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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Dolores Ibarruri

b. 1895, Gallarta, Spain; d. 1989, Madrid

“The Spanish people would rather die on its feet than live on its knees.”

—Dorores Ibárruri, from a speech delivered in France, September 1938

La Pasionaria (“passion flower”), as Ibárruri was known, became involved in local politics in her native Basque region of Spain, and in 1930 was elected to the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party. As editor of the left-wing newspaper Mundo Obrero, she campaigned for women’s rights. An early antifascist, she co-founded the World Committee of Women Against War and Fascism in 1934; after election to the Cortes in 1936, she pressed for land reform and the improvement of work and housing conditions. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), Ibárruri’s stirring orations galvanized the antifascist forces and drew women into the cause; she coined the Republican battle cry, “No pasarán!” (“They shall not pass!”). Forced to flee Spain after the war, she settled in the Soviet Union, becoming secretary-general of the Communist Party in 1944. Her autobiography, They Shall Not Pass, was published in 1965. After Franco’s death, Ibárruri returned to Spain and was again elected to the Cortes.