Based on a vast archival documentation, this essay intends to investigate the criticalities of the exodus from Spain of the foreign volunteers who fought in defence of the Spanish republic, enlisted prevalently in the International Brigades, but also in other minor columns. Indeed, if much has been written on these forty thousand combatants or thereabouts since the very end of the conflict, little we know of the tormented process of their disbandment. Under this respect, the A. singles out three groups of volunteers for whom, although on account of quite different reasons, leaving Spain proved often to be a dramatic problem: those who, not enlisted in the International Brigades, had been struck by the repression of the libertarian movement after the Barcelona events of May 1937; those who, following the Brigades withdrawal, had been sent back at the French frontier, especially under the provisions of the Deladier cabinet; and finally, those who had fallen prisoners of the Nationalists in the course of the conflict. At the mercy of a messy diplomatic context, a number of combatants ended up in Franco’s internment camps had to wait for the conclusion of World War Two before being expelled from Spain.
Keywords: Spanish civil war, international volunteers, Daladier cabinet, foreign veterans disbandment, Barcelona events of May 1937, Franco’s internment camps