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THE DEATH OF BOB SMILLIE

  • JOHN NEWSINGER (a1)

Abstract

There is one interesting piece of testimony relating to the death of Bob Smillie that Tom Buchanan does not discuss in his article on this sad affair (‘The death of Bob Smillie, the Spanish Civil War, and the eclipse of the Independent Labour party’ Historical Journal, 40 (June 1997)). The Orwell Archive at University College, London, contains a statement dated 30 January 1930 that Georges Kopp sent to Fenner Brockway and John McNair of the ILP with a copy to his friend and comrade, George Orwell. In this document, Kopp makes clear his belief that Bob Smillie was kicked to death by his Communist interrogators in an effort to get him to sign statements prejudicial to the POUM and the ILP. As Buchanan points out, Kopp was Smillie's unit commander and was himself arrested during the repression of the POUM and only released in December 1938. His account of events deserves consideration.

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THE DEATH OF BOB SMILLIE

  • JOHN NEWSINGER (a1)

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