A short account of Alexander Staradolz who fought with Makhno and Durruti.
A Makhnovist in Spain
Little is known about Alexander Staradolz. The French anarchist Louis Mercier-Vega refers to him as a Bulgarian vagabond but later in an article dedicated to him in the French anarchist paper Le Libertaire of 15th July 1937 says that “ later on he told us he was with Makhno’s forces.” Mercier-Vega describes him as an “Ukrainian, big, modest and straightforward “. He was one of the volunteers who “came from the four corners of Europe” to join the International Group of the Durruti Column. Mercier Vega says that he loved le baroud (hand to hand fighting), powder, terrain to explore, the raid executed in silence, the machine gun made to speak at the right moment....a new life had started for him, he had friends... a free and strong life, air to breath in deeply, a weapon to care for, and the feeling that he was fighting for all, for the whole world, for something which went beyond him and made him greater at the same time”.
Mercier-Vega says that when other foreign volunteers lamented the naivety of the Spanish combatants or smiled sadly at the sight of militiamen firing at an enemy plane with revolvers, Staradolz calmed them by saying: “You shouldn’t do that. In '17 the Russian partisans weren’t very much better. We fought very rarely. Above all we blew up bridges and railway tracks. Little by little we formed up, became seasoned, organised. Here that will be the same thing. “
Antoine Giminez in his memoirs mentions Staradolz as a comrade, calling him Staradoff. He recounts the action when they advanced stealthily to attack the Francoists and to throw bombs at them. Giminez then describes him drinking a bottle of what smelled like stove alcohol, the contents of which he knocked back in a few swallows whilst digging a trench!
He told Giminez that he had fought with the Makhnovists and that after Makhno’s retreat over the border into Romania, that he himself was captured and sent to Siberia where he was forced to work in the salt mines. Giminez describes the mementoes left on Staradolz’s body from these times - “bracelets” around his wrists and ankles where the salt coming into contact with shackles had burned the flesh white.
Apparently he escaped over the border into Romania and then moved on to Switzerland and then France. He served five years in the French Foreign Legion and then took up a life of vagabondage before going to Spain ( see http://militants-anarchistes.info/spip.php?article5703 at Dictionnaire international des militants anarchistes)
He was killed near Saragossa in 1936.