10 de March de 1938 - Edwin Rolfe: los bombardeos de principios de marzo (294)

[March 10, 1938, carta a su mujer, Mary]

Less than a week ago there were nine air bombardments over the city in a period of 25 or 26 hours. They come at night these days, when it’s hard to sight them. In the evening mostly – and the first thing you hear is the muffled sound of an explosion, maybe two or three – the first bombs. Then the much sharper crack of anti-air guns is heard, and the worst sound of all, the warning signal begins to screech. If you go downstairs to the entrance of the house, which most of us do, you see the flares in the sky, and the momentary splotches of light; and the sky is criss-crossed with light beams trying to locate the bombers. And then the central power control shuts off all the light in the city, and we’re in complete darkness… [Aerial] bombardment is a little more terrifying [than the artillery barrages he had experienced in Madrid]… You never know where they are and in which direction they’re going. And even the tougher-minded remember what a building looks like after a 400-pound bomb has struck. You have to be calm about it; and you remember that there are 1,600,000 people in this refugee-swollen city, and that it will take more bombs than the fascists have to even make a dent in a city as large as this and on a population as big. But young women and old women can’t take it calmly; they cry in a soft, low, terribly-scared sort of whimper. Sometimes the kids cry too, but not so often; they generally play around with each other as if there’s nothing going on, and if their mothers let them, they go out to watch the searchlights in the sky.

, , Edwin Rolfe: a biographical essay and guide to the Rolfe archive at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1990). Read on

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