Vol. XXXIII, No.4
PUBLISHED BY THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN BRIGADE ARCHIVES
ยกNo Pasarรกn! Winona LaDuke on Dakota (p. 8) Oliver Law in a New Graphic Novel (p. 10) Dr. Leo Eloesser in Spain (p. 16)
Scene from Heart of Spain Photo by Alessandra Mello
Founded by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade 799 Broadway, Suite 341 New York, NY 10003 (212) 674-5398 www.alba-valb.org Editor Print Edition Peter N. Carroll Editor Online Edition www.albavolunteer.org Sebastiaan Faber Associate Editor Aaron B. Retish Book Review Editor Joshua Goode Graphic Design www.eyestormonline.com Editorial Assistance Phil Kavanaugh Manuscripts, inquiries, and letters to the editor may be sent by email to email@example.com The editors reserve the right to modify texts for length and style. Books for review may be sent to Joshua Goode Claremont Graduate University Blaisdell House, #5, 143 East 10th Street Claremont, CA 91711
www.albavolunteer.org The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) is an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting social activism and the defense of human rights. ALBA’s work is inspired by the American volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War (193639). Drawing on the ALBA collections in New York University’s Tamiment Library, and working to expand such collections, ALBA works to preserve the legacy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as an inspiration for present and future generations.
Dear Friends and Comrades: It is raining in New York, the day after the election, as we go to press. On the streets, people go about their business with a grim expression and reddened eyes. History can weigh on us; it can shock us as it suddenly turns—but it also can guide us, showing us the path that others took through darkness while holding aloft the light of solidarity and freedom. The temptation of the present, the temptation of this dispiriting day, is to conclude that this election represents the country as it is and always has been. But we know better. The first Americans who risked their lives to fight fascism in Spain represent only one example of the long American struggle against social inequality and authoritarians, against racism and misogyny. This example also reminds us, however, that in spite of the challenges they faced, the hardships they endured and the defeats they suffered, the women and men of the Lincoln Brigade never lost their hope for a better world. They were and remained “forever activists.” This is why ALBA’s educational work is so important: it shows us the way forward through the study of our past. History is a powerful tool that we can put in the hands of a new generation of activists as they confront the challenges ahead. This is what we do at ALBA. This is what we will do today, and tomorrow and the days after. As we continue our work, we draw inspiration from the volunteers who showed us that in the darkest of times people are called to the highest acts of decency and courage. Thank you for being part of this struggle. ¡No Pasarán!
Fraser Ottanelli Chair of the Board of Governors
Marina Garde Executive Director
IN THIS ISSUE p3 p 4 p 6 p 8 p 10 p 10 p 11 p 15 p 16 p 19 p 21
Bay Area Events Heart of Spain Musical Watt Prizes HR Column LaDuke Who Was Cuba Hermosa? Pablo Durá Graphic Novel Excerpt Paris IB Monument Leo Eloesser Book Reviews Stan Hilton Obit 2 THE VOLUNTEER December 2016
albavolunteer.org For more and longer articles, videos, slide shows, and news, visit the online edition of The Volunteer at albavolunteer.org. Featured among the online-only articles for December: • The full story on the mysterious photograph of an Afro-Cuban volunteer • Letters to the Editor: An Exchange on Catalonia • Discovery in the Moscow archives: The Cuban Veterans’ Concentration Camp Newspaper • Alex Maclure: A New Zealander among the Mac Paps • One of ALBA’s Institute alumni reacts to the November Presidential Elections
THE WAR AT 80: BERKELEY’S TRIBUTES Berkeley, California, flagship campus of the University of California, knows how to stage a political fight.
ighty years ago, graduate students like Robert Merriman; undergrads like Don McLeod, Mark Billings, and Ray Durem; and alumni like Wade Rollins, made their way to Spain to join the International Brigades. Other veterans of the Spanish Civil War came to Berkeley later. One of them, the historian Robert Colodny, refused to sign a loyalty oath during the McCarthy era and lost his job there. Some settled in the area even later, forming the core of the Bay Area Post of the VALB, and as they grew older arranged to donate their papers and memorabilia to the Bancroft Library on the UC campus.
To mark the 80th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, ALBA’s Board member and Berkeley Professor of Performance Studies Peter Glazer helped to organize a spectacular series of campus events—lectures, panel discussions, archival exhibitions from the Bancroft Library, film screenings, and poetry readings—honoring the volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The highlight of all these events was the staging of Glazer’s musical theatrical work Heart of Spain, co-written with composer Eric Peltoniemi—featuring six performances and a student cast of 17 actors and singers—that brought out the Bay Area friends and families to celebrate the American heroes of the Spanish Civil War. The intensity of this production awed a packed house on Sunday October 23, followed by an ALBA reception on campus. (See page 4). Two days later, ALBA hosted a panel discussion on “Investigative Reporting and Human Rights,” featuring a conversation between this year’s winner of the ALBA-Puffin Human Rights Activism Award, Jeremy Scahill, investigative reporter, war correspondent and author; and previous award-winner and previous award winner Kate Doyle, senior analyst of U.S. policy in Latin America at the National Security Archive (illness forced a last-minute cancellation by the co-recipient of the 2016 human rights award, Mexican activist and reporter, Lydia Cacho). Scahill’s work has sparked several congressional investigations and he has also won some of journalism’s highest honors. The captivating conversation ranged from issues on drone warfare, whistleblowing, and freedom of information to current politics. The talk was the perfect end to a weekend celebrating the courage and vision of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade volunteers, connecting the struggles of 80 years ago with the political and human rights challenges of today. The Puffin Foundation, once again, provided additional funding for these extraordinary events.
Marina Garde, Judy Montell Bonnie Hall, Linda Lustig, Emily Lazar
Kate Doyle, Jeremy Scahill Freda Tanz (left)
Joan Balter Yvonne Corbin, Peter Hartzman
Peter Glazer, Philip Kan Gotanda, Eric Peltoniemi Photos by Richard Bermack & Joanne Stillman McBirney, Peter Glazer, Jeannette Ferrary Bonnie (Barbara) Hilkevitch Ida December 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 3
Musical honors Americans who fought in Spanish Civil War By Marilyn Bechtel
BERKELEY, CA.—Eighty years ago an epic struggle began, largely to be overwritten in public memory by World War II and smeared by the anti-communist witch-hunts that followed. A dramatic and intensely political musical play, Heart of Spain: A Musical of the Spanish Civil War, ran at the Zellerbach Playhouse on the University of California at Berkeley campus. As Spanish fascists sought to overthrow the Second Spanish Republic, nearly 40,000 fighters, medical workers, truck drivers and others came to Spain from some 50 countries, to fight alongside the Republic’s forces in an ultimately futile attempt to repel the onslaught of General Francisco Franco’s fascist army, backed by Germany’s Adolph Hitler and Italy’s Benito Mussolini. Some 2,800 U.S. volunteers journeyed there, defying 4 THE VOLUNTEER December 2016
Washington’s explicit policy of strict neutrality and the laws that enforced it. One-third never returned home. The history of these “premature anti-fascists” has been kept alive, first by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade the returning fighters founded. And now by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, together with families and friends who seek to warn of what can happen when a rising far-right threat is ignored. The last known surviving fighter—Californian Delmer Berg—was over 100 years old when he died earlier this year. In the short space of just over two hours, Heart of Spain, with book by Peter Glazer and music by Eric Bain Peltoniemi, probes the many reasons Americans went to Spain in 1936 and 1937.
It examines the conditions they were experiencing in the Great Depression, the obstacles they had to overcome in both personal and work lives, and the underlying and often conflicting political and ideological currents of the times. The work premiered at Northwestern University as a workshop production in 1999, with a full-dress performance there the following year. Now it is being performed by students in the University of California’s Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies and other departments. As the play opens, the historical context is set with recollections of World War I, the Great Depression and the intense class conflicts it brought to the fore. Heart of Spain recounts the harrowing experiences the volunteers experienced as they struggled over the steep peaks of the Pyrenees Mountains on their way into Spain, the perilous conditions they faced as they entered battle—largely inexperienced, poorly equipped, but determined in their mission. And the play doesn’t shy away from the internal struggles and conflicts many brigadistas had to work through while in Spain. The play also reflects the international character of the struggle including the role of the Soviet Union, and tells the stories of fighters from many countries including anti-fascist Germans and Italians, as well as the Spanish Republicans themselves. Especially moving is the tribute paid to the volunteers by Republican leader Dolores Ibárruri, La Pasionaria, as they departed Spain in the fall of 1938 as part of the Republic’s effort to win British and French support. The Communist Party USA’s important role in recruiting and organizing the volunteers—many themselves CP or Young Communist League members—is well reflected, as is the party’s support for them during the struggle and when they returned home. Also shown are the anti-communist challenges the brigadistas faced, both before and after their service in Spain, and their different progressive paths after returning home. The work draws on songs and poems that inspired the brigadistas, and on their own letters, poems, songs and speeches. The musical score combines traditional folk songs of the Spanish Civil War with songs composed specially for the play. Words, music and brilliant performances by the 17 student actors combine to make Heart of Spain a must-see experience. Glazer, a playwright and an Associate Professor in UC Berkeley’s Theater, Dance and Performance Studies Department, is also a member of the board of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA). Peltoniemi, a longtime singer-songwriter, recently retired as head of Red House Records, a Grammy-winning independent folk, roots and Americana record label. Glazer says his work was inspired by his folksinger father’s singing songs of the war as he was growing up. His father, in 1944, recorded an
album of 78s with Pete Seeger— the first American recording of songs the volunteers sang in Spain. UC Berkeley has a special connection with the Spanish Civil War. Ph.D student Robert Hale Merriman became the first commander of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and was killed in battle in spring 1938. His widow helped form the Bay Area Post of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The post has donated an extensive collection of papers, letters, photographs and posters to UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. Other events now at UC Berkeley include a gallery exhibition, Guerra Civil @ 80, at Bancroft Library, running until Dec. 15, and Incite the Spirit: Poster Art of the Spanish Civil War, at Townsend Center for the Humanities, 220 Stephens Hall, which closes December 16. Marilyn Bechtel writes for the People's World from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been a member of the paper's staff since 1986. She has also been active in the peace movement. Born in Iowa, Marilyn has also lived in Chicago and New York City, and originally made her living as a professional musician. This review appeared in People’s World on October 25, 2016.
“Learning about the courageous members of the Lincoln Brigade spiked my interest in current affairs, and history for that matter, as well as restored my hope in humanity and for that I am forever grateful.” —Melissa Chapman, playing Margaret, a Spanish woman working with Republican army who is assigned to the Brigade. “I did not know anything about the Spanish Civil War before this project, which has energized me in a new way and has motivated me to stay involved in the world around me.” —Josie Clark-Steinmetz, member of the ensemble. “I was not aware of the amount of love and dedication the Brigade had upon starting my research. As someone whose task was to bring the story of the Lincoln Brigade to life, it has been an honor to learn more about the men and women who participated in the conflict, but also to have those who are deeply connected and committed to educating about the Lincoln Brigade in the audience. I know it made being a part of the production that much more life-changing. “ —Bri’Unia Stock, playing Dorothy (inspired by Salaria Kea) December 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 5
Watt Prizes Awarded By Aaron Retish
Two undergraduates and one graduate student have won the George Watt Memorial Essay Award with outstanding projects on the Cold War, the Franco Regime, and refugee aid.
he 2016 jury awarded three students the George Watt Prize for the best essay on the Spanish Civil War. Once again, students from across the globe submitted highcaliber writing at the undergraduate and graduate level. While the award is usually given to one undergraduate and one graduate student, this year the competition was so strong at the undergraduate level that the jury decided to award two prizes. Each student receives a cash award of $250 from ALBA’s George Watt Fund. Samuel Chan is one of the recipients of our undergraduate award for his insightful essay “No Child ‘Left’ Behind: The Cold War Educational Prejudice Against the Left and its Impact on the Spanish Civil War.” Chan looks at how the Spanish Civil War was either ignored or was used as a tool to attack Communism and create an anti-Left narrative in the United States primary schools of the 1960s. With a critical eye, he draws deeply on oral research with a history teacher from the era to help reach his conclusions. Chan is from Hong Kong and wrote his essay while a student at De Anza College in California. He is now completing his degree at the University of California-Los Angeles and hopes then to go to graduate school to study European history. Paul Oshinski, a political science and international affairs major at the University of Georgia, also received the Watt undergraduate award for his essay “The Spanish Civil War: Analysis of the Nature of the Franco Regime and Theoretical Explanations for the Causes of the War.” This paper explores the role of collective action and the impact of a diffuse military on the Spanish Civil War. He also uses political theory to analyze how the Franco regime is better understood as an authoritarian state based on personal rule rather than a strictly fascist state. Oshinski wrote his paper as part of Emory University’s European Politics Program in Madrid that focused on the lasting effects of the Civil War and the Franco regime on Spanish politics. He plans to pursue a Masters degree in international policy after completing his undergraduate degree. 6 THE VOLUNTEER December 2016
Kerrie Holloway, who is completing her doctoral degree at Queen Mary University of London, received the graduate student award for “The Flight to France and Concentration Camps: The NJC and the Spanish Refugees,” a chapter in her forthcoming dissertation “Britain's Political Humanitarians: The National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief and the Spanish Refugees of 1939.” Kerrie provides a riveting account of the nearly 500,000 Spanish refugees who withdrew from Spain at the end of the Civil War in 1939 and the British humanitarian volunteer organization the National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief which helped care for them on their journey. She shows how volunteers saw themselves as helping to continue the fight against fascism in internment camps in France. This is an important study of refugees of the Spanish Civil War and political humanitarianism that takes both a top-down and bottom-up approach and is based on wonderful research in archives in the United Kingdom, Spain, and the United States. The jury for the 2016 Watt award was comprised of three scholars: Josh Goode (Claremont Graduate University), Gina Herrmann (University of Oregon), and Aaron Retish (Wayne State University). We are also happy to announce that a new Pre-Collegiate category has been added to the Watt Essay Award for future competitions. Alumni of ALBA’s teaching institutes can submit assessed work from a student or group of students based on curriculum developed by the teacher’s experience at the ALBA institute. The committee hopes to recognize the continued dedication of ALBA alumni and the creative work of their students for this category. The George Watt Memorial Essay award honors the memory of Abraham Lincoln Brigade veteran George Watt (1914-1994), a social worker, writer, and lifelong activist central to the creation of ALBA.
Children preparing for evacuation from Spain, during the Spanish Civil War, some giving the Republican salute. Photographer unknown. The estate of Olga Brocca Smith. CC BY-SA 3.0
Samuel Chan, De Anza College “No Child ‘Left’ Behind: The Cold War Educational Prejudice Against the Left and its impact on the Spanish Civil War” (undergraduate)
To some, the Spanish Civil War was a struggle of a democratically elected government against power hungry Fascists. To people with leftist sympathies, it was a battle against counter-revolutionaries who opposed and despised the advancement of socialist ideas in Spain. To religious groups, the Civil War was merely a crusade against the godless forces secretly led by the Comintern. These conflicting interpretations could not be more apparent in the Cold War, a time of political polarization and the Red Scare in the United States. In my paper, I analyze the effects of the Cold War mentality on the recording and teaching of the Spanish Civil War in North America. How did the Cold War influence the teaching of the Spanish Civil War in the United States? I interviewed my history professor, Mr. John Hamer, and recorded an oral history of how he learned about the Spanish Civil War as a student and he taught it in the 1970s. Mr. Hamer’s testimony reveals certain anomalies in how historians treated the Spanish Civil War in the Cold War. Research confirms a Cold War discounting of the Spanish Civil War. In a western civilization history textbook from 1968, for example, only two sentences out of 1,040 pages are dedicated to the Spanish Civil War.
Paul Oshinski, The University of Georgia “The Spanish Civil War: Analysis of the Nature of the Franco Regime and Theoretical Explanations for the Causes of the War” (undergraduate)
Broadly, this paper’s purpose is twofold: to classify the type of authoritarian regime Franco administered, as well as to understand the political processes that preceded Franco’s ascension to power. First, I examine what type of regime that Franco administrated during the Spanish Civil War. This section also looks for fascist tendencies in the Franco regime and whether it should be classified as a military, personalist, or party regime, as defined by Barbara Geddes. The second section examines the political dynamics and coordination games that lead to democratic backsliding and regime transitions. Collective action and coordination games play a role in the overthrow of regimes and these political processes help reveal the motives and goals of the regimes that clinch power. I use a case study from Spain during its interwar period to understand the coordination games and collective action problems that many citizen movements face during both an attempted coup and a civil war.
Kerrie Holloway, Queen Mary University of London “The Flight to France and Concentration Camps: The
NJC and the Spanish Refugees” (graduate)
Just after the fall of Barcelona in January 1939, roughly 500,000 Spanish civilians and soldiers fled north to the French frontier in what became known as the retirada, or withdrawal, along with the relief workers who had been attempting to alleviate the sufferings brought about by Spanish Civil War. One of these groups, a British voluntary organization called the National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief (NJC), espoused neutrality, never sent aid to the Nationalists and chose not to remain behind as Franco entered Barcelona. Instead, it continued its work: first, on the road as refugees trudged north, setting up roadside canteens and makeshift first-aid tents, and finally in the concentration camps into which the refugees were herded. This essay looks at the journey from Barcelona to France, following the refugees and relief workers alike as they crossed the frontier, were placed into provisional sorting camps and entered the now infamous concentration camps of Argelès-sur-Mer, Saint-Cyprien and Barcarès. It focuses on the work provided by the NJC, through both a top-down approach, utilizing the organization’s published bulletins and meeting minutes, as well as a bottom-up approach, incorporating testimonies from relief workers and refugees, to provide a full picture of the humanitarian aid given by the NJC, as well as received by the refugees, during the retirada. This thesis chapter argues that the political sympathies of the NJC allowed them to give aid more effectively than organizations that remained strictly neutral, as its workers better understood the needs of the refugees – both ideologically, through the provision of cultural relief within the camps, as well as physically, through the donation of food and clothing.
December 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 7
Human Rights Column
What would Sitting Bull Do? By Winona LaDuke
What will Governor Dalrymple sacrifice for the Dakota Access Pipeline? Activist and former Green Party candidate Winona LaDuke reminds us that Standing Rock is only the most recent chapter in a long history of dispossession. “The Lakota people have survived many invasions.”
t’s 2016, and oil companies have come to Lakota territory. It is not the first time. But instead of the Seventh Cavalry or Indian police dispatched to assassinate Sitting Bull, it is the Dakota Access Pipeline, the National Guard, and the Morton County Sheriff. Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault was arrested by state police, with more arrests daily. I am watching history repeat itself, and wondering how badly Governor Dalrymple really wants that pipeline. Will he sacrifice people, civil rights and the environment to have it? The land has a beauty which is unforgettable. If you close your eyes, you can remember the 50 million buffalo, the single largest migratory herd in the world. The Earth would vibrate under the pounding of their hooves, making the grass grow. There were once 250 species of grass. Today the buffalo are gone, replaced by 28 million cattle who require grain, water, and hay. Many of the fields are now in a single GMO crop, full of so many pesticides that the monarch butterflies are being wiped out. But in my memory, that old world remains. We remember the theft of land and the taking of the Black Hills in 1877, a retaliation against Sitting Bull’s victory at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. In a time prior to Native Lives Matter, great leaders like Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were assassinated at the hands of police. One truth: The Lakota people have survived many invasions. As the Lakota attempted to stabilize their forced reservation society, the dams came. Over 200,000 acres on the Standing
8 THE VOLUNTEER December 2016
Rock and Cheyenne River reservations in South Dakota were flooded by the Oahe Dam, forcing not only relocation, but a loss of the Lakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara worlds. Flooding destroyed 90 percent of the timber and 75 percent of wildlife on the reservations. That is how a people are made poor. An intentional set of federal and state policies caused Native poverty. It is not that we chose poverty. Most residents of Standing Rock live below the poverty level. Lack of funding, a state which looks the other way and an inadequate infrastructure— highways without shoulders, decrepit medical facilities, or inability to heat homes— kills people. On Standing Rock a few years ago, Debbie Dogskin froze to death because she could not pay her propane bills. Yet she lived just south of the oil-rich Bakken Basin. So I ask: How will this pipeline help those people? Are we all just supposed to suck it up, Governor Dalrymple? Having spent four years doing time in the Minnesota regulatory process for fighting the Enbridge pipelines, I am familiar with the white man’s regulatory process. That process excluded tribes. North Dakota’s process is worse, heavily controlled by oil companies. The formal term is “regulatory capture.” After all, oil pays the bills in the state, I get that. But the price is getting pretty high. Any state that would allow radioactive waste in landfills has been successfully blinded by some powerful interests. Women are commodified and murdered. North Dakota has more lawsuits about oil than active drilling rigs right now. Frankly, a pipeline which is too risky to be upstream from Bismarck is too risky for Standing Rock. The regulatory review of the Dakota
Dakota Access Pipeline Native American protest site, on Highway 1806 near Cannonball, North Dakota, August 15th, 2016. Photo Shane Balkowitsch, CC BY-SA 4.0
If you close your eyes, you can remember the 50 million buffalo, the single largest migratory herd in the world. Access pipeline was intentionally expedited and rigged. While that served the pipeline companies, in the end someone needs to do a full environmental impact analysis and statement. Nationally, no one really noticed what was going on in North Dakota—until now. We all know that. People just flew over the state and made fun of the movie Fargo. Unchecked, the Governor has neglected public health, militarized the state, and cast a blind eye to siccing dogs on Indians, arresting journalists, and attempting to marginalize 5,000 people, calling us protestors. I have to wonder why wanting clean water makes me a protester, and why the intentional contamination of water by fracking companies or corporate interests does not make those companies terrorist. I can’t see how this is going to work out well for the state. North Dakota looks like the Alabama of the North. This looks like Selma. The last time this level of militarization in our region happened was in 1973 at Wounded Knee on Pine Ridge, when the government sent 15 armored personnel carriers, grenade launchers, flares, and 133,000 rounds of ammunition as well as the National Guard of five states; that was an expensive operation. That was then, but we remember. And, now, we’ve got dogs, aerial surveillance, the national guard, and arrests without bail. Native people have a very good memory, frankly, because history does repeat itself, and North Dakota, like other states, tries to forget us.
I am not sure how much North Dakota wants this pipeline. With oil rigs down 85% and a landscape littered with abandoned camps, why dig this line? In a country with crumbling infrastructure for water, sewer and energy (we have a D in infrastructure), why don’t we send these pipes to Flint, Michigan? Or make things work here? Governor Dalrymple, I ask the question you might ask as well: What would Sitting Bull do? The answer is clear. A hundred years ago he said “let us put our minds together to see what kind of life we can make for our children…” The time for that would be now. Winona LaDuke is an American activist, environmentalist, economist, and writer, known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation, as well as sustainable development. In 1996 and 2000, she ran for vice president as the nominee of the Green Party of the United States, on a ticket headed by Ralph Nader. In 1993, together with Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, she founded Honor the Earth, a Native-led organization that strives to break the geographic and political isolation of Native communities and to increase financial resources for organizing and change.
Native Americans in the Lincoln Brigade Several of the around 2,800 Americans who joined the struggle against fascism in Spain had Native American roots. They include the following: • • • • • • • • • •
Judson Mill Reynolds Briggs, b. October (May) 17, 1906, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 5th generation Seneca. John William Parks. (William Lewis Banks). Charles William Sanborn. (“Blacky”), b. March 7, 1902, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Native American. Thomas Cox, Jr. b. Douglas, Alaska; Native American. Freeman Woodson Mani,. b. May 23, 1909, Sisseton, South Dakota, Native American (part Sioux Indian). Ephraim Bartlett, Native American. Eugene Victor Gavin. (Victoriano, Eugenio Gavin), b. June 1, 1910 (1909), McCloud, Oklahoma, African American. Robert Owen Gavin. Born in Oklahoma on May 5, 1908. Oscar Hunter. Born in Orange, New Jersey, on May 22, 1908. Frank Edward Alexander, born on the Omaha Sioux Indian reservation in Nebraska on February 8, 1911.
John Parks aboard the Champlain on his way to Spain. From John Tisa, Recalling the Good Fight.
For more information on each of these individuals, visit ALBA’s biographical database of volunteers, maintained by Chris Brooks, at www.alba-valb.org/volunteers
September December 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 9
Who is the Mysterious “Cuba Hermosa”? New Evidence Comes to Light By Ariel Mae Lambe
n 2009 an anonymous black International Brigades volunteer became famous when his picture garnered the attention of the international news media. The Spanish government wanted to give the photograph of the man, taken in Barcelona in January 1937 by Catalán photojournalist Agustí Centelles, as a gift to newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama in commemoration of the more than 100 African-American volunteers who fought for the Republic. The volunteer’s uniform indicated that he had traveled from the United States, and Centelles’s estate identified him as a member of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion. Everyone assumed the man was African-American. When the news media picked up the story, a small group of scholars launched an investigation to determine the man’s name and try to notify his family of the honor. An unexpected discovery followed: The man was not African-American, but Cuban. Scholars Sebastiaan Faber and James D. Fernández scoured the ALBA archives and other sources for clues about the man’s identity. They discovered that the memoir of U.S. volunteer John Tisa, Recalling the Good Fight (1985), featured photograph of the man. Tisa remembered that everyone called him “Cuba Hermosa” (“Beautiful
“We have allowed far-right radicalism to re-emerge” Pablo Durá, Comic Book Author By Sebastiaan Faber
ablo Durá is the author of The Lincoln Brigade, a new graphic novel based on the life story of Oliver Law, of which we are proud to feature an excerpt in this issue. The drawings are by Antonio Rojo and Puste, and Ester Salguero is the colorist. In recent years, Durá has written for Marvel Comics. “I found out about the Lincoln Brigade by pure chance some 10 years ago and thought it was absolutely fascinating—particularly the figure of Oliver Law. I remember thinking: Why isn't there a bio-pic about this guy, the first African-American to command a fully integrated unit of American soldiers in American history? The Lincoln brigade graphic novel isn't a history book, is a fiction story based on real events and characters. At the end of the day, I need to tell a story that will be both engaging and fun to read but historically accurate. “My main goal is to keep the memory of the volunteers alive. Due largely in part, to the ‘code of silence’ imposed by those who signed the 1978 constitution in Spain, school programs tiptoe around anything remotely close to the Spanish civil war. I feel my generation, who was born in a free Spain, has failed the International Brigades volunteers’ memory and heritage, by allowing far right radicalism to re-emerge in Spain. So, if this graphic novel can help and play a small part in keeping the memory of those who came to Spain alive, I’d be very happy. 10 THE THEVOLUNTEER VOLUNTEER December September2016 2016
Cuba”), but he never provided the man’s actual name. Analyzing passenger lists, Faber and Fernández came up with five possible names for the man. In 2010, as I began to work on my dissertation on Cuban antifascism, I stayed on the lookout for Cuba Hermosa. Keeping in mind his jaunty grin, prominent ears, and high cheekbones, I searched photographs for his face; a scrap of paper listing the five possible names traveled with me. In the course of my research, I came across further clues in archives in Moscow, Havana, and New York. Together, these far-flung fragments provided fuller, though still partial, sketch of the mysterious man in Centelles’s image— revealing the contours of a life story that seems to have ended on a tragic note. For the whole feature article, go to the online edition of the Volunteer at albavolunteer.org Ariel Mae Lambe is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. Her book in progress studies Cuban antifascism including support for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War.
“I have been contacted by the relatives of two of the Abraham Lincoln brigade volunteers and they have expressed how happy they are that we are making this book about them, wishing us all the best in our endeavor. Their support means everything to me, it gives me strength to continue on this path and to work hard to make sure this project sees the light of day.”
Reserve your copy of The Lincoln Brigade! The 120-page paperback graphic novel will be published in May 2017. To reserve your copy, send a check for $36 to ALBA (S&H included).
IB monument unveiled in Paris by Robert Coale
n a sunny Saturday, October 22, the French International Brigades Association, ACER (Amis des Combattants en Espagne Républicaine), corrected a longstanding injustice. The city of Paris, home of the main recruiting and screening center for international volunteers from 1936 to 1938, had no public monument to the International Brigades. While a monument to the French IB volunteers was unveiled at the Museum of National Resistance in the suburbs of Champigny-surMarne in 1997, its distance from Paris essentially relegated the museum to hidden treasure status. The site of the new monument is quite the contrary. Located on the Cour de Seine just outside the Austerlitz train station, the gargantuan lava stone sculpture by French artist Denis Monfleur, weighing more than six metric tons, is plainly visible. The location is highly symbolic and extremely fitting. First, the Gare d'Austerlitz is located in the 13th district of Paris. A former MP for this district was none other than André Marty, member of the Comintern and figurehead of the IB. Perhaps most importantly, the majority of volunteers who departed from Paris took the 10:17 pm train from this very station. Despite efforts by IB organizers to maintain a low profile concerning the flow of men to Spain, this nightly train was nicknamed “le train des Volontaires.” It was also at this location that a large contingent of French IB veterans were welcomed home in mid-November 1938 following the “Despedida” two weeks earlier in Barcelona. Over 500 people attended the dedication ceremony, including delegations of IB organizations from various countries. The ALBA delegation included board members Ellyn Polshek, Nancy Wallach, and Robert Coale, as well as other family members and friends of the Lincoln Brigade. The mayor of Paris was represented by municipal councilwoman Catherine Vieu-Charier in charge of Veterans affairs,
who gave the opening speech. The Spanish Embassy in France was also represented, as were the CGT Railway worker’s union and the French railroad company. The Secretary General of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, whose father was an IB veteran, also attended the event. The mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena sent her greetings to the gathering, as did other IB associations. Several past and present members of French parliament and sons of IB veterans attended the unveiling, namely Jean-Claude Lefort and François Asensi. Cécile Rol-Tanguy, aged 97, widow of Henri Rol-Tanguy, political commissar of the 14th Brigade, “La Marseillaise” during the Ebro battle and later commander of the French Underground in Paris during the uprising that led to liberation of the city in August 1944, was also in attendance. Mrs. Rol-Tanguy actively participated in the Parisian uprising of 1944 alongside her husband and holds the rank of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor in her own right. Her daughter, Claire Rol-Tanguy, secretary of ACER, addressed the crowd in a poignant speech which related the details of the monument project. She closed with words that many IB associations could call their own: “We do not see our role as an association dedicated to memory as one destined to maintain a myth or a legend. What we want above all is to illustrate freely and without taboos, the names and the individual stories of these incredibly courageous men and women, their undertakings and their values. We do so with the firm conviction that we are serving the interests of the present at a time when we need a generous and clear-headed Europe, a Europe in fraternity and solidarity with all its peoples.” ALBA Board member Robert Coale teaches at the University of Rouen in France.
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September December2016 2016 THE THE VOLUNTEER VOLUNTEER 11 15
Leo Eloesser: Back Story of a Medical Volunteer in Spain By William Blaisdell
Portrait of Eloesser by Edward Weston.
Among the American medical volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, Dr. Leo Eloesser, a thoracic surgeon affiliated with San Francisco General Hospital, organized a team of west coast doctors and nurses and brought his considerable experience of military medicine to Republican Spain. His extraordinary experience is chronicled in a recent volume written by a team of physicians, The History of the Surgical Service at San Francisco General Hospital (2007), including Dr. William Blaisdell, formerly with the University of California at Davis, from which the following text is drawn.
eo Eloesser, a remarkable man with global interests, was born in San Francisco in 1881, of German immigrant parents. The family was 16 THE VOLUNTEER December 2016
wealthy from manufacturing “Can’t Bust ‘Em” Overalls. His father was a pianist, and Eloesser and his three siblings were encouraged to study music. Upon graduation from Urban School in San Francisco, Eloesser was too young to be admitted to the University of California, so he studied music, which he wanted to pursue as a career. But a family friend, ophthalmologist Adolph Barkan, convinced him that he should study medicine. When Eloesser was admitted to UC, he failed most of his courses, and only with the intervention of his father was he given a chance to continue. At that point, he became a serious student and graduated in 1900. Dr. Barkan insisted that Eloesser should study medicine in Germany at the University of Heidelberg where Barkan knew the Surgery professor, Vincenz Czerny. Eloesser was enthralled with the German system of teaching because there was academic freedom, and no one cared whether the students attended classes or not. It was only necessary that the student pass a series of
examinations. This allowed him freedom to pursue his interest in music in parallel. On completing his studies and being awarded his degree in 1907, he became a voluntary assistant to Czerny. He spent six months in the pathology laboratory, gave anesthetics, and wrote a treatise on pancreatic diseases. He spent several years in Germany and, during this period, visited the Clinics of Mikulicz and Sauerbruch. Following this experience, he spent six months in England and worked in Sir Almoth Wright’s laboratory in St. Mary’s Hospital. In 1909, he returned to San Francisco. Because it was six months before he could qualify for licensure, he volunteered as an intern on the UC Service at San Francisco City and County Hospital, temporarily located at the Ingleside Racetrack while the new County Hospital was being designed and built. After a six-month internship, he rented an office and began private practice. He disclaimed any immediate success. “I spent more and more time at the hospital and less and less at the blank, patient-less office,” he said. “It was 10 years before I collected sufficient fees to pay the office rent.” His colleagues claimed that the reason he earned so little was a consequence of charging so few of the patients he treated, and charging so little to those he did. Finally, in January 1914, he told his father that he no longer
Leo Eloesser at work. Photo: California Medical Association. needed monthly checks: “I have cises.” He was insistent that his $500 in the bank and shall get students and trainees understand on alone.” He stayed on the UC clearly that to know a patient’s surgical staff, whose chief was symptoms, the abnormal findWallace Terry, while he set up his ings on physical examination, private practice. In 1912, Emmet the correct diagnosis, and even Rixford, chief of the Stanford the treatment, was not enough. service, offered him a position “Over and beyond this, they and Terry advised him to take must try to unravel the puzzle— it because Terry considered the what is wrong anatomically; what status of the UC Medical School was functioning improperly? tenuous. The UC Regents felt What in essence is at the basis that it represented a costly drain of the disordered state? If death on the rest of the University and should come, why?” were considering closing it. A brilliant scientific writer, During his initial period at Eloesser began publishing while Stanford, Eloesser did a great deal of exEloesser’s friends included Ralph he was still in training. He published a perimental work on animals. He was also a total of 92 articles—about half of them Stackpole, Diego Rivera, and courageous surgeon. Having been exposed on chest surgery. He also wrote papers Frida Kahlo, who painted the on amputations, bone grafts, aneurysms, to the German system, he was willing to undertake procedures that other surgeons picture of him that today hangs peptic ulcer surgery, and anesthesia. His would not. Some of these operations were patients appreciated his care and loved in the lobby at San Francisco bold and risky, but they were often suchim. His thorough evaluations assured cessful. them that no detail would be left to General Hospital. Eloesser was of slight build, barely over chance. He established compassionate, easy thing to teach, a thing that should be five feet tall. He had an intense look, a understanding, personal relationships with taught, not to undergraduates of course, penetrating gaze that could skewer any them. His patients could rest assured that but to aspiring surgeons. Technique can mortal, and an extremely caustic tongue. if they were worrisomely ill or might profit He drove himself hard and expected others be taught and it can be learned; learned by from a visit, he could be counted on to all the four avenues by which we learn any be there at any hour of the day or night. to follow his example. Woe be it to the manual activity—by listening, watching, verbose student as he made rounds, and As vouched for by Carl Mathewson, his practicing, and doing. Some men’s hands woe to the resident who tried to bluff junior associate at the County, “Leo was will surpass their heads; for others, intelhis way through a history or diagnosis. a workhorse. He had no concept of time, lect will prevail over some clumsiness. It A retort of “Bullshit” could be his lot. day or night.” By the 1930s, he also had a is our business as guides and teachers to Because of his size, Eloesser usually operbusy private practice, operating on private recognize our pupils’ fortes; to do what ated standing on a stool. Having been patients at French, St. Luke’s, Stanford, we can to curb the dexterous avidity of grounded in the fundamental branches of and St. Joseph’s Hospitals, and at the medicine and Germanic teaching, he knew the technically agile, and to stimulate the Dante Sanatorium. He then saw patients clumsy to practice their five finger exerpathology well and was able to examine in his office until midnight, never turning his own microscopic sections, which he anyone away who wanted to see him. He apparently did with great accuracy. He was worked Monday through Saturday. an adequate, but not a brilliant, techniHe never married, but he was never cian. His fame came primarily from his without women friends. In the 1930s he diagnostic acumen. As a teacher, Eloesser drove a large open convertible and was emphasized analysis over rote memorizaalways accompanied by his dog, a Gertion, encouraging his students to use their man dachshund. His primary luxuries mind critically and analytically to discard and relaxation were his boat and his viola. outworn, untrustworthy, and unsubstantiHe owned a 28-foot ketch, “the Flirt,” ated opinions. He said, “I think that we and sailed regularly with a companion. all agree, in theory if not in practice, that He owned a flat on Leavenworth Street. trying to impart facts to students is futile, Every Wednesday evening, a small group especially trying to impart them by word from the San Francisco Symphony would of mouth. Anyone in search of facts can join him in his flat to play chamber find facts out by himself if he wants to.” music together. From time to time, this Eloesser used the Socratic method to prod group was joined by distinguished visitors a student to make logical deductions. such as Pierre Monteux, Fritz Kreisler, “Technique?” he said, “Ha! That is an and Yehudi Menuhin. He had a gift for Eloesser late in life. Photo Stanford Medical History Center. CC-BY-S.A. 2.0.
December 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 17
languages—mastering German, Greek, Russian, French, Polish, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese—and once spent seven months teaching at the University of Tokyo Medical School in Japanese, having picked up the language from a dictionary and conversations with passengers on the ship going over. With the outbreak of World War I, he contacted his old chief, Professor Czerny, in Germany, and was put in charge of a surgical division of a large German hospital. There he published papers on the use of blood transfusion in war surgery and on the management of gas infections. When the United States’ entrance into the War was imminent, he returned to America. He tried to enter the U.S. Army, expecting his experience with casualty management would be welcomed but his German connections resulted in denial. However, he was asked to supervise a large orthopedic and rehabilitation ward at Letterman Army General Hospital in San Francisco. His ward was filled with amputees, and when the Army dragged its feet about setting up a prosthesis center, Eloesser went to Mare Island, borrowed machinery from the Navy, and set up an artificial limb factory. This factory then produced the highly successful “Letterman leg.” He also pioneered in the early fitting of these prostheses. Even while working at Letterman, Eloesser went to San Francisco County at night, where he saw many patients with empyema and other chest diseases, which were now attracting his interest. At the end of the war, he returned to his position as assistant chief of Stanford’s County Surgical Service under Rixford and reopened his private office. The influenza epidemic of 1919 resulted in a flood of patients with lung abscess, bronchiectasis, and empyema, which further stimulated his interest in thoracic surgery. In 1926, he brought in, as his associate in private practice, his former house officer in surgery, William Lister “Lefty” Rogers. Eloesser's clinical interests were general. He always had a major interest in fractures, which were then the province of the
general surgeon. But as his private thoracic practice grew, so did his research interests in thoracic surgery. He became interested in tuberculosis and its treatment, devising the flap that bears his name, used for the chronic drainage of empyema. He was highly proficient in bronchoscopy, a technique he had learned in Germany, and he became interested in bronchial pathology and bronchial stenosis in particular. In 1934, he visited Russia and installed a ward for thoracic surgery in the First University Surgery Clinic in Moscow. Three years later, after serving as President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, he went to Spain and served the
Loyalist side in the Spanish Civil War for eight months. He took with him his viola, an ambulance, and a staff of physicians and nurses he had recruited. He set up a military hospital and developed a blood bank service. While in Spain, he published a paper on the management of compound fractures. He regularly sent home requests for his El Toro Mexican cigarettes, Ghirardelli chocolates, and Hills Bros. Coffee, to all of which he was addicted. He had many friends among artists and musicians; these included the noted sculptor Ralph Stackpole and the Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera. Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo, painted the picture of him that today hangs in the lobby at San Francisco General Hospital. Eloesser returned from Spain in 1938 and resumed his duties at the City and County Hospital and his private practice. In 1945, he joined the United Nations Relief Organization, gave up his work in San Francisco, and went to China. As no
one thought to acknowledge his retirement in the postwar ferment, he gave a retirement party for himself. His friend sculptor Ralph Stackpole had earlier immortalized Eloesser, peering through a microscope at the base of Stackpole’s giant statue for the American Stock Exchange, Man and His Inventions. Stackpole sculpted another statue, this time portraying Eloesser sigmoidoscoping a horse, which was the centerpiece of the dinner. This remained for many years in the hospital’s pathology laboratory before it disappeared. “It was a jolly goodbye party.” Once in China, Eloesser became disgusted with the corrupt regime of Chiang Kai-shek and quietly made his way to Mao’s remote communist stronghold. He worked with the Communists for four years, living like a peasant and teaching hygiene, sanitation, and midwifery to the “barefoot doctors.” Serving at Bethune Medical School and adding Chinese to his repertoire of languages, he published, in Chinese, a manual for rural midwives titled Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn. It was subsequently revised and published in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. The latest edition appeared in 1976. Eloesser returned from China in 1950, continued to work with UNICEF, and became interested in health care in third world countries. In San Francisco, at age 70, he met his companion for the rest of his life, Joyce Campbell. In the McCarthy anti-Communist era, he felt persecuted and unappreciated; and in 1953, he retired to the isolated small town of Tacambaro, Mexico. There he set up a small clinic to treat the disadvantaged in the area. His fees, which were modest, were given to the town clerk at the end of the year and were used to give Christmas presents to the prisoners in the County jail. Three months before his death, Eloesser gained Mexican citizenship and was awarded the Presidential Medal for his work with the poor of that country. He saw patients until he died of a massive coronary occlusion on October 4, 1976 at 95 years of age.
Eloesser and his team. Stanford Medical History Center. CC-BY-S.A. 2.0. 18 THE VOLUNTEER December 2016
Book reviews Adam Hochschild, Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reviewed by Richard Baxell
t is now 80 years since the failed military coup that marked the beginning of the civil war in Spain. During the bitter conflict some half million Spaniards were killed, a sombre warning of the greater slaughter to follow. For while the civil war was at its heart a Spanish tragedy, the internationalism of the conflict conferred on it a lasting significance beyond the Iberian Peninsula. Crucial military support from Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany for Franco’s Nacionales was countered—to some degree—by that from Stalin’s Russia for the Republic. Meanwhile, the western democracies did their utmost to avoid choosing sides, making ineffectual efforts to encourage other regimes to do the same. Non-intervention was therefore not akin to neutrality and decisively helped the Nacionales, a fact later acknowledged by the Francoist minister Pedro de Sáinz Rodríguez. Britain may have been the main guilty party, but other western democracies bear culpability for the Republic’s defeat, including the United States. As a new book by the award-winning author Adam Hochschild reminds us, President Franklin D. Roosevelt came to much the same conclusion in January 1939, admitting at a cabinet meeting that the embargo on arms for the Spanish Republic had been a “grave mistake.” Hochschild’s Spain in our Hearts is subtitled “Americans in the Spanish Civil War,” though the book is not, in fact, about the 2,800 American volunteers in the International Brigades. Instead, his account is told through the experiences of a select number of individuals (not all of whom are American) within the cataclysmic war in Spain. And they are select, for Hochschild’s characters are all highly-educated, middle-class writers. The notion of a poets’ (or writers’) war is clearly still attractive to writers and publishers, which neither time nor the undoubted presence of an overwhelming proportion of manual workers among the volunteers, seems to have dispelled. Admittedly, the author has chosen his stellar cast shrewdly, including the two most famous writers of the civil war (in English at least), Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell. While Hochschild seems to have little new to say about the latter, his account of Hemingway’s participation in a guerrilla raid behind enemy lines, which clearly inspired Robert Jordan’s mission in For Whom the Bell Tolls, may come as a revelation to some readers. Jordan’s real-life counterpart, the Professor of Economics and Abraham Lincoln Battalion commander, Robert Hale Merriman, also features, as does socialite
and reporter Virginia Cowles and journalist and International Brigader, Louis Fischer. Accounts of the war’s impact on the characters’ personal relationships are a recurring theme: Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn obviously, but also Bob Merriman and his wife Marion, POUM supporters Lois and Charles Orr, and the cross-Atlantic war romance between American nurse, Toby Jensky, and English sculptor and International Brigader, Jason “Pat” Gurney, who had suffered a nervous breakdown after the appalling carnage of the Jarama battle of February 1937. Gurney’s account of the war, like Hemingway’s and Orwell’s, has been frequently cited and retold and it’s difficult to find much within Hochschild’s account that is strikingly original. Certainly the author’s debt to earlier studies, particularly those of Paul Preston and Peter N. Carroll (which he generously acknowledges) is clear. So, why then, should this new book be of interest? Principally, it is because of the sheer quality of the writing and storytelling. Spain in our Hearts is a rewarding and enjoyable read. The elegant prose is further illuminated with some of the most telling anecdotes from the literature. It is also a pretty fair and balanced account. The author is fortunately too sophisticated to fall for the simplistic, binary notion of a war between two equally repugnant totalitarian philosophies, in which “Spain” is merely a passive bystander. Nor does he make the mistake of seeing Republican Spain as a satellite state of the Soviet Union, though not denying that the supplies of military materiel and the organization of the International Brigades gave Stalin great influence. This “devil’s pact” was really the only option left to the Republic once the western democracies had refused to come to their aid. Hochschild will come into some criticism for justifying what has become seen as “the Communist line” regarding the argument over “war or revolution first” that Orwell discusses in Homage to Catalonia. Yet it is often forgotten that, after the war, Orwell himself came to the reluctant conclusion that the military necessities of the war should take precedence, though he nevertheless remained furious about the Communist Party’s use of the argument as a smokescreen for the suppression of other parties of the left. Like Orwell, Hochschild clearly has great sympathy for the POUMistas and Anarchists, yet he is not dewy-eyed, dryly observing that the ideal of “‘from each according to his abilities, to each according to their needs’ however splendid in theory, proved hard to enforce, especially when many workers felt that what they needed was more time off.” Balanced is not the same as neutral and Hochschild’s Republican sympathies are plain to see. Perhaps the clearest example is his illuminating account of the role of Torkild Rieber, the pro-Nazi C.E.O. of the American oil company, Texaco, in supplying millions of gallons of oil to Franco on credit. To this can be added the 12,000 trucks received by Franco from General Motors, Studebaker, and Ford. As Hochschild points out, the admission by the undersecretary of the Spanish foreign ministry that Franco could not have won the war without U.S. trucks and U.S. oil credits reveals just how significant this contribution truly was to the Nationalists’ cause. Hochschild’s Spain in our Hearts is much more than just another account of Orwell and Hemingway in Spain. It ofDecember 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 19
fers the reader a window into the personal, emotionally searing, experiences of those who decided to make the Spanish cause their own. As Albert Camus, from whom the book’s title is drawn, wrote just after the end of the war, “it was in Spain that [my generation] learned that one can be right and yet be beaten.” Hochschild’s beautifully crafted book explains why, for them, the Spanish drama was and remained a personal tragedy. Richard Baxell is an historian, author and Research Fellow of the Cañada Blanch Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is currently Chair of the International Brigade Memorial Trust.
Memory and Cultural History of the Spanish Civil War: Realms of Oblivion, edited by Aurora G. Morcillo, Boston: Brill, 2014 [Brill History of Warfare Series Volume 93] Reviewed by Judith Keene
urora Morcillo, one of the liveliest young historians on the contemporary Spanish landscape, has enriched our understanding of Francoism through a focus on gender and cultural history. In this wonderful collection, she brings together 16 essays that offer a variety of approaches to the recovery of Spanish memory of the civil war and the dictatorship in the tragically-disrupted lives of defeated Republicans and among Franco’s backers. What are the effects of state and local violence on individuals, whether victims or perpetrators? And how do those traumatic experiences carry over into family and generational memory? Rather than from Madrid and Barcelona, the angle in these essays is from Spain’s periphery, including Andalusia, the Basque countries, and North Africa; and the authors are finely attuned to the voices of the marginalized, particularly women and children. (The detailed information the contributors’ published research serves as a bibliographical guide to new Spanish memory studies.) The collection begins with three essays on the institutional realms of memory. Antonio Cazorla-Sánchez leads off with an examination on Italian historiography of Fascism and war for the light it may shed on Spain’s contemporary “crisis of memory.” While the workings of Mediterranean dictatorships have much in common, however, the parallels suggested between Spanish and Italian memory politics are not entirely convincing. In Spain’s case, an important external factor in the attention to Spanish war victims has been the effect of new discourses on international human rights. (Indeed, ALBA and its supporters have been stout backers of initiatives in Spain and Latin America to raise in the courts and before the UNHRC the rights of victims’ families to uncover the truth about the deaths of family members.) Alex Bueno brings a critical eye to the Valle de Los Caídos, Franco’s mausoleum to the Nationalist fallen whose construction took 20 years of blood, sweat and tears of Republican prisoners. Whether and how should the edifice be recast into a national memorial for all Spanish war victims? 20 THE VOLUNTEER December 2016
Drawing on Andalusian data, Fernando Martinez López and Miguel Gómez Oliver show that economic repression was at the heart of the draconian 1939 Law of Political Responsibilities that became the legislative structure for Franco’s military dictatorship. They meticulously track the ways in which, by “force and law,” franquista authorities “massively transferred property” from the defeated Republicans to the new Franco state and its loyal supporters. The 10 essays that follow deal with gender, domesticity, the violence of repression and forgetting, and various autobiographical testimonies. Carefully theorized, they span literature, politics, cinema, the domestic arts, and the fraught but universal domain of family intimacy. In a fascinating study of the twentieth century history of “the ideal of the Spanish male,” Nerea Aresti traces its representation from Primo De Rivera’s 1920s efforts to reframe a “national masculinity” to the pious descriptions of the masculinity and fatherhood of Franco’s martyrs. An interesting juxtaposition to Aresti essay are the studies by Miren Llona on the female ideal in the Basque country and Deirdre Finnerty’s analysis, through novels and female testimony, of the durability of the idea of Republican motherhood. In the former, we see the transformation of the Basque woman in wartime, at first as the female miliciana and later refigured into the heroic Basque women of the villages, strongly patriotic and keenly aware of the responsibility to pass on Basque culture and the language. Even during the hard years of the Franco repression there were courageous female Republicans who instilled in their daughters a belief in the importance of civic life and female equality. In a fine essay on Spanish domestic ideology and women’s skills such as sewing, Paula de la Cruz-Fernández argues that these qualities learnt and plied in the intimate domestic spaces are also part of nation building. Mary Ann Dellinger returns to the biography of La Pasionaria, undoubtedly the most famous Spanish woman during the civil war, to examine the dense mythmaking that has surrounded her and that has come to overshadow the life of the woman herself. Óscar Rodríguez Barreira provides a powerful evocation of the Auxilio Social in wartime, examining the organization’s impressive statistics of feeding and sheltering the needy, but also their ambivalent reception by the desperate recipients of their largesse, to show how women’s social service carried out “totalitarian social action.” Among several essays on memoir, Victoria Enders offers the narrative of the very elderly “Chelo,” who reflects on her lifelong commitment to the Falange, after her fiancé’s death in the civil war. As in her pioneering studies of the Sección Femenina, she allows her subjects to reflect on the past without the interruptions of the opinionated interviewer. In the final section, Geoff Jensen examines the evolution of Spanish perceptions of Morocco and Arab Islamism, elegantly showing how public perception and Spanish attitudes towards Islam and North Africa are complex, contradictory and spliced with a dynamic mix of military orientalism: a powerful reminder that in these cross-cultural relations Spanish convictions about the nature of the Other reveal more about the beliefs of the observer than they do about the subject. Judith Keene teaches history at the University of Sydney.
Stan Hilton (1918-2016) By Richard Baxell
Sadly, we have now reached the end of an era. With the death of 98-year old Stan Hilton, there are no longer any British veterans of the International Brigades who fought in the Spanish Civil war of 1936-1939 alive to tell their tale. When 19-year-old Stan Hilton jumped ship in Alicante and volunteered to join the fight, he was convinced that “it was the right thing to do.” He was sent for military training at the British Battalion’s headquarters in the village of Madrigueras, just to the north of the main International Brigades headquarters at Albacete. His period of training (such as it was) completed, Stan joined the battalion in early 1938, as the British volunteers fought as part of the republican force desperately trying to hold on to the remote capital of Teruel. With the republican army in disarray and communications having essentially broken down, Stan ended up having to undertake a dangerous swim across the fast-flowing Ebro river to evade being captured (or worse). Half-drowned, starving and exhausted, Stan decided that he had had enough of the Spanish war and headed for the Mediterranean coast. In March 1938, with the permission of the British ship’s captain, he boarded the SS Lake Lugano at Barcelona, and sailed for home. During the Second World War, Stan served in the British Merchant Navy and, after demobilization, in 1956 he emigrated to Australia with his young family. He worked as a tiler in the building trade, living a quiet life, his presence long unknown to the UK’s International Brigade Memorial Trust. He died on October 21, 2016. Stan Hilton, tiler, merchant seaman and International Brigader, was the last of the last. A longer version of this obituary appear in The Spain Report.
dd ALBA organizes institutes, wins grant This November, ALBA organized three full-day professional development institutes for high school teachers in New York City, New Jersey, and Seattle, Washington, led by Peter N. Carroll, James D. Fernández, Anthony Geist, and Gina Herrmann. The institutes gathered close to 80 teachers to work on lesson plans incorporating the history of the Spanish Civil War and the Lincoln Brigade as part of a curriculum focused on Human Rights. In September, NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs awarded ALBA a grant in support of its institute program. Other supporters of ALBA’s educational initiatives include the Puffin Foundation and the Kurz Family Foundation. (Photo: ALBA’s Tony Geist works with teachers in Seattle.)
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CONTRIBUTIONS Received from 8/1/2016 to 10/31/2016 Benefactor ($5,000 and over)
Estate of Nina Byers, Jesse C. Crawford, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Puffin Foundation Ltd.
Stuart Carlson in memory of Carl Joseph Carlson, who was killed in action at Jarama • Martha Daura • Dan Singer & Clara Diaz-Singer • Linda & Steve Lustig in memory of Dave Smith • Edward Poll
Alda Blanco in memory of Carlos & Iris Blanco • Peter Carroll • Larry & Christine Carsman in memory of all the men and women who bravely volunteered • Daniel Drake • Joan Fisch • Neil Friedman & Ellen Bogolub • Adam Hochschild • Bernard & Louise Lown • Eric Mandel in memory of Abe Osheroff • Andrew & Corie McKibben in memory of Minnesota Brigade volunteers • Michael Muñoz in memory of Nate Thornton • Michael J. Organek • Fraser Ottanelli • Walter J. Philips • Thomas Pinkson in honor of my father, a brigadista, Irving Fred Soloway • James and Ellyn Polshek • Maria Cristina Rodriguez • Joan & Neal Rosenberg in memory of Leo Rosenberg • Len & Nancy Tsou
Carla Appel in memory of Ruth Leider & Lyman R. Bradley • David Aroner in honor of all the brave vets • John August in honor of Sarah August • Joan E. Balter • Jane Bardavid • Richard Bauman • Estate of Ruth Belmont • Joe Bilota in memory of Robert Merriman, Evelyn Hutchins, Salaria Key & Ruth Davidowicz • Steve Birnbaum in memory of Annie Osofsky • Lucy Borodkin • Tibby Brooks in memory of Sam Walters • Orval & Ernestine Buck • Richard Cooper in honor of my father, ALB vet Louis Kupperman • Leslie Correll • Paul Cox • William Creighton • Barbara Dane in memory of Abe Osheroff & Irwin Silber • Alice Dekker • Vincent Doogan • Alan Entin in memory of Bernard Entin • Alexandrina Esparza in honor of all Brigade veterans • Samuel A. Evans • Claire Feder • Margo Feinberg in memory of Helen Freeman Feinberg • Paul V. Fitzgerald in honor of Daniel Fitzgerald • Noel & Cathy Folsom in memory of David Smith • Alex Gabriles • Michael Gallagher • Bert & Esther Glassberg in memory of Samuel Gonshak • Paul Goldstein in memory of Irving Weissman • Stacey Guill • Robert Harris • Hershl Hartman in memory of Al Brotsky • William A. Hazen • Stanley Lasky in memory of Sam Goldman, died Ebro 3/31/1938 • Virginia Leonard • Alan Levine • June & Peter Loskutoff in honor of Jack P. Popov • Roger Lowenstein • Vickie Wellman & Ian MacGregor • Kevin Thomas McKinnon • Lilia Melani • Gerald Meyer • Arnold Miller in memory of Bill Mayer • Joseph Morrow • Theresa Mueller • Robert Nelson • Polly Nusser Dubetz in honor of my father, Charlie Nusser, and all the other Lincolns • Nicholas Orchard in memory of Preston, Josephine & Jessica Hill • Fred W. Rohl • Anthony Rollins • June Sale • Ruth & Michael Samberg • Barbara Sennett-Gilkey in memory of my father, Bill Sennett • Peter D.L. Stansky • Patricia Tanttila • John Tobin • Lotti Tobler in memory of Mitch Berenson • Nancy Wallach in memory of Hy Wallach, ALB veteran • Bonnie & Barry Willdorf • Sydney O. Williams in memory of Al Tanz • Leonard & Ellen Zablow in memory of Ernest Amatniek
Joseph & Esther Adler • John & Peggy Ahlbach • Jose Luis Aliseda M.D. • Anthony S. Alpert, Esq. in honor of Victor Strukl • Karen Anliker • Anonymous • Florence & Peter Ariessohn in memory of Abe Osheroff • Elaine Babian • David Bacon • Phillip Bannowsky • Eugene & Evelyn Baron in memory of Saul Wellman • James & Jane Barrett in honor of Steve Nelson & Fraser Ottanelli • Mandy Bartram in honor of all those who fought and continue to fight against fascism & tyranny • Philip Bereano in memory of Jim Muňoz • Judith & Cyrus Berlowitz in memory of Clara Philipsborn, 5º Regimiento • Murray Bernstein • David N. Bessie in memory of Alvah Bessie • Pilar Vico Bhattacharya • Jane Bjoze • Robert Bordiga in memory of Milt Felsen • Samuel & Adele Braude • Robin W. Briehl, M.D. • Ellen Broms • Mrs. Betty Brown • Paul Bundy • Daniel & Susan Cohen in memory of Milton Cohen • Donald & Barbara Cohen • Sarah Connolly in honor of Sarah Tealbins • Sergio Connolly-Peña in honor of todos y todas que lucharon por defender mi país del fascismo • Yvonne M. Corbin • Alana Dapena Fraiz • Norman & Genevieve Dishotsky in memory of David Charles Wright • Miles & Amy Epstein • Gabriel Falsetta • Frank & Louise Farkas • Bernard Feldstein in memory of Abe Feldstein • Solomon Fisher • Saul Forman • Murray Frank • Patricia Friedland • Roberta Friedman • Victor Fuentes • Myra A. Gable • Edward & Mary Garcia • Herman Geiser in memory of Jeanne S. Geiser • Gretchen Gibbs • Judy Goddess • Sheila Goldmacher 22 THE VOLUNTEER December 2016
• Lou & Nan Goldstein in memory of Abe Smorodin • Maria-Leticia Gomez • Charles Gonzalez • Chris Goodfellow • David Gordon in memory of Harley Gordon • Paul Gottlieb • Julio Granda in honor of Luis & Maria Granda • Mora Gregg • Richard W. Hannon • William and Lucille Harmon • Paul Harris in honor of Sydney Harris, Chicago • Laura Hartmann • Peter D. & Karolyn Hartzman • Gina Herrmann • Carol Hochberg • Joan Intrator • Gabriel Jackson • Katia Jacobs in memory of Deyo Jacobs • Cecily Kahn in memory of Goldie Kahn • John L. Kailin • Cora E. Kallo • David Kern in memory of Saul Wellman • Marlin R. Keshishian • Karel Kilimnik • Ervine Kimerling in memory of Irving Fishgold, ALB vet • Nancy Kline Piore • William Knapp • Dorothy Koppelman • Pearl Kornberg in memory of Morris Tobman • Arnold Krammer in memory of Tom Trent (real name Arthur Witt), killed in Spain in 1937 • Elissa Krauss • Beatrice Krivetsky • Thomas S. Larson • Lorinda Lasus in honor of the award of an honorary doctorate to Dr. Paul Blanc • Nina & Myron Lazar in memory of Samuel Nahman • Marjorie Lewis • Kevin Lindemann & Cathy Campo in memory of Manny Hochberg • Marlene Litwin • Gene Marchi • Eliezer T. Margolis • Linden P. Martineau • Aleix Martinez • Margaret & Arnold Matlin • Leslie Alber & Eugene Medina • Susan Mende • Marvin Miller • Ruth Misheloff • Nick Nascati in memory of Robin Hunt, friend & SCW aficionado • Rita Neri in memory of Dino Neri • Ann M. Niederkorn • Shaun O’Connell in honor of the VALB memorial • Michael O’Connor • Ann Ottanelli • James & Barbara Pandaru in memory of George Watt • Dr. Jack Paradise • Paul Paradise • Abel Perez in memory of John G. Hovan • Peter Persoff in memory of Jacob Persoff • Daniel Pina • Louise Popkin • Nieves & Manuel Pousada • William & Gloria Powers in memory of Ben Gardner • Michael P. Predmore in memory of Bob Reed & Oiva Halonen • Edward J. & Gynis Pulia • Michael Quigley • Paula Rabinowitz in memory of Rae & Joe Bernstein • Toddy Richman in honor of Jon & Judy Hilkevitch • Gerald & Mutsumi Robinson • Bill Roller in honor of Milt Wolff • Lisa Brier Rose • Miki Rosen • William Rosen in memory of Carroll Goodman • Judith Rosenbaum in honor of all who fought • Gail & Stephen Rosenbloom in memory of Morris Tobman • Herb & Sandy Rosenblum • Naomi Rosenblum • Hetty Rosenstein • Michael Rosenthal in honor of Peter Carroll • Susan P. Saiz in memory of Sana Goldblatt • Herman Schmidt • Ellen Schwartz • Susan & Louis Segal • Douglas & Karen Seidman in memory of Elkan Wendkos • Teresa Shtob in memory of Abe & Dotty Shtob • Maria Arantzazu Shuey • Lewis Siegelbaum in memory of my father, Morton Siegelbaum • Pauline M. Sloan • Joaquin Soler Cura in honor of los que fueron fieles a la República • Ada Solodkin in memory of my husband, Leo Solodkin, VALB • Rita Spiller • Elaine Stone in honor of Barbara Rabinowitz’ 75th birthday • Eric Stone • Louise Katz Sullivan • Carlyn Syvanen in memory of Carl Syvanen • Merry Tucker in memory of Steve Zeluck • Gloria Waldman in memory of Helen & Harry Feiman • Frederick Warren • Joseph Wexler • Robert H. & Lois Whealey in memory of Herbert Southworth & James Norman Schmidt • Natalie Williams in memory of Joseph Luftig • Dolores & Gordon Wine in memory of Al Torello • Daniel Wohlfeiler in honor of Judith Montell • Robert Zimmerman • Paul Zink
Special thanks to our monthly donors:
John August, Elaine Babian, Judith Berlowitz, Tibby Brooks, Paul Bundy, Barbara Dane, Michael Gallagher, Gabriel Jackson, John Kailin, Dorothy Kopelman, Andrew McKibben, Herbert Molin, Mike O’Connor, Nicholas A. Orchard, Fraser Ottanelli, Ann F. Ottanelli, Louise B. Popkin, Nieves Pousada, Michael Quigley, Miki Rosen, Andrew Weissman, Leonard Zablow.
A big THANK YOU to David Birnbaum who ran an independent fundraiser on Facebook for ALBA this month! He used a new Facebook feature that allows users reach out to their followers to raise funds for non-profits that are important to them. If you use Facebook, please consider running a fundraiser of your own. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to spread the word and generate much needed funds to preserve the legacy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade! For information: 212 674 5398 or email@example.com
Thank you, Ethel Tobach! The death of Ethel Tobach, one of the remaining giants of 20th century comparative psychology, brings to a close an important era in our science. Ethel was a longtime ALBA donor and recognized as a tireless crusader for human rights and dignity.
December 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 23
At the 80th anniversary celebration of the creation of the International Brigades on October 28, the town of Torija granted a Freedom Medal to 97-year old
IBer Joseph Almudever
Photo: Nancy and Len Tsou
Back by popular demand!
Save the Date! Sunday December 11th! End of the Year Brunch in NYC for the ALBA Community
Second limited edition of the 80th Anniversary Cap
Spanish Benevolent Society
Price: $25 plus $5 for shipping & handling* Send a check payable to ALBA to: 799 Broadway, Suite 341 New York, NY 10003 Or Contact us at: (212) 674-5398
239 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10011 12PM to 2PM
Made in the USA by the Workers United Union, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.
*All proceeds go towards supporting ALBAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s educational programs and Human Rights work.