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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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But the man who got me a visa was Murphy, who became Ambassador to France later on. He said, “ If you want to be damn fool enough to go, go ahead. But if anything happens to you, don't count on the United States Government.” Fred Thompson and I went with the distinct understanding that nothing would be done to help us. We went on our own, both Fred and I. Then Jo Davidson, the sculptor, in Paris decided that he was going to go with us, too. So the three of us--Fred Thompson, Jo Davidson, a remarkable man, and I--went down from Paris to Perpignan, which is in the southern tip of France. We were seen off like heroes by Vincent Sheehan and Dinah Sheehan. Practically everybody in the writing world was for Republican Spain.

In Perpignan we had great luck. There was a woman going back to Spain who wondered how she could get across. She had to take an automobile, and it cost a fortune to go across the border. It was very dangerous. Her name was La Passionaria. La Passionaria was the wife of a Basque miner, and she was a famous woman because she had rallied all of the Basques to the Republican side with a slogan which became the official slogan of the Republican forces: “We would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.” That was the rallying cry. La Passionaria was a great hero of Republican Spain. Attaching her to our party was very important because, when we drove to the border and the Spanish guards saw La Passionaria, they practically fell on their faces with adoration.

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