The Landauer family played a key role in the future of his life. His two grandparents were social Democratic mayors in two small rural communities south of Vienna: Ober-Waltersdorf and Tattendorf. One of his uncles was a union secretary and a member of the Styrian regional parliament. The abolition of democracy in Austria in February 1934 was a major setback for family life. His political activity went on to develop in the underground. A group of fellow, under the direction of the ex-leader in the Red Hawks Peter Kubik, began with the political agitation: by gluing forbidden symbols, stickers of the "three arrows" or with the red Falcon which still conserved in quantities.
Franco was advancing and the first news was about the Austrians who fought alongside the Republic and fell into the defense of Madrid. And that's how they found out that there were Austrian volunteers who wanted to defend democracy in Spain. This press had another advantage, their distributors had mounted a network by which they could reach Spain.
In the spring of 1937 we received the visit of Leopold Chech, who had occupied the mayor's office in the neighboring town of Pottendorf and had been removed by the fascists. He brought us a letter. The letter was by Franz Haiderer of Pottendorf, who told that he was struggling with a Republican Army artillery battalion. At that moment my fate was sealed.
On June 18, 1937, Hans received his first contact address in Paris, and two days later he was in France. It would not be easy for him to convince that his name was not Landauer or 16 years old but Operschall and he had already served 18. After a few days in Paris, he devoted himself to visiting the world exhibition, and took a night train that took him to Perpignan. The March. At dawn they came to a cabin at the height of Massanet de Cabrenys, where they were expected by trucks that would take them to the fortress of Figueras. There are two images of this fortress that accompany me all my life. A huge sign showing the bodies of children lined up on the pavement. It could be in Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona. Who knows. Over them the shadows of bombardment planes with swastikas painted on the wings. Behind them a vague silhouette of Hitler, and beneath a phrase which anticipated the
Tragedy of Europe and the world: "Today Spain, tomorrow the World". More in London and Paris they continued without wanting to see or hear. The second poster represented the casemates in front of which were tombstones that showed that during the war of Independence had been volunteers who gave their lives for Spain.
At the beginning of Figueras they first met with the name of Albacete. His passage through the Valencian Orchard and the enthusiasm of the people who recibián it, surprised Hans and the other volunteers. If in Paris it had gone from being Hans Landauer and having 16 years to be Hans Operschall and to be 18, now, in the national barracks of Albacete I became a soldier, rather, in private. My only suit ended up in a lot of clothes, my passport that I had used on the trip through France, was replaced by the military card by which I officially became a soldier of the Popular Army, which I am still proud of today.
He was transferred to Burrows, a town north of Albacete. There he began his daily life as a military, carried out practices on the ground, taught them fundamental concepts of the behavior of an infantryman, and every two days did shooting practices, with real bullets, with the infantry rifle and a heavy Machine gun. The heat he made in the summer of 37 in Spain and the assimilation of the new diet, were some of the problems related by the volunteers had to pass. During our period of instruction the Battle of Brunete took place. The Austrian battalion "February 12, 1,934", which had few men and had entered for the first time in action in this battle, needed reinforcements. In this way, our group ended, after a two-week period of instruction, as part of this battalion's machine gun company in Quijorna Cemetery.
They followed fifth, median, Teruel, first and second retreat in Aragon and finally two whole months with the special battalion of the 35 ª division in the Battle of the Ebro, the second attack in the defense of Barcelona and the continued battles to the French border, Where on February 9, 1,939, Hans returned his rifle at the border crossing of Port Bou. "I do not regret having been in Spain at the time, I would not have missed it for the world. For me it was the magisterium of my life. Here I learned what camaraderie was, solidarity, to have consideration with others. "