first, seemed completely indifferent as to any effect their actions might have upon the war. They were quite ready to arrest military officers in important posts without getting permission beforehand. About the end of June Jose Rovira, the general commanding the 29th Division, was arrested somewhere near the front line by a party of police who had been sent from Barcelona. His men sent a delegation to protest at the Ministry of War. It was found that neither the Ministry of War, nor Ortega, the chief of Police, had even been informed of Rovira's arrest. In the whole business the detail that most sticks in my throat, though perhaps it is not of great importance, is that all news of what was happening was kept from the troops at the front. As you will have seen, neither I nor anyone else at the front had heard anything about the suppression of the P.O.U.M. All the P.O.U.M. militia headquarters, Red Aid centres, and so forth were functioning as usual, and as late as 20 June and as far down the line as Lerida, only about 100 miles from Barcelona, no one had heard what was happening. All word of it was kept out of the Barcelona papers (the Valencia papers, which were running the spy stories, did not reach the Aragon front), and no doubt one reason for arresting all the P.O.U.M. militiamen on leave in Barcelona was to prevent them from getting back to the front with the news. The draft with which I had gone up the line on 15 June must have been about the last to go. I am still puzzled to know how the thing was kept secret, for the supply lorries and so forth were still passing to and fro; but there is no doubt that it was kept secret, and, as I have since learned from a number of others, the men in the front line heard nothing till several days later. The motive for all this is clear enough. The attack on Huesca was beginning, the P.O.U.M. militia was still a separate unit, and it was probably feared that if the men knew what was happening they would refuse to fight. Actually nothing of the kind happened when the news arrived. In the intervening days there must have been numbers of men who were killed without ever learning that the newspapers in the rear were calling them Fascists. This kind of thing is a little difficult to forgive. I know it was the usual policy to keep bad news from the troops, and perhaps as a rule that is justified. But it is a different matter to send men into battle and not even tell them that behind their backs their party is being suppressed, their leaders accused of treachery, and their friends and relatives thrown into prison.

My wife began telling me what had happened to our various friends. Some of the English and other foreigners had got across the frontier. Williams and Stafford Cottman had not been arrested when the Sanatorium Maurin was raided, and were in hiding somewhere. So was John Mc-Nair, who had been in France and had re-entered Spain after the P.O.U.M. was declared illegal--a rash thing to do, but he had not cared to stay in safety while his comrades were in danger. For the rest it was simply a chronicle of 'They've got so and so' and 'They've got so and so'. They seemed to have 'got' nearly everyone. It took me aback to hear that they had also 'got' George Kopp.

'What! Kopp? I thought he was in Valencia.'

It appeared that Kopp had come back to Barcelona; he had a letter from the Ministry of War to the colonel commanding the engineering operations on the eastern front. He knew that the P.O.U.M. had been suppressed, of course, but probably it did not occur to him that the police could be such fools as to arrest him when he was on his way to the front on an urgent military mission. He had come round to the Hotel Continental to fetch his kit-bags; my wife had been out at the time, and the hotel people had managed to detain him with some lying story while they rang up the police. I admit I was angry when I heard of Kopp's arrest. He was my personal friend, I had served under him for months, I had been under fire with him, and I knew his history. He was a man who had sacrificed everything--family, nationality, livelihood--simply to come to Spain and fight against Fascism. By leaving Belgium without permission and joining a foreign army while he was on the Belgian Army reserve, and, earlier, by helping to manufacture munitions illegally for the Spanish Government, he had piled up years of imprisonment for himself if he should ever return to his own country. He had been in the line since October 1936, had worked his way up from militiaman to major, had been in action I do not know how many times, and had been wounded once. During the May trouble, as I had seen for myself, he had prevented fighting locally and probably saved ten or twenty lives. And all they could do in return was to fling him into jail. It is waste of time to be angry, but the stupid malignity of this kind of thing does try one's patience.

Meanwhile they had not 'got' my wife. Although she had remained at the Continental the police had made no move to arrest her. It was fairly obvious that she was being used as a decoy duck. A couple of nights earlier, however, in the small hours of the morning, six of the plain--clothes police had invaded our room at the hotel and searched it. They had seized every scrap of paper we possessed, except, fortunately, our passports and cheque-book. They had taken my diaries, all our books, all the press-cuttings that had been piling up for months past (I have often wondered what use those press-cuttings were to them), all my war souvenirs, and all our letters. (Incidentally, they took away a number of letters I had received from readers. Some of them had not been answered, and of course I have not the addresses. If anyone who wrote to me about my last book, and did not get an answer, happens to read these lines, will he please accept this as an apology?) I learned afterwards that the police had also seized various belongings that I had left at the Sanatorium Maunn. They even carried off a bundle of my dirty linen. Perhaps they thought it had messages written on it in invisible ink.

It was obvious that it would be safer for my wife to stay at the hotel, at any rate for the time being. If she tried to disappear they would be after her immediately. As for myself, I should have to go straight into hiding. The prospect revolted me. In spite of the innumerable arrests it was almost impossible for me to believe that I was in any danger. The whole thing seemed too meaningless. It was the same refusal to take this idiotic onslaught seriously that had led Kopp into jail. I kept saying, but why should anyone want to arrest me? What had I done? I was not even a party member of the P.O.U.M. Certainly I had carried arms during the May fighting, but so had (at a guess) forty or fifty thousand people. Besides, I was badly in need of a proper night's sleep. I wanted to risk it and go back to the hotel. My wife would not hear of it. Patiently she explained the state of affairs. It did not matter what I had done or not done. This was not a round-up of criminals; it was merely a reign of terror. I was not guilty of any definite act, but I was guilty of 'Trotskyism'. The fact that I had served in the P.O.U.M. militia was quite enough to get me into prison. It was no use hanging on to the English notion that you are safe so long as you keep the law. Practically the law was what the police chose to make it. The only thing to do was to lie low and conceal the fact that I had anything to do with the P.O.U.M. We went through the papers in my pockets. My wife made me tear up my militiaman's card, which had P.O.U.M. on it in big letters, also a photo of a group of militiamen with a P.O.U.M. flag in the background; that was the kind of thing that got you arrested nowadays. I had to keep my discharge papers, however. Even these were a danger, for they bore the seal of the 29th Division, and the police would probably know that the 29th Division was the P.O.U.M.; but without them I could be arrested as a deserter.

The thing we had got to think of now was getting out of Spain. There was no sense in staying here with the certainty of imprisonment sooner or later. As a matter of fact both of us would greatly have liked to stay, just to see what happened. But I foresaw that Spanish prisons would be lousy places (actually they were a lot worse than I imagined), once in prison you never knew when you would get out, and I was in wretched health, apart from the pain in my arm. We arranged to meet next day at the British Consulate, where Cottman and McNair were also coming. It would probably take a couple of days to get our passports in order. Before leaving Spain you had to have your passport stamped in three separate places--by the Chief of Police, by the French Consul, and by the Catalan immigration authorities. The Chief of Police was the danger, of course. But perhaps the British Consul could fix things up without letting it be known that we had anything to do with the P.O.U.M. Obviously there must be a list of foreign 'Trotskyist' suspects, and very likely our names were on it, but with luck we might get to the frontier before the list. There was sure to be a lot of muddle and manana. Fortunately this was Spain and not Germany. The Spanish secret police had some of the spirit of the Gestapo, but not much of its Competence.

So we parted. My wife went back to the hotel and I wandered off into the darkness to find somewhere to sleep. I remember feeling sulky and bored. I had so wanted a night in bed! There was nowhere I could go, no house where I could take refuge. The P.O.U.M. had practically no underground organization. No doubt the leaders had always realized that the party was likely to be suppressed, but they had never expected a wholesale witch-hunt of this description. They had expected it so little, indeed, that they were actually continuing the alterations to the P.O.U.M. buildings (among other things they were constructing a cinema in the Executive Building, which had previously been a bank) up to the very day when the P.O.U.M. was suppressed. Consequently the rendezvous and hiding-places which every revolutionary party ought to possess as a matter of course did not exist. Goodness knows how many people--people whose homes had been raided by the police--were sleeping in the streets that night. I had had five days of tiresome journeys, sleeping in impossible places, my arm was hurting damnably, and now these fools were chasing me to and fro and I had got to sleep on the ground again. That was about as far as my thoughts went. I did not make any of the correct political reflections. I never do when things are happening. It seems to be always the case when I get mixed up in war or politics --I am conscious of nothing save physical discomfort and a deep desire for this damned nonsense to be over. Afterwards I can see the significance of events, but while they are happening I merely want to be out of them--an ignoble trait, perhaps.

I walked a long way and fetched up somewhere near the General Hospital. I wanted a place where I could lie down without some nosing policeman finding me and demanding my papers. I tried an air-raid shelter, but it was newly dug and dripping with damp. Then I came upon the ruins of a church that had been gutted and burnt in the revolution. It was a mere shell, four roofless walls surrounding piles of rubble. In the half-darkness I poked about and found a kind of hollow where I could lie down. Lumps of broken masonry are not good to lie on, but fortunately it was a warm night and I managed to get several hours' sleep.

在后来的几周,我一直在巴塞罗那,那里弥漫着一种特别的情绪——猜疑、恐惧、半信半疑和遮遮掩掩的仇恨。五月战斗留下了无法根除的影响。毫无疑问,随着卡巴列罗政府的垮台,西班牙共产党绝对掌握了政权,内部秩序的控制权也移交给共产党的部长们,只要有一点点机会,他们都会打击竞争对手,没有人对此表示怀疑。但到现在为止,什么事情都没有发生,我自己无法想象将来会发生什么事情,但有一种持久的模糊的危机感,我意识到糟糕的事情即将发生。哪怕你几乎与这场阴谋不沾边,这种氛围也会迫使你感到自己就像是一个同谋。你仿佛整天待在咖啡馆的角落里小声讲话,时刻担心邻桌的人是不是警察局密探。

由于受到出版审查制度的影响,各种可怕的谣言流传开来。有一种说法是:涅格林-普列托政府打算对战争采取妥协态度。当时,我倾向于相信这种说法,因为法西斯分子离毕尔巴鄂越来越近,而政府显然没有采取任何挽救措施。镇上到处悬挂着巴斯克旗帜,姑娘们在咖啡馆里叮当作响地摆弄着化妆盒,广播里照例广播“英勇保卫者”的事迹。但巴斯克并没有得到任何实际的援助。这让人觉得政府在玩弄两面派手法。后来的事件证明我的这些想法全都错了,但如果再展示出哪怕一点力量的话,毕尔巴鄂完全可能被挽救。哪怕在阿拉贡前线只发动一次进攻,即使是失败了,也能迫使佛朗哥转移部分军队,但政府没有采取任何进攻行动,直到为时已晚——事实上,直到毕尔巴鄂陷落都没有开始进攻。全国劳工联盟散发大量传单:“小心提防!”,暗示“某个政党”(意指共产党)正秘密策划军事政变。人们也普遍担心加泰罗尼亚将受到攻击。此前,当我们重返恰时,我看到人们正在前线后面修筑几十英里长的坚固防线,并在巴塞罗那各地开挖新的防弹掩体。巴塞罗那经常担心空中和海上袭击,警报更多的时候是误报,但每当警报拉响,全城灯火都要熄灭数小时,胆小的人就会躲进地下室。警察密探遍布各地。监狱里一直人满为患,既有因五月战斗而抓进来的,也有其他人——当然,总是有无政府主义者和马统工党的忠实支持者——被三三两两地送进监狱,然后一直待在那儿,通常不得与外界联系。鲍勃?斯迈利仍旧被关在巴伦西亚的监狱里,我们所知道的仅仅是,不管现场的英国独立工党代表还是负责此事的律师,都不准见他。国际纵队的外国人和其他一些民兵正在被大批地关进监狱。他们通常被当作逃兵抓起来。一般情况下,没有人确切地知道民兵究竟是志愿者还是正规军。几个月前,在部队里服役的民兵被当作志愿者,他们任何时候想离开都能拿到遣散证明。现在,政府好象已经改变了主意,声称民兵是正规军,如果他想回家,那么他就是逃兵。但即使此事,也没人有十足的把握。在前线的一些地方,当局仍在签发遣散证明。在前线,这些证明有时被认可,有时不被认可,如果不被认可,你立刻就会被投进监狱。后来,监狱里的外国“逃兵”人数狂增到数百人,但一旦他们自己的国家提出抗议,他们大多会被遣送回国。

一伙伙武装的突袭部队在街道的每个角落游荡,国民自卫队仍旧占据着咖啡馆和其他的战略要地,许多加联社党的建筑依然被沙包隔离和封锁着。城里许多地方都有马枪骑兵和国民自卫队驻守的岗哨,他们拦住路人要查证件。每个人都警告我,不要出示马统工党民兵证,只能出示护照或医院的证明。哪怕被知道曾经在马统工党民兵组织中服过役,也非常危险。他们用各种可耻的方式惩罚受伤或休假的马统工党民兵——例如,他们很难拿到自己的薪金。《战斗》仍旧在出版,但它所遭受的检查使它几乎难以生存,《团结》和其他无政府主义者的报纸也受到严格检查。有一条新的规定是:报纸不得在被审查删除的版面中留下空白,而必须用其他东西填塞。结果,人们通常总是不知道什么时候什么东西会被砍掉。

在整个战争中,食物短缺的程度时有不同,但这时却是食物短缺最严重的时期之一。面包缺乏,靠掺杂大米来生产各种廉价面包。士兵在营房里吃的是像油灰一样的劣质面包。牛奶和糖奇缺,除了昂贵的走私烟外,其他烟草几乎难觅踪迹。橄榄油匮乏,而西班牙人在六种不同的场合下必须使用橄榄油。等待购买橄榄油的妇女排起了长队,长队由骑马的国民自卫队士兵维持秩序,他们时常骑着马穿过队伍,想让马蹄践踏妇女的脚趾来取乐。当时,缺少零钱是一个小麻烦。银币已被收回,尚未发行新的铸币,因此在十生丁硬币和两个半比塞塔纸币之间没有任何硬币,十个比塞塔以下的纸币稀少[1]。对赤贫者而言,这意味着加重食物短缺。一名妇女仅带着十比塞塔的纸币可能在杂货店外面排了几个小时的队却不能买到任何东西,只不过是因为杂货商没有零钱,而她又不能把这张钞票一次性全部花掉。

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[1]一比塞塔的购买力相当于四个便士。

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那梦魇般的气氛真是一言难尽——这种特殊的不安感源自谣言的变化多端、报纸的新闻审查、武装人员的频繁光顾。由于英国并不存在当时这种气氛的基本条件,因此很难轻易加以表述。在英国,也无法凭空想象什么叫做政治偏激。政治迫害要轻得多,如果我是一名煤矿工,我并不介意让老板知道自己是一名共产党员,充当欧洲政治传声筒的“优秀党员”仍然少见,“消灭”或“清除”碰巧与你意见相左的人的观念还没有成为天经地义的事情。而在巴塞罗那,它却是理所当然的。“斯大林主义者”控制着局面,因此每个“托洛茨基主义者”自然都在劫难逃。然而,人人都担心的事情——发生一场新的巷战,毕竟没有发生。假如发生的话,像以前一样,所有责任也都将会加到马统工党和无政府主义者的头上。我时刻警惕第一声枪响。城里好象到处都是坏消息,人人都十分关注,并在议论纷纷。奇怪的是,每个人所说的话竟会那样相似:“这里的气氛太可怕了,就像进了精神病押。”但也许并非人人如此。一些英国游客在西班牙各地走马观花,从旅馆到旅馆,似乎并没有意识到大气候有什么异样。我注意到(《星期天快报》,1937年10月17日)阿索尔伯爵夫人写道:

我到过巴伦西亚,马德里和巴塞罗那……这三座城市全都秩序井然,没有看到任何暴力活动。我住过的所有旅馆不仅“正常”、“体面”,而且特别舒适,只是缺少黄油和咖啡。

这就是英国旅游者的德性,他们不相信漂亮旅馆的外面还有任何事情。我希望他们能为阿索尔伯爵夫人找到些许黄油。

那时我住在莫兰疗养院,它是由马统工党经营的疗养院之一,坐落在提比达波(Tibidabo)郊区。提比达波是一座奇形怪状的山脉,在巴塞罗那后面突兀高耸,传说撒旦正是在这座山上把大地上的国家指给耶稣卡的(这座山由此得名)。这些房屋以前属于一些富裕的资本家,在革命时期被占领。那里的大多数人要么是从前线刚送下来的伤兵,要么是因截肢而终身残废的伤员。那里也有另外几名英国人:威廉姆斯的一条腿受伤了;十八岁的斯塔福德?科特曼因怀疑得了肺结核而从战壕送了回来;阿瑟?克林顿的左臂骨折,仍然扎着绷带吊在一种绰号叫“飞机”的仪器上,西班牙医院正使用这类仪器。我妻子仍旧住在大陆饭店,我通常在白天回到巴塞罗那。早上,我往往到总医院去对我的胳膊进行电疗,电疗时有一种奇特的感觉——一股针刺般的电流使全身的肌肉跳来跳去——不过,它似乎有些作用,手指又能使用了,疼痛逐渐有所减轻。我们俩决定最好尽快回到英国。我的身体极度虚弱,无法说话,看起来是永远也不能讲话了,医生告诉我几个月之内还不适合去作战。我迟早得去挣钱,留在西班牙消耗他人需要的食物好象没有多大意义。但我主要还是出于自私的目的,我最强烈的愿望是彻底离开这个国家,远离政治猜疑和仇恨的恐怖氛围,远离到处都是武装人员的街道,远离空袭、战壕、机枪、刺耳的有轨电车、不加牛奶的茶、油制品和香烟短缺——远离我所知道的与西班牙相关的几乎每一样东西。

总医院的医生告诉我我已无需继续治疗,但为了拿到遣散证明,我不得不到前线附近的一个医院去拿医疗证明,然后到谢塔莫的马统工党民兵总部在遣散证明上加盖印章。那时,柯普刚刚兴高采烈地从前线回来,他刚参加了战斗,并预言韦斯卡最终会被攻克。政府动用大量的飞机,并从马德里前线运来军队,在那里集结了三万人。我前面看到过的那些意大利人从塔拉戈纳抵达前线,并对杰卡要道发动进攻,但已伤亡惨重,并损失了两辆坦克,然而,柯普说,那个城镇注定要陷落。(啊!它没有被攻陷,进攻混乱不堪——只是引发报纸上的一派胡言而已。)同时,柯普得去巴伦西亚与作战部的人见面。他有一封负责指挥东线部队的波萨斯将军写的信——一封平平常常的信,把柯普说成一个“非常自信的人”,推荐他到工程部一个特殊岗位任职(柯普已经是一名民用工程师了)。就在我去谢塔莫的当天,他去了巴伦西亚——这一天是6月15日。

五天以后,我回到巴塞罗那。我们乘坐一辆载重卡车午夜前后抵达谢塔莫,一到马统工党总部,连名字都还没有登记,人们就叫我们排成一队,给我们分发来复枪和子弹。进攻好象刚开始,他们在任何时候好象都需要后备军。尽管我口袋里装着医院的证明,但我还是无法完全拒绝和其他人一块排队。我拿子弹箱当枕头睡在地面上,心情极度沮丧。当时,伤势已经损害了我的神经——我相信这会经常发作——战火中的景象使我感到非常恐惧。然而像往常一样,我们还得等到天亮,况且我们毕竟还没有接到出发的命令。第二天早晨,我出示了医院证明,去办遣散证明。这是一系列混乱不堪、令人讨厌的程序。像往常一样,人们推来推去,我也只好在医院之间来回碾转——从谢塔莫到巴巴斯特罗和莱里达返回——集结在韦斯卡的军队已经切断了所有的交通道路,让一切混乱不堪。我记得晚上总要睡在一些奇怪的地方:一次睡在医院的病床上;一次睡在沟渠里;一次睡在窄窄的长凳上,半夜里还从凳子上摔了下来;还有一次睡在巴巴斯特罗市立旅馆里,一旦你离开铁路,除了偶尔路过的颠簸不已的火车外别无他车可乘。你得在路边等候几个小时,有时要连等三四个小时,与成群结队忧伤不安的农民为伍,他们携带满箱的鸭子或兔子,向每一辆路过的卡车招手。当你终于有幸等到一辆没有塞满人、面包或子弹箱的卡车在坑坑洼洼的路上颠簸过来时,卡车就会像吞食肉酱似的把你吞进去。战马从来不会像那些卡车一样把我抛得老高老高,赶路的唯一办法是大家相互贴在一起。让我难堪的是,我身体太虚弱,没有别人的帮助,我就爬不上卡车。

我在去蒙松医院取医疗证时在那里住了一晚。邻床是一位突袭队员,左眼受伤了。他待人友善,给了我几根香烟。我说:“要是在巴塞罗那,我们本会互相攻击。”我们都笑了起来。奇怪的是,只要你来到前线附近的任何地方,整个的精神状态似乎就完全改变了。政治派别间的一切或几乎所有的深仇大恨都会消失得无影无踪。在前线的那些日子里,我根本想不起有任何加联社党的追随者会因我属于马统工党而对我心存敌意。那种事情只有在巴塞罗那或者远离战争的地方才会发生。谢塔莫有大量突袭队员,被从巴塞罗那派来参加进攻韦斯卡的战斗。突袭队员不是为前线作战准备的部队,他们中的许多人从未经历过战火。在巴塞罗那,他们是街道的主人,在这里,他们是新兵,地位在那些已在前线战斗过几个月的15岁的娃娃民兵之下。

蒙松医院的医生照例让我伸出舌头做内窥镜检查,并像其他医生一样高兴地向我保证,我再也不能说话了,并在证明文件上签字。在我等候检查的时候,手术室里正做非麻醉的残忍手术——我不知道为什么没有使用麻醉剂。手术一直在进行,一声声尖叫传来,等到我走进去的时候,只见椅子被扔得到处都是,地板上一滩滩血和尿。

这段最后旅程的细节异常清晰地印在我的脑海里。和几个月前相比,现在我的心态已经大不相同了,变得更加善于观察。我拿到了我的遣散证明,并加盖了第29师的印章,还有医生证明我已“宣告残废”。我可以自由地回到英国去了,因此我也几乎是第一次可以在西班牙走走了。我在巴巴斯特罗待了近一天的时间,因为每天只有一趟火车。我以前曾路过巴巴斯特罗,有过匆匆的一瞥,那对我而言只是战争的一部分——昏暗、泥泞、阴冷,到处都是呼啸而过的卡车,到处都是衣衫褴褛的军队士兵。现在情况完全不同了,我信步而行,看到了赏心悦目弯弯曲曲的街道、老石桥、放着一人高的大泥桶的酒店、稀奇古怪遮遮掩掩的店铺,人们在那里制作车轮、匕首、木勺和羊皮水壶。我兴致勃勃地看着一个人制作皮壶,我以前从来没见过,水壶里面用兽皮制作,而且内里的一面毛还没有褪去,因此,你确实喝下过经山羊毛过滤的水。我用这种水壶喝了几个月的水,竟一无所知。城镇后面有一条翡翠般浅绿的小溪,一座陡峭的石崖矗立其中,岩石上建有房屋,从卧室的窗口你就能直接跳入下方一百米的水中,无数鸽子栖息在崖洞中。莱里达的有些古老建筑已经坍塌,成群的燕子在残垣断壁上筑巢,向远处看去,长年累月堆积起来的鸟巢就像是洛可可时期建筑的范本。奇怪的是,我在这里驻留了近六个月却视而不见。现在怀揣遣散证明,我再次感到自己像个人,也有点像旅游者。这几乎是第一次让我感到自己确确实实身处西班牙,置身于一个我终身神往的国度。在莱里达和巴巴斯特罗静谧的老街上,我似乎获得了解脱,远离西班牙谣言,这些谣言存在于每个人的心中。白色的层层山峦、牧羊人、讯问地牢、摩尔人风格的宫殿、黑乎乎蜿蜒成行的骡队、灰色的橄榄树和一丛丛柠檬树、披黑披肩的姑娘、马拉加和阿利坎特的美酒、大教堂、红衣主教、斗牛赛、吉卜赛人和小夜曲——总之,这就是西班牙。在所有欧洲国家中,它最让我心驰神往。遗憾的是,当我想方设法最终到达这里时,我只看到了这个国家东北部的一角,而且是在混乱的战争中,是在最寒冷的冬季里。

回到巴塞罗那时天色已晚,没有出租车,也不可能回到莫兰疗养院,它在城外,我只好去大陆饭店,在路上停下来吃了晚餐。我记得与一名慈祥侍者的谈话,我们谈起橡木水罐,包着黄铜,他们用它给客人斟酒。我说我想买一套带回英国去,他深表同情地说:“是的,美极了,不是吗?可惜现在买不到了,没有人制作,再也没人制作任何东西,这战争——真是遗憾啊!”我们都认为战争让人感到遗憾。我又觉得自己像旅游者。侍者轻轻地问我:“喜欢西班牙吗?还会再来西班牙吗?”哦,是的,我会再访西班牙。因为接下来所发生的事情,这段心平气和的谈话让我铭记心底。

当我到达旅馆时,妻子正在休息室。她站起来,用一种在我看来无所谓的样子朝我走过来,用一只胳膊搂住我的脖子,面带甜蜜的微笑。由于休息室里还有其他人,她在我的耳边轻声说:

“出去!”

“什么?”

“马上离开这儿!”

“什么?”

“不要站在这儿!你必须迅速离开!”

“什么?为什么?你是什么意思?”

她拉着我的胳膊朝楼梯的方向走去。我们在半路上遇见一个法国人——我就不说出他的名字了,尽管他和马统工党没有丝毫关系,但当我们身处困境时,他总是我们大家的好朋友。他满心关怀地看着我。

“听着!你不应该来这里。在他们没给警察打电话之前,赶快跑出去躲起来。”

请注意!楼梯底部与一名旅馆职员,是马统工党成员(我想,经理并不知道),他从电梯里偷偷地溜了出来,用蹩脚的英语告诉我立即离开。甚至到这时,我还不清楚发生了什么事情。

“到底发生了什么事情?”一到人行道上,我就问道。

“你还没有听说吗?”

“没有。听说什么?我什么都没听说。”

“马统工党已经被镇压。他们占据了所有建筑物,实际上是把每个人都关进了监狱。有人说他们正在进行枪杀。”

原来是这样,我们得另找一个地方谈话。拉姆拉斯大街上所有大咖啡馆里都是警察,但我们在一条小巷中找到了一家安静的咖啡馆。我的妻子向我解释了在我离开期间所发生的事情。

6月15日,警察突然在安德列斯?宁的办公室将他逮捕。同一天晚上,他们搜查了福尔肯饭店,并将那里所有的人逮捕起来,他们大部分是休假的民兵。这个地方马上变成监狱,随即塞满了各种各样的犯人。第二天,马统工党被宣布为非法组织,它的所有办公室、书报亭、疗养院和红十字救济中心等都被占领。同时,警察设法逮捕他们能抓到的和他们所知道的与马统工党有任何关系的人。在一两天之内,40名执委会成员全部或几乎全部被关进监狱。可能只有一两个人逃走并躲了起来,但警察开始使诡计:一旦有人逃跑,就把他们的妻子抓起来当人质(交战双方在战争中都广泛使用这种方法)。根本没有办法统计有多少人被捕,我妻子听说仅巴塞罗那就有400人被捕。我一直在想,当时在其他地方被捕的人数一定更多。最优秀的人员都被抓了起来。在有些情况下,警察甚至从医院里把受伤的民兵残酷地拖走。

这让人深感不安。这一切都是为了什么?我可以理解他们对马统工党的镇压,但他们为什么要逮捕那么多人?就我所掌握的情况来看,没有任何理由,很明显,镇压马统工党引发了连锁反应,马统工党现在非法,因此任何以前隶属于它的人都犯了法。就像往常一样,没有一个被捕的人受到指控。与此同时,巴伦西亚共产党的报刊则在制造所谓巨大的“法西斯分子阴谋”的故事,例如马统工党用收音机和敌人联系,用隐形墨水签发文件,等等。我在前面已经讨论过这类事情。重要的是,这些只出现在巴伦西亚的报纸上,我认为我的说法正确,在任何巴塞罗那的报纸上,无论共产党、无政府主义者,还是共和派的报纸,都对这些事情或镇压马统工党的事情只字不提。不是从任何西班牙的报纸上,而是从一两天后到达巴塞罗那的英国报纸上,我们最先了解到了对马统工党领导人指控的真正实情。当时我们并不知道政府极不负责地指控我们犯有间谍罪和叛国罪,一些政府成员后来也拒绝承认。我们只是隐约得知马统工党领导人被指控接受了法西斯分子的经济资助,大概我们其他人也是如此。监狱里的人正被秘密枪杀的谣言在四处传播,虽然有些夸大其词,但确实有这样的情况发生,毫无疑问,宁的事情就是这样。宁被捕后被转移到巴伦西亚,随后又转移到马德里。宁被枪杀的谣言最早在6月21日传到了巴塞罗那,后来谣言变得更真切:宁已在监狱里被警察秘密枪杀,尸体被扔在大街上。这个故事有几个来源,其中包括前政府成员费德里科?蒙塞尼的说法。从那时到现在再也没有听说过宁还活着。后来当各国代表团就此向政府提出质询时,政府遮遮掩掩,只是说,宁已经失踪,他们对他的行踪也一无所知。一些报纸为此编造说宁已逃到法西斯分子的地盘上,但没有提供相关证据。司法部长伊鲁霍后来宣称,埃斯帕涅新闻社伪造了政府公报。[1]无论怎样,像宁这样重要的政治犯要想逃跑是绝对不可能的,除非将来某一天宁又活着出现了,否则我们就会认为他被暗杀在监狱里了。

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[1]参阅马科斯顿代表团报告,我参考的是第11章。

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逮捕事件持续了几个月,不包括法西斯分子在内的政治犯的人数已经高达数千人。下层警察的自主权值得引起注意。许多逮捕被承认为非法,一些被警察总长下令释放的人在监狱大门口又被重新逮捕,并被转移到“秘密监狱”,库尔特?兰道和他妻子的情况就是一个典型的例子。他们大约在6月17日号被逮捕,兰道马上就“失踪了”。五个月之后,他妻子仍被关进监狱里,没有受到审判,也没有他丈夫的消息。她宣布进行绝食抗议,此后司法部长才送来口信告诉她:她丈夫已经死亡。不久之后,她被释放,但几乎是同一时间又被重新逮捕,再次被投进监狱。值得注意的是,任何级别的警察起初似乎都对自己的所作所为可能对战争产生什么影响漠不关心。在事前没有得到许可的情况下,他们就随时准备逮捕重要军官。大约在6月末,统帅第29师的何塞?罗维拉将军在前线附近的某个地方被从巴塞罗那派来的一队警察抓了起来。他的部下派了一个代表团向作战部提出抗议,结果发现作战部和警察总长奥尔特加都没有得到罗维拉被捕的消息。最让我难以接受的是,整个事件的细节,虽然可能无足轻重,但一律对前线部队实行封锁。正如你看到的那样,我和前线其他人都没听到马统工党被镇压的任何消息,马统工党的民兵总部、红十字救援中心等都运转如常。直到6月20日,在像离巴塞罗那仅100英里的莱里达这样的铁路沿线城市,都没有任何人听说那里所发生的事情。巴塞罗那以外的报纸对此未提只言片语(巴伦西亚的报纸编造的间谍故事,并没有送到阿拉贡前线)。毫无疑问,巴塞罗那逮捕所有休假的马统工党民兵是为了防止他们把消息带回前线。我在6月15日到前线去时所带的那期报纸,一定是到了那里的最后一期。但我仍然感到迷惑不解:事情怎样会不为人知,因为运货的卡车等仍来来回回通过那里。毫无疑问,消息被封锁了,我已经从许多人那里得知:事情发生好几天之后,前线将士才听到风声。所有这一切的动机昭然若揭。进攻韦斯卡的战斗刚刚开始,马统工党民兵仍是一支独立部队,当局可能害怕他们知道所发生的事情后会拒绝作战。实际上,消息传来时根本没有发生这样的事情。其间,一定有许多战死的人不知道后方的报纸正把他们称为法西斯分子。这样的事情让人难以释怀。我知道惯常的作法是向部队封锁坏消息,作为一种制度,可能合情合理。可是让人参加战斗,却不告诉他们,他们支持的党派正被镇压,他们的领导人被控叛国,他们的亲友被投入监狱,这些就要另当别论了。

我的妻子开始告诉我,我的朋友们都发生了些什么事情。有些英国人或其他外国人已经离开西班牙。威廉姆斯和斯坦福德?科特曼在搜查莫兰疗养院时没有被逮捕,正在某个地方躲藏。约翰?麦克奈尔也是这样,他本来去了法国,当马统工党被宣布为非法时,他又回到西班牙——这是一个鲁莽的举动,但他不愿在自己的同志身处危境之时留在安全地方。其他人的故事则不过是些编年简史了:“他们已经逮捕某某”和“他们已经逮捕某某”。他们好象已经“逮捕”几乎每个人。当听到乔治?柯普也被“逮捕”的消息时,我吓了一大跳。

“什么!柯普?我还以为他在巴伦西亚。”

事情是,柯普回到巴塞罗那,手上拿着作战部写给负责东部战线工程运作的上校的一封信。他当然知道马统工党已被镇压,但他以为警察不会蠢到在他身负紧急军令去前线的路上逮捕他的地步。他返回大陆饭店取工具包的时候,当时我妻子正好外出,店员一边扯谎设法留住他,一边给警察打电话。当我听到柯普被捕的消息时,我承认我愤怒之至。他是我个人的朋友,我在他手下干了几个月,我和他在战火中并肩战斗,我知道他的经历。他抛弃了一切——家人、国家、生计——只是为了来西班牙参加反法西斯的战斗。他原在比利时预备役部队服役,未经许可就离开了比利时,参加了一支外国军队。此前,他曾帮助西班牙政府非法生产军火,如果他回到自己的祖国,那么他已经为自己准备好了多年的牢狱生涯。他从1936年10月起一直在前线,通过自己的努力,从民兵晋升到了少校,我不知道他曾经参加过多少次战斗,但知道他受过一次伤。在五月骚乱中,我亲眼看到他成功地阻止了眼看就要发生的战斗,也许挽救了一二十个人的生命。那些人回报他的竟是把投进监狱。生气只是浪费时间,但这种愚蠢的狠毒确实是考验人的耐性。

同时,他们没有“逮捕”我妻子,尽管她扔留在大陆饭店,但警察根本没有去逮捕她。她显然是被当作诱饵。然而几个晚上之前,在午夜后的几个小时,六个便衣警察闯入我们旅馆的卧室里,进行搜查。他们几乎搜走了我们的每一块纸片,幸好留下了护照和支票本。他们带走了我的日记、所有书籍、过去几个月积累的所有剪报(我经常在想这些剪报对他们有什么用)、所有战争纪念品和所有信件。(不幸的是,他们带走了读者寄给我的许多信件,其中一些我还没回信,我也就失去了那些读者的地址。如果有人写信给我探讨最新一本书的有关情况,却没有收到回信,碰巧读到了这几行,他愿意把这当作一种道歉吗?)我后来得知警察也拿走了我留在莫兰疗养院的所有东西,甚至把我的一包脏亚麻衣服也带走了。他们可能认为那上面会有用隐形墨水写的情报。

当时,无论怎样来看,我妻子继续住在那家饭店更为安全。如果她想躲起来,他们会立即追捕她。至于我自己,我得马上躲藏起来,前景令我不安。尽管大肆逮捕,我几乎不相信我处在危险之中。整件事情看起来毫无意义,柯普正是由于同样拒绝认真考虑,这种愚蠢的突袭才使自己身陷囹圄。我不停地追问,为什么有人要逮捕我?我做了什么?我甚至还不是马统工党成员。我在五月战斗中确实扛枪上阵,但有四五万人都是这样做的(只是猜测)。此外,我急需合适的夜间睡眠。我想冒一下险回旅馆去。我妻子不同意,她耐心地解释事态。我做过什么或者没做过什么都无关紧要。这不是十足的犯罪,而只是恐怖统治。我没有任何明确的犯罪行为,但犯了“托洛茨基分子”罪。我曾为马统工党服务这一事实就足以把我送进监狱。现在还固守那种只要遵守法律就是安全的英国观念毫无用处。法律实际上是警察选择制定的。唯一要做的事情是躲藏起来并掩盖我和马统工党之间有任何关系的事实。我们检查了一下口袋里的证件。妻子让我撕掉民兵证,那上面印有马统工党大写字母,还有一群民兵以马统工党的旗帜为背景的一张照片,现在仅凭这些东西就可以让我被捕。然而,我得保留遣散证明。尽管危险,因为证上盖着29师的印章,警察可能知道29师属于马统工党,但没有它们,我可能被当作逃兵抓起来。

我们现在需要考虑的是离开西班牙。留在这里等待牢狱之灾迟早降临毫无意义。事实上,我们两个更愿意留下来,只想看看发生什么事情。但我猜想西班牙监狱污秽不堪(实际上,那里比我想象的还要糟糕)。一旦进入监狱,你绝不会知道何时才能够出来。我身体状况很差,胳膊疼痛不已。我们计划第二天在英国领事馆见面,科特曼和麦克奈尔也会去那里。可能要好几天才能准备好护照。在离开西班牙之前,你得把护照拿到三个不同的地方盖章——警察总局、法国领事馆和加泰罗尼亚移民局。当然,警察总局非常危险。但也许英国领事馆在不让他们知道我们和马统工党有任何关系的情况下能把事情办妥。显然一定会有一份国外“托洛茨基分子”嫌疑犯名单,我们的名字很可能赫然其上,但在名单到达之前,我们可能已经幸运地通过了国界。整个过程,一定会有许多麻烦和拖沓。但幸好这里是西班牙,而不是德国。西班牙的秘密警察有盖世太保的某些精神,但没有他们那么大的能耐。

我们就此分手。我妻子回到旅馆,我在黑暗之中游荡,想找个地方睡觉。我记得当时心情郁闷烦躁。我多想在床上睡一晚啊!我无处可去,没有地方收留我。实际上,马统工党没有地下组织。毫无疑问,领导们已经意识到党可能会被镇压,但他们绝没有想到完全搜巫婆式行动*。实际上他想得太少,就在马统工党被镇压的那一天,他们还在继续改建马统工党建筑(除了其他事情之外,他们正在执委会大楼建一家电影院,那里原来是一家银行)。因此,事实上根本没有集会和隐蔽地点,而这些是每个革命政党都应该拥有的。天知道那天晚上会有多少人因房子被警察摧毁而露宿街头。五天的疲惫之旅,睡在根本不可能睡着的地方,我的胳膊也疼得厉害,现在那帮家伙将我四处驱逐,我只得睡在野地上了。思随人行,我没有做出任何正确的政治决定,事情发生时我从不做决定。当我处在战争或政治的混乱之中时,总会出现这种情况——我意识到没有办法减轻我身体上的不适,只是深深地希望这种荒唐的事情早点结束。我后来才看清事情的重大意义,但事情发生时,我只是想远离他们——这也许不太体面。

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*原指旧时基督教教会和政府官员为处死行巫者而联合进行的搜捕行动,现在指以维护国家利益为借口对持不同政见者的政治迫害。——译者

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我走了很远,竟走到了总医院附近。我想找个地方躺下,让讨厌的警察找不到我,不会找我要证件。我试着找了一个防空洞,但它是新挖的,正滴着水。然后我来到一座废弃的教堂,那里被革命烈火焚烧过,已经破破烂烂。那只是一个无顶、四堵墙壁的框架,四周都是碎石块。我在黑暗中摸索,终于找到一个能躺下的洞穴。躺在破砖烂瓦上并不舒服,好在这是一个暖和的夜晚,我设法睡了几个小时。