The Volunteer March 2016

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Vol. XXXIII, No.1

March 2016

PUBLISHED BY THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN BRIGADE ARCHIVES Joe Selligman (Tamiment Library) Selligman’s last letter home. Courtesy of the Selligman family.

Adam Hochschild on

the First Volunteer

ALBA Announces 2016 Human Rights Award Merriman’s Death Pete Seeger & the Feds

Founded by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade 799 Broadway, Suite 341 New York, NY 10003 (212) 674-5398 Editor Print Edition Peter N. Carroll Editor Online Edition Sebastiaan Faber Associate Editor Aaron B. Retish Book Review Editor Joshua Goode Graphic Design Editorial Assistance Phil Kavanaugh Manuscripts, inquiries, and letters to the editor may be sent by email to 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 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.

IN THIS ISSUE p 3 ALBA/Puffin Award p 4 Faces of ALBA-VALB p 5 The First Volunteer p 9 Naming the Lincoln Battalion p 12 Town Honors Volunteers p 13 Pete Seeger & the Feds p 14 Seeger in East Berlin p 16 The Death of Merriman p 20 Book Reviews p 22 Contributions 2 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

Dear Friends and Comrades: The New Year has barely started and ALBA is already at work on an exciting number of programs and activities. 2016 marks the 80th anniversary of several seminal moments in the history of the Spanish Civil War: from the electoral victory of the Popular Front coalition and the military uprising against the legally elected government, to the baptism of fire of the first members of the International Brigades in the successful defense of Madrid and, finally, the first organized departure of volunteers from the United States en route to Spain. We’ll be focusing on these events in all our educational and public programs. At the end of January and early February, ALBA—with the support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council—conducted a three-day institute for 20 high school teachers in New York followed by two institutes in Boston and Seattle. Our annual commemoration is also falling into place. The New York reunionwill be held at the Japan Society on Saturday May 7. The Bay Area program, featuring a special theatrical presentation by ALBA Board member Peter Glazer, will be on October 23. Along with a program of songs and commemoration, both events will recognize the recipients of the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism. This year, the honor will be split between journalists Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill. Working on opposite sides of the Mexico-U.S. border, Cacho and Scahill have not only relentlessly exposed patterns of corruption, violence, and human rights violations but their work has also prompted investigations into the United States’ shadow wars in the Middle East and Africa as well as Mexican authorities’ use of torture and reliance on censorship. We hope you can join us as we honor these two brave investigative journalists who at great personal risk have consistently advocated for the some of the continent’s most vulnerable people. As ALBA engages in new activities with continued enthusiasm we are always mindful that we could not do what we do without the support of our Lincoln Brigade “family.” For this we thank you and wish you a New Year of peace, activism, and unity.

Fraser Ottanelli Chair of the Board of Governors

Marina Garde Executive Director

Fearless Journalists Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill Win Human Rights Award By the editors

The 2016 ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism will be shared by journalists Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill, who have dedicated their careers to exposing corruption, violence, and abuse of power. Cacho and Scahill shine as rare examples of investigative journalists who place human rights at the center of their work.—Kate Doyle


Lydia Cacho

n Saturday, May 7, 2016, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) will present the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism to journalists Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill. One of the largest monetary awards for human rights in the world, this $100,000 cash prize is granted annually by ALBA and the Puffin Foundation to honor the International Brigades and connect their inspiring legacy with contemporary causes. “Cacho and Scahill both shine as rare examples of investigative journalists who place human rights at the center of their work,” said ALBA board member and 2012 award recipient Kate Doyle. “Their reporting not only affects government policies, but seeks to champion and protect the lives of the world’s most vulnerable citizens. ALBA is proud to honor them.” Lydia Cacho is a Mexican award-winning journalist, author and human rights activist specializing in women and children’s rights. Her books and articles have exposed organized crime, corruption, cultures of violence and government impunity. She has been incarcerated, brutally tortured and threatened by corrupt officials for her work; nevertheless, she has become a leader of the movement fighting for freedom of expression and human rights in Mexico. She has been awarded the Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children's Rights, the Hrant Dink Award and the Civil Courage Prize of the Train Foundation, among other honors. Jeremy Scahill, one of the three founding editors of The Intercept, is an investigative reporter, war correspondent, and author of the international bestselling books Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield and Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, the former Yugoslavia, and elsewhere across the globe. Scahill’s work has sparked several congressional investigations and won some of journalism’s highest honors. He was twice awarded the prestigious George Polk Award, in 1998 for foreign reporting and in 2008 for Blackwater. Scahill is a

Jeremy Scahill

producer and writer of the awardwinning film Dirty Wars, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award. On both sides of the volatile Mexico-United States border, Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill have dedicated their careers to exposing the corruption, violence and abuse of power which go routinely unchallenged in the mainstream media. Cacho and Scahill’s work exemplifies the intersections of expository reporting and human rights activism; their commitment to breaking the most profound silences have prompted investigations into the United States’ shadow wars across the Middle East and Africa as well as Mexican authorities’ use of censorship, torture and corruption. Part of an initiative designed to sustain the legacy of the experiences, aspirations and idealism of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism supports current international activists and human rights causes. The Award was created by philanthropist and visionary Perry Rosenstein, President of the Puffin Foundation, which in 2010 established an endowed fund for the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism. “This award recognizes and encourages individuals or groups whose work has a positive impact on the advancement and/or defense of human rights. Jeremy Scahill and Lydia Cacho have courageously used their investigative journalism to expose reactionary forces and the information they wish to conceal,” Rosenstein said.

Award Ceremony – Saturday, May 7th at 2:30pm Japan Society

333 East 47th St. New York, NY 10017 March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 3

Richard Bermack with his 1994 portrait of Milt Wolff in 2005. Photo Richard Green.

Faces of ALBA-VALB

Meet the members of the ALBA community | By Sebastiaan Faber

Richard Bermack

Richard Bermack is a documentary photographer and writer who has worked primarily for labor unions, including SEIU, the UAW, and the ILWU. In addition to his work on radical and labor history, he has written about and photographed workers involved in children and family services, welfare reform, aiding people with disabilities, and health care reform. Among other things, he currently works for Organized Labor, a publication of the San Francisco Building Trades.

Your book The Front Lines of Social Change: The Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Bridge is filled with photographs and interviews of the veterans. How did the book come about and why did you produce it? In the 1970s I was working with an organization in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Radical Elders Oral History Project (REOHP)—‘60s radicals interviewing radicals from the 1930s. We were trying to preserve the radical legacy, resurrecting it from the ashes of the McCarthy era. As I worked on REOHP, I started attending the annual San Francisco Bay Area VALB dinners. They were major events at that time. Eight hundred or more attended. It was like a Who’s Who of the left. Speakers ranged from writers like Isabel Allende, Alice Walker, and Studs Terkel to movie stars like Ed Asner and Martin Sheen. If you wanted to meet and photograph 1930s activists, those dinners were the place to be. At about that time I co-hosted a radio show on KPFA, Older Men, Older Women. I had Milt Wolff and Ed Bender on to promote the dinner. After that I became a close friend of Milt and got involved with the Bay Area Associates of VALB, photographing and helping to produce the performances for the annual events. I exhibited the photos at their 50th reunion and helped Judy Montell with her film, Forever Activists. After 9/11, amid the rising militarism of the Bush era, I felt it was important to get the story of the vets out, to provide hope and inspiration for those with a progressive vision, as well as to honor the vets. The book shows images of the veterans in their youth and as they aged. What did these photos reveal to you about the veterans? As I went through the Daily Worker photo archives, I was moved by how mainstream the struggle for Spain had been. The picket lines were filled with Broadway stars, and their event filled Madison Square Garden. But what really drew me in were the vets themselves. The vets were amazing people with incredible vitality. They lived to organize people and events, to walk picket lines, and to march in demonstrations. They would try to get you involved in whatever cause they were working on at that time. They were very inclusive and a lot of fun. As Milt Wolff stated, “Activism is the elixir of life.” My book is about how the commitment the vets made to fight in the Spanish Civil War gave their lives meaning and a sense of purpose that would guide them for the rest of their lives. VALB members were active in the struggles for civil rights and labor unions, opposition to nuclear weapons, and the anti-war movement from the Viet Nam War to the Gulf Wars. They were 4 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

particularly active in opposing U.S. intervention in Central America and in the anti-Apartheid movement. What inspired me was not just what they did in Spain, but how, in spite of all the repression they suffered, they stuck with the struggle their entire lives. One of the first vets I met on the steering committee of REOHP, Virginia Malbin, had been a social worker in Spain. She never seemed to age. She was still white-water river rafting and traveling the world in her late 80s. The last time I saw her, she was in her 90s and had just moved to a retirement center for teachers. When I asked her how it was living in a senior center, she told me it was great. They had the whole place organized, and no one was going to vote Republican. They had book groups, political discussion groups, and cultural events. The only problem with the place, she said, was the way the service people were being treated. So she formed a committee with other residents to meet with management and they demanded better treatment for the workers. As we walked down the hall, people stopped her—“Virginia, we have to talk later….” Throughout your career you have written about and beautifully photographed everyday people helping others. What drew you to this theme? I believe that the proper role of society is to create a better life for everyone, not just for the wealthy. Besides my work with ALBA and the Lincoln Brigade, some of my best work was producing a newspaper for a union that represented social service and healthcare workers. We fought to improve the working conditions of our workers so they could provide better services and improve the lives of those in need. I tried to show in my photographs and stories that social work can make a difference for individuals and for society as a whole. That’s why many of the Lincoln vets were involved in social work and healthcare, making the world a better place for everyone. The Lincoln Brigade veterans demonstrated that the value in life comes from helping others. This message particularly resonates with young people, who are so desperately looking for alternatives to the predatory, individualistic, corporate ideals perpetuated by politicians and the mainstream media today. If ever there was an answer for those who feel left out in the cold by the likes of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and the establishment, it is the legacy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, not just their sacrifices in Spain, but how they led their lives after Spain. Aaron Retish is Professor of History at Wayne State University. For a longer version of this article, visit the online Volunteer at

Don’t Try to Catch Me: The First Volunteer By Adam Hochschild

In this excerpt from his new book Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, Adam Hochschild tells the story of Swarthmore student Joe Selligman (19161937), the first American volunteer to join the battle for Madrid. After he left, his parents in Kentucky received an envelope mailed by a friend: “By the time you get this letter I will be in Europe. I am going to Spain. . . . I am really too excited and angry . . . to do anything else.”

March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 5


ne day in December of 1936, Esther Selligman of Louisville, Kentucky placed a telephone call to her son, Joe, a senior at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. To her shock, she was told that he had disappeared. A doodle later found among his college notes provided a clue to where he had gone. He had drawn a rough map, on which Germany, Italy, Portugal and part of Spain were colored black. It was captioned: “Europe: Again Victim of the Black Plague.” Five months earlier, the Spanish Civil War had begun, and Franco’s troops had reached the very outskirts of Madrid. Joseph Selligman Jr. had been editor of the Swarthmore literary magazine and a member of the college debating team. He hoped to go on to Harvard as a graduate student in philosophy. In the home where he and his two sisters grew up, their father, a prominent lawyer who had argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, was a former chairman of Kentucky’s Republican Party, but their mother voted Socialist. Joe’s parents soon received a letter from him, mailed by a friend after a week’s deliberate delay, that began, “By the time you get this letter I will be in Europe. I am going to Spain. . . . I am really too excited and angry . . . to do anything else. . . . Besides, a lot of good a diploma would do in a Fascist era—and Spain seems to me to be the crucial test.” Volunteers for the International Brigades were already arriving in Spain from many countries in Europe. The Brigades, of course, would eventually include some 2,800 Americans. But the first contingent of these volunteers had not yet left the United States. Joe Selligman had headed to Spain on his own. Frantic, his father sent a telegram to the father of a college friend of Joe’s, Charles Crane, Jr., whose home in Montpelier, Vermont Joe had visited for Thanksgiving. just learned our son joseph left swarthmore college december third for spain stop rumored your son gone with him stop. . . . wire any information you have. But the rumor was not true, said a reply telegram from Montpelier; Charles Crane had not gone to Spain and Joe had confided nothing to the Crane family of his plans. Charles Crane’s father followed up his telegram with a letter dic6 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

tated on his office stationary: “We found Joseph a very agreeable guest,” he wrote. “. . . . . after his trip up here, he wrote us a very kind and courteous note of thanks.” In the letter to his parents, Joe added, “Please don’t try to follow or catch me or anything.” But Selligman’s father did try. He hired a private detective with international contacts, one Col. Robert M. Foster of Newark, New Jersey, and brought him to his Louisville law office. From there, seeking information about Joe, Foster fired off cables to steamship lines, passport offices and American consulates. When he knew someone he telephoned, and a legal secretary listened in on an extension, taking shorthand notes that were later transcribed. “Pick him up if you can and hold him under restraint,” Foster told the American consul in Barcelona, a friend, “and if possible send an escort with him to Paris at our expense. He is a minor.” He told the

consul that even if Joe were using another name, nametags with “J. Selligman” would be on his clothes. Foster found out which steamship Joe had taken to Europe and then, through a French newspaperman who did investigative work on the side, managed to locate Joe in Paris, where he had gone to enlist. Selligman, Sr. then sent a young law partner across the Atlantic, to try to persuade Joe to come home. The family also got in touch with the American ambassador to France, who was the cousin of a Louisville attorney they knew, and Joe was somehow talked into coming to the embassy to receive a phone call from his parents. Their efforts were in vain. At the Paris labor union office where men were signing up for the International Brigades, officials turned Joe down, telling him that at 19 he was too young. Joe

solved the problem by trying again, after paying $15 for the identity documents of an Irishman, Frank Neary. Once enlisted, he was assigned to the battalion of British volunteers, since no other Americans had arrived yet. He was happy to sign up under Neary’s name because, he confessed in one letter in early 1937, “an alias rather adds to the adventure-feeling, romance, etc.” In Paris, newly-arriving volunteers were taken to the Gare d’Orsay on the banks of the Seine. Under its high, vaulting glass roof, they boarded what was informally known as the “Red Express” for the Spanish border. As the train sped through France, men sang the “Internationale” in half a dozen languages, while the farmers and railway track workers they passed made the clenched-fist Popular Front salute. Another letter home from Joe just after Christmas mentioned proudly that he was growing a beard and mustache. He included a photo of himself in uniform, with a beret. “Quit worrying,” he wrote his family. “I am in no danger.” He would stay out of the line of fire as a driver or an interpreter—he knew French, German, a little Spanish and “also I am learning to speak British.” Selligman’s father, not reassured, wrote to Louis Fischer, who was covering the war for the Nation, pleading with him to make inquiries about his son. He continued to try to enlist the help of American diplomats. Joe again wrote his parents, “For God’s sake, quit trying to catch me.” At the British Battalion’s training base, hastily improvised in a village called Madrigueras, Joe Selligman and his fellow volunteers were each issued brown corduroy trousers and a jacket too light for the January weather, a thin blanket, bulky ammunition boxes attached to a belt, and a helmet. “In spite of its dashing appearance,” wrote Jason Gurney, a London sculptor in the battalion, “it was made of very thin metal and was quite useless as a protection against anything more lethal than kids throwing stones.” There were no rifles or bayonets. Joe and his British comrades trained for six weeks, but only a day before they were sent to the Madrid front did a shipment of Russian rifles finally arrive. Ominously, the same day word came that Mál-

A doodle found among his college notes showed a rough map, on which Germany, Italy, Portugal and part of Spain were colored black. “Europe: Again Victim of the Black Plague.” aga, on Spain’s south coast, had fallen to Franco’s troops, heavily supported by Italians manning tanks and armored cars sent by Mussolini. For three months now, Franco’s forces had besieged Madrid, and he now planned a new offensive in which Nationalist troops were to encircle Spain’s ancient capital. The first assault was to cross the Jarama River south of the city and then strike towards the northeast to cut the road from the Mediterranean port of Valencia, the crucial lifeline that supplied Madrid with arms, ammunition and food. In the first few days of the offensive, the Nationalists managed to kill or wound well over 1,000 Republican soldiers and come dangerously close to the MadridValencia road. Republican commanders rushed new troops, principally the International Brigades, to defend the road’s endangered flank. It was here that the British Battalion was sent, ordered forward through rain-soaked olive groves under heavy Nationalist artillery fire. The men had finally been given rifles, but had only been able to shoot ten practice rounds apiece. Nonetheless, they were relieved to have real weapons at last. “We began to feel like men again and something of the spirit of the crusade came back into us,” Gurney wrote. “Had I realized that one half of our company would be dead within the next twenty-four hours, I might have felt differently.” On February 11, 1937, he, Joe Selligman, and the rest of the British Battalion marched to the front line. In the battle for Madrid, Selligman would be the first American to go into combat. *** The next day dawned clear and cold. As Franco’s artillery boomed and fighter planes dove and wheeled in a dogfight overhead, at the stone farmhouse they had taken over as headquarters the British received orders to move forward. The

landscape into which they advanced was a lovely one of pine, oak, cypress and olive trees scattered across a plateau and valley, carpeted here and there with fragrant marjoram and sage. For a moment, positioned on hills with a view of the countryside, it was possible to feel part of a great international effort, for a unit of French and Belgian volunteers was to one side of them.

“We looked magnificent, we felt magnificent,” remembered one battalion member, “and we thought that if only our colleagues back home . . . could see us now, how proud they would be.” But “not even the Brigade staff,” according to Gurney, “possessed maps. . . . and they were dependent on reports arriving in four different languages.” Furthermore, the British Battalion’s machine guns—most of them prone to quickly jam—required four different kinds of am-

munition, and its rifles a fifth. And some belts of bullets, it turned out, didn’t fit any of the machine guns. One advantage the British theoretically had was that part of their position was on higher ground. When a three-hour Nationalist artillery barrage began, however, they quickly christened the place Suicide Hill. They had had no training in digging trenches and foxholes-and there were no shovels. Then came an attack by thousands of Moors, “their uniform,” wrote Gurney, “covered by a brownish poncho blanket with a hole in the middle which appeared to flutter around them as they ran. . . . It was terrifying to watch the uncanny ability of the Moorish infantry to exploit the slightest fold in the ground which could be used for cover. . . . It was a formidable opposition to be faced by a collection of city-bred young men with no experience of war, no idea of how to find cover on an open hillside, and no competence as marksmen.” The fighting was ferocious; at one point the advancing Moors came within 100 feet of the British position. The superior number of Nationalist troops, and the relentless pounding of German artillery took a terrible toll, against which a stream of exhortations from Brigade headquarters in French and Russian was little help. The shelling cut the battalion’s telephone lines, and so Joe Selligman was assigned to be a message runner. As the day wore on, the toll continued to mount. By evening only 125 out of 400 British riflemen had not been wounded or killed. “Everywhere men are lying,” remembered one survivor. “Men with a curious ruffled look, like a dead bird.” Near dusk, Gurney unexpectedly came upon a group of wounded. They had been carried “to a non-existent field dressing station from which they should have been taken back to the hospital, and now March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 7

On February 11, 1937, Gurney, Joe Selligman, and the rest of the British Battalion marched to the front line. In the battle for Madrid, Selligman would be the first American to go into combat. they had been forgotten. There were about fifty stretchers all of which were occupied, but many of the men had already died and most of the others would die before morning.” The experience seared him. “I went from one to the other but was absolutely powerless to do anything other than to hold a hand or light a cigarette. . . . I did what I could to comfort them and promised to try and get some ambulances. Of course I failed, which left me with a feeling of guilt which I never entirely shed. . . . They were all calling for water but I had none to give them.” One British Battalion member who may well have been in this group of wounded was Joe Selligman, for during the day’s fighting he received a bullet in the head from the attacking Moors. Eventually evacuated by mule—a jolting nightmare for a soldier with a head wound—he ended up in a hospital near Madrid. When Joe’s family heard that he had been wounded they immediately began sending panic-stricken messages to American officials in Spain and Washington. urgently request effort be made to remove him further from fighting zone or into france if possible and his condition permits, his father telegraphed Secretary of State Cordell Hull, i will bear all necessary expense. On what happened next, the record is contradictory. A flowery letter from Harry Pollitt, chief of the British Communist Party, assured Mr. Selligman that young Joe had been “taken to hospital where he was given every available treatment, and expressed his own appreciation of the kindness and solicitude of all those who came in contact with him.” But a British survivor of the battle, a fellow message runner, reported that Joe never regained consciousness. Whatever the case, within two weeks of being wounded—or possibly less; no medical records survive— he was dead. Another letter from Pollitt spoke of “Comrade Selligman”; Pollitt also said how well liked Joe was, talked of “the sublime self-sacrifice of so many fine sons such as your own,” and said that Joe had been “buried with full military honours.” But when his grieving father now asked 8 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

American diplomats to see if Joe’s body could be sent home, again offering to pay all expenses, a telegram from the secretary of state suggested a different story, saying that the remains cannot be removed for reburial as he was buried with some seven or eight men which would make individual identification impracticable. The secretary was actually softening news received from an American diplomat in Spain. Two days earlier, he had cabled Washington that at the time of Joe’s death there were some 250 other soldiers whose bodies had to be removed from the hospital and buried at once. Unable to recover his son’s body, Joe’s father asked the State Department’s help in sending home any of his belongings. All that could be found, however, fitted into a single envelope: two billfolds containing a Kentucky driver’s license and an i.d. card from the Swarthmore College gym. *** Some letters discovered only recently add a poignant coda to the story. The college friend he had visited in Montpelier, Vermont over the Thanksgiving just before his departure for Spain, Charles Crane Jr., was the son of an insurance executive. The two young men shared a passion for philosophy. Shortly after Joe Selligman visited the Crane family, Crane, who had graduated from Swarthmore the previous spring, also attempted to volunteer to fight in Spain. But he got no farther than New York City. As he put it cryptically in a letter, “I was apprehended by my father . . . and returned to Montpelier.” More details we do not know. Two months after the Thanksgiving visit, young Crane’s father wrote again to Joe’s father. His letter formally began, “Dear Mr. Selligman”, but was handwritten on lined paper. It reported the news that Charles Crane Jr. had just committed suicide. “From youth up he had been somewhat of an anxiety to us,” his father wrote, “because of his too-serious interest in ‘the purpose of life’. . . in mockery of this cock-eyed world he has quit it—a brilliant, companionable son—leaving us crushed.” A note at the bottom added, “Excuse the paper. Written in bed.”

Selligman Sr. immediately wrote back a heartfelt letter of sympathy, from one father to another, but still addressed “My dear Mr. Crane.” Of Joe, in Spain, he said, “We shall not write him of Charles’ death. Knowing how devoted they were to each other, we would not want Joseph to have the shock of this news when he is alone so far from home.” The letter is dated February 12, 1937—the very day that young Joe Selligman received his fatal bullet wound. Before either family got this news, Mr. Crane replied, now back in the office and dictating to his secretary, to thank Joe’s father, saying that “somehow I got more comfort out of your letter than I have out of any of the many messages we have received.” He added, about his own son: “I only wish Charles had started off to Spain or something that would have kept his mind away from selfdestruction.” Soon after this, Selligman, Sr. received the news of Joe’s death, and wrote to inform Crane, ending his letter, “We shall face the years to come with such grim courage as we can summon . . . hoping also that for the betterment of the world such idealism as our two boys cherished may not perish from the earth.” For several months, the two bereaved fathers in Louisville and Montpelier continued to exchange letters, always on office stationery, always with the sets of initials showing they were dictated to secretaries, always “Dear Mr. Crane” and “Dear Mr. Selligman.” “I hope that our family may sometime meet yours,” Crane wrote to Selligman at one point, “and talk of many things which are hard to put into our letters.” They never managed to do so. Adapted from Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 by Adam Hochschild, to be published in March by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The author wishes to thank Joseph Selligman’s sister, Lucy Selligman Schneider and his niece, Lucy McDiarmid. The family has donated Selligman’s letters and related materials to the ALBA archives at New York University’s Tamiment Library.

NAMING THE LINCOLN BATTALION By David Jorge & Sebastiaan Faber

Cuban volunteers belonging to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Barcelona, January 1937. Photo Agustí Centelles.


Why did the American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War name themselves after Abraham Lincoln? Who first came up with the idea of the “Lincoln Battalion” and when? New information is complicating the long-accepted account.

t was a beautiful story, beautifully told. It’s January 23, 1937, about a week after the first shipment of volunteers from the United States marched through Barcelona. The Fifteenth International Brigade is in the process of being formed; its official creation will be on January 31. The 400 or so U.S. volunteers who are by now in Spain gather to collectively choose the name of their unit. Alfred Tanz, speaking with historian Peter N. Carroll, said he recalled “a long discussion in which the men proposed various designations.” The machine gunners suggested the name

of labor leader Tom Mooney, but, Carroll writes, “a larger consensus preferred the American symbols of the Popular Front.” A vote was taken. Commander Robert Merriman wrote in his diary that day: “Long Live the Lincoln Battalion!” Recent investigations, however, suggest a different sequence of events. A first complication arose when, in early 2010, James Fernández and Sebastiaan Faber went in search of the elusive identity of a black volunteer photographed by the Catalan cameraman Agustí Centelles. They proved that the portrait had March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 9

Dr. Rafael Méndez Martínez

been taken on January 17, 1937, in Barcelona, when a contingent of newly arrived international volunteers marched through the city on their way to Albacete, where the headquarters of the International Brigades had been established. The volunteer, who turned out to be a Cuban exile in the United States, appeared in other photos from that day holding a banner that read: “1er BATALLÓN AMERICANO / A. LINCOLN / CENTURIA ANTONIO GUITERAS / BRIGADA INTERNACIONAL.” Further research indicated that the group of Cuban exiles from New York had formed their own unit of about a hundred soldiers, named after the Cuban politician and revolutionary Antonio Guiteras (1906-1935). More surprising was the fact that the entire U.S. battalion already appeared to have been named as well. Apparently there had even been time enough to sew several large cloth banners. Other photographs from the same day show American volunteers carrying a second banner, simply reading “1er BATALLÓN AMERICANO / ABRAHAM LINCOLN / BRIGADA INTERNACIONAL.” How did the Lincoln Battalion come about? As Peter Carroll points out, the frequently-used term “Lincoln Brigade” is, strictly speaking, a misnomer. The U.S. volunteers fought in the Fifteenth International Brigade, which was formed in late January 1937 and included a British, a French-Belgian, and a Spanish battalion. Moreover, not all the Americans served in the Lincoln Battalion per se; others belonged, at different moments, to the Washington Battalion, the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion, the transport section (Regiment de Tren), or the John Brown artillery battery, as well as various medical groups. Yet regardless of these technical details, the question remains when and how it was decided to link the fight in Spain with the towering historical figure of President Abraham Lincoln. Was it a collective, democratic decision, as Tanz suggested, or did it come down from the political or military leadership? Was it made after the volunteers arrived in Spain, as Merriman’s diary entry seems to indicate, or before they even left the United States? And who first came up with the idea? If the photos taken on January 17, 1937 introduced a first complication, further questions are raised by a second source, Dr. Rafael Méndez (1906-1991), a Spanish physician, member of the Socialist Party, and close confidant of Dr. Juan Negrín. (Negrín served in the Spanish Republican government during the war, first as Minister of Finance and later as Prime-Minister.) In his memoirs, published in Mexico in 1987, Dr. Méndez recalls an important trip to the United States in October 1936, in the company of Luis Prieto, son of the Socialist leader Indalecio Prieto. They were on a mission: Negrín had sent them to buy war material—mainly aircraft—in the United States. This was still an option at that time. During the first months of the war, the U.S. embargo regarding Spain was political or “moral” (as President Franklin D. Roosevelt used that term against Italy when Mussolini invaded Ethiopia the previous year.) It was not “legal” as it would be from January 1937 onwards. Still, Méndez and Prieto could carry out 10 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

their mission only after convincing Wall Street bankers of the validity of the large checks they carried, from a Government in war and with an uncertain future. At one point during this special U.S. mission, a secret meeting was arranged between Méndez and Earl Browder, head of the Communist Party of the United States, through a mysterious man in a bowler hat who went by the name of Patterson. Méndez was a bit surprised at the level of secrecy involved—they took a cab, a subway, and another cab to shake off anyone possibly following them—but he took an immediate liking to Browder. At their meeting, Browder announced the formation of a Communist corps of U.S. volunteers that would be sent to Spain to support the Republic. They also discussed what to name this group. Here is Méndez: Browder struck me as a modest and simple man. … He put the main issue of our meeting on the table. They were recruiting men to fight in Spain. A brigade would be formed, which did not have a name yet, and then and there we decided that it should be called the Lincoln Brigade. He wanted to be able to rely on me in case he needed financial help. I granted him that help, whenever it was necessary, through Mr. Patterson as intermediary, and never saw Earl Browder again. Was it really Méndez and Browder who came up with the Lincoln name, months before the first volunteers left New York? The scenario is in fact quite probable. To understand why, we need to broaden our lens a bit and look at the historical context. By 1936, Earl Browder, who served as General Secretary of the U.S. Communist Party (CPUSA) from 1932 to 1945, supported New Deal coalition. At its Congress in the summer of 1935, the Communist International (Comintern) had approved the formation of “Popular Fronts” to build a broad progressive alliance against fascism. This decision was a stunning about-face following years of sectarian struggles within the left. For Browder, it cleared the way to pursue broad alliances during the years of the FDR administration, drawing the CPUSA out of its isolated niche on the radical left. Comintern leader Gyorgy Dimitrov had also emphasized the need for the left to counter the fascists’ extreme nationalism with an alternative appeal to patriotic pride. In the United States, this encouraged the CPUSA not only to wrap itself in the American flag, but to mine the country’s history in search of symbols of progressivism. The outbreak of the war in Spain a year later put the Popular Front-New Deal connection in an even clearer perspective. Republican Spain, after all, could be seen as something of a Spanish version of the Roosevelt Administration. (In that summer of 1936, neither the small Communist Party nor the much larger Socialist Party were part of the Spanish Republican Government.) And now, that democratically elected government was being attacked by fascism. The military rebels received immediate support from Berlin, Rome, and Lisbon, while the European democracies (the most

“Merriman wrote in his diary that day: “Long Live the Lincoln Battalion!” A secret meeting was arranged through a mysterious man in a bowler hat who went by the name of Patterson.” natural allies of the Spanish Republic) signed a non-intervention “One of the reasons the leaders chose the name Abraham pact. This led Stalin’s Soviet Union in October to help the Spanish Lincoln,” adds Peter Carroll, “was to make a connection between government by selling war material to Spain as well as sending the war in Spain and the U.S, Civil War. Lincoln was the elected technicians and military advisors. At the same time, Stalin appresident of the legal government, entitled to international supproved the recruitment of an international force of volunteers, an port, as opposed to the rebels (the Confederates and Franco) effort to be organized through French Communist Party. The first who violated constitutional procedures.” The parallel struck volunteers began arriving in Spain in that month. a chord with the American public. “Several writers made the Stalin had three reasons to support Spain’s lonely democratconnection between battles in the U.S. Civil War and battles in ic government. First, he wanted to send a clear message to the Spain,” Carroll says. “Hemingway mentioned Gettysburg, and at Fascist powers that he wouldn't stand by idly while they attacked the end of the Spanish Civil War he compared the returning solother sovereign states. Second, he wanted to display his sincerity diers to the men who returned after Appomattox. The difference in pursuing international alliances was—he predicted, correctly—that with democratic governments to form the Americans in Spain were coming the kind of antifascist block proposed home to a second world war.” at the Comintern Congress in 1935. “During the 1930s,” Carroll Last but not least, he wanted to points out, “there was a cult of Lincoln show the world (and especially the in the USA, spawning many popular enthusiasts of Communism around books and movies. Most Americans the globe) that Moscow, motherland understood that Lincoln had freed of the working class, would not the slaves. And supporters of the spare efforts to defend its comrades. Spanish Republic saw a parallel to Browder’s plan to organize a battalfreeing the Spanish Republic from ion of American volunteers was born Francoist enslavement. Interestingly, in this context. The U.S. volunteers first U.S. supporters of Franco did not came into action in January 1937, refer to the U.S. Civil War, although three months after the first internationthey did occasionally talk of Franco al brigaders had arrived in Spain. as analogous to Washington, father Why would Browder and of his country.” Méndez land on the name of Was it Méndez or Browder who Lincoln? One plausible reason has to first suggested naming the American do with image politics. Browder and contingent of volunteers in Spain Méndez thought it wise to underplay after the 16th U.S. President? Most the Communist role in the internationlikely it was Browder. Still, if Méndez al defense of the Spanish Republic. consulted with his superior, Negrín, They did not want to scare London, the Spanish minister no doubt agreed Paris and Washington even more, with the decision. A moderate Socialand hoped to ease tensions with U.S. ist with an uncommonly cosmopolitan anti-Communists. (The treatment of outlook for those times, Negrín’s the Lincoln veterans during World international policy as Prime Minister War II and the Cold War makes of the Republic focused, precisely, on clear that this effort failed.) securing the support of the demoPatricio Azcárate, who helped cratic powers. He was convinced Merriman’s Diary, January 23, 1937 organize the withdrawal of the Interthat the Western democracies would national Brigades from Spain starting in October 1938, agrees realize sooner or later that Spain was fighting the first battle of a with this explanation. Born in London in 1920, Azcárate is the world war against fascism—and that, as soon as they did, they son of Pablo de Azcárate, the Spanish Republican ambassador would have no choice but to rush to the Republic’s side. Negrín in London during the war. After taking part in the Battle of the was right, but the democracies’ realization came too late. Franco Ebro, 18-year-old Patricio was assigned to work with the League declared victory on April 1, 1939. Five months later, Hitler of Nations commission to help coordinate the IBs’ withdrawal. invaded Poland. The Lincoln Battalion, he tells us, was one of a whole series of Popular Front-inspired names. In addition to the Washington BatDavid Jorge is a post-doctoral researcher at the National talion, for example, the British Battalion had an Attlee Company, Autonomous University of Mexico and lead editor of H-Spain. named after the Labour Party leader Clement Attlee, even though Sebastiaan Faber teaches at Oberlin College. it was mainly composed of Communists. March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 11

Almudena Cros symbolically anticipates the naming of the Plaza de las Brigadas Internacionales. Photo Oscar Rodriguez

News from Spain: Town Honors Volunteers


By Almudena Cros

e are thrilled to bring you the good news that the town hall in Vicálvaro (southern Madrid) last November approved the dedication of a square to the International Brigades. This is something that the Socialist party had been campaigning for since 2008, and we were happy to witness the historic moment when the proposal was passed and approved. Much to the chagrin of the PP and Ciudadanos counsellors, Ahora Madrid and the Socialist Party PSOE remembered the fight for freedom that the International Brigades stood for and voted in favor. The whole room applauded when the proposal was approved (this was a plenary session of the Town Hall which was open to the public). This is excellent news for the memory of the volunteers, and Vicálvaro can now be proud to be leading the way among Madrid's city districts to recognize and honor the role and the spirit of the International Brigades. As you can read on our website, there are already streets and squares named after the volunteers in other municipalities of Madrid such as Móstoles and Getafe, and in other towns all over Spain. It was ironic that the same party that agreed to grant Spanish citizenship to the surviving Brigaders in 1996 has turned around to claim that the volunteers were not defending democracy or freedom. PP

counsellors perhaps need to do some reading, including the royal decree of January 19, 1996 which reads: “It is a matter of justice to recognize the work in defense of freedom and democracy done by the volunteers in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939. The surviving veterans from the war deserve to see in a tangible way the gratitude of our Nation.” Also interesting is the fact that these PP counsellors seem to ignore the fact that among the 11 cities and towns in Spain where the International Brigades have been honored with a street or square, some of them were ruled by PP when the decision was approved to name those places after the volunteers. In any case, we celebrate the great news that Vicálvaro, whose recent history is intrinsically linked to that of the International Brigades in 1936 and 1937, because it was here that the XI and the XII brigades (including the Garibaldi, Dombrowsky and Andre Marty battalions) were quartered, will finally have a public space honoring the memory of the Brigaders. For more information: Almudena Cros is President of the Asociación de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales (AABI).

Pete and the Feds: Seeger’s FBI file reveals Lincoln connections By Sebastiaan Faber

J. Edgar Hoover was convinced: musicians could not be trusted. As it turns out, the Feds had their eyes on Pete Seeger for over 30 years, yielding an almost 1,800-page file. Naturally, Seeger’s lifelong connection with the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade did not ease FBI suspicions.


ven a superficial reading of an article written by a Communist or a conversation with one will probably reveal the use of some of the following expressions,” warned a 1955 pamphlet published by the U.S. First Army Headquarters that aimed to teach its readers “How to Spot a Communist.” The expressions that were a dead give-away? “Integrative thinking, vanguard, comrade, hootenanny, chauvinism, book-burning, syncretistic faith, bourgeoisnationalism, jingoism, colonialism, hooliganism, ruling class, progressive, demagogy, dialectical, witch-hunt, reactionary, exploitation, oppressive, materialist.” The one word that doesn’t seem to belong in this list of hardcore political vocabulary is the playful hootenanny. What on earth can be Communist about folk musicians getting together for a jam? Still, we can guess who was most likely responsible for its inclusion: none other than Pete Seeger. After all, it was Seeger and Woody Guthrie who, in the early 1940s, popularized the hootenanny; and it was they—with the Almanac Singers, the Weavers, and as solo performers—who became the embodiment of political folk in the United States, paving the way for the generations of Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, and Ani DiFranco. J. Edgar Hoover was convinced: musicians could not be trusted. As it turns out, the Feds had their eyes on Pete Seeger for over 30 years, yielding an almost 1,800-page file. The Bureau “kept trying to tie him to the Communist Party,” writes Mother Jones’s David Corn, who got his hands on the dossier through a Freedom of Information request, “and the

first investigation in the file illustrates the absurd excesses of the paranoid security establishment of that era.” In fact, what alerted the FBI to the young Seeger was a protest letter he wrote as a recently drafted soldier in 1943. “I felt shocked, outraged, and disgusted,” he wrote, “to read that the California American Legion voted to 1) deport all Japanese after the war, citizen or not, 2) Bar all Japanese descendants from citizenship!! We, who may have to give our lives in this great struggle—we're fighting precisely to free the world of such Hitlerism, such narrow jingoism.” At the time Seeger was engaged to Toshi Ohta, whom he would marry the same year, and whose father was Japanese. From the moment the FBI had him in the cross hairs— reading his mail and tapping his phone—Seeger did little to allay their suspicions. There wasn’t a progressive cause, from antifascism and pacifism to labor unions and civil rights, that he didn’t support with his signature, his donations and, most often, his banjo. As early as the fall of 1940, he had performed at a Chicago caucus of the American Peace Mobilization, the successor of the American League for Peace and Democracy (formerly Against War and Fascism). Starting in 1940 or 1941, he toured the country with the Almanac Singers (Millard Lampell and Lee Hays in addition to Seeger and Guthrie), playing at union halls, strikes, and public protests. In August 1948 he founded The Weavers, with Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman. A year later, when Seeger along with Paul Robeson was scheduled to perform near Peekskill, New York, in a benefit for the Harlem chapter of the Civil Rights Congress, the concertgoers were March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 13

“In many instances,” the FBI agents noted with concern, “white and colored people arrived together and apparently were close friends.” attacked by a group from the Veterans of Foreign Wars armed with baseball bats and rocks. Naturally, Seeger’s lifelong connection with the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade did not ease FBI suspicions. Strangely, the FBI seems to have missed the fact that Seeger recorded the Songs of the Lincoln Brigade in 1944 for Moe Asch’s label, with Tom Glazer, Bess Lomax, and Baldwin Hawes, while on a weekend’s furlough. Still, Lincoln Vets appear throughout the file. As a soldier stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, Pete was friends with former Spanish Civil War volunteer and fellow soldier Nick De Mas. In April 1942, the Almanac Singers performed at a meeting of the Japanese American Committee for Democracy, where Lincoln vet Bart van der Schelling also spoke. (“In many instances,” the FBI agents noted with concern, “white and colored people arrived together and apparently were close friends.”) In 1947, The Volunteer carried an ad for Seeger’s records. In April 1949, he sang Spanish Civil War songs at an event for the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Appeal Committee where VALB members spoke against the inclusion of Franco Spain in NATO. In May 1949, Lincoln vet Bob Reed wrote in the Daily Worker that Pete’s May Day performance had been a smashing success. In 1950, when Seeger was part of a Robeson concert for the victims of the Peekskill riots, the VALB were in charge of security. In May 1953, Seeger played at a dinner of the Committee to Defend Steve Nelson. In December 1954,

the Seeger family sent a postcard to John Gates and other U.S. Communist leaders who had been indicted and imprisoned under the Smith Act. In February 1962, he performed for a gathering of the vets. In fact, Seeger was a fixture at the vets’ annual reunions ever since his 1944 album of Civil War songs “was played through loudspeakers for 500 guests at the VALB reunion in New York City that same year,” as Peter Glazer recalled in these pages. “As long as I live,” Pete said in 1981, “I may never make such a good recording.” The FBI agent who interviewed Woody Guthrie about Seeger, on May 1, 1943 in New York, noticed “hanging on Guthrie’s wall, a large guitar on which there appeared the inscription, ‘This machine kills Fascists.’” Although the United States had by then been at war with fascism for a more than a year, the agent’s inference was ironic but all too typical: “It is this Agent’s opinion that this bears out the belief that the Almanac Players were active singing Communist songs and spreading propaganda.” The Lincoln vets, too, were branded as “premature anti-Fascists.” For a longer version of this article, see the online Volunteer at Sebastiaan Faber teaches at Oberlin College.

Pete Seeger in East Berlin, 1967 By Victor Grossman

In Pete Seeger’s FBI File we came across Seeger’s correspondence with Victor Grossman, who helped organize a couple of performances in East Berlin in January 1967. We asked Grossman if he had any recollections of Pete’s visit. Here are his reflections.


uring Pete’s visit I was director of the Paul Robeson Archive of the GDR Academy of Arts (the archive is still in storage here). That brief episode was one of the high points in my life. I was very happy to get the job as Pete’s interpreter in East Berlin; I had been in touch with him because I had conducted two radio series on GDR radio, one on U.S. History in Folk Song, the other titled “Pete Seeger singt” and both of them introducing the GDR public (and some listeners in West Germany) to the music of Pete, Woody, Leadbelly, the Appalachian singers and the new crop of folk singers emerging in the USA in those years, Baez, Ochs, Paxton, Peter, Paul and Mary, then Dylan). He had sent a taped greeting at the end of the one series. 14 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

Pete, Toshi and Tinya arrived after a concert in West Berlin (which, as I gather, also went well). The first highlight was a smaller concert for maybe about 100, mostly young people who knew his songs (often through my programs) and so could immediately join in singing We Shall Overcome, Wimoweh, Flowers, Hammer Song, Guantanamera—all of them fresh and new at the time and known only to those interested circles. The next day he was scheduled for a TV recording, but the director in charge didn’t have a clue about him and planned to have him as a sector of a larger Saturday evening pop broadcast. He wanted Pete to stroll down a carpet in a nightclub type setting with potted palms and a skyscraper view out the window— with playback. Pete was unhappy about all this, and when they

“Seeger sang Peat Bog Soldiers, Moorsoldaten—in which the entire audience joined in.” had technical difficulties and couldn’t get started he had me tell the director that he never used playback and didn’t like strolling through a nightclub with his banjo—but he had signed a contract for an hour here so he would cooperate but no longer than one hour, so they should hurry and fix their technology. They didn’t get it fixed so that was not televised. His concert the night before was, however, for the news—but a very nice, long section. That one hour at the TV studio was the only time I have ever seen him in a bad mood. That evening he had his big concert in the biggest theater in East Berlin, the famous Volksbühne (with a long progressive tradition from before 1900). I think Pete was quite uncertain. He had always avoided Germany until then, and was wondering what an East Berlin audience would be like. I translated what the concert manager said: The big theater was sold out and people were almost engaged in fisticuffs to buy any possible remaining tickets. At supper before the concert, at his hotel, he suddenly found a very artistically folded napkin on a silver tray at his place, with a note which I translated: Dear Mr. Seeger, I am an admirer of your music. Is there any way to get a ticket for the concert tonight? Then a name and “apprentice waiter”. Pete said, “We must get him in!” The concert manager said, “Impossible! There are no tickets left! We even had to turn down a political bigshot!” But Pete looked at Toshi and she nodded in answer, and he said, “He’ll get in even if he has to carry my banjo in with me at the stage entrance!” And that is exactly what happened. The fellow was able to see and hear everything from the stage wings. I don’t remember all the songs he sang—I guess it was much like his usual program at the time. But quite early he sang and played “Stille die Nacht” after a brief introduction (with me translating his words). There was total, moved silence in the big theater — exactly the right response, of course. He also sang Lisa Kalvelage—how she learned enough from being bombed out in Nuremberg to fight napalm shipments to Vietnam— also a very moving song in Berlin and Germany. And he sang Peat Bog Soldiers, Moorsoldaten—in which the entire audience joined in. In East Berlin this was a song which almost everyone knew—and as his comments indicated, this and the whole evening impressed him very greatly. I might mention a few other incidents. The Seegers visited the great Ernst Busch, dearly loved in East Germany both for his singing and his magnificent acting in many Brecht plays. It was a meeting between two of the greatest singers, one who had collected so many Civil War songs and made especially those of the Thälmann Battalion world-famous and the other, who helped make those of the Lincoln Battalion and other Civil War songs equally famous! Unfortunately the language barrier prevented any real chatting, although during the visit Busch connected by phone with Grigori Schneerson in Moscow whom both knew well and this helped bring them closer together. I had the feeling that Pete admired Busch greatly (as I did) while Busch may not have known quite so much about Pete—or

American musical developments. But they met—a historical moment! Pete also wanted to visit the Berlin Ensemble (Brecht’s theater—run by his widow). This was a gamble because of the language problem, but they were playing Sean O’Casey’s Purple Dust, which he said he knew, and I recalled that there were funny scenes with farm animals which would make it easier for Tinya (9 or 10?). But she was bored and difficult, and there was so much dialogue that the experiment was not too successful. In general, I think his visit was extremely successful not only for his very enthusiastic audiences but also for the Seegers—indeed, I think he was quite moved at the response at both concerts! Also at meeting a number of very good people, all devoted anti-fascists! Before his departure he met with a representative from the Vietnamese Embassy and, if I am not mistaken, he gave either much or all of his fees for the appearances to the people of Vietnam (then very much at war). And at the airport a group of about six young musicians and singers showed up, with guitars and one with his doublebass, to chat and send him off properly. I think this little parting greeting also made an indelible impression on everyone involved, including me, of course. These were the young people who started up a Hootenanny Club (later renamed Oktober Klub) and set a song movement in the whole GDR in motion, with annual Festivals of Political Song, inviting the best singers from all the world (and the locals) to an annual major event. Pete also sang at such a festival one year (1986 I think) and although I was with him then, too, much of the time (though not as official interpreter) and there are many anecdotes worth telling) that is another story, possibly missed by the FBI. There will be an anniversary get-together of that group, now graybeards, in February, in which I will take part—and perhaps tell this story. (A side note: During one of his two Germany visits Pete made a side trip to Stuttgart to look into his ancestors’ story. One ancestor—also a Seeger—had been a schoolmate there of Friedrich Schiller.) I might add that Pete and I exchanged greetings for many years, and occasional slightly longer exchanges. He suggested that I write an article about the controversial Wolf Biermann affair for “Sing Out,” which I did. When I was finally able to go to the USA again with my wife we visited the Hudson River festival and met Toshi there, but not Pete. Victor Grossman (New York City, 1928) is an American journalist who deserted the U.S. Army in 1952 under McCarthy-era pressure by swimming across the Danube River to the Soviet Zone of Austria. He has lived in East Berlin ever since. His books include a history in German of the Spanish Civil War, Madrid du Wunderbare, and his English-language autobiography, Crossing the River (University of Massachusetts Press).

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The Death of Major Robert Hale Merriman By Christopher Brooks

Robert Hale Merriman, Chief of Staff of the XV International Brigade, disappeared behind enemy lines. His body was never recovered. What happened? Two memoirs and an interview give conflicting versions.

16 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

Robert Merriman, (Tamiment Library, NYU, 15th IB Photo Collection, Photo # 11-0634)

Editor’s Note: Robert Hale Merriman, Chief of Staff of the XV International Brigade, disappeared behind enemy lines in a desperate attempt to escape encirclement during the great Retreats in the early spring of 1938. His body was never recovered, which created an air of mystery as to what happened in his last campaign. Among the surviving Americans, a consensus emerged that suggested Merriman was killed outright or captured and executed later. Interviews with veterans who were in close proximity to Merriman concur that he was in command when the head of the retreating column departed a hill outside Gandesa on the evening of April 2, 1938. Leonard Lamb, John Rujevcic Gerlach (aka Ivan), Nick Pappas, and Milton Wolff were among those with Merriman just prior to his disappearance. During the movement, they remembered, Merriman’s group stumbled into a Nationalist encampment and in the dark and confusion of the engagement Merriman was either killed or captured. In recent years memoirs by veterans Albin Ragnar and Fausto Villar Esteban emerged to challenge the accepted version of the events leading to Merriman’s disappearance. Both of these veterans of the XV Brigade present their accounts authentically and sincerely despite writing their versions many years after the events they describe. Recently, however, NYU’s Tamiment Library Director Timothy Johnson discovered a two-page manuscript, part of the newly-acquired Joseph North papers, that includes a contemporaneous interview with Lincoln veteran Fred Keller that reinforces the accuracy of the original accounts. To sort out these differences, ALBA turned to Christopher Brooks, a member of the ALBA Board and a U.S. Army veteran. The following analysis focuses on the key issues surrounding Merriman’s fate.


he XV Brigade was resting in positions around Belchite on the eve of the Nationalist Offensive known as The Retreats. The men were thawing out after the rigors of Teruel and Segura de los Baños and the officers and NCOs were integrating replacements. Beginning on March 9, 1938, The Nationalists pierced the Republican lines and shattered the XV Brigade in a series of running battles. After the defense of Caspe on March 17, 1938, the battered remnants of the XV Brigade were evacuated to an area outside Batea. There it was hastily rebuilt with the addition of replacements from the training camp; rear-area jobs; barely-healed men from the hospitals; and brand new Spanish conscripts. Alvah Bessie who joined the Lincoln-Washington Battalion on March 18 from a training camp was shocked to find that the battalion on his arrival consisted of a little more than 100 dejected survivors “disorganized, sitting, lying, sprawling on the ground. They had weekold beards; they were filthy and lousy.” On March 30, the battalion received new arms and munitions but time had already run out. The next morning the Nationalists resumed their offensive and approached the raw, untested and brittle XV Brigade. This second phase of The Retreats proved an unmitigated disaster for the Republican Army. Rapidly moving Nationalist motorized columns punched through the Republican lines and pen-

Bessie was shocked to find that the battalion consisted of a little more than 100 dejected survivors “disorganized, sitting, lying, sprawling on the ground.” etrated deep into their rear. In a space of only three days the XV Brigade ceased to exist as a fighting force. Cut off by the advance of Nationalist forces and cognizant that the British Battalion had already been destroyed, Merriman took charge of a mixture of elements, including the Brigade Staff, the Lincoln-Washington Battalion, and the XI International Brigade. Realizing the danger posed in being trapped behind the lines Merriman attempted to break out of the encirclement. He disengaged from the Nationalists and during the night of

Alvah Bessie (Tamiment Library, NYU, 15th IB Photo Collection, Photo # 11-0176)

April 1, he force marched his command back to a hill just outside Gandesa. The following morning Merriman attempted to break through Nationalist forces attacking Gandesa to reach Republican lines. The attack failed and survivors of the attack retreated to the hill and regrouped. During the remainder of the day, they faced down an enemy cavalry attack and hunkered down under desultory artillery fire. As dusk approached, the men formed into a column and at nightfall filed off the hill in the direction of Corbera and the Republican lines. Night movements are extremely difficult under the best of circumstances and Merriman was operating in less than optimal conditions. As the column moved, men soon lost contact with one another and the column fragmented into smaller elements. The lead company and the headquarters element lost contact with one another. John (Ivan) Gerlach led the headquarters element, consisting of about 30 men from the Brigade and LincolnWashington staffs, which became by default the head of the column. As their column moved along a cattle trail marked on their map, Gerlach realized that they had accidentally stumbled into a Nationalist encampment. Challenged by a sentry, the column scattered. Gerlach and Joe Brandt bolted straight ahead. Others retreated back in the direction from which they had traveled. It appears that Merriman and Dave Doran, the XV Brigade Commissar, unintentionally plunged deeper March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 17

Ivan Rujevcic [alias John Gerlach] (l.) and David Doran, Oct 1937 (Tamiment Library, NYU, 15th IB Photo Collection, Photo # 11-0756)

into the camp. Gerlach and Brandt stated they heard gun shots and the order in Spanish, “Manos arriba” (Hands up). The consensus agrees that Merriman and Doran, the two highest ranking American officers in the XV Brigade were killed or captured at that time. Albin Ragner, an Armenian American who served as a front-line rifleman in almost every battle the XV Brigade fought, recalled Merriman’s fate differently in a memoir written long after the war: We were about eight or nine miles east of Gandesa during the retreat. We were on a high hill, good for defense. We had about 100 to 120 men here. We heard what sounded like tanks behind the hill to our front. I said to him [Merriman], “It sounds like enemy tanks ahead.” He said, “It can’t be, they must be ours.” He didn’t heed what I said and Merriman and two others went to the hill and over. He was captured there. Later the fascists executed him. (“Albin Ragner: An Unpublished Memoir” was published on ALBA’s The Volunteer blog February 27, 2013.) Ragner’s account placing the location eight or nine miles outside Gandesa indicates that Merriman was captured at least 24-hours prior to the timeline set in the consensus version. Because the memoir presents several inconsistencies, it is possible that Ragner assumed that Merriman was captured on April 1. If that were the case he would not have been available to plan and lead the breakout from Gandesa. Fausto Villar Esteban, a Valencian conscript who served with the LincolnWashington Battalion from October 1937 until his capture on April 2, 1938, provided yet another account. In his unpublished memoir, Villar stated that Merriman was killed around 11 a.m. while leading the attack on Nationalist troops assaulting Gandesa on April 2. The attack was an attempt to punch a hole through Nationalist forces that would have allowed the remnants of the XV Brigade to cross back into Republican lines. Villar wrote that before the failed attack Merriman addressed the troops: With a voice trembling with emotion, Merriman tells us all that, sad to say, the enemy has us surrounded, but that the Lincolns will break out of the noose, to which end we are 18 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

to make a frontal assault on a single point, and that, as ever, he, Merriman will lead the Lincolns into this attack. The Brigade moved down from the cover of the hill and began to cross a vine-

In a space of only three days the XV Brigade ceased to exist as a fighting force. yard. As the troops entered open, flat terrain the Nationalists opened fire. Villar recalled with horror: His machine-guns can mow down our Brigaders to their heart’s content; with no protection against this, the Brigaders are hitting the dirt.

There is panic. We drop to the ground, seeking the only shelter we can find; the flattened furrows in the exposed vineyards, facing the enemy horizontally. Laying prone under fire, Villar sought a way to escape but found that any movement “draws ferocious fire from the Francoist machine-guns.” While pinned down, he locates his former commander Lieutenant James Cody. Above me, in a furrow higher up the slope, and a little forward of me, is Cody. In the next furrow, higher still and forward of Cody, is Merriman; looking higher up, I find that there is no one else in sight. I have not laid eyes on Lamb since our retreat began and Doran I cannot see right now. I call out to Cody, to tell him in my awful English, that we have to

make our move: ‘Cody, it is necessary to move because, before or after, they will kill us off in this site.’ From Cody there is no response. I call out to him again and again; ‘Cody, hear me. We need to move from here.’ I shout out repeatedly but he does not answer. Cody is flat out like all the rest of us, but his face is twisted to the left, as if he is looking at Merriman, and so I call out to Merriman, once, twice, thrice, I don’t know how many times, but there is no response from Merriman either, in spite of my pleas for an answer. This time I address them both at once, in Spanish: ‘Por favor, contestarme!’ Then in my flawed English I plead with them: ‘Please, tell me something, Cody. Please, Merriman! Please!’ Reluctant though I am to credit it, by my reckoning their silence means that they are both dead; and the Battalion is facing horrific slaughter. Beside myself with worry, I call out to them both again, but there is no response. Anna Martí, in her article “In the footsteps of the Lincoln-Washington Battalion,” (published in the ALBA Blog on July 1, 2012), discussed Villar’s unpublished memoir. She concluded that the vagaries of time and memory “. . . may explain the many inconsistencies in his account” which was written almost 40 years after the events. Villar left the site of the action shortly after the failed attack and Nationalist cavalrymen captured him the following morning. Marti ends her observations with the question “Who says that Merriman could not have escaped from that situation and returned safely to the battalion?” Fred Keller’s account, fresh in memory and documented in 1938, clearly affirms the accuracy of the original reports. His interview with Joe North refutes Ragnar’s version by establishing that Merriman was still alive and planned the attack on Nationalist forces at Gandesa during the morning of April 2. Villar’s account parallels Keller’s up to the point of the attack on Gandesa. Keller’s account refutes Villar and confirms that Merriman survived the failed attack and participated in the subsequent retreat during which Merriman disappeared.

Fred Keller, Dec. 1937 (Tamiment Library, NYU, 15th IB Photo Collection, Photo # 11-0940)

Report of Freddie Keller Upon Action April 1 and 2 When we went into action Doran was in charge of one group, Copic of another. The English were demolished almost from the beginning when they walked into 12 whippet tanks. Two companies were gone, their leadership. The MacPaps saw no action on the first day. Our sector consisted of the Lincoln-Washington battalion, two of the XI, and one company of Mac-Paps. With fascist avions and artillery heavy, we had to retreat. We on the other side were doing very good. Took prisoners, the fascists had heavy casualties. We were opposed by young troops. Then the Caseres sector gave way toward Gandesa. They cut us off and there was no way out. We were on the Batea road, about five kilometers to the left. About 4:30 p.m., April 1 we got the order to move. We and the XI were being reorganized. We were to take a place parallel to the Gandesa road, but before we got there the column broke. We abandoned material after breaking it up so it wouldn’t be any good any more. We marched nine hours to the heights of Gandesa. The fascists were fighting to get into town. They were fighting the Listers. Merriman’s idea was that we attack them from the rear. His entire strategy was to break through the weakest spot in the fascist line, then fight them off. We went down anyway, had some casualties. There was some three, four hours of fighting. Just as we’re getting ready, the fascists pulled up with columns of motorized cars, some 40 tanks, plenty of artillery. We evacuated up a high hill, two kilometers from the town, up among the pines. Before evening fascist cavalry attacked. We fired on them with machineguns. We started out in columns to head in the general direction for Corbera. We figured we could get there before the fascists. We came across [a] big danger spot in crossing the Villalba road. Not many of us got past before we were fired on. (Incidentally Honeycomb led a scouting party at that point and he ran away.) In crossing Villalba we broke up in small groups. Not many casualties. There was then a column of 650 men. Then we broke into small

We drop to the ground, seeking the only shelter we can find; the flattened furrows in the exposed vineyards, facing the enemy horizontally. groups. Merriman, Doran, Ivan, Wolff, Lamb first section Machinegun Company. The whole Estado Mayor of the battalion and the brigade. That gang went on in the direction of Corbera. There we thought it was ours, but Corbera was in fascist hands already. We came in through an olive orchard. They challenged us—we were fired on. Twenty-three of us then. We broke up. Merriman and Doran went to the left

toward the highway. Wolfe [sic] called to me, and more of us went directly back; some went to the left. Group I was with went up on the mountain and stayed there till morning. In the morning I started down the highway and met a peasant breaking kegs of vino, good vino, because he didn’t want it to go to the fascists. He directed me to Asco. He said he had directed “muy grande[s] oficiales” that way earlier. All of them were wearing their insignia. So I headed in the direction of Asco. That night I marched to La Fatarella. In the morning I hid from the fascist caval-

ry. Later I saw them attack Kaufman and some others. They obviously got them because the shots got less and less. In the gang missing or killed were Doran, Merriman, Keith, Geiser (Orton was killed in the previous action two weeks ago at Caspe) Kauffman, Offsink, Blackie Maprellian, Bill Cody, Raymond Skistrom, Malin, Tapsell, Abe Sasson, Emery Redden, and Heininger of Pittsburgh. There is this about it; whenever we fired, the infantry and cavalry of the fascists wouldn’t fight. They’d run. At Asco I talked to an old woman who told of many IBs executed in Asco. We went in small gangs till we got to the river. Between Asco and Flix we headed for the river, waiting there till dawn. The fascists were using bird whistles to call each other at night. The sun came up rapidly. We were caught. I swam with my rifle, pants and jacket. When I got on the other side I got rid of the heavy stuff. I came back down the river, some of our comrades needed help. I thought we could form a chain. The fascists opened up with light aircooled automatics, most of us running. Some got wounded. Plenty of guards up and down the river, alarmed. I ran down the railroad tracks when I got on the other side and ran into three fascist guards, who covered me and took me prisoner. Was brought to headquarters and held there five hours. Two officials of the thirty-fifth, Frenchmen, were also there. They captured some farmers in the town of Flix. The fascists were having a big celebration. That night, I and a MacPap made our getaway. I socked a guard in the back of his neck while he wasn’t looking my way. He went flying. It got twilight while we were running. We came to a straight cliff. They couldn’t fire from that angle. I had no shoes – Cavalry came and searched. They went beyond me. I was there all night. When it was dawn I went on hands and knees to the river. I swam across safely. The other lad turned back when the fire opened. I went over. I haven’t seen him since. Chris Brooks is an ALBA board member. March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 19

Book reviews

Mark Derby, Petals and Bullets: Dorothy Morris: New Zealand Nurse in the Spanish Civil War (Brighton/Toronto/Chicago: Sussex Academic Press, 2015). Reviewed by Sylvia Martin


ark Derby’s biography of Dorothy Morris, a New Zealander who answered a notice seeking nurses for Spain when she was working in London in early 1937, is a fascinating account of a determined woman who was “anti-fascist to the bone.” His book adds to the small but growing number of biographies of women involved in the conflict that drew volunteers from all over the world. Born in the small town of Cromwell on the South Island of New Zealand in 1904, and characteristic of her independent nature, she decided against finishing a university degree and chose to pursue nursing, a questionable career for a well-educated girl. Nursing was regarded then as a job requiring little more expertise than a housemaid. Her wartime experiences would demonstrate amply that a highly trained and efficient nurse was anything but unskilled. She left for Europe when she was 30 years old after passing her nursing examinations with honors. After being accepted for wartime service, Dorothy travelled to Almería with the London University Ambulance Unit under the auspices of Sir George Young. Over the next few months she moved with the unit frequently, setting up hospitals in poor villages, with filthy houses to clean, often with no water and no light. Moving on to Extremadura, a Nationalist stronghold, she worked as Head Nurse, looking after the health of the members of the 13th Brigade. Nationalist air raids caused terrible civilian injuries and Morris was horrified when she first saw fractured limbs encased in Plaster of Paris and was not allowed to dress them. Many medical advances were made during the war and the treatment of fractures was a consequential one. One of Dorothy’s duties was to teach acceptable hygiene standards to the “Spanish girls” working for her and 20 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

Dorothy wrote in frustration to her family: “you just can’t teach a Spaniard anything. she wrote in frustration to her family: “you just can’t teach a Spaniard anything.” Later in her time in Spain, however, as her experience working with Spanish doctors grew and her Spanish improved, she became renowned for her skills in training others. One of her colleagues noted that her disregard of class distinctions made it evident she was not born in England. Recruited by the American Quakers in July 1937, Morris became Head Nurse at the newly formed Hospital Inglés de Niños in Murcia where she started her long association with the Quakers and working with children, during the war and later among the refugee camps in southern France. When the Republic fell, thousands of Spaniards fled Franco’s Spain to be marooned on the beaches across the border (a terrible situation being repeated along the Mediterrranean today as displaced people flee the Syrian conflict). Morris admired the Quakers enormously and some became close friends, although she said, “I never will be religious in the strict sense of the word.” At times, the stress of war affected her health and morale and she was given brief respites in Paris but she continued to undertake her commitments with fierce determination and skill. In February 1939 she and her colleagues were given terse instructions from Friends House to return to England on a British naval destroyer before the expected Republican surrender. “I left only because I had to,” she said defiantly. In London, she gave talks and visited the cinema in between “thinking how lovely it would be to see Chamberlain and Co hanged, boiled and quartered.” In April 1939 she was relieved to be asked to go to Perpignan to head the International Commission’s aid efforts for the Spanish refugees in France. Working with her Quaker colleagues, she also spent days on the road traveling between Paris and far-flung refugee projects, sleeping for days at a time in a motorized horse-box on a blow-up mattress. Forced to flee again after the German invasion of France, Morris spent much of the war years in London supervising workers in a military equipment factory. In 1944, she was sent to a displaced persons’ camp near Cairo where she contracted such a high fever it was thought she would die. In one of those extraordinary war-time coincidences, Dr. Doug Jolly, a colleague from the Spanish war and a compatriot also from the small town of Cromwell, arrived at the hospital with a new life-saving drug—penicillin—and she recovered. In 1946, after working for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in Germany, Morris returned to New Zealand “gaunt and exhausted” where she was reunited with her family. But she found the country she had left 12 years earlier “insular” and went back to England a year later where she lived until her final return home at 76.

The tall, strong-featured and opinionated woman who emerges from Petals and Bullets probably deserved her reputation as “formidable”; she was selfless, idealistic and kind-hearted, with a truly steadfast capacity to endure the hardships and tragedy of war. Her years in Spain remained the brightest in her memory. Mark Derby was aided in his biography by Morris’s letters to her family, held in New Zealand’s Alexander Turnbull Library. Sadly, no diaries or more intimate correspondence survive, giving us limited access to her personal life. Consequently, although her biographer contextualizes her life admirably, she sometimes disappears into the background, particularly in the early parts of the book. He does offer one highly personal and intriguing assertion (delivered almost as an aside)—that she concealed secret documents for the French Communist Party in her vagina as a price for a relief trip to Paris. Was this a common requirement for women working in these conflict zones? Perhaps it was a subject Derby felt unable to pursue. Sylvia Martin is an Australian biographer and literary historian. Her next book, Ink in Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer will be published by UWAP (University of Western Australia Publishing) in March 2016. Aileen Palmer, daughter of prominent Australian writers, Vance and Nettie Palmer, served as secretary and interpreter in the first British Medical Unit to go to Spain in 1936.

Tax-Free IRA Gifts Extended Permanently!

The recent tax bill passed by the House and Senate permanently extends the extraordinary opportunity to make tax-free rollover gifts from IRAs to charity. The law provides that the owner of an IRA may instruct the trustee to distribute directly to ALBA up to $100,000 without counting the distribution as taxable income. As an added benefit, the distribution will count towards IRA owner’s required minimum distribution. To make sure that your gift will qualify for the tax-free treatment you must satisfy a few regulations: • You must be 70.5 years old or older • The transfer must come from a traditional or Roth IRA • The transfer from your IRA must go directly from your IRA to Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives • The gift cannot exceed $100,000 per year • The gift must be an outright gift* *Transfers of IRA gifts to donor advised funds, supporting organizations, charitable gift annuities, or charitable remainder trusts do not qualify. The gift is not eligible for an additional charitable income tax deduction.

Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic #57. On December 25, celebrating the centenary of Robert Motherwell’s birth, relatives and supporters of the Veterans of the Lincoln Brigade visited “Robert Motherwell: Elegy to the Spanish Republic” at the Dominique Lévy Gallery in NY. This monumental series marked a pivotal moment in the history of modern art. Read the report online at albavolunteer org.

To make a gift from an IRA, donors should contact their IRA custodian. To fill out the form you will need our: Legal Name: Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives Federal Tax ID: 13-2996513 Address: 799 Broadway, Suite 341, New York, NY 10003 Want more information? Send an email to: March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 21

CONTRIBUTIONS Received from 11/1/2015 to 1/31/2016 Benefactor ($5,000 and over)

Kurz Family Foundation, The Puffin Foundation Ltd.

Sponsor ($1,000-$4,999)

Anonymous • Estate of Ruth Belmont • Paul Blanc • Christopher Brooks • Claire Carsman • Burton J. Cohen • Katherine Doyle • Sebastiaan Faber • Stephanie Fein • Anthony Geist • Josephine M. Labanyi • Harry Parsons • Edward Poll in memory of Harry Poll • James & Ellyn Polshek • Robert Shaffer

Supporter ($250-$999)

Joan Amatniek in memory of Ernest & Sara Amatniek • Kathie Amatniek Sarachild in memory of Ernest & Sara Amatniek • Margarita Asencio-López in memory of Puerto Rican brigadista Jules H. López Cintrón • Joshua Barnett • David & Suzanne Cane in memory of Lawrence Cane, VALB • Peter Carroll • Larry & Christine Carsman • Daniel J. Czitrom in memory of Leo Gordon & Ben Barsky • Martha Daura in memory of Pierre Daura • Wendy Doniger in honor of Steve Nelson • Joshua Freeman • Sherna Gluck • Joshua Goode in memory of Belle Granich Wishik • Lee Halprin • Adam Hochschild • Jeanne Houck • Leslie Hsu • Dr. Bernard Lown in honor of Louise Lown • Linda & Steve Lustig in memory of Dave Smith • Julia Newman • Michael J. Organek • Fraser Ottanelli • Joan & Neal Rosenberg in memory of Steve Nelson and my father, Leo • Carlyn Syvanen in memory of Carl Syvanen • Frederick Warren in memory of Alvin Warren, Maury Colow & Arthur Munday • Jeri Wellman in memory of Jerry Weinberg • Polly Young

Contributor ($100-$249)

Frederick & Ann Adams • Helene Anderson in memory of Profesora Carmen Aldecoa • Joan E. Balter • Catherine Blair & Steve Becker • David & Debbie Bell • Steve Birnbaum • Nancy S. Bishop • Aviva Blaichman in memory of Dr. Isaiah Gellman • Maggie Block • Louis H. Blumengarten • Richard & Joanne Bogart • Robert Bordiga in honor of Milt Felsen • Nancy Hall Brooks in memory of Chuck & Bobby Hall • John & Irene Bush • Wendy Chavkin • Charlie & Nancy Clough • Jerry Robinson & Diana Cohen in memory of the Lincoln Brigade vets • Richard Cooper in memory of my father, ALB vet Louis Kupperman • Hugh Cosman • Paul Cox • Mary Dooley • Norman Dorland in memory of Norman Edward Dorland • Daniel Drake • David Elsila • Frank & Dolores Emspak • Paul V. Fitzgerald in memory of Daniel Fitzgerald • Amy Freeman in memory of Jack Freeman • Herbert Freeman • Michael Gallagher in memory of Nate Thornton • Caminero Gallego • Richard & Sandra Gellar in memory of Morris Balter • Paula Gellman in memory of Isaiah Gellman • Margo George • Edward & Priscilla Goldson • Paul Goldstein & Dena Mossar in memory of Irving Weissman & Stephanie Weissman Stein • Andrew Griffin • Carol Wells & Theodore Hajjar • Birry Heagle in memory of Ned Golomb • Joyce Horman • Emily Mason Kahn • Bob Kantola • Anne Kaufman • Arnold Krammer in memory of Arthur Witt, known as Tom Trent, killed in Spain in 1937 • Stephen Labash • Alan D. Levine • Jack Levine in memory of Arthur Landis • Roger Lowenstein • Howard Lurie • Jordan Luttrell • Richard & Lisa Lyons • Laurie Martin in memory of John G. Hovan • Milton Masur • Jay Laefer & Sara Matlin in honor of Arnold & Margaret Matlin • Ilona Mattson • Gerri Matusewitch • Gerald Meyer • Herbert Molin • Judy Nakadegawa • Shirley Nash • Ralph & Marta Nicholas • John Nichols • Marc & Bonnie Nowakowski in memory of Toni Nowakowski • Lucienne O’Keefe • Stanley Ofsevit & Tove Nicholson in memory of Virginia Malbin • Nicholas Orchard • Victoria Párraga in memory of Amaya Tello Landeta, “La Tellito” • Walter J. Philips • Christina Platt • Jack Purdy • Aaron Retish • Nina Rivkind • Constancia Romilly • Michael De C. Rosenfeld • Christina Rosetti McArthur in memory of Beatrice Krivetsky • Peter J. Rubin • Naomi Rucker in memory of James Bernard Rucker • June Sale • Suzanne Samberg in memory of Robert Taylor and in memory of Helen Samberg • Marvin E. Schulman in memory of Anita Risdon • Seymour Schwartz in memory of my wife, Zorya Saltzman Schwartz • Nadrian Seeman • Michael Sennett in memory of Bill Sennett, ALB vet • Teresa Shtob in memory of Abe & Dotty Shtob • Thomas Silverstein in memory of Milton Felsen • Rosalind Singer • Anne K. Smithson • Irene & Eric Solomon • Linda Stamm • Louise Katz Sullivan in memory of Sylvia & Bob Thompson • Helene Susman • Cindy Shamban & Marge Sussman • Freda Tanz in memory of my husband, Al Tanz • Jordi Torrent in honor of James Yates • Lise Vogel in memory of Sidney Vogel, MD • Carla F. Wallace in honor of your work to connect the struggle against fascism & racism • Nancy Wallach in memory of Hy Wallach • Constancia Warren in memory of Alvin Warren, Maury Colow & Arthur Munday • John Wilborn • Chic Wolk • Woody Guthrie Foundation • Sandra Zagarell in memory of Eugene Wolman, who died in Spain, member ALB

22 THE VOLUNTEER March 2016

CONTRIBUTIONS Received from 11/1/2015 to 1/31/2016 Friend ($1-$99)

Jean Adelman • Joseph & Esther Adler • Jean-Christophe Agnew • Everett Aison in memory of Irving Fajans • Maria da Luz Alexandrino • Michael J. Ames • John Ara • Florence & Peter Ariessohn in memory of Abe Osheroff • John August • Joseph Auslander • Elaine Babian • Ruth Balter in honor of Evelyn Alloy • Lore Behrendt • Judith and Cyrus Berlowitz in memory of Clara Philipsborn, 5o Regimiento • Lawrence Bilick • Elizabeth Blum • Scott Boehm in honor of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory • Martin Boksenbaum • Patrick Bolger • Jorgia Bordofsky • T. M. Boykoff • Sonia Bragado • Samuel & Adele Braude • Paula Braveman • James Brodie Kahn • Tibby Brooks • Paul Bundy • Milton Cantor • Cecile Chong & Ryan Behroozi • Muriel Cohan • Joan & Barry Cohen • Martin Comack in memory of Frank Ryan • Polly Connelly in memory of Sidney Harris & Ed Balchowski, ALB veterans • Barry & Naomi Cooper in memory of Sol Zalon • Norman Danzig • Nina B. De Fels • Shulamit Decktor • Kevin & Nancy Devine • S. Leonard DiDonato • Lewis & Edith Drabkin • Freda Egnal • Eugene Eisman • Miles & Amy Epstein • Hector Fattorini in memory of Natalia Fattorini • James Fernandez • Alan Filreis in memory of Pete Seeger • Robert A. Fitzgerald in memory of Daniel A. Fitzgerald • Elaine Fondiller & Daniel Rosenblum • Virginia Franco • Jeanne Friedman • Victor Fuentes • Alex Gabriles • Irma Garcia Rose • William Gavelis • Deborah Gold • Edward Goldman • Karl Goldstein • Marc Goldstein • Andres A. Gonzales • Maria Luisa González Biosca • Luke Gordon in memory of Louis Gordon • Paul Gottlieb • Lawrence Granader • Joan Gregg • Michael Grossman in memory of Henry Grossman, VALB • Rosalind Guaraldo in memory of Pio Guaraldo • Susan Hanna in memory of Jack Penrod & the men from Johnstown, PA • Richard W. Hannon • Gerald Harris in memory of Syd Harris • Joseph & Saundra Harris • Phyllis Hatfield • Isidore & Sharon Hofferman • Ann F. Hoffman • David Horowitz • Richard Hudgins • Joan Intrator • David & Ruth Israel • Gabriel Jackson • Miriam and Alex Kachur • Cecily Kahn • John L. Kailin • Lynne Kalmar • Carol & Lawrence Kaplan • Stephen Katz • Daniel Kaufman • Ruth Kavesh in honor of Ellyn Polshek • David Kern in memory of Saul Wellman • Manfred Kirchheimer • John Kittross • Edwin and Judith Klehr in memory of Clarence Schwid Kailin • Nancy Kline Piore • Dorothy Koppelman • Elissa Krauss in memory of Ira & Ruth Krauss • Fran Krieger-Lowitz • Klaus Krippendorff • Thomas S. Larson • Burt Lazarin • Virginia Leonard • Marjorie Lewis • Daniel H. C Li in memory of Bella Li • David J. Lichter • Abby London-Crawford in memory of Marc Crawford • Henry Lowendorf • Joan MacDonald • Claire Maida • Richard Marmolejos • Andrew W. McKibben • Anne E. McLaughlin • Lilia Melani • Daniel Merer • Arnold Miller • Katherine Judd & Robert Miller • Paul B. Mitchell • Michael Morin • Selina Morris • Michael Mulcahy • Irwin Nack • Dr. José-Manuel and Maryann Navarro • Joe Nichols • Ann M. Niederkorn • Harry W. O’Brien • Shaun O’Connell • Michael O’Connor • Estella Habal & Hilton Obenzinger • Ann Ottanelli • Michael Ozol • Dr. Jack Paradise • Vaughan Parker • Fredric Parsons • Victoria Parraga in memory of Ed Bender • Julie Penrod-Glenn in memory of John Jack Penrod, ALB vet 1936-37 • Mildred Perlow • Bradley Petersen • Yvette Pollack • Gordon Polon in memory of Esther Blanc Silverstein • Louise Popkin • Nieves & Manuel Pousada • Richard S. Pressman • Simon Prussin • Alicia Putney • Michael Quigley • Barbara Rabinowitz • Dorri Raskin • Michael & Jacqueline Reece in memory of Milt Wolff • Alan Reich • Ted & Verina Reich in memory of Moe Fishman • Brian A. Reynolds • Judith Reynolds • Arthur & Harriet Rhine • Ruth H. Richwerger • Frank Rico • Francisco M. Rodriguez • Josie Yanguas & Carl Rosen • Miki Rosen • William Rosen • Susan Rosenberg in memory of Eve & Dave Rosenberg • Gail & Stephen Rosenbloom in memory of Morris Tobman • Naomi Rosenblum • Arthur Read & Cindy Rosenthal • Michael Rosenthal • Judith Rusch • Mike Russell in memory of Clarence Kailin • Steve Sargent • Herman Schmidt • Peter Schneider • Joseph Schraibman • Doug & Karen Seidman in memory of Elkan Wendkos • Marc Shanker • Allen Sherman • Henry & Mary Shoiket • Eugenia Shulman • Carol Silver • David C. Sloan in honor of John Sloan • Katherine & William Sloan • Pauline M. Sloan • Carole & Henry Slucki • Harvey L. Smith • Calla Smorodin in memory of Abe Smorodin • Henry & Beth Sommer in memory of Harry Nobel • Kurt & Martha Sonneborn • Rita Spiller in memory of Samuel Spiller • Susan St. Aubin • Annabelle Staber in memory of Alex Staber • Elizabeth Starcevic • Naomi Stern • Paul Susman • Cy & Lois Swartz • Theodore Tapper, MD • Michael Touger • Merry Tucker • Judith Van Allen in memory of Benjamin Nichols • Luis Wainstein • Ellen Waldman • John & Camilda Weinstock • Robert H. & Lois Whealey in honor of Angel Viñas • Sydney O. Williams in memory of Alfred Tanz • Leonard & Ellen Zablow in memory of Ernest Amatniek • David Zavortink in memory of Ludwig Beregszaszy

March 2016 THE VOLUNTEER 23


Marking the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and presenting the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism to journalists Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill.


Presenting Heart of Spain- A Musical of the Spanish Civil War

PRESENTATION OF ADAM HOCHSCHILD’S NEW BOOK “SPAIN IN OUR HEARTS, Americans in the Spanish Civil War” March 31, 2016. McNally Jackson Books, New York


In the spring of 1937 some twenty students from Brooklyn College volunteered to fight in Spain. This unique exhibit, curated by Prof. Alejandro Alonso, in partnership with ALBA, will cover three aspects: political life on campus in the 30s; the impact of the Spanish Civil War and the debates and confrontations that took place there; and the presence of Spanish Exiles in the campus.

Opening: April, 14, 2016. Brooklyn College Library, NY


January 19th, exhumation proceedings began to recover the remains of Timoteo Mendieta, murdered by the Franco regime in 1939. In 2013, his daughter Ascensión testified before María Servini, the Argentine judge who has investigated Franco’s crimes against humanity since 2010. On Servini’s orders, the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory took charge of the exhumation, helped by funds from the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism. Mendieta’s remains were recovered on January 30. his

Photo Óscar Rodríguez