As the Volunteers of Freedom Association we work to restore the memory of people, organizations, and movements excluded from the dominant historical narrative. We focus especially on Dąbrowszczacy (members of the Dąbrowski Brigade) – anti-fascists from Poland who volunteered to take part in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to fight against fascism in defence of the Spanish Republic.
The beginnings of our activity date back to 2015, when we established the initiative "Hands off Dąbrowski Brigade Street" to stop the renaming of the street in Warsaw as part of the process of the so-called "decommunisation". During this campaign we conducted many activities, not only protesting but also restoring the memory of Polish interbrigadists: anniversary events, film screenings, debates and discussions, rallies, collecting signatures for petitions and open letters, participating in meetings of the city naming commission and in the Warsaw City Council sessions. We also established long term cooperation with organizations from abroad dealing with the memory of the International Brigades.
Thanks to these actions the history of anti-fascist volunteers has returned to public discourse and – above all – has reappeared in social memory.
In 2017 we formalized our activities by establishing the Volunteers of Freedom Association in order to broaden our formal possibilities. In addition to the continuation of our previous activities we started implementing new projects, including: publishing a comic book based on the history of Polish interbrigadists, preparing the publication of memoirs of Polish volunteers, creating a mural devoted to the Dąbrowski Brigade in Warsaw's urban space and participating in international research projects.
We consider the memory of "The Volunteers of Freedom" (as the people joining the ranks of the International Brigades were called), their attitude and values to be particularly important nowadays, in the light of the growing wave of nationalism, prejudices and inequalities. We are convinced that the history of Polish interbrigadists and their struggle "for your freedom and ours" deserves to be recalled and nurtured.