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Vol. XVI, No.

2 Fall 1994

Brandeis University dedicates


the Frederica Martin Archives
A dedication ceremony, marking
the completion of the cata-
loging of the Frederica Martin
medical services of the SCW, they are
a unique source of information on the
sadly underwritten history of the
ans for Special Collections, Victor
Berch and Charles Cutter, and, of
course, Professor Tobyanne
Medical Papers was held at women who served in support of the Berenberg who had traveled from
Brandeis University Library on International Brigades. Mexico for the ceremony.
August 12. The event featured the The dedication, with over 80 Moe read out the names of the
presentation of a plaque to the people on hand, was presided over donors honored on the plaque:
University, honoring the principle by Dr. Bessie K. Hahn, director of Tobyanne Berenberg, David Engel-
donors who enabled the Abraham the Brandeis Libraries. She spoke son, Louis Gayle, Ben Goldring,
Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) to of the worldwide importance of the Nat Gross, Jacques Grunblatt,
add the Martin Papers to the collection contained in the Archives, Toby Jensky, Charles Keith, Steve
University's Special Collection on regarded worldwide as an outstand- Nelson, Irving Portnow, William
the Spanish Civil War. ing one in its field. A matching trib- Sennett, Jack Teiger, Bill Van
“Freddie’s” collection represented ute was paid by Encarnación Felix, Saul Wellman and Steve
almost a half-century of labor in Campuzano, assistant to the Zak. Also inscribed are the Edward
preparation for a book on the medical Spanish Consulate in Boston. Aberlin Family, the Charles Keith
services of the International Brigades. Speaking for the VALB was Moe Foundation, the San Francisco Bay
She was well qualified, having been Fishman, who expressed apprecia- Area Post of the ALB; and friends
Dr. Ed Barsky’s head nurse and chief tion to Brandeis for its interest, John D.B. Lewis and John Sayles.
administrator of all the American investment of personnel and Lincoln vets in attendance were
nurses in Spain. Working from a resources to build the ALBA project. Al Amery, Bill Van Felix, Harry
home in Mexico, she had accumulated He singled out for special tribute Dr. Fisher, John Hovan, Sam Walters
a mass of material when her death cut Hahn, the past and present librari- and Thelma Erikson Abbott. ✇
the project short in
1991. There were half
a hundred cartons of
records, first-hand
data, memorabilia
and photographs that
were shipped to
ALBA that year by
her daughter, Prof-
essor Tobyanne Ber-
enberg (University of
Mexico). They origi-
nated from sources
across the globe.
The Frederica
Martin papers are not Above: (l-r) Thelma Erikson Abbott, Moe Fishman, Bill Van Felix,
only a mine of unsur- Encarnación Campuzano and Harry Fisher.
passed data on the Right: Dr. Bessie K. Hahn, director of the Brandeis Libraries.
2 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

Volunteer Views
Whither the fight for national health care?
A s we prepare this Volunteer for the press, the
prospect is bad for the passage of any worth-
while health care legislation.
but one has heard only muffled and crushed refer-
ences to it in the U.S. Congress. The Clintons must
be given credit for nullifying this obscene evasion.
Responsibility for the present setback falls on the The criminals here are the usual suspects: those
congressional combination of reactionary Repub- sections of the insurance industry which refuse to
licans and “conservative” Democrats. They are out to consent to any modification of their charges and pro-
kill or, at least, maim, any beneficial measures. And, cedures, the pharmaceutical companies and doctors
of course, it must not be forgotten or forgiven, that more devoted to mammon than Hippocrates.
these same legislators deny the rest of the population There is an important ideological component of
the health care that they themselves enjoy, paid for this fight. It is necessary to counteract and defeat
by all the people. the promoted notion that the government cannot do
Despite all the flaws contained in the Clintons’ anything right. It is with this kind of barrage that
original proposals, and the tactical errors committed Nixon and Reagan, Bush, Dole and Gingrich have
in the original planning stages, they have projected covered up the ways in which they have handed over
the image of health care with a sharpness that has resources and treasures to the most powerful, and
never before existed in American political discourse. thereby worsened the plight of the powerless.
In the past hundred years, healthcare legislation has What lies ahead? Protracted fight. The constant-
been enacted in one industrial country after another, ly increasing need is too great for the fight to be
abandoned. Single payer insurance remains the best
option. The fight for this kind of coverage may have
Support people’s right to shift from the national arena – to be waged on a
state-by-state basis. The ever present puppets in
to travel to Cuba Congress have already proposed making these state
initiatives illegal. This only proves how determined

I t has been reported that Castro has called for a


meeting with Clinton to resolve outstanding differ-
ences between the U.S. and Cuba. If Rabin could
their proponents must be.
All of us must join in this fight. ✇
meet with Arafat, Nixon with Deng Xiaoping, that
request certainly ought to fall within the range of
possibility. The Volunteer
Meanwhile, the tightening of the U.S. embargo Journal of the
noose around Cuba is impelling thousands of Cubans
Veterans of the
to attempt migration under conditions hazardous to
life. There is a new urgency for continued support of
Abraham Lincoln Brigade
the third Freedom to Travel Challenge by the San 799 Broadway, Rm 227
Francisco-based Global Exchange, planned for Oct. 1 New York, NY 10003
through 9, and of the fourth Pastors for Peace
(212) 674-5552
Friendship Caravan scheduled for Nov. 2 through
Nov. 27. The latter will include a parallel Canadian Editor
Caravan which will travel west to east, joining the Leonard Levenson
U.S. contingent in Washington, DC. The merged
Caravan will then proceed north into Canada where Editorial Board
the accumulated humanitarian-aid supplies will be Abe Smorodin • Bill Susman • Irving Weissman
shipped to Cuba. Contributing Editor
Seymour Joseph
Further information on these activities may be
obtained by calling:
Submission of Manuscripts
• Global Exchange at (415) 558-9490, or FAX at Please send manuscripts typewritten and double-spaced, if possible.
(415) 2557498; If you wish your manuscripts returned, enclose a self-addressed,
stamped envelope.
• Pastors for Peace at (612) 378-0062. ✇
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 3

News From Spain


Plans moving forward to honor reporting that the University of
Castilla-La Mancha, last April
Jarama Vets and La Pasionaria established in Albacete an interna-
tional center for archives and study
of the International Brigades. The
A t VALB’s request, associate his-
torian Frances Patai met with
the Asociación Brigadas Inter-
clear: to demonstrate that La
Pasionaria was of prime importance
both to the final victory over the
undertaking, the first of its kind in
Spain, appropriately situated in the
nacionales (ABI) and the Fundación IB wartime headquarters city, is a
Franco dictatorship and the restora-
Dolores Ibárruri (FDI), last June in joint venture of the municipality
tion of Spanish democracy. The cen-
Barcelona, for an update of their and the university.
tennial will focus on her life not
respective plans for the 1994 cere- Under an agreement signed by
only as a shaper of Spanish history,
mony to dedicate the lapida (monu- the rector of the university, Luis
but as a symbol of the international
ment) in the Morata de Tajuna Arroya, and the mayor of Albacete,
struggle for progress and a more
Cemetery, honoring the Lincolns Carmina Belmonte, the archives,
just world society.
killed at Jarama; and for the 1995 including a collection of pertinent
The FDI envisages the celebra-
commemoration of La Pasionaria’s books, will be housed in the General
tion as an ideal opportunity not
birthday centennial. Library building of the university
only for a critical analysis of 20th
Santiago Alvarez of the ABI, under the directorship of Manuel
Century Spain, but for reflections
after expressing his thanks for the Requena, professor of contemporary
on the future.
VALB’s $200 contribution to ABI, history.
Frances was in Spain at the invi-
indicated that final plans and a The Albacete municipal govern-
tation of the 2nd International
date for the ceremony were not yet ment will annually allocate funds to
Congress of the Association of
set and that VALB would be the Center for the acquisition of
Contemporary Historians sponsored
informed as soon as the calendar of documents and books, especially
by the University of Barcelona. ✇
events is made definite. [No news as from Italy, Germany, the United
of the time this Volunteer goes to States and Spain, as well as for its
press – Ed.] An IB archive own research projects. ✇

La Pasionaria’s centennial
The detailed calendar of events
in Albacete
Lincoln vet John Rossen has
More news from Spain
has not been crystallized but the
philosophical and ideological frame- sent The Volunteer a clipping from on pages 8-9
work for the year-long celebration is an unnamed Spanish newspaper,

Bill Mandel (left), radio personality, and his 100-year-old father, Max, at the west coast VALB dinner. For more on the dinners — east
and west — see page 11.
4 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

Book Reviews
A classic teristic of Carroll’s book. He has
used the word odyssey in its classi-
Part three he calls Veterans, which
runs for approximately 150 pages.
odyssey of the cal Homeric sense. The battles of the
Trojan War were told in The Iliad.
Finally there is an epilogue entitled
Old Radicals, New Causes.
Lincoln Brigade The aftermath of the victorious
Hellenic warriors was the subject of
Before I comment on the con-
tent of any one of these sections, I
The Odyssey. In this tradition, the would like to make a few profession-
THE ODYSSEY OF THE heart of Carroll’s work – though it al observations about the craft of
ABRAHAM LINCOLN BRIGADE: includes the complete trajectory of the historian. Firstly, archives
Americans in the Spanish Civil War the Lincoln volunteers’ lives – his themselves are mute. In the study
By Peter N. Carroll focus, his passion, is concerned with of human affairs as well as in the
Stanford University Press, Stanford,
California: 1994. what happened to the survivors of study of nature, what counts as a
$55 cloth; $16.95 paper; pp, xii, 429 the Spanish blood bath until the end relevant fact is largely determined
of their days. The Lincoln Brigade by the pre-existing theories in the
volunteers found that the aftermath
W ith the publication of Pro- mind of the investigator.
fessor Carroll’s massive vol- was longer and more taxing, more
ume, the Lincoln Brigade volun-
teers, living and dead, have found
deadly than the “duration.”
These intentions of the author
manifest themselves in the organiza-
P eter Carroll views the history of
the veterans as embedded and
controlled by the ideological con-
their Thucydides; and the author
tells us, in his preface, that he is tion of the book. After a short pro- flicts which predated the outbreak
what he calls a member of the third logue setting the historical stage, of the Spanish conflict. Of necessity
generation of writers about the and hinting at the controversial this makes it impossible to disen-
Lincoln Brigade. The first genera- nature of all writings about the civil tangle the history of the Abraham
tion was composed of participants: war, there follow four parts. Part one Lincoln Brigade from the history of
Edwin Rolfe’s The Lincoln he entitles Causes. By this he means the Communist Party of the United
Battalion, and Alvah Bessie’s Men the unique set of historical American States. There can be no question
in Battle. Both of these were pub- circumstances during the Great concerning the fact that the
lished in 1939. There followed Depression which created the radical International Brigades were created
Arthur Landis’ The Abraham tradition within which a generation by the Comintern and it cannot be
Lincoln Brigade, published in 1968, of young Americans learned the denied that 60 percent of the
and Landis’ Death in the Olive meaning of fascism and witnessed American contingent were members
Groves, posthumously published in the apparent collapse of the capital- of the Communist Party or its
1989. The second generation, he ist system on a world-wide scale. Young Communist League. The
says, were academic scholars, such other 40 percent can be best
as Cecil Eby, Robert Rosenstone,
John Gerassi. (I would add the gen- I n the struggles of this period, to
organize the unemployed and to
build trade unions, emerged the
described as individuals who, out of
their own experience of union bust-
ing, anti-semitism, book burning,
eration of journalists who wrote
about the Lincoln Brigade: Herbert future officers of the Abraham racial injustice, plus knowledge of
Matthews and Vincent Sheehan.) Lincoln Brigade. the dynamics of fascism, and
One should note, concerning the Part two, entitled Spain, num- inspired by the resistance of the
third generation, that they have at bers only about 100 pages. Here he Spanish people, accepted the leader-
their disposal not only the great sketches the military triumphs and ship role of the American Com-
accumulation of archival material disasters from the Jarama Valley to munist Party and went to fight and
at Brandeis University, but also the last stand in the Sierra Pandols. die in Spain. Peter Carroll takes no
now, for the first time, the archives sides when chronicling the bitter
of the International Brigades which and often puerile disputes that
Peter Carroll explored in Moscow. The books reviewed here weakened the endeavors to halt the
Of course our readers are well may be ordered directly fascist juggernaut.
aware of the shifting climate of As for the internal history of the
through the VALB office, 799
opinion within which most scholars Brigade veterans, Peter Carroll is
Broadway Rm. 227, New not interested in hagiography. The
are constrained. Peter Carroll is the
first scholar who approaches the York, NY 10003, at list price Lincoln Brigade volunteers came
tangled web of Lincoln Brigade his- plus $2.00 each for shipping from both sides of the tracks. They
tory in the post Cold-War period. and handling.
There is another unique charac- Continued on page 6
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 5

‘The best book so far’ about the ALB


more than half a century – his Wolff proved himself a literary
ANOTHER HILL: An autobiograph- reaction, for example, to being artist by his insight into the
ical novel of the Spanish Civil War appointed acting commander of his thoughts and emotions of a man
By Milton Wolff battalion: who was twice a deserter from the
with an introduction by Cary Nelson Lincolns but so attached to the
This training was tough, but sup -
University of Illinois Press, 1994, cause that he rejected an opportuni-
Champaign, IL. pp XX, 395 pose he had to take the battalion into
ty to leave the country, and
$27.50, cloth action? Oh, Mother!
returned once more to the front.
Mother? To his mother he would
There, in the final confrontation
report that he had been made foreman
W hy an autobiographical novel?
Why not straight fiction with
invented characters taking part in
in the factory.
It is probable that Milt Wolff,
between the two men, the author,
who clearly believes in Leo
Rogovin’s change of heart, also
the historic conflict whose outcome like Mitch Castle, told his mother, believes in Mitch Castle’s conviction
made the larger one of 1939-1945 at least during the earlier, more that such a change is as unreliable
inevitable? Or why not another non- obscure part of his time in Spain, as the man himself.
fictional account of the American that he was working in a factory
volunteers in Spain by their last behind the lines, but it is quite
commander?
The answer is that in neither
unlikely that he thought, at this
particular moment, of disguising his
I t is quite appropriate to this
unique and fascinating book that
its cast includes both real characters
format could Milton Wolff have promotion for her benefit. Or if he and fictional ones. If it suits his pur-
painted the picture he provides us did, that he would recall it today. pose to portray someone as he really
in this remarkable, this amazing was and confine his actions and
book. The autobiographical struc-
ture of the main body of A n o t h e r
H i l l enables him to tell his own
T reating the material as a novel-
ist also makes it possible for
him to tell the subordinate story of
words to an approximation of what
he actually did and said, the author
calls him by his real name. If, for a
story as the story of Mitch Castle, another volunteer whose reaction to fictional purpose, he has him perform
the character based on himself, but the reality of warfare was in stark a fictional function, the name, too, is
reworking it in fictional form frees contrast to that of Wolff/Castle. As fictional. Among those in the former
him to render what he saw and did much as by the quality of his writ- category are Ernest Hemingway,
and felt in the kind of graphic ing, which is surprisingly high for a Martha Gellhorn, Jo Davidson,
detail that no one could recall after first novelist in his late seventies, Vincent Sheehan, Herbert Matthews
of the New York Times, Joseph

Hemingway and the VALB North of the New Masses and James
Lardner, this reviewer’s brother.
Milton Wolff proved himself in
battle of Jarama in 1937 and ended Spain and ever since to be an extra-
REMEMBERING SPAIN:
Hemingway’s Civil War Eulogy and with his death in 1961. ordinary man. His talent for leader-
the Veterans of the Abraham ship put him in a position to know
The Recording
Lincoln Brigade more about what was going on in
The tape reproduces a record the International Brigades than any
Edited by Cary Nelson, with essays by
Milton Wolff and Cary Nelson; with a
Hemingway sent from Cuba, at Milt other American volunteer. He
cassette recording of Hemingway read- Wolff’s request, for VALB’s tenth writes now with a perspective and
ing his essay “On the American Dead in anniversary dinner in 1947. It is a an objectivity that would have been
Spain.” Urbana and Chicago: University reading of his requiem, On the
of Illinois Press, 1994. $14.50; paper and impossible during the hot and cold
cassette; 39 pp.
American Dead in Spain. He had wars that followed the defeat of the
written it in 1939 for the special Spanish Republic. And he turns out
“Lincoln Brigade Number” of New
T his publication is an unusual
audio/hard-copy combination
that critically ranges the quarter-
M a s s e s , published on February
12th, Jarama’s 2nd anniversary.
to be a talented novelist. For all
these reasons, “Another Hill” is the
best book so far about the American
century relationship between Ernest One hears Hemingway’s flat mid- participation in Spain. And it might
Hemingway and the Veterans of the west voice softened by the solemnity very well remain in permanent pos-
Abraham Lincoln Brigade. It was a session of that title. ✇
turbulent one that began with the Continued on page 7 Ring Lardner, Jr.
6 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

Book Reviews
Odyssey to internal security, turned the full
force of its police powers against
extensive account of the Brigade’s
medical services. Recruited in the
Continued from page 4 radicals, old and new. The Truman United States were doctors, nurses,
loyalty oath, the Smith Act, the ambulances, and ambulance drivers
were not all Sir Galahads or McCarran Internal Security Act, who served the Brigades. Under
Parsifals. If I may make a personal the Taft-Hartley Law, the establish- appalling conditions of poverty of
remark here, I stated in one of my ment of inquisitorial committees of means and exposed constantly to
papers that the Lincoln Brigade sol- the House of Representatives and extraordinary danger, the medical
diers proved how uncommon the the U.S. Senate, the incredible staffs set an example of professional
common man could be. In their establishment of the Subversive excellence and political dedication.
ranks there were bound to be Activities Control Board – all of this What is sad to relate now is that
deserters, turncoats, renegades. As created a political maelstrom into Carroll gives in broad strokes the per-
distinguished from the first genera- which the Veterans of the Abraham secution of these noble human beings.
tion of scholars, Peter Carroll’s Lincoln Brigade were drawn, collec- The famous Dr. Edward Barsky, who
account takes the lives of this cate- tively as an organization and indi- saved hundreds of lives, will go to jail
gory of men and lets them speak vidually. Peter Carroll’s account of for refusing to give the name of
their piece for the record. this is a magnificent example of dif- donors to the funds raised for the
There is a simple answer for ficult historiography expounded refugee hospitals. For years the nurs-
those who believe that the inclusion with sympathy towards the victims, es will be hounded out of employment
of such testimony besmirches the but accurate always in detailing the and some will leave the country for
reputation of the Brigade. The cow- charges brought against them. Mexico in order to practice their pro-
ard’s flight determines the stature Forty years of harassment, howev- fession. I would note here a section of
of the hero. The turncoat gives evi- er, failed to destroy either the orga- the book which perhaps more than
dence as to the steadfastness of nization or silence its members. any other indicates Carroll’s grasp of
those who, against tremendous As to be expected, the veterans the big picture. This concerns his
odds, remained faithful to their never took their eyes off Spain. account of how in their old age, with
political and philosophic ideals. They wept for their country when very meager resources, the Veterans
Again, a personal note. As I read Franco, to them the butcher, of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade were
the account of the deserters and the became the favorite dictator of able to raise funds to send a dozen or
government-paid stool pigeons, I Eisenhower and Nixon. They also so ambulances to Nicaragua and El
kept remembering Carroll’s refer- took their protest to the streets. For Salvador. Having been transported in
ences to veterans of the Abraham years they used their meager ambulances more than once in Spain,
Lincoln Brigade who, having been resources to send medical supplies they understood the value of these
repatriated because of wounds, to the Spanish refugees in France vehicles for their embattled brethren
returned for the second time to the and Mexico. Eventually the harass- in Central America.
Spanish front, and after the cause ment and the FBI and the Internal In my personal judgment, noth-
was lost there, volunteered again Revenue Service ended those activi- ing that Peter Carroll has written
for the U.S. army and participated ties. As was to be expected from deserves our thanks more than
in some of its most bloody struggles their past record, the veterans were those lyrical passages telling the
in World War II. loud in their opposition to the impe- story of the return to Spain of many
As suggested above, the core of rial intervention of the United veterans on the occasion of the 50th
Carroll’s book concerns the fate of States in south Asia and Latin anniversary of the Spanish conflict.
the veterans after the end of World America. In the Death Squads, Again a personal note. I think it
War II in which many of them par- which emerged in this region, often was on the 40th anniversary of the
ticipated. It is hard to know how best under U.S. tutelage, they saw the Spanish war that the City
to characterize this period. Some of projection of the punitive squads of University of New York placed a
the subheads in the book indicate the Falange which purged Spain, plaque in the great hall of the
the content: The War of Words, province by province, for General University bearing the 13 names of
Premature Antifascists, The Political Franco. Carroll gives a cool account the faculty and students of that uni-
War, Red Scares and Blacklists, The of these anti-imperialist activities. versity who died in Spain. On that
Trials, The Politics of Culture, (He might have noted that such occasion I was invited to speak for
Alienated Artists, Bridging Old Left protests go back to Abraham the Brigade and I ended my
and New, The Death Watch. Lincoln and Mark Twain.) remarks by thanking the president
Stated briefly, the American I might note in passing that in of the university who was acting as
establishment, fearful of the threat Part 2 Peter Carroll gives the first master of ceremonies. I told her,
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 7

Hemingway ever, was his lengthy, totally fic-


tional description of a savage mas-
in 1987. The work had begun several
years earlier under the editorship of
Continued from page 5 sacre of local fascists in a village Alvah Bessie and was completed
loyal to the Republic.3 after his death by Al Prago. The
of the occasion and perhaps deep- The book triggered the VALB book’s preface pays tribute to
ened by its ending an eight-year estrangement from Hemingway. It Hemingway: “…perhaps more than
estrangement from all but a few persisted on individual and organi- any other American writer, he made
Lincoln vets. That rupture, zational levels, with varying inten- invaluable contributions to the cause
described in detail by Milt Wolff, sity, until his death in 1961. On of Republican Spain.”9 But the vol-
had begun in 1940 following the Hemingway’s side, testifying to his ume omitted any reference to the
publication of Hemingway’s Spanish regard for the American IBers, it tumultuous history of the eulogy.
Civil War novel For Whom the Bell was confined to his personal corre- For the Lincoln vets, time and
T o l l s ( F W B T ) 1. The reconciliation spondence. Some of his letters, how- cataclysmic events have eased their
was verified by a brief introduction ever, were eerily off-the-wall.4 resentment at the unbalanced por-
which Hemingway had written for At Wolff’s initiative the breach trayal of Republican Spain in FWBT.
this celebration.2 The first words one caused by FWBT was temporarily But history has no clear absolution
hears are, “I am very glad to be pre- bridged in 1947 with the phoned for Hemingway. The small, forgotten
sent in this distinguished company invitation to EH in Havana that edition of Heart of Spain ( 5 , 0 0 0
of premature antifascists.” prompted the recording. On the copies, 42 years out-of-print) has
Lincoln vets’ side, their turn-off been exceeded exponentionally by
The Essays again peaked five years later in FWBT which bookstores still stock to
In the separate essays of 1952, when VALB excluded meet an unending demand.10
Remembering Spain (RS), both Milt Hemingway from its book, T h e It doesn’t hurt to show a little
Wolff and Cary Nelson describe the Heart of Spain5 (HoS). It was a col- Heart to keep the record straight on
anger that FWBT churned in the lection of writings on the Spanish Republican Spain, even while
ranks of the Lincoln vets. Into its Civil War. Veteran Alvah Bessie, acknowledging Ernest Hemingway
nearly 500-page bulk, Hemingway one of the “Hollywood Ten” jailed as its most influential wartime sup-
had slipped a few off-the-cuff char- for contempt of the House Un- porter in the English-speaking world.
acterizations that disparaged American Committee in 1947, was Lincoln vets and supporters,
prominent antifascist leaders, the editor. His preface, after touched or untouched by this histo-
including the legendary La describing the book as a “partisan ry-within-a-history, will want to
Pasionaria. Most infuriating, how- anthology,” focused on FWBT: have it for their book and tape
libraries and as an unusual gift for
We would particularly like to all occasions. ✇
Odyssey (cont’d) explain to the reader our reasons for
the omission of work by Ernest
Len Levenson
Hemingway. It was felt that Notes
“You have restored a page torn from Hemingway’s talent and the personal 1. For Whom the Bell Tolls (FWBT): New York,
the history of the United States. support he rendered to many phases 1940, First Scribner Classic/Collier Edition,
Future generations of your students 1987.
of the loyalist cause were shockingly
2. Remembering Spain(RS), p. 26.
will be in your debt.” portrayed in his work For Whom the
3. FWBT, pp. .96-130. “I invented completely…,”
Peter Carroll has restored not Bell Tolls … the novel in its impact
Hemingway’s letter to Bernard Berenson in
just a page but I would say an presented an unforgivable distortion Ernest Hemingway, Selected Letters (SL). 1917-
entire chapter of the history of the of the meaning of the struggle in 1961: New York, 1981, p. 837.
6
Spain. 4. See, RS, p. 34, for a manic letter dealing with
republic, and the Veterans of the
Fred Keller; also S L, p. 505 – a savage put-
Abraham Lincoln Brigade will be
Despite this censuring, one year down of British and French IBers.
remembered by this contribution to 5. New York: 1952, Veterans of the A b r a h a m
later a Hemingway letter to Ed
the vast literary account of that Lincoln Brigade.
Rolfe7 reaffirmed his esteem for the
glory and tragedy that was the his- 6. HoS, p. VI.
VALB. It once again granted a 7. RS, p. 33.
tory of Spain between the two great
request to play the Havana record- 8. VALBand Monthly Review Press, 1987.
wars. ✇
Robert G. Colodny ing, this time at a Vets’ meeting in 9. RS, p. 12.

Profesor Emeritus, Los Angeles. 10. FWBT “…was the November 1940 main selection
of the Book-of-the-Month Club, … by the follow-
University of Pittsburgh The requiem, reversing Heart of
ing April, 491,000 copies had been sold.” James
Veteran of the Spain, was included in Our Fight,8 R. Mellow, Hemingway, a life without conse -
Abraham Lincoln Brigade another VALB anthology, published quences,Boston, 1992, p. 522.
8 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

News From Spain


Socialists are to national wealth and population,
according to estimates for 1993
employment is the area of least sat-
isfaction since only 43 percent
set back made public by the Alliance.
According to these figures, Spain is
express satisfaction with their
work. Moreover, while in 1988, 26
The ruling Socialist Workers the allied country that devotes the percent were financially indepen-
Party (PSOE) of Prime Minister smallest proportion of its Gross dent, in 1992 only 20.1 percent
Felipe Gonzalez was roundly defeat- National Product (GNP) to defense: claimed to live solely on their own
ed by the center-right Popular 1.5 percent, as opposed to the 2.6 income. This latter group consisted
Party (PP) in voting for the new percent average in the Alliance. The mainly of people aged between 26
European Parliament on June 13. only exception is Luxembourg and 30.
A regional Andalusian parlia- which has a professional army num-
mentary election, held simultane- bering about 1,000. Spain is one of Family and Health
ously, also stripped the PSOE of its the allied countries which spends
Most Valued
absolute majority. least money per capita on defense –
Gonzalez himself recognized $81, only exceeding Portugal (80)
Spain’s 10 million youth (15-29
that the dismal showing, which and Turkey (64).
years old) account for 24.75 percent
exceeded the worst pre-election fore- The estimates also suggest that,
of the population. Ten years ago it
casts, was the fruit of a series of cor- whereas the Spanish GNP will fall
was 23 percent and in the next
ruption scandals and continuing eco- by .8 percent, military expenditures
decade the figure will drop to 19
nomic woes that had undermined will drop by 5.4 percent, which
percent. In 1992, 75 percent of the
his own and his government’s makes four consecutive years (1990-
young people lived in their family
image. 93) of cutbacks in the national mili-
home with parents and siblings.
The PP’s victory in the EP elec- tary budget. The National Budget
This situation was highly valued by
tion was its first over the PSOE at for 1994, however, shows a slight
the vast majority: 92 percent stated
the national level in 12 years. The increase over last year. As for man-
without reservation that their fami-
conservatives won in 13 of Spain's power, Spain is tending towards a
ly and health are the two most
autonomous regions, losing to the progressive reduction, and its
important things in their lives and
PSOE only in Andalusia and neigh- armed forces account for 1.6 percent
what they are most satisfied with.
boring Extremadura, and to nation- of the economically active popula-
After these come housing (80 per-
alist parties in Catalonia and the tion, far lower than the approxi-
cent), sexual relations (59 percent),
Basque country. mate Allied average of 2 percent. ✇
and studies (55 percent), whereas
In both the European and España ’94, No. 239
their financial situation, often
Andalusian polls the Communist-
because of lack of work, only satis-
led United Left (IU) coalition made
solid gains at the expense of the Spain’s youth fied 54 percent.
PSOE and insured itself an indis- The following is excerpted from a
pensable power broker’s role in study, The Report on Young People in Social Outlook
Andalusia. Spain 1992 , dealing with Spaniards
Despite the dismal showing, between 15 and 30 years old (a total of With a level of interest in politics
10 million). even lower than the population as a
Gonzalez declared “We have to go
on governing.” But he reiterated his whole, Spanish young people are
earlier refusal to consider calling an Youth and Work passive in their voting intentions
early general election if the Euro- and only show a certain amount of
The unemployment rate among
pean polls did not go his way. El interest in environmentalism.
young Spanish people, 32.1 percent,
Pais editorialized, “…the scale of is the highest in the countries of the Membership in youth associa-
the censure expressed by the elec- European Community, ahead of tions persists at a low level, more so
torate is almost overwhelming.” ✇ Italy, Greece and Ireland! Among than in the previous decade, and
from a Reuter's dispatch unemployed Spanish youth, 21.25 women have a greater tendency to
percent take from six to eleven join than men. As for religious mat-

Low NATO months to find work and 23.6 per-


cent take almost two years to find
ters, over half the interviewees
claimed to be non-practicing

contribution it. Nowadays one out of every four


young people looking for work have
Catholics, although among those
who said they were religious, the
Spain remains one of the NATO been in this condition for over a majority attend Sunday mass.
countries that spends least on year. There is widespread tolerance of
defense, in terms of figures relating This situation means that euthanasia, abortion and homosex-
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 9

The Brandeis archive at work


"Little did I know that the non - stained letter written home from a “entirely worth it,” and reported:
descript box of files that Dr. trench somewhere in Spain – there “This project had more significance
(Charles) Cutter randomly selected is a sense of immediacy that is sim- than any other serious work I’ve
for me was soon to take so powerful a ply not possible to get from reading done to date.”
grasp of my imagination, to propel reprinted letters in an anthology … According to Professor Mandrell,
me to a time and place different from The war becomes personal when the addition of approximately 100,000
any I’d ever experienced, yet vividly examined through such original Spanish Civil War documents that
painted in my mind's eye … ” documents, because the feelings of have been housed in Moscow’s
– Brandeis student on his use of the people involved shine through. Russian Center for the Preservation
the Brandeis Library’s Spanish Their handwriting, their doodles, and Study of Modern History Docu-
Civil War Collection. their phrasing … everything indi- ments to the library’s collection will
cates that these were individuals further enrich these teaching and

A t Brandeis the rare books, rolls


of microfilm, and important
papers that fill the shelves of the
people with lives and opinions and
personalities, not just ‘soldiers’ or
‘statistics.’”
research activities. The Women’s
Committee’s Library Benefactor pro-
gram will fund the microfilming of
library’s Special Collections area This student, who estimates she these documents. ✇
are not reserved just for faculty or spent 55 hours on her research pro-
students. Undergraduates also rou- ject, felt the time commitment was Reprinted, in part, from Imprint/Summer '94.
tinely use the library’s Spanish
Civil War Collection for Professor
James Mandrell’s course on the
war.
“Throughout my research, the
notion would continually cross my
mind that Dr. Cutter (of the Special
Collections Department) … or some-
one was pulling a fast one on me,”
the student continued. “The stories
that the letters told seemed too con-
tained, too juicy, to be actual docu-
ments of actual events … When I
look over the summary of materials,
I don't see just names; rather, each
file conjures up a breathtaking per-
sona in my mind.”
Another student observed: Photo courtesy Brandeis University, National Women’s Committee
“There is something almost magical Brandeis student Stacey Ratner, ’94, searches through the archives of the library’s
about holding and reading a mud- Spanish Civil War collection.

News From Spain (cont’d) Draft resistance Ministry of Defense is worsened by


Spain’s drop in birthrate. The
ual relationships. A majority also The spectacular increase in the defense minister, Julián García
opposes the death penalty and mili- number of conscientious objectors to Vargas, has called for legal mea-
tary service, and a fairly widespread military service may, in a few years sures to curb the number of objec-
tolerance of prostitution. However, time, leave the Spanish Armed tors by examining their sincerity
there has been a reversal in tolerant Forces without sufficient recruits to before they are granted CO status.
attitudes to drug addiction. cover the number of vacancies. The The Administration admits that
The most rejected behavior pat- figures speak volumes: last year many objectors do not perform the
terns are headed by physical vio- 68,209 young men took advantage legally available social service
lence (89 percent) and drunk dri- of this constitutional right, 61 per- because of the shortage of vacancies
ving (88 percent). These are fol- cent more than in 1992. Reduction for it. A change in the law is being
lowed by abuse of drugs (75 percent) in applications for this year lead to sought to impose compulsory condi-
and (not too closely) tax evasion (55 a growing fear that 1994 might end tions on the CO’s, similar to those of
percent). ✇ with 106,000 new objectors. the military service. ✇
España ’94, No.240 The situation worrying the España ’94,No.242
10 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

Culling the mail sack


✇ Milton Cohen, Lincoln/Mac Pap veteran, has What I want to bring out, though, is that these boys
been memorialized in resolutions passed by the Illinois are all of Japanese descent. In fact the parents of
State Assembly and the City Council of Chicago. Both some of them are still in concentration camps back
resolutions pay tribute to Milt’s six decades of activism home. As for me, and my work, all I can say is that
in the cause of peace and democracy, reviewed in the I’m an officer in a good infantry outfit. Oh, yes – I’m
Spring ’94 issue of The Volunteer. a first Lieutenant, too. Right now we’re sort of rest-
ing up holding a quiet sector in Italy. ✇
✇ Veterans Milt Felsen, Bill Susman and Saul
Wellman last February toured a number of universities
in South Florida, speaking to students about their SCW
experiences, the work of ALBA, and current VALB
activities opposing the U.S. embargo and the travel ban
on Cuba. [See photo, p. 13]
Another 100
✇ A letter from Harriet Kahn, widow of author
By Al Amery
Albert E. Kahn, recalls how she and her husband in
1936 made a speaking tour of western cities and mining
towns, under the auspices of the Motion Picture Arts
Committee, to raise money for medical supplies for the In spring I think about the flowers coming
Spanish front. Albert later joined Pablo Neruda and and the leaves and the grass
Pablo Picasso on the World Peace Council and collabo- and the birds and the bees
rated with Pablo Casals on his autobiographical book, and the old cycle of birth and death.
Joys and Sorrows. This experience inspired him to write They say we need death
a poem in 1971, “Homage to the Three Pablos.” because we’d get bored
if we lived forever; but I don’t know—
✇ Veteran Jack Penrod writes from Gainesville, since I’ve grown up and cultivated
FL, that since his retirement from the University of some brains in my ’30s,
Florida’s English Department, he is doing hard time,
I haven’t noticed being bored,
nine hours a week, tutoring Job Corps candidates for
and I am 88 now.
high-school equivalency in basic math and language,
So far as I’m concerned
and another 12 hours a week reading tapes for use by
sight-impaired students. I could live forever, yes—
or at least for another 100 years.
✇ The Summer 1994 Bulletin of Grandmothers for Why not?
Peace International carries Corine Thornton’s account of I’m sure there’ll be a lot of excitement
the VALB delegation that challenged the travel ban to with many changes
Cuba last fall. [See The Volunteer, Spring '94] in the next 100 years,
and I wouldn’t refuse if offered the chance
✇ Bob Reed forwards for appropriate recollection a
to keep on living
WWII battlefield letter carried by The Volunteer in
1944. It was from Harry Schoenberg, a New Yorker, who with some ability to participate.
had been adjutant of the Mac Paps: I know there’s a necessity for opposites,
having figured it out for myself.
… As far as the outfit I’m in is concerned, it’s (You need both pleasure and pain
tops. We’re one of the few outfits that has gotten a
to make pleasure significant, and good and evil.)
War Department citation. The citation is given to a
But I don’t see any need to be bored
unit which executes a mission which, if performed
by an individual, would rate a DSC. In our case, our if you can eat and sleep
battalion destroyed in one afternoon (no artillery and swim and ski and dance,
support either) a Nazi SS battalion; in the process and see the flowers again every spring
captured about 12 of their jeeps, a number of trucks. and the miracle of colors again in the fall.
Also a complete Regimental headquarters, with So put me down for another 100,
everything intact including radios, maps, etc. if you can.
Previously, we were the first outfit to successfully Thanks, and may I have the next dance?
cross the Rapido River in the battle for Casino
(January). I could go on for the rest of the letter.
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 11

Rebels Without a Pause

VALB Dinner — East VALB Dinner — West


A ddresses by Peter Carroll, chair of the board of
governors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Archives, and by the Reverend Lucius Walker, of
T he Bay Area Post’s 57th Anniversary dinner on
February 27, at Oakland’s Parc Hotel, focused on
support for the William Soler Pediatric Hospital in
Pastors for Peace, highlighted the 27th annual anniver- Cuba and for Dream West, a local community under-
sary dinner of VALB’s East Coast Post. It took place at taking that funds scholarships for high school minority
the Sheraton New York Hotel on April 24. Over 600 students. The celebration attracted over 750 guests
VALB members and associates attended. and netted more than $9,000 in contributions for these
Perennial dinner chair Henry Foner, retired head projects.
of the United Fur and Leather Workers Union, opened Milt Wolff, Post Commander, chaired the program
the post-prandial program by introducing Moe which he opened by urging the diners to support the
Fishman, who spoke for the Post executive staff. After campaign for California’s single-payer health plan. He
paying tribute to the vets fallen since last year's noted that the day marked the Lincoln’s baptism of
anniversary, Moe named the vets present, asked each fire, 57 years before at Jarama. Evoking the solemnity
to stand for a group tribute by the guests. The entire of the occasion, he then read Ed Rolfe’s classic poem
audience then rose for a moment of silent tribute to all First Love.
the fallen heroes and supporters of the good fight Continuing tradition, there followed a roll call of
against war and oppression. the 19 VALB members who had joined the ranks of the
Peter Carroll next reviewed the successful fallen in the past year. The vets among the diners were
ALBA/VALB $100,000 fund-raising campaign for then asked to stand for an unusual tribute – a voice
obtaining a microfilmed copy of the Brigade documents from the past, a recording of Ernest Hemingway read-
deposited in the Moscow archives. Reporting that the ing his 1939 New Masses essay, On the American Dead
first batch of the microfilm had already reached the in Spain. [See p. 5]
ALBA office at Brandeis University, he described Walter Turner, professor at the College of Marin
examples of how the material had confirmed the body County and President of the Board of Global Exchange,
of published VALB history, as well as refuted past and next spoke on the campaign to end the U.S. embargo of
current detractors. Cuba and of his own empathy with VALB and its histo-
The featured speaker, the Reverend Lucius ry. He urged continued defiance of the travel ban and
Walker, followed. He traced the significant role played embargo, exemplified earlier this year by veterans
over the years by Pastors for Peace in the fight to lift Hilda Roberts, Milt Felsen and Milt Wolff.
the embargo on Cuba. Stressing the need to intensify A tribute to Steve Nelson, late Commander of the
the campaign to end VALB, was then
the U.S. embargo on delivered by noted
Cuba, he outlined author and VALB

Continued on page 12 Continued on page 12

After paying The vets were


tribute to the asked to stand
vets fallen for an unusual
since last tribute — a
year’s anniver- voice from the
sary, Moe past: a record-
(Fishman) ing of Ernest
named the vets Hemingway
present, asked reading his
each to stand essay, “On the
for a tribute by American Dead
the guests. Leonard Olson and his daughter, associate member Hannah Coyle, at the West in Spain.”
Coast dinner in Oakland.
12 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

Above: Ben Lane (left) and Ed Bender in Oakland.


Left: The Bay Area Dance Brigade.

West Coast She also talked with a grand-


son, Steve’s namesake, who
book “Prisoners of the Good Fight,”
declaring that the Lincoln Brigade
Continued from page 11 recalled, “He told me stories … the went to Spain “because we were
associate, Jessica Mitford. She strikes he was involved with. He alarmed about what was happening
shared three incidents that she felt never preached.” [there].” Invoking also the memory of
captured something of Steve’s Jessica concluded with an ironic the ’60s Civil Rights Movement, he
many-layered life. The first was sidelight of Steve’s Pittsburgh trial spoke of the need for massive voter
related by her daughter, Constanza, for sedition. During the proceed- registration and for international
who, midway during the Cape Cod ings, Arthur Miller’s play “The solidarity extending far into the
memorial to Steve, felt “that some- Crucible” came to town and was future, if a truly non-racial democra-
thing was missing … there had seen by the prosecutors, who cy is to be built in South Africa.
been no mention of the Communist applauded it. Steve chuckled at The successful fund appeal fol-
Party. She queried Steve’s son, Bob, their obliviousness to the drama's lowed. It was a cooperative effort by
about what it had been like to be in theme – a parable of the witchhunt Gloria Riva of Pastors for Peace,
a family constantly hounded by the they were conducting against Steve Dream West’s Michael Thomas and
FBI: “From my point of view,” he and his co-defendants. Milt Wolff.
said. “It seemed quite normal.” The keynote speaker, Maykaha The event concluded with per-
Mosia, ANC Representative to formances by the Bay Area Dance
Cuba, the Caribbean and Latin Brigade (a women’s group) and the
East Coast America, was then introduced. His
speech focused on the imminent
Latin jazz music of John Santos and
Friends. ✇
Continued from page 11
South African elections. He opened Roby Newman
the plans for a stepped-up reprise of with a quotation from Carl Geiser’s Associate VALB member
activities scheduled to culminate in West Coast dinner photos by Richard Bermack
another Friendship Caravan, later
in the year, to deliver sorely needed
medical equipment to Havana.
The perennial fund appeal was
made by Henry Foner, in his usual
low keyed, highly effective style. It
produced a collection of over $7,000.
Augmented by ticket sales and
mailed-in contributions, the affair
netted over $17,000.
The dinner concluded with a
sing-along concert presented by the
Walkabout/Clearwater Chorus, led
by son of Lincoln vet Harry Fisher.
Over fifty of the Fisher family and
friends were in attendance as a spe-
cial tribute to Harry's wife, Ruth,
who passed away last Spring. ✇ Maykaha Mosia Jessica Mitford Walter Turner
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 13

ALBA at Work
Shouts from the Wall as an exhibit cal “to bring home, once and for all,
From all peoples, from all during April and May of 1996. the official record of the young Amer-
races, you came to us like brothers, People with information about icans who risked, and often gave, their
like sons of undying Spain; and in Spanish Civil War art, prospective
the hardest days of the war, when
lives in the fight against fascism.”
donors who might want to support
the capital of the Spanish Planning for 1966
Republic was threatened, it was the travelling exhibit, or anyone
you, gallant comrades of the with suggestions of museums or Meanwhile, ALBA is beginning
International Brigades, who university galleries which might to plan for 1996, the sixtieth
helped save the city with your want to mount the exhibit during anniversary of the outbreak of fas-
fighting enthusiasm, your heroism its journey, should contact ALBA cist rebellion in Spain. Plans are
and your spirit of sacrifice … executive director, Rob Okun, at being formulated for a major com-
La Pasionaria 413-367-9526. memoration which would follow in
the spirit and scope of the fiftieth
By Rob Okun The Moscow Archives
anniversary commemoration in
Many readers of The Volunteer Avery Fisher Hall, New York.

K eeping alive the words of La


Pasionaria is one of the mis-
sions of the Abraham Lincoln
know that ALBA and VALB, in the
Spring of 1993, learned what had
long been suspected – that the sin-
Speakers, music, dramatic presenta-
tions and a tribute to the Vets are
the focus of plans being worked on
Brigade Archives (ALBA). This is gle largest cache of archival materi- for the program. ALBA will work
both a privilege and a responsibili- als on the International Brigades with its affiliates and the West Coast
ty. As we approach the end of 1994, was in a Moscow repository. Peter Vets to plan commemorations in San
ALBA has added another major pro- Carroll, Chair of ALBA’s board, vis- Francisco and/or Los Angeles.
ject to to its agenda. ited Moscow and confirmed the sig-
nificance of the treasure trove ALBA asks for bequests
A touring art exhibit housed at the Russian Center for Augmenting its fundraising
ALBA is organizing a national the Preservation and Study of the efforts, ALBA is asking its support-
touring-art exhibit, Shouts from the Documents of Modern History. ers to include a bequest to it in their
W a l l : Art and the Spanish Civil ALBA, with the full support of wills. This will assure, far into the
War. It is scheduled to open in New VALB, launched a major fund rais- future, the continuance of ALBA’s
York in early 1996, the sixtieth ing drive to pay for the microfilming mission to preserve and promote
anniversary of the start of the of more than 100,000 documents. the story of the Abraham Lincoln
Spanish Civil War. Spearheaded by ALBA board Brigade and its veterans.
Funded in part by a $25,000 member and Lincoln vet Saul Full information on how to
grant from the New Jersey-based Wellman, with assistance from name ALBA in a will may be
Puffin Foundation, the exhibit will VALB and readers of The obtained by writing:
feature many of the gripping posters Volunteer, a total of $100,000 was ALBA, Box L11
by Spanish artists that are in raised. The first batch of micofilmed Brandeis University
ALBA’s collection at Brandeis Uni- documents was sent from Moscow to Waltham, MA 02254
versity. Other art, including pho- Brandeis in May and further ship-
tographs, will augment the posters. ments will be made throughout the The 2nd edition of Rob Okun’s The
Mounted display-text will feature summer. Rosenbergs: Collected Visions of Artists
and Writers was published in 1993.
classic writings about the war by In Peter Carroll’s words, it is criti-
authors such as Lillian Hellman, Herb Snitzer

Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker


and Langston Hughes.
Shouts from the Wall will dramati-
cally and powerfully introduce younger
generations to the fight against fas-
cism, through the images and words of
those who often see things most clear-
ly: artists and writers.
In addition to its role as a lead-
ing funder of progressive art pro-
jects, the Puffin Foundation main-
tains a Manhattan gallery, the Vets caught at a speakers’ line-up for a University of South Florida lecture: (l-r) Saul
Puffin Room, in Soho. It will mount Wellman, Milt Felsen, Bill Susman.
14 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

Added to Memory’s Roster

Nils Berg walk-around shaped much of Nils’


later life.
But there were other peaks scaled
by Luke in the course of his 88
It was in Provincetown that years.
The following is based, in
Nils met Eva, a young waitress Born in a Sacramento Valley
part, on a story in The Advocate
and school teacher at the Flagship town, Luke, before Spain, was a
of Provincetown, Massachusetts,
Restaurant. They married in 1950. political activist and labor orga-
July 14, 1994.
On his retirement from nizer in the bitter campaigns to
McCann Erickson in 1965, Nils unionize the cannery and agricul-

N ils Waldemar Berg, a veteran


of the Abraham Lincoln
Brigade, died in Provincetown,
and Eva bought the Flagship,
rebuilt it to his redesign and
tural workers of Northern
California. Joining the Lincoln
renamed it Pepe’s Wharf Restaur- Battalion’s headquarters company
Massachusetts on July 6. He came ant. A prime Provincetown attrac- in the winter of 1937, he served as
to the Cape Cod tourist center by tion, it is now presided over by chief scout from Teruel until the
accident in the 1940's, turned a Nils’ daughter, Astrid Karinna IB withdrawal in September 1938.
soup-and-sandwich counter into Berg. On his return from Spain,
Pepe’s Wharf, a landmark restau- Three Lincoln veterans, Tom Luke went to work as an organizer
rant, and became an honored O’Malley, Jack Shafran and Jack for the United Cannery,
elder of the town. Bjoze, attended Nils’ funeral at St. Agricultural, Packing and Allied
Born in Sweden in 1914, Nils Mary of the Harbor Church, with Workers union and led a strike of
was three years old when his par- the Rev. George Welles, Jr., pre- fruit pickers against the DiGeorgio
ents emigrated to the USA. siding. Corporation that achieved nation-
Although reared in New York City “Nils was a very outgoing per- al attention, as well as an arrest
he retained his Swedish citizen- son, very interested in people and and jail sentence for Luke.
ship. An early IB volunteer, Nils the world. …He went to Spain In the ’40s Luke resettled in
joined the Lincoln Battalion at because the world around him Covelo, began work as a millhand
Jarama where he suffered a crip- wasn’t so good then,” Shafran at the Louisiana Pacific Corp., a
pling hand wound that resulted in said. “Not only was fascism rear- stint that continued until his
his repatriation in 1937. ing its ugly head in Europe, but retirement in 1970.
By 1940, Nils’ art talent had back home the country was in the Agatha Hinman asks, “If any-
earned him a job at the presti- grips of the Great Depression..” one has anything they would like
gious McCann Erickson Advert- Jack Bjoze told of his difficulty to share with us about papa Luke,
ising Agency where he became a “to express my feelings about Nils please write or call” – 5121
senior art director on accounts or to explain why he was such a Ygnacio Ave., Oakland, CA 94601;
such as General Motors. That tal- special friend. The last time he phone: 510-532-7835. ✇
ent also served VALB. Nils’ spent the night at my house, he
designs of the posters and tickets talked incessantly about world
for the pre-World War II annual events. His knowledge of the world
VALB anniversary dances con- and its complexities was much Hy Rosner
tributed to their invariably capaci- broader and deeper than many of
ty crowds and remain cherished
personal momentos today.
his friends realized. It was based
on personal wisdom.” ✇ H y Rosner, veteran of the
Abraham Lincoln Brigade,
died on May 14 at the age of 90 in
As retold by son Jonathan,
Nils’ introduction to Provincetown Oakland. Hy and Ruth Simon, his
was an almost apocryphal tale. It
began with a planned visit to an
Luke Hinman surviving companion, have been
active members of the Bay Area
VALB Post since 1978.
L
artist friend in Rockport. At the uke (Loyal Anson) H i n m a n ,
New York railroad ticket office, called by Milt Wolff “the best Hy was a frontline ambulance
Nils could not remember the scout the Lincoln’s ever had,” suc- driver on the Jarama front until
name of his destination and told cumbed to cancer on May 3, in hand and back wounds suffered in
the clerk he wanted to go “to that Covelo ,CA. Spain for Luke, his a fascist bombing incapacitated
artist colony in Massachusetts.” daughter Agatha writes, him for further service. He was
The ticket seller routed him to “remained the most deeply felt, repatriated in 1937 to Phila-
Provincetown where his first memorable experience of his life.” delphia where he had lived while
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 15

Added to Memory’s Roster

shipping out as a merchant sea- them to Richmond in Northern about the time Stout found two bot-
man. California in 1978. There, as close tles of expensive liquor on his desk,
Hy quit school at sixteen, friends of the Veltforts, they settled
a holiday gift from the bosses.
became a seaman, and joined the in among the qualified “forever When he learned they were
NMU. Between berths, he played activists” of the Bay Area Post. ✇ from the employers, he walked into
semi-professional handball at the the kitchen, poured the bottles
Philadelphia Elks Club, earning a down the drain, and said, “This is
few bucks in exhibition matches for the staff for the office party.”
for visiting Elks. Frank Stout Stout and others opposed a
After Spain, slowed down by Frank Stout died in Berkeley, new section of the longshore con-
his war wounds, Hy worked as CA, on November 5, 1993. He tract known as “efficient opera-
part-time assistant to a pharma- served in the Lincoln Battalion, tions.” Today that provision has
cist friend. At the outbreak of WW earning a citation for his perfor - allowed employers to encroach on
II, failing to clear the Navy physi- mance in the Ebro counteroffen - traditional longshore jurisdiction
cal exam, he rejoined the Mer- sive of July 1939 where he was by giving work to management
chant Marine. His wartime ser- severely wounded. and non-union workers.
vice was ended in 1943 by a Nazi The following is excerpted Austin, a former coast com-
bombing of his convoyed Liberty from a tribute to Frank published mitteeman, said that Stout was
ship in the North Atlantic. It cost in The Dispatcher, newspaper of president at a time when Local 10
him a leg and many months of the International Longshore and was fighting a lot of battles: over
hospitalization and prosthesis. Warehouse Union (ILWU). large debts, the future of its dis-
patch hall on a prime piece of real
For his heroic wartime ser-
estate and mechanization on the
vice, Hy was awarded a Victory
Medal with a presidential citation
that read:
S tout began his life-long dedica- waterfront.
tion to fighting injustice even Stout is survived by Ann, his
before the ILWU was formed, widow of 54 years, a son and two
To you who answered the call when he became a union organiz- daughters. ✇
of your country and served in its er among cannery workers in
merchant marine to bring about California in the early 1930s.
the total defeat of the enemy, I
Spain
When the civil war began in
in 1936, Stout served with
George Watt
extend the heartfelt thanks of the
Nation. You undertook a most
severe task – one which called for
3,000 other Americans in the
International Brigades to defend I
felt a little sad at my approach-
ing death,” wrote George Watt
about plummeting toward earth
courage and fortitude. Because the Republican government
in a stricken B-17 on his thirtieth
you demonstrated the resourceful - against the fascist military birthday in 1943, “but two words
ness and calm judgment necessary counter-revolution. He was shot in
kept running through my mind –
to carry out that task, we now look the stomach during the war. no regrets, no regrets. I believe I
to you for leadership and example When he returned to San
Francisco, he joined the ILWU and must have spoken them aloud. No
in further serving our country for regrets because I had lived my life
peace. worked on the waterfront as a long-
shoreman from 1943 to 1975 when the way I wanted it. I knew what
Hy’s experiences in two wars he retired. The membership of Local comradeship among men and
strengthened a resolve to recap- 10 elected him president in 1973. women meant. I knew what it was
ture his health and strength. He Stout is remembered by his to love and be loved. I had had my
succeeded in this – learning to co-workers as honest, quiet, inde- share of personal hardship and
swim, working part-time as a pendent, hard-working, meticu- deep personal tragedy, but above
“newsy” on a busy corner in New lous and serious. Richard Austin, all I had that special kind of hap-
York City, assisting Ruth’s child- a Local 10 brother during the ’70s, piness which comes to one who
rearing while she worked as a recalled Stout as a patient teacher can say he has lived his life with a
seismologist at the Colorado and mentor. purpose.”
School of Mines in Golden, where Austin also said Stout drew a George Watt, dead at 80 on
they had moved in 1966. strong line between the union and
A new job for Ruth brought the employers, and told a story Continued on page 16
16 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

Added to Memory’s Roster


Continued from page 15 Army Air Corps during World colleagues and friends.
War II. His exploits as a waist- George’s commitment to anti-
July 7, has left behind a legacy of gunner are the subject of his fascism and social justice was
purpose, but also, deep regrets remarkable book, The Comet intense and passionate, but
among the veterans who survive Connection: Escape from Hitler's always on a human scale. He
him. As a leader of the American Europe [(University of Kentucky believed fervently in honest dis-
student protest movement of the Press, 1990; Warner Books, 1992], cussions, and he was widely
1930s (The National Student which describes his courageous respected for the honesty of the
League, the American Student escape from enemy-occupied terri- positions he took. And he contin-
Union) before he went to Spain in tory after his plane was shot down ued to study the lessons of the
1937, George attained positions of over Belgium. Typically, George Spanish war and its implications
responsibility in left-wing circles used the book to honor the heroic for political change. In a contro-
while in his early twenties. But it Belgian people who gave him shel- versial speech presented at the
was his spirit of quiet dignity and ter and sped him on a safe route Smithsonian Institution during
sincere modesty that characterized to neutral Spain. As a result, the 50th anniversary commemora-
his political bearing. Indeed he George was one of the few tion of the Spanish Civil War,
was “too embarrassed,” George Lincolns who had to climb the
George reminded the veterans of
once admitted, to show anyone the Pyrenees twice!
their obligations to historical
credentials that he had received in With the ending of World War
truth and warned of “the pitfalls
New York, that might have given II, he returned to political work,
of blind, unquestioning faith in
him a privileged position in Spain. but resigned from the Communist
any movement, no matter how
Instead, he rose through the ranks Party in the 1950s. He later
to become battalion commissar worthy the objectives.”
admitted that “breaking with the
during the final battles of the war. party was the most traumatic In recent years, George served
A famous photograph by Robert episode of my life.” Yet he contin- on the executive committee of
Capa captures George marching at ued to grow. He resumed his edu- ALBA, skillfully mediating the
the head of the Lincoln Brigade cation, earned a degree in social nitty-gritty discussions. He
(with Major Milton Wolff and Don work, and became a highly remained a powerful voice of rea-
Thayer) at the farewell ceremonies respected administrator of the son and responsibility. And while
in Barcelona in 1938. community health center at George Watt could boast
After the Spanish war, George Maimonedes Hospital in New deservedly of a life with “no
worked as an organizer of the York. George’s tireless efforts and regrets,” he had left behind an
industrial division of the Com- love of people of all cultures and unhealing wound in the heart of
munist Party, then enlisted in the races won the admiration of his our veterans’ organization. ✇

News From Abroad

Australia Civil War; loved his charm and


appreciated his helpfulness. We cor-
ed in the Spring issue of T h e
Volunteer, and I enclose these few

I have been away from home and


have just read of the death of
Steve Nelson and Charlie Nusser,
responded after that and met again
in Spain during the homage to the
Brigadiers in 1986.
dollars left in our bank account for
your Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Archives appeal, in memory of
both men I somehow believed would When our committee was Charlie Nusser. ✇
live forever. And they will, too, like formed in 1992 to raise money for a
Joe Hill, in the memories of their memorial to the Australians who Salud, Amirah Inglis
friends and those who believe and went to the aid of the Spanish
work for a better life on this earth. Republic, I wrote to the New York
I met Charlie first in the office, and soon after, a donation More News From Abroad
Broadway offices, in April 1985, arrived with a cheery note from
when I was researching my book on Charlie. on pages 20-22
the Australians and the Spanish Our work is over, as you report-
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 17

Rebels Without a Pause


treatments, with nothing more than
In quest of Edythe candlelight.
We have currently reorganized
our system of work and are now
A wistful letter from Vet Ed
Lending prompted a search for
post-Spain information about Mae
Problems exist everywhere. Out
here our main trials and tribulations
increase with the advent of winter.
using the rotating system whereby
each nurse is given a certain definite
Edythe Dyer, a Philadelphia nurse The wards are poorly heated. The period on each service, including the
who served in the American B a s e sole sources of heat are small coal front service. We have a unit,
Hospital at Villa Paz, from the sum- stoves that radiate very little attached to a brigade, which moves
mer of ’37 until the war’s end. It was warmth and, due to the scarcity of at a moment’s’ notice.
there that she took special care of fuel, operate on a “one day on, one Envied indeed are the nurses
Ed’s arm wound suffered at Brunete. day off” schedule. It is not an uncom- who are part of the front group.
Six decades later, he was avid to mon sight to see nurses doing their Isolated as we are here, one hears
learn more of the woman whose daily tasks attired in ski pants, but one complaint and that is, “When
daily attention assured his present sheepskin coats and long woolen are we going to the front?”...
capability for geriatric tennis. gloves. The nurses have been good sol-
Although a current search for New Year’s Day, the hospital was diers, fighting for their ideals just as
Edythe fell short of its post-Spain presented with 15,300 pesetas by the surely as if they were fighting at the
goal, it unearthed two documents patients and personnel. This sum is front. We give all we can, and get in
she wrote during her service at to be used for the installation of a return a deeper understanding of
Castillejo. One is a rambling letter lighting system whereby we can be human beings, something we shall
from Edythe to a Philadelphia assured of electricity at all times. Our keep for the rest of our lives. We have
friend, Naomi Wohlgemuth Davis, X-ray department is working under lived through a time of suffering here
mother of VALB associate, Julie great difficulties due to lack of cur- in Spain and shall not forget it. ✇
Davis Carran. It focuses on incidents rent. It is impossible for the patients
and conditions of life at Villa Paz, to read after 4 p.m. It is doubly hard A M I : Periòdico de la Ayuda
including her attendance at a for the nurses to continue with their Médica Extranjera, No.. 9,
Conference of Antifascist Women in tasks, to read thermometers and give Barcelona Feb. 1, 1938.
“V---” [Valencia, Ed.] on November 7,
1937, to which she was sent as a del-
egate. She expresses her happiness
at being slated for duty at the front.
Timeless in Seattle
The second Dyer archive was This is excerpted from an article been active in local and internation-
unearthed by historian/author that appeared in University Week, pub - al issues, including civil rights and
Frances Patai. It is an article that lished by the Office of University trade union organization. They lived
Edythe wrote for the news bulletin Services, University of Washington, May stories as compelling as the one
of AMI, the organization for over- 5, 1994. Hemingway wrote. And now their
seas medical aid to Spain. It reads stories are finally available in their
as follows: own words through letters, diaries

Nurses draw lots I t was 1937. Young idealists left


their Pacific Northwest homes and
colleges to do battle in Spain along-
and memorabilia recently donated
to the UW Libraries’ manuscripts.
The neatly bound and carefully
for the Front! side fellow international volunteers. organized notebooks and folders –
Ernest Hemingway was their war called the Pacific Northwest
The work of the nurses in the correspondent, and his book, F o r Collective Biography – were pre-
American Base Hospital is quite dif- Whom the Bell Tolls , their story. pared and donated by Seattle resi-
ferent from the type of work carried [Not quite so, see p. 5 — Editor] dent and Lincoln Brigade veteran
on in the front line hospitals. About 250 still survive, many of Robert Reed. Since his 1969 retire-
Our hospitals, having been them now mostly in their 80s. ment he has devoted much of his
established here since April 1937, The story of the Lincoln Brigade energy to the veterans of the Lincoln
are today running smoothly with no is also a story of Seattle. The local brigade, and has compiled a four-
greater handicaps than those caused contingent is small these days – part collection that tells the story of
by the season, location and the times. nine men – but it is still one of the the Pacific Northwest veterans.
We take great pride in our hospital, nation’s most active brigade groups. UW History Professor Joan
built up through sheer hard labor Over the years these men, along
and ingenuity. with now-deceased colleagues, have Continued on page 18
18 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

Timeless in Seattle manufacturing family in Tacoma,


went to Spain for nearly a year at
Continued from page 17 The file folders are intriguing: the age of 32. The U.S. State
• Thane Summers, a former Department files in the National
Ullman describes the fruit of Reed’s UW student and son of a prominent Archives contain 38 pages related to
labors as “one of the best Lincoln and conservative Seattle maritime him, much of it correspondence from
brigade collections in the United attorney, was killed in Spain. His his parents in efforts to bring him
States.” It will serve researchers father blamed the university and home. His 1991 obituary noted that
well, she says. A sampling of the particular professors, including he had been frequently blackballed
collection is now on display at the Giovanni Costigan, for corrupting his from engineering jobs connected
entrance to Manuscripts and son. The father’s resentments and with the U.S. government because of
Archives in the Allen library, and political influence were considered to his socialist ideals, his stint in Spain
the entire collection is accessible at have helped establish the Canwell and his support for the ACLU.
the manuscripts desk. Committee in 1948, in which several
Ullman, who specializes in mod-
ern Spanish history, and Karyl
Winn, curator of manuscripts, gave
university professors were accused of
Communist Party affiliations. Time
magazine of July 25, 1938, carried a
F or Haley and many others, the
Lincoln brigade was just the begin-
ning of a lifelong struggle against social
Reed guidelines for organizing the story on Thane’ s death. injustice. Many were Black. Some were
material. The biographical dictio- • Evelyn Hutchins, born in trade union organizers, civil rights
nary he created contains one entry Snohomish to a suffragette mother, activists and people willing to suffer for
for 100 individuals from the Pacific was a children’s photographer their convictions. Being blackballed as
Northwest who served in the brigade before going to Spain as an ambu- communist sympathizers or trouble-
(29 died fighting in Spain). lance driver. Her role in the war was makers was a common experience.
Additional material on 50 of the vets celebrated in the film, The Good Even today the Seattle chapter of the
is contained in file folders. A booklet, Fight, and in a Harpers Weekly arti- Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln
“News from the Thirties,” contains cle, Evelyn the Truck Driver. Shortly Brigade opposes U.S. involvement in
typed excerpts from newspaper before her death in 1982 she Central America, especially El Salvador
accounts written by or about Pacific recalled Spain as “a chance to fight and Nicaragua, and other causes.
Northwest volunteers. And a source American chauvinism.” Reed made a career of his com-
book contains general miscellaneous • Clifford Jonathan Haley, Jr., a mitment to a better world. He
material about the volunteer group. member of the prominent candy received a master’s degree in social
work from the UW and for many
years was director of Holly Park
Wayne State update branch of the Neighborhood House,
a Seattle social service agency.
Dear Editor: included several editors of the stu- Reed describes the war as “the
I thought your readers might dent newspaper, a med student biggest event of my life.” His service
like an update on the activities of the who set up a clinic and activists in record, on display in the manu-
Wayne State University Abraham the struggle for freedom in South scripts exhibit, shows that he fought
Lincoln Brigade Scholarship Fund. Africa and Central America. in every major battle until Sept. 25,
The fund honors four WSU students We met on May 6th this year to 1938, when the Republican govern-
who left the university to fight in see the first Detroit showing of ment withdrew the International
Spain. Bob Nagle, the only one of the “Forever Activists,” and to award the Brigades from the front.
original four alive, is a founding $600 scholarships to Charles Smith W.H. Auden, the English poet,
member of our organization. Since for his work in cultural, Native spent time in Spain and tried to
1982, we have sponsored a yearly American and environmental mat- capture the spirit of the
event at which we hear a lecture or ters, and to Kathy Garrett for her International Brigades in his con-
music or see a film related to the leadership in the attempt to organize troversial poem, Spain 1937:
Spanish Civil War. In addition, we teaching assistants on campus. What’s your proposal? To build
make our annual scholarship Local vets who participate in just the city? I will.
awards at the event. these activities are, aside from I agree. Or is it the suicide pact,
Among those who have spoken Nagle, Les Rowlson, Sid Linn, Les the romantic
have been Saul Wellman, Steve Kish, Bob Cummins and Marion Death? Very well, I accept for
Nelson, Robin Kelley and Edward Noble. I am your choice, your decision.
Malefakis. We have given scholar- Mel Smith Yes I am Spain.
ships to nineteen Wayne State stu- History Dept. And Reed captures the spirit of
dents whose activities reflect the Wayne State University the Brigade’s Pacific Northwest con-
values of the brigaders. These have Detroit, MI 48202 tingent in his collection. ✇
Nedra Floyd Pautler
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 19

My Jewish comrades
T his is an extract of an article town of Albares, about 25 kilome- restored his health.
which appeared in Jewish Currents in ters from Madrid. We were at rest Paul was reassigned to the
March. It had been submitted for publi -
after the brutal Brunete offensive – International Brigade base at
cation in June 1993, five months before
Charles Nusser died last November.
reequipping and awaiting replace- Albacete where he was put on a com-
ments for the dead and wounded. mission charged with producing a
One day we heard that some book on the history of the 15th
By Charles Nusser Americans would be coming in from Brigade. Later, during the big
the training camp to fill the depleted Republican retreats on the Ebro front,

D uring the rise (and victory) of


fascism in Europe, I had often
heard or read assertions that Jews
ranks. Some of us went down to the
village plaza to greet them. About
two o’clock that afternoon, several
Hitler poured in huge amounts of the
most modern tanks and artillery, plus
the Condor legion in the air.
did not resist: they went meekly to trucks pulled into the square. I On the Republic’s side, the call
their fate, leaving the fight against walked over to one truck, and as one went out for frontline volunteers.
fascism to others. Follow this line of of the soldiers hit the ground I Paul responded. He rejoined the
thought to its logical conclusion and grabbed him. Battalion. On August 18, 1938, Paul
where do you arrive? If Jews did not “What the hell took you so Wendorf was killed in action of the
resist, then everything that followed long?” I demanded. Sierra de Pandols.
– right up to and including the “I knew I’d find you here,” he
Holocaust – was their own fault.
Such assertions always evoked a
violent reaction on my part. An anti-
replied. Harry Levine and Charlie
Nusser, graduates of President
Roosevelt’s CCC, were reunited
T wo of my closest friends, Harry
Levine and Paul Wendorf, both
Jews, died fighting fascism in Spain.
Semitic lie, no matter how fashion- again, this time in Spain to fight After Spain, I married Paul’s widow.
ably it is dressed up, remains just fascism together. Jack Weiss, Paul Niepold,
that – a lie, slander. I know this A few weeks later, on the first “Chick” Chaikin … I could go on
from bitter personal experience. In day of the Aragon offensive, outside and on. Probably 20 percent or more
Spain I saw too many bodies. Bodies the cemetery at Quinto, Harry of the Lincoln Battalion were Jews.
with names like Max Abramowitz, Levine was shot while lying on the Jews made up close to 50 percent of
Hershkowitz – Hy, Joe and Sam ground about ten feet from where I the American Medical Bureau head-
(known as the three Stone brothers). lay. He died a few days later. He ed by Dr. Edward Barsky. It is esti-
Hy was withdrawn from the never had a chance to fire a single mated that 22 to 25 percent of all
Lincoln Battalion after the Brunete shot against the enemy. International Brigaders were Jews.
campaign. Joe and Sam were both More Jews, proportionately, fought
killed in action. Other names are OTHER NAMES – Paul Block, against fascism in Spain than any
with me yet: Al Kaufman, Milton Jack Freeman, Rubin Schecter, other minority. And it was in Spain
Rappaport, Irving Keith, Manny Sam Levinger. Sam was from that the first organized armed resis-
Mandel, Harry Levine. Columbus, Ohio. His father was a tance took place.
rabbi, and Sam was a YPSL (Young Some years ago, when speaking
HARRY LEVINE: I first met People’s Socialist League) and a on this subject, I was approached by
him in 1933 in a CCC ( C i v i l i a n member of the American Student a young man who asked, “Why do
Conservation Corps) camp in Union. He was 19 when he was you get so aggravated, so stirred up,
Pennsylvania. I was from killed at Belchite. so vehement? After all, you are not a
Pittsburgh; Harry was from Ben Barsky, Leo Gordon, Paul Jew.” No, I am not a Jew. But Jews
Philadelphia. We became fast Wendorf. Paul and I went over are not the only victims of anti-
friends. I played shortstop on the together on the SS Paris. We Semitism. They are, of course, the
baseball team, Harry second base. became good friends on the boat, first. Before the war, Hitler used
We were both on the basketball and shared a dugout on the Jarama anti-Semitism to sow hatred, distrust
team. He was a skillful boxer. Some front, until he transferred to the and disunity throughout Germany.
winter mornings were very cold. Tom Mooney machine gun compa- He used it to destroy democracy itself
The guys didn’t want to go out to ny. We both went through Jarama – the prerequisite to his program for
work. So we were involved in a few and Brunete. I was wounded at a fascist, racist world.
sit-down stoppages together. Villanueva de la Cañada in the History teaches the necessity of
Later on, I went home to Pitts- Brunete fighting, but Paul was maintaining a complete and
burgh, Harry to Philadelphia, and unscathed. Instead he came down uncompromising intolerance of the
we kind of lost track of each other. with jaundice at the end of the bat- poison of anti-Semitism – in the
In August 1937, the Lincoln tle for Brunete. He was sent to a interest not only of Jews, but of all
Battalion was stationed in the little hospital where rest and better food decent humanity. ✇
20 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

News From Abroad

A year-end greeting from become proprietors of two rooms in


a cottage in Malakhova, a country
place some thirty kilometers from
the Russian IBers Moscow. Previously, the cottage had
belonged to a cooperative. We pay

C ongratulations on the New


Year, 1994. We wish you health
and good fortune and success in
With respect,
Soviet War Veterans,
Spanish Section
rent for two rooms and have a nice
plot of land with fruit and other
trees, different bushes and flower
your work for humankind. Victor Lavsky, beds. The woods are not far off.
We, old veterans of the Civil Air Force Lt. General Thus, Sasha [Percy’s wife—Ed]
War in Spain of 1936-39, despite Secretary V. Aleksandrovsky and I have a nice place to live in the
the complex conditions in which we country. But there is plenty of bad
find ourselves, even as then, are with the good. Moscow stinks of
active in the struggle for peace. commercialism. The city is plas-
We, like yourselves, well know tered all over with advertisements
what a misfortune it is for a people of foreign wines, cigarettes and
to be at war. Today there are many night clubs. Thousands of small
conflicts which nationalistic and shops have appeared that do a roar-
chauvinistic groups try to settle in a ing trade in wines, tinned food
warlike manner – in Yugoslavia, stuffs, chewing gum. Tens of thou-
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, sands of vendors ply their petty
etc. goods in the streets.
We hope your life in the U.S. However, the queues in the
continues to be stable, in compari- shops for basic food have disap-
son to ours. As you must know, peared and they are well-stocked,
events in Russia are very unpre- mainly with foreign foodstuffs – and
dictable, and this negatively affects the prices are biting. Such goods as
the lives and activity of the veter-
ans of the Spanish Civil War. A letter from cotton stockings, light bulbs, electri-
cal appliances and toothbrushes are
Last year our television chan-
nel, Russia, presented the first of a Percy not available.
Industrial production continues
series of programs, titled: T h e Excerpts of a lengthy letter from to fall (25 percent below 1993, in the
Unknown Wars. The first film, Soviet veteran Percy Ludwick, Chief first three months of 1994). In the
Operation X, concerned the Spanish Engineer of the 15th Brigade. Soviet times it was based on the wide
Civil War of 1936-39. It dealt with decentralization of component parts.
the Soviet volunteers (pilots, Moscow, July 1, 1994 Now, with the establishment of inde-
tankists, etc.) and also showed Dear Len and Goldie, pendent states, all the industrial
archival footage of the Political tensions here have sub- establishments belong to the country
International Brigades. We have sided somewhat. Prices for food- where they are sited. Ties between
the actual cassette of these films stuffs, gas, electricity, telephones, the factories have been severed.
and it would be good to view it rents and what not have risen All the factories have huge
together with the Abraham Lincoln astronomically for three years and mutual debts. It is costly to produce
Brigade Veterans. We want to be they continue to do so. Salaries and tractors and machine tools indepen-
with you and show it but, unfortu- pensions, however, are indexed dently and few buyers can afford
nately the high cost of the Moscow- periodically. Thus, living standards the high prices for machines. Our
New York ticket prevents that. Our for most people are tolerable. pundits predict that this year will
small pensions constitute the obsta- Privatization is slowly but see many factories going bankrupt,
cle. remorselessly gaining ground. The with a corresponding rise in unem-
We hope that, during this diffi- large enterprises have just begun to ployment and social unrest.
cult time for our country, we shall be privatized. Some one million Our veterans’ work in the
have the enduring friendship of all Muscovites, having paid a small fee, schools has suffered. In today’s cli-
veterans. now own their own flats. They can mate it is difficult here to propagate
To receive your letters is a real now sell, lease or bequeath their the idealism of the International
support for us. They help us believe flats at will. We personally have not Brigades. Talented youngsters are
in the future. privatized our flat, but we have dropping out of their studies of sci-
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 21

England
L ast year, Stoke-on-Trent's City
Council agreed to run a series
of annual lectures in memory of the
five volunteers from the city who
joined the the British Battalion,
linking their antifascist struggle
with the need to combat the rise of
fascism today.
The inaugural lecture was
delivered last February by Roger
Bickerstaffe, associate general sec-
retary of Britain’s largest union, the
public employees’ union. His subject
was “Learning the Lesson, No
Fascist Revival.”
We had excellent media publici-
Sasha and Percy Ludwick in 1941, at the time they volunteered to defend Moscow. ty for the event which was timed to
be part of our annual Jarama com-
ences and the humanities “to go into Doctor Peisakh Bernshtam, a memoration. Sponsored by the City
business.” They want to get rich – Latvian Jew, served with our 15th Council, it was a civic occasion. Its
and quickly, too. Brigade at Fuentes de Ebro, Teruel, success guaranteed another lecture
If the public image of the the Aragon and the Ebro operation. next year for which Tony Benn, MP,
“Spanish” veterans in Russia has After Spain, the Letts were not is already booked as lecturer.
been somewhat impaired, that of allowed to return home. They spent Recently, the Nottinghamshire
the few living veterans in the for- two years in concentration camps. County Council unveiled a striking
mer Soviet republics — Latvia, for When the Soviet government was memorial to its IBers (the 54th civic
example — is catastrophic. restored in Latvia in 1940, they memorial in Britain). Among those
I have a recent letter from returned home. During the Great doing the honors was the Spanish
Yevgenia Schvarz, the daughter of Patriotic War all the “Spanish” Letts ambassador, who made a very good,
Captain Egon Schmidt (Mikhail took up arms, serving as army offi- pro-IB speech. ✇
Schvarz), commander of the “Zapa- cers. Twenty-four of them were killed. Salud, Dave Goodman
dores” company of our 15th Brigade, During the Spanish war and the
who was killed in the Ebro offen- French concentration camp intern-
sive. She was born in Latvia, is a
chemist, married to a doctor and
ment time, the Lett volunteers were
helped materially and morally by
Bulgaria
mother of two children. Here is
what she writes:
“You write that your Interna-
Lett progressives in the United
States and by their newspaper,
Stradnieku Cina. Now only a hand-
M y wife and I just came back
from Europe where we con-
ducted interviews with Dr. Kanetti
tional Brigade work is slowing down ful are alive and they are in need of and Atanaska Radulova in Sofia and
because of natural reasons, but with this support as never before. Dr. Becker in northern Germany. In
us, it is ceasing because of political Perhaps you could raise this prob- Berlin, we had a pleasant three-day
reasons. All father’s documents lem among your supporters. Here stay in Karl Kormes’ home.
have been thrown out of the are two people who may be contact- Of the 20 doctors who went to
Museum of the Revolution … Now it ed in Latvia: China after serving in Spain, Drs.
has become a military museum in Becker and Kanetti are the only
which hangs the portrait of the war Kazakuva Lija, ones alive. Thanks to an arrange-
criminal Tzunurs who was notori- Avotuiela 9, dzi ment made by Mrs. Kanetti (Chang
ous for the annihilation of the Jews Riga, LV-1011, Latvja Sun Fen), we met Ms. Radulova in
in Latvia in 1941-1944. … The SS Sophia. She had been a nurse in
legionnaires are honored.” Janis Palkaniens Spain and has been very active in the
Some one hundred Letts from Kr. Barone Iela 122, dz3 Bulgarian veterans’ organization.
small Latvia, including eleven doc- Riga, LV-10, Latvja There are currently about twen-
tors and nurses, fought in Spain. ty Spanish war veterans living in
Fourteen died at the front. Sixteen Kazakuva was an interpreter in Bulgaria. However, the antifascist
Letts served in the Dimitrov Spain. ✇
Battalion of the 15th Brigade. Salud, Percy Continued on page 22
22 THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994

Czechoslovakia ty. When the fascists reoccupied


Teruel, I returned to the front, Germany
rejoining the Czech volunteers in

Y ou can hardly imagine my joy


when I opened your mail with
the Spring V o l u n t e e r. As I read
the Dimitrov Battalion.
Interned in France when the
war ended, we could not return to
A letter from Karl Kormes in
Berlin reports that the sepa-
rate German IB organizations for-
through it my thoughts went back Czechoslovakia because it was
merly maintained in the Federal
to when I was in the Abraham under German occupation. We were
Republic and the GDR have been
Lincoln Brigade. disarmed by the French police and
amalgamated to correspond with
My journey to Spain from the sent to concentration camps.
the conditions resulting from the
former Czechoslovak Republic was Along with other antifascists, in
reunification. The merged organiza-
complicated. The “state” did not March 1941, I was deported to
tion has taken the name Assoc-
want to give me the appropriate Camp Djelfa in Algiers, I was kept
iation of Former German Fighters
travel documents for Spain. I had to there until May 1943 when the
for the Spanish Republic, and Their
use the subterfuge of a visit to the camp was needed for Italian and
Relatives and Friends (GVA).
Paris World’s Fair of 1937. German prisoners of war. I man-
There are 90 to 100 surviving
I hid the Paris address of the aged to board a Dutch boat bound
veterans in Germany – 66 in the for-
recruiting center in my shoe and for England. There I joined a
mer GDR and about 30 to 40 in the
was welcomed there by a young Czechoslovak brigade which suc-
West. The agreement uniting them
lady from Slovakia who was regis- cessfully fought the German army
was signed by Karl Kormes for the
tering the Czech volunteers. around Dunkirk. I returned to
East and Ernst Buschmann for the
I reached Albacete after the Czechoslovakia after the German
West. In it the comrades pledge to
“traditional” arduous Pyrenees capitulation on May 19, 1945.
continue working for the ideals that
route. As I had studied in the offi- Let me wish health and joy to
brought them to Spain, for which
cers school in Czechoslovakia, I was my overseas friends and the veter-
they participated in World War II
assigned to the headquarters of ans of the 15th Brigade — a big
and for which they worked in both
General Vladimir Copic. greeting, too, to my friend Sam
German states for democracy,
I was wounded at Belchite. At Walters. ✇
humanism and world peace.
Benacasim, after my recovery, I Jiri Horsky
served as “leader” of cultural activi- (known in Spain as Jura) Following reunification — in
reality the takeover of the GDR —
the government moved to cancel the
Bulgaria “market economy.” Nevertheless,
their spirits are still high. pensions that antifascist veterans in
Continued from page 21 Since the veterans’ office in the GDR had been awarded. There
Sofia is closed, future correspon- was resistance to this, led particu-
fighters are not recognized by the dence should be sent to: Dr. larly by the Jewish community and
present government in Bulgaria. As Constatin Mitcheff, 26 Shainova, supported from abroad. It was par-
a result, the veterans’ office has been Sofia, Bulgaria; or Ms. Atanaska tially successful, winning retention
closed and their pensions taken Penkova Radulova, Mladost-2, Bl. of the pensions, although reduced.
away. This deprivation is compound- 227, en 4; Sofia 1799, Bulgaria. ✇ More seriously, criminal charges,
ed by the high inflation rate due to Len Y. Tsou, New York reminiscent of the McCarthy period
attacks on the VALB, are being
The following appeared in the Ottawa Sun, Feb. 15, 1993. taken against those who held high
government positions in the East.
Particular targets are members of
France honors SCW veterans the Political Bureau of the Socialist
Unlike Canada, France is to officially recognize the French volunteers Unity Party, of the State Council
who fought on the left-wing Republican side in the Spanish Civil War and government of the GDR, along
more than fifty years ago. with high ranking officers of the
In 1989, the Canadian government decided against granting veterans’ army, police and security service.
benefits to the 100 or so remaining Canadian survivors of that war. But Under particular threat are IB
in France, Veterans Affairs Minister Louis Mexandeau has promised to veterans Kurt Hager, Alfred Neu-
grant official war veteran status to the 150 or so survivors from the 9,000 mann and Erich Mileke, who were
Frenchmen who fought on the republican side. members of the Political Bureau of the
“It’s a symbolic gesture to mark France’s gratitude to those who old Socialist Unity Party. With the
before the Second World War recognized the danger threatening Europe exception of the Party of Democratic
and offered their lives to fight against fascism,” said Socialist parliamen- Socialism (PDS), all other parties,
tarian Jean Oriveux, who initiated the tribute. including the social democrats, sup-
port the repressive measures. ✇
THE VOLUNTEER, FALL 1994 23

Contributors
Betty Albert, $25 ✇ Al Amery, $10 ✇ Joe Azar, $50 ✇ Ed Bender, $25, in memory of Steve Nelson ✇ Jules Bloom,
$10, in memory of Irv Goff ✇ Sylvia Brown, $50, in memory of Sid Kaufman ✇ Eugene and Lillian Chodorow, $50 ✇
Abraham Copeland, $50, in memory of Hy Rosner ✇ Lou Czitron, 50, in memory of Joe and Leo Gordon, and Ben
Barsky ✇ Polly Dubetz, $100, in memory of my father Charlie Nusser ✇ Dave Engelson, $1,000, in honor of Steve
Nelson and Charles Nusser ✇ Mona Finkelstein, $50, in memory of Dick and Jean Fein ✇ Becky Gallagher and Ken
Kurson, $10, in memory of Freda Weissman ✇ Carl Geiser, $20 ✇ Martha Gelhorn, $50 ✇ Robin Gibbon, $10, in
memory of Steve ✇ Miriam Gittelson, $100, in memory of Lester Gittelson ✇ Paul Gittelson, $50, in memory of
Lester Gittelson ✇ Margaret and Teresa Gloste, $30 ✇ Paula Gomez de Kranes, $45, in memory of Louis Kranes ✇
Dr. Rosalin Guaraldo, $50, in memory of my father, a VALBer and Garabaldini ✇ Earl Harju, $50 ✇ George
Harrison, $50, in memory of Steve, Charlie, Jimmy ✇ John Hovan, $20, in memory of Walter Strauss ✇ Robert and
Elizabeth Jackson, $50, for Steve Nelson ✇ Harriet W. Kahn, $25, ✇ Charles Kaufman, $20 ✇ Sidney Kaufman, $50,
in memory of Duncan Keir ✇ Abraham Keller, $25 ✇ Ruth Kish, $20, in memory of Charlie Nusser ✇ Hazel Klein,
$125, in memory of Sy Klein and Joe Cobert ✇ Goldie Kleiner, $10 ✇ Vivienne C. Kloffenstein and Norma Lee
Mazzotta, $50, in memory of Charlie Nusser ✇ Joshua and Victoria Lawrence, $25, in memory of George Watt ✇
Herman Lopez, $15, in memory of John Toutloff ✇ Augustin Lucas, $25 ✇ Ray Marantz in memory of Gus Heisler ✇
Sylvia Marro, $25, in memory of Joe Gordon ✇ Howard N. Meyer and Gertrude King, $50 ✇ Annie and Sam Moy,
$25, in memory of George Chaikin ✇ Robert Nagle, $25 ✇ Tom Norton, $20 ✇ Paul Nossiter, $50, in memory of
Steve Nelson Ruth Ost, $100, in memory of Steve Nelson ✇ Samuel Reed, $25, in memory of Ben Gardner and Steve
Nelson ✇ Eleanor Rody, $100, in memory of John Rody ✇ Reva Rubinstein, $60 ✇ Saul Shapiro, $100, in memory of
my dear wife Mirta ✇ Dorothy Siegel, $50, in memory of Maury Colow ✇ Ruth Simon, in loving memory of Hy
Rosner ✇ Jeanette Smith, $50, in memory of Harold Smith ✇ George Sossenko, $30 ✇ Dorothy Sterling, $25, in
memory of Steve Nelson ✇ Loretta Szeliga $10, in memory of Sid Kaufman ✇ Al Tanz, $100, in memory of our dead
✇ Corine Hoskins Thornton, $20, in memory of Hy Rosner ✇ VALB Bay Area Post, $1,000 ✇ Veterans for Peace,
$25, in memory of Duncan Keir ✇ Commandante Antonio Vilella Vallés, $50 ✇ Ronald Viner, $10 ✇ Joe Vogel, $20
✇ Shirley Weiner, in memory of Anne Wolff, $50 ✇ Shirley Weiner, $50 ✇ Steve Weiner, in memory of Milton
Weiner, $15 ✇ Bill Wheeler, $20 ✇ Paul Whelan, $25 ✇

An appeal
Yes! I believe that a contribution to the Veterans of the
Abraham Lincoln Brigade has a unique quality. It brings The
Volunteer to its readers, free of charge, helps meet the expens-
es of the office where the persisting Veteran staff carries on;
and assures VALB support for causes consistent with its 60-year
tradition.

Here’s my contribution of $__________________________________

Name _____________________________________________________

Address ____________________________________________________

City ___________________________State ________Zip ____________


Mail to: Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, 799 Broadway, Rm. 227, New York, NY 10003
A drama inspired by the Irish Brigaders
This article is abridged from the ernments, the Republican govern- “There is a harrowing story
Dublin Irish Times, January 3, 1994. ment in Spain looked like a beacon. about one volunteer from Waterford
The men who fought in the called Frank Edwards, who has
By Francine Cunningham International Brigade had a clearly since died. Because of his involve-
thought-out vision of the sort of ment with a group called the

W hen the playwright Jim Nolan


left his job as a linesman at
Telecom Eireann 10 years ago to
country Ireland might become,
emerging from a nation which was
narrow, very sectarian and divisive.
Republican Congress, he was sacked
from his position as a teacher at
Mount Sion school in Waterford.
establish the Red Kettle theatre “So when I looked at the social When he came back from the
company in Waterford, he did not culture that prevails in this country, I Spanish Civil War he could not find
expect his former workplace to pro- wanted to make a connection between work, until he eventually got a job in
vide inspiration for one of his plays. their hopes for Spain and Ireland.” the Jewish school in Rathgar.
Nolan had been fascinated by the Nolan’s resulting play, Guernica “What the volunteers struggled
story of the 105 Irishmen, 10 of Hotel, is set in a small, modern-day for is still worth struggling for. I
whom were from Waterford, who Irish town where a veteran of the make the distinction here between
volunteered for the International Spanish Civil War, Francis Shan- the formal Communist Party poli-
Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. non, runs a hotel. The local people tics and the principles or ideals at
“I'm particularly interested in disparagingly refer to it as the the heart of the system. There is a
the form of idealism which made “Guernica Hotel.” certain moral stature which
these men go to Spain, although I While researching the subject of screamed for social justice, and it
know ‘idealism’ is a word that the his play, Nolan spoke to survivors doesn't go away when East
survivors resist,” said Nolan, on a such as Peter O’Connor, Bob Doyle Germany collapses. There is a dan-
visit to Dublin. “Then I began to and Michael O’Riordan of the Irish ger of throwing out the baby with
look at the business controversies at Communist Party. “What these men the bath water.”
Telecom and at the morality which did was virtually written out of his- Given that Irish men also went
forms the basis of our political/eco- tory,” said Nolan. to fight alongside Franco on the
nomic culture. I started to look at “There seems to me to have been nationalist side, it is notable that
that culture through the eyes of a a gross and deliberate distortion of Guernica Hotel does not deal with
survivor like Peter O’Connor from information sent back from Spain, their story. Why did Jim Nolan
Waterford, who went some 57 years with propaganda stories about the choose to exclude those who fought
ago to fight in Spain. murder of priests and rape of nuns with Franco?
“Part of the reason these men by the Communists, spearheaded by “The lives of the volunteers were
went to fight in the Spanish Civil War the Catholic Church and sections of imbued with what they believed. It
was because the struggle for a partic- the Irish media. was not just a case of the right
ular form of social justice in Spain “Nothing could be closer to their speech in the right place, it was not
linked into the type of politics they hearts than to see a socialist gov- designed for getting elected. T h e
were trying to create in this country. ernment defeated in a Catholic play is very much a personal story,
“In Europe, at a time when country. So the men who fought about trying to bridge the public and
many countries did have fascist gov- were pilloried when they came back. private world of an individual.” ✇

The Volunteer
c/o Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
799 Broadway, Rm. 227
New York, NY 10003

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