Person - Roberts Bell, Hilda (1915-2009)

Roberts Bell, Hilda (1915-2009)




Preferred form:

Roberts Bell, Hilda (1915-2009)Other forms

Fechas de existencia:

Filadelfia (Pensilvania, Estados Unidos)  1915 - 2009-09-23


Hilda Bell was born in 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. She studied nursing at San Francisco State College and later took advanced nursing courses at the University of California, San Francisco through Langley Porter Hospital and received an advanced degree in psychiatric nursing. Bell married with her first husband in 1945, changing her name to Hilda Bell Kirk. Later, in 1965, she married with her second husband becoming Hilda Bell Roberts. She had one son by her first marriage, and two stepsons.

Bell sailed to Spain in May 10, 1937, on the “Normandie” as a volunteer nurse with the Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy. She worked in the operating room at the Hospital University and the Cruz Roja Hospital in Murcia before transferring to the Aragon and Ebro Front with Dr. Frieman´s Unit where she traveled with the “Autochir”, a mobile hospital that set up surgical units in a variety of temporary locations.

Bell was evacuated from Spain and returned to the States in December 1938 along with other International Brigade volunteers. Since then, she served in World War II as a U.S. Army nurse in Australia and New Guinea. She also remained active in a range of social causes, including the anti-nuclear and ecology movements, participating in the communist movement, the struggle for the eight-hour workday, the civil rights movement, and the Berkeley free speech movement. She also opposed to the United States war in Vietnam and the production of nuclear weapons.

When she was in her seventies, she fasted for twenty-three days to defy the U.S. blockade on Cuba. Every Friday afternoon for over a decade, she has stood in the Women in Black vigil to oppose Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Nearly seventy years later after the Spanish Civil War, marching with a crowd of demonstrators protesting U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, she smiled to the reporters and stated with pride: “Going to Spain was the best decision

I ever made, next to becoming a nurse.” Bell returned to Spain with other International Brigades veterans in 1996.

Hilda Bell Roberts passed away in Berkeley, California, on September 23, 2009, at the age of 93.

Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Date of the event: 1936 - 1939






Lugar de Residencia:

Estados Unidos

Lugar de Nacimiento:

Filadelfia (Pensilvania, Estados Unidos) in 1915


Martínez Reverte, Jorge (2014), Martínez Reverte, Jorge, Guerrilleros y traidores. De la guerra de España a la guerra fría. Madrid, Círculo de Lectores, 2014

External Links

Catálogo Archivístico:


Recurso web:

Jewish Virtual Library

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NYU Libraries

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Recurso Web

Recurso web:

Richard Bermack

Recurso web:

The volunteer

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Workers World


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