The photograph above often appears in anarchist publications and blogs which claim that it depicts an anarchist miliciana during the Barcelona uprising of 1937 that arguably aided the ultimate fascist victory. The photograph is presented as a symbol of anarchist “purity” and is often used in ultra-left and conservative accounts which demean the Republican and Communist war effort.
The facts, however, tell a far different story.
The woman shown in the iconic photo was Marina Ginesta (29 January 1919 – 6 January 2014), a a French-born Spanish Republican and Communist. Ginesta was a member of the Juventudes Socialistas Unificadas (Unified Socialist Youth) an organization formed through the merger of the youth auxiliaries of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and Communist Party of Spain (PCE); and in which the PCE played the leading role. Ginesta was a journalist and both translated for Soviet reporters stationed in Spain covering the war, and was herself a correspondent for the Soviet newspaper Pravda.
The plain fact is that, despite anarchist attempts to appropriate her image, Comrade Marina was a Communist heroine and anti-fascist fighter!