In Branches, book two in The Olive Tree, my Spanish Civil War Saga, Heini Hopkins, my nurse, travels to the Paris Exhibition of 1937 to meet a contact en route to Spain. Many volunteers used the Paris Exhibition as cover for their journeys to Spain because a visit to the exhibition did not require a passport. In the 1930s not many working class people owned a passport.
The exhibition ran from 25 May to 25 November 1937 and was extremely popular, attracting over 31 million visitors.
The Spanish pavilion included Joan Miró’s painting Catalan Peasant in Revolt, Alexander Calder’s sculpture Mercury Fountain and Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, his now-famous expression of the horrors of war, and the barbaric act that motivated Heini to volunteer as a nurse in Spain.