The Volunteer vol 35 no 3 (September 2018)

Page 1

Vol. XXXV, No.3

September 2018


Are Franco’s Days (Finally) Numbered? Del Berg vs. the FBI (p. 17)

Immigration: The Cold War Legacy (p. 5) Sir Paul Preston Looks Back (p. 11)

The Valley of the Fallen, 2012. Photo Jorge Díaz Bes, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear Friends and Comrades: Founded by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade 239 W. 14th Street, Suite 2 New York, NY 10011 (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 (1936-39). 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 Film Festival p 4 San Francisco Monument p 5 Human Rights Column p 8 Interview: Francisco Ferrándiz p 9 A New Memory Law p 11 Interview: Paul Preston p 15 Repression of Women p 17 Del Berg vs. Hoover p 20 Book Reviews p 22 Ron Dellums In Memoriam p 23 Contributions 2 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

We are going to press on the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Ebro, the longest, most extensive, and bloodiest battle of the Spanish Civil War. In spite of Franco’s superiority in manpower and equipment, the Republicans sought to thwart the Fascist offensive on Valencia and to gain time in the hope that the Western democracies would finally come to their aid. In September 1938, as we know, the Munich agreement sealed the fate of the Republic and made World War II all but inevitable. As this issue of The Volunteer illustrates, the tragic events of 1938 led to long-lasting hardship, mostly for the people of Spain, but also for the surviving international volunteers. As Paul Preston reminds us in his prologue to Ramón Sender’s A Death in Zamora, the fascist victory led to the systematic persecution of antifascists with particular ferocity directed against women (see page 15) while “premature antifascists” like Del Berg were harassed for years by the FBI (see page 17). The harsh treatment French authorities perpetrated on Spanish Republican refugees continues to echo in the policies currently pursued by our own government: indiscriminate deportations, the separation of children from their parents, and ICE raids and intimidation. Sarah Lazare points out how the deceptive attempts by US authorities today to distinguish between “legitimate” and “illegitimate” refugees date back to the post-World War II Red Scare (see page 5). As we know, as long as there is oppression and exploitation there will be those who support the struggle for a just world and, in the process, as Paul Preston and Francisco Ferrándiz point out, set the historical record straight so that we may hold Fascists accountable for their crimes (see pages 11 and 8). At ALBA we will highlight the connections between the struggles of the past and those of the present at our forthcoming teachers’ workshops in Ohio, New York, and New Jersey. On September 21, 22, and 23, our annual Human Rights Film Festival will feature more than a dozen new documentaries about those struggles as well (see page 3). All this is not possible without your continued support. Thanks, as always, for your generosity.

Fraser Ottanelli Chair of the Board of Governors

Marina Garde Executive Director

Letter to the Editors Thank you, Alan Singer, for your article in The Volunteer (June 2018). Considering the lessons offered by history is the reason ALBA exists, and your article was important and relevant. However, to me, the Standing Rock events and demonstrations were perhaps the most significant ones of the past few years, and I was sorry you did not include mention of them in your article. No other recent protest or movement represented the intersection of more issues than Standing Rock: the history of genocide and occupation of Native land, racism, environmental destruction, corporate power and big money in government, militarization of security and police

apparatus, etc., or attracted more allies and supporters from all over the world — in spite of the fact that the locus of the events was rural and remote. Further, the underlying (traditional Native) spirituality of the majority of the organizers gave the movement a profound ethical and moral strength. Thus, of all the movements to emerge recently, I find this one the most inspiring. With appreciation, Leslie Correll Oakland, CA Alan Singer Replies: This is a fair comment. I have no further response.


ALBA’s Documentary Film Festival Returns By Natalia Chávez Gomes da Silva From September 21 through 23, “Impugning Impunity” presents 15 short and long documentaries from around the world. Underscoring ALBA’s commitment to uphold the values of the U.S. volunteers who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War, Impugning Impunity, ALBA’s annual human-rights film festival, sparks dialogues about justice, equality, and humanity. In addition to screening new independent documentaries, the festival features post-screening Q&A sessions with filmmakers, human-rights advocates, and activists. Embodying the festival’s motto, EXPOSE – RESIST – TRANSFORM, the documentaries make us see, feel, and think. The stories told in the films focus on justice, well-being, and human happiness—identifying what, and who, impedes them. Together, they provide a comprehensive glance of human rights struggles past and present, and around the world. More than 130 films from over 35 countries—including Spain, the U.S., Guatemala, Ecuador, India, Germany, Australia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran, and Puerto Rico—were submitted to be part of this year’s final lineup. The selected features will be screened September 21-23 at the historic Downtown Community Television Center (87 Lafayette St.) in New York City. Three stellar films featured this year include The Silence of Others, by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, on the epic struggle of victims of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship; Milicianas, by Tània Balló and Jaume Miró, on women militia during the Spanish Civil War; and Spain in Two Trenches by Francesc Escribano and Lluís Carrizo, made with original archive material, digitized and colorized, from the Spanish Civil War. The members of the jury—noted documentarian Kathy Brew, Emmy-Award winning cinematographer Matt Porwoll, and highly acclaimed human-rights film producer Paco de Onís—will honor the best film from the official selection with the Harry Randall Award, created in memory of Harry W. Randall, Jr. (1915-2012), who served as Chief Photographer of the 15th International Brigade.

ALBA’s Fall 2018 Teaching Institutes October 12: Beachwood, OH – A one-day Professional Development Workshop hosted by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, sponsored by Ohio Humanities and Oberlin College, in collaboration with the Ohio Council for the Social Studies. October 22: Piscataway, NJ – ALBA workshop at the annual conference of the New Jersey Council for the Social Studies, hosted by Rutgers University. November 6: New York City, NY – A one-day Professional Development Workshop co-hosted by the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC) and NYU’s Tamiment Library, and supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) in partnership with the City Council.

Born in Bolivia, Natalia Chávez Gomes da Silva is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish at New York University.

November 7: Bergen County , NJ—A one-day Professional Development Workshop hosted by the Bergen County Technical Schools.

Join us in September! IIFFDocs | September 21 -23, 2018 DCTV, New York City |

For more details, contact Ryan Davis, ALBA Educational Outreach Coordinator, at September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 3

The monument shortly after its initial installation.

San Francisco National Monument Will Look Better Than Ever Arts Commission Approves Repair That Will Stand the Test of Time By the editors


he largest United States monument dedicated to the volunteers who fought fascism in Spain is getting ready for repair. This summer the remaining onyx panels were removed. With support from your donations ALBA is working with the Architectural Resources Group to replace them with scratch-proof, laminated tempered glass, in the same design, that will endure the tests of weather, vandals, and time. The monument was inaugurated in 2008 to great public enthusiasm, with speeches by then-mayor Gavin Newsom and several surviving Lincoln veterans. Designed by Walter Hood and Ann Chamberlain, the monument sits at the end of Market Street, across the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building. It consists of 44 translucent panels displayed in three rows in a large steel frame. The panels are printed on both sides with texts and photographs. Since its inauguration, the monument has been the target of repeated acts of vandalism. What proved more treacherous, though, was the Bay Area climate, which wreaked havoc on the onyx panels. Over time, an increasing number of them cracked along their naturally occurring veins. Working with the slowly-grinding gears of the city administration—in particular the San Francisco Arts Commission—ALBA has continuously pressed the city for a much-needed repair. With all the necessary approvals now in, the replacement panels will be produced this fall and, hopefully, installed before the end of the year. Stay tuned for a rededication ceremony in the spring!

The Jarama Society What you leave to friends and loved ones—and the causes you champion­—are ways of expressing your hopes and dreams for the future and perpetuate your part in the story of the Lincoln Brigade. As you make your plans, please consider including ALBA in your will or living trust, or naming us as a beneficiary of your estate. ALBA can accept legacy gifts in any amount, large or small. Please help us to continue to expand our horizons, and your beliefs, and help us to carry our shared legacy to the next generation and beyond. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss your choices, please contact executive director Marina Garde at 212 674 5398 or All inquires are kept in the strictest confidence.

This past July, Barbez and Velina Brown filled the ruins of the Santo Domingo church in Pontevedra, Spain with anti-fascist music in a rendition of For Those Who Came After, their new album of Spanish Civil War songs. The album is available at $20 for domestic orders (incl. sh&h). Barbez generously donates all proceeds to ALBA. 4 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

Protest in support of DACA at Trump Tower in New York City, September 2017. Photo Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Human Rights Column

Do Refugees Have Rights? By Sarah Lazare

The distinction between “illegitimate” migrants fleeing poverty and “legitimate” refugees escaping political persecution originated during the Cold War to bolster the anti-communist aggression of U.S. and Western governments. Today, it’s used to justify some of the greatest atrocities of our times.


peaking before Congress in May, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen declared: “Asylum is for people fleeing persecution, not those searching for a better job, yet our broken system, with its debilitating court rulings, a crushing backlog and gaping loopholes, allows illegal migrants to get into our country anyway, and for whatever reason they want.” Her statement, of course, was not intended to expand protections for asylum-seekers. Nielsen instead insisted that asylum protections should be further restricted in order to close “loopholes” and prevent the “scamming of the system.”

The differentiation between “illegitimate” migrants fleeing poverty and “legitimate” refugees escaping political persecution has emerged as a key Trump administration talking point to justify a vicious crackdown on all border crossers. But the distinction predates the current White House. It originated during the Cold War to bolster the anti-communist aggression of U.S. and Western governments. Ever since, the division of displaced people into those “deserving” and “undeserving” of protections has served the political interests of the powerful. Yet these categories are too often treated as natural and given—even by supposedly neutral bodies like the United Nations. In the hands September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 5

Protesters at a DACA rally in San Francisco, September 2017. Photo Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The division of displaced people into those “deserving” and “undeserving” of protections has served the political interests of the powerful. of the Trump administration, such labels are used to justify some of the greatest atrocities of our times. As I have pointed out for In These Times, the 1951 UN Refugee Convention that birthed the modern notion of the refugee was established during the Cold War and disproportionately shaped by the United States, Western European countries, and American allies. According to the treaty, a refugee is someone with a reasonable fear of persecution “for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” This category notably excludes poverty, limiting its scope to civil—and not economic—rights. In effect, such a framework reflects bourgeois capitalist morality, which casts the redistribution of wealth as a violation of personal freedoms—and denies the violence of poverty. These bourgeois values intersect with unbridled racism. In the United States, the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 allowed the government to shut out “undesirable” ethnicities and refuse border crossers suspected of being communists. The U.S. Refugee Relief Act of 1953 soon followed, defining a refugee as someone seeking protection in a non-communist country. The notion that the United States, as the leader of the “free world,” welcomes in those persecuted by geopolitical foes—but not the impoverished and dispossessed—has guided presidential administrations ever since. In one disgraceful example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower deported more than one million Mexicans in 1954 under “Operation Wetback.” And in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan slammed the door on many people fleeing persecution in El Salvador—whose government was allied with the United States—by classifying them as economic migrants, not refugees. The Refugee Act of 1980 brings the U.S. government’s definition of a refugee closely in line with the language of the 1951 UN Convention. But the Trump administration is now using its powers to further narrow society’s determination of who counts as a refugee. In June, for example, Attorney General Jeff Sessions exercised his authority over immigration courts to upend key protections for survivors of domestic and gang violence, effectively slamming the door on thousands of people fleeing dangerous conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and beyond.

6 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

The path to asylum is being obstructed at numerous other points as well. Over the past year alone, the Trump administration has refused to renew Temporary Protected Status for tens of thousands of people from Honduras, Haiti, and El Salvador. Immigration lawyers say U.S. border authorities are effectively blocking off the ports of entry designated for asylum-seekers. Meanwhile, some asylum-seekers face such prolonged detention that they’ve given up on their claims. As the Trump administration has brutally showcased, it was willing to separate up to 3,000 children from their parents, with little concern about why they were seeking entry to the United States. Following public outrage and intervention from the courts, the Trump administration claimed it would reunite children with their parents—in immigrant detention—following Obama’s chilling precedent of mass-jailing children. Meanwhile, Trump has not even met this judicial mandate, and thousands of children remain separated. As Trump openly schemes to build military camps to detain immigrant families, many live in terror of what his new mandate will bring. The notion that the United States offers a fair asylum process has long been a myth, and never more so than under Trump. But immigration authorities are enacting brutal policies across the board. And the more the system cracks down on one kind of border crosser, the more it comes after everyone. During Trump’s first year, immigration arrests increased 41 percent compared to 2016, while thanks to Sessions’ “zero-tolerance” policy, all border crossers face a dramatic uptick in criminal prosecutions. And of course, Trump directly oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a post-9/11 armed police force designed for carrying out mass deportations. Under this regime, neither “refugees” nor “migrants” are safe. As the humanitarian organization No More Deaths/No Más Muertes has documented in harrowing detail, thousands of people have perished in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands after being chased by immigration authorities through deadly terrain. It’s important to remember that this mass killing force predates the Trump administration: The group asserted in 2016 that “the known disappearance of thousands of people in the remote wilderness of the U.S.–Mexico border zone marks one of the great historical crimes of our day.” While the Trump adminis-

Detention facility in McAllen, Texas, June 2018. U.S. Customs and Border Control, Public domain.

In the U.N.’s definition of refugees, bourgeois values intersect with unbridled racism.

tration targets and persecutes humanitarian activists seeking to provide life-saving water at the border, this death count is likely to increase. Some cheerleaders of Trump’s crackdown claim it is necessary to protect “legitimate” asylum-seekers. Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council and a close ally of Trump, argued in a June column for Fox News that a wall between the United States and Mexico will keep out illegitimate migrants while freeing “the resources necessary to expedite legal immigration and review the ever-growing backlog of asylum claims.” But leading immigrant justice organizations are not taking the bait. For groups like Mijente, the aim is to chip away at a deportation machine that upends—and even ends—lives, rips loved ones apart from each other, and denies the most basic right to safety, whether one is fleeing poverty or narrowly defined political persecution. In its new platform, the organization calls for “immigration policies that not only call for the abolition of immigration enforcement agencies, but for full-scale decriminalization of immigration.” Meanwhile, the undocumented network Movimiento Cosecha—which focuses on organizing undocumented workers in the United States—pledges that it “will not stop” until it wins permanent protection for the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States. The organizing will continue, the group says, “until the dignity of each human is the same regardless of skin color and until this country shows respect for the sacrifices we have made to be here.” Thanks to the hard work of undocumented movements during the Obama years, and public outrage at Trump’s child separations, the demand to abolish ICE has broken into the political mainstream. Democratic Socialist candidate for New York’s 14th Congressional District, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, defeated powerful incumbent Joe Crowley with a campaign

platform that included the demand to abolish ICE. This call has even been repeated by Democratic Party heavyweights, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) who is poised to introduce a bill to abolish ICE. However, the legislation is not expected to alter immigration laws, and Pocan has been explicit about his intention to establish a replacement or alternative for ICE—raising concern that Democratic Party efforts will not ultimately abolish the core injustices that inspired public protests. Irene Romulo, an organizer with the Chicago-based group Organized Communities Against Deportations, told me in July that she is glad the call to abolish ICE is catching fire, but she is concerned about efforts to merely rename the agency or transfer ICE functions to other institutions. “As long as they continue to target, detain, deport and incarcerate people they will always be the same, no matter under what department or what name,” she said. Romulo is part of a growing and uncompromising movement led by undocumented people who insist all immigrants are worthy of refuge and safety—and refuse the terms of a U.S. deportation machine that scapegoats “undeserving” border crossers as it clamps down on everyone. This system was shaped by American imperialism during the Cold War and—now under Trump’s control—its ideological foundations must be torn down. Sarah Lazare is web editor at In These Times. She comes from a background in independent journalism for publications including The Nation, Tom Dispatch, YES! Magazine, and Al Jazeera America. A former staff writer for AlterNet and Common Dreams, Sarah co-edited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Sarah got her start in journalism reporting for the Independent Media Center movement.

September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 7

Francisco Ferrándiz in 2014.

Will Franco Finally Be Exhumed? Anthropologist Francisco Ferrándiz: “This Is As Complex As Ground Zero or Srebrenica” By Marimar Huguet

Spain’s new Prime Minister, the Socialist Pedro Sánchez, has decided it’s time to remove Franco’s body and redefine his mausoleum, the Valley of the Fallen. Few people know more about the Valley and its possible future than the anthropologist Francisco Ferrándiz. An interview. 2011. Our first measure, by consensus, was not to turn in our report during the elections period, not to use it as an electoral tool. In fact, we turned it in after the socialist electoral defeat. Once the PP came to power, it automatically tossed it in the trash.

“Historically, the most terrible things (war, genocide, and slavery) have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience” —Howard Zinn Presiding over the entrance to Madrid’s University City—where Nationalists and Republicans fiercely fought the Battle for Madrid—is a massive anachronism: a monumental arch commemorating Franco’s victory over the Spanish Republic. Along with the Valley of the Fallen, the memorial outside of Madrid where Franco lies buried, the victory arch symbolizes the dictator’s continued public presence in Spain forty years after the transition to democracy. Yet change is underway. Until a couple of months ago, the broad avenue that Franco’s arch has overlooked since the 1950s was known as the Avenida de la Victoria. Shiny new street signs now say Avenida de la Memoria. And even the Valley of the Fallen may have its days numbered. Spain’s new Prime Minister, the Socialist Pedro Sánchez, has decided it’s time to remove the dictator’s body and redefine his mausoleum. Although many in Spain applaud the decision, resistance from the church, some ranks within the military, and the Right has been fierce. In fact, disinterring the dictator was a key recommendation of a blue-ribbon commission, appointed by former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2011, just before the Socialist government collapsed. The following seven years of conservative rule meant that the report never left the drawer it was tossed 8 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

in. But Pedro Sánchez, the new prime minister, has vowed not just to uphold the 2007 Historical Memory Law that was adopted under Zapatero but to take it several steps further. This also means tackling the thorny question of the Valley. In July I spoke with the anthropologist Francisco Ferrándiz, who was a member of the commission and is an international expert on mass grave exhumations after violent conflicts. Can you tell me about the commission’s work? The Law of Historical Memory from 2007 actually mentions the Valley of the Fallen explicitly. It states several things: that the site will remain a place of worship and a public cemetery, and that any political activity inside of the monument is forbidden. But it also calls for measures to democratize the site. Still, the Zapatero government took a long time to appoint a commission to deal with the Valley. We weren’t convened until May

We had divided into three subcommittees. My group dealt with the crypts of the site, the burials, and the issue of Franco’s exhumation. In fact, a big part of that part of the report is mine. We mention how Franco himself, in his decree for the foundation of the monument and its inauguration, conceived the Valley of the Fallen as a site for war victims (“fallen” victims). Therefore, it was not his will to bury anybody not directly linked to war casualties. We are not very sure how Franco ended up buried there. It seems that it was a decision made by Carlos Arias Navarro. There was a formal state funeral and a royal mandate so that the Benedict Order would bury the body of Franco. Now a mandate like that is very hard to overturn; it touches on the core of political legitimacy in Spain. However, what we advocate for in our report goes beyond Franco’s exhumation itself. We underscore the need to re-signify the monument, to make it become something else. In order to achieve that, we argue, the Francoist hierarchy of the site needs to be dismantled. That implies not only removing Franco. It also involves José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Falange party, who lays alongside Franco. We need to remember that Primo de Rivera has always presided on all the plaques commemorating all the “Fallen for God and Spain”

Exhuming of Franco and moving José Antonio is necessary but by no means enough. all over the country. José Antonio could not continue to have an honorary burial place in the Valley of the Fallen. That is when we decided to draw a red line. Franco needed to leave the Valley because he did not even belong there according to his own concept. He was not a victim of war. But José Antonio Primo de Rivera, could no longer stay next to Franco either. Everybody is talking these days about Franco’s remains being removed. But in fact what we proposed was a double move: Franco should go out, but Primo de Rivera should go to a side crypt with the thousands of other victims of war. Probably, Primo de Rivera’s family will not agree and will take him out, but all that would be part of the negotiation. Once Franco is out of his grave, where will he go? What is the next step? I do not have firsthand information as of now, but the logic that is being followed is the one that we, the commission of experts, decided on. The three most conservative members from the commission of experts actually rejected Franco’s exhumation. Regarding Primo de Rivera’s body, nobody objected to the decision of moving him to a side crypt; nobody really cares about his fate, not even the political right. The right wing really cares about Franco, not José Antonio. Now, where Franco’s body would go depends on the family. One logical decision would be that he be buried next to his wife, Carmen Polo de Franco. She is buried in a crypt that was originally built for the Franco family in the Mingorrubio cemetery, in El Pardo. It is the same cemetery that holds the remains of Carrero Blanco and other Francoist leaders. How would this go? It would be very easy from a technical point of view. The problems are mainly of a bureaucratic, symbolic, and legal nature. About a year ago, the socialist party presented a nonbinding motion to revitalize the Law of Historical Memory, asking that the body of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco be removed. It was passed by Congress by absolute majority. The only parties that abstained were Partido Popular and Esquerra Republicana [the Catalan Republican Left, for whom the

motion did not go far enough —the editors]. This motion had no legal force because the government was conservative. But it was of great political significance. The new sudden switch in government has changed this. The new juridical apparatus must now carefully analyze all the new possible implications of the motion. It needs to be done with extreme care and in a way that will prove irreversible. The new government could also make now a decree by which they demand the exhumation of Franco and the handing of the remains to his family. But the family disagrees. Some of its resistance is tactical: an effort to protect the many privileges it still enjoys, including a duchy, Franco’s summer residence in Galicia, and the Franco Foundation. In any case, I think the state should put on the table two options: either the family handles the exhumation through a funerary service of their choice that hires public officials if they wish. (This is what happened recently when the remains of generals Sanjurjo and Mola were exhumed.) Or they let the state handle the exhumation and they decide what to do with the body. I think there would not even be the need for a forensic doctor, because Franco’s body was embalmed, so we would know it is him. How do you think the media has handled the issue of the exhumation of Franco? There has been definitely some sensationalism. In fact, our Valley of the Fallen report contains a lot of interesting elements, but the only thing that made the headlines was that the commission of experts recommended the exhumation of Franco. All the newspapers, even the international ones, published that. Exhuming of Franco and moving José Antonio is necessary but by no means enough. There are many other things that need to be done in order to convert the site into something worthy of a democratic society. One of the things I proposed is that the site become a monument of interpretation, with the latest technologies (very powerful Wi-Fi, virtual guides, downloadable files and pictures, etc.). As such, it could become part of some sort of

Spain to Update Memory Law By Sebastiaan Faber

Pedro Sánchez, leader of Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE) and the country’s new Prime Minister, has announced he wants to update the Law of Historical Memory that was first adopted in 2007 and severely underfunded by the conservative Partido Popular (PP), which governed Spain from 2011 until this year. Sánchez was installed as Prime Minister after a successful vote of no confidence ousted the PP’s Mariano Rajoy. Although his party governs without a parliamentary majority, Sánchez has said he plans to finish out the current legislature, which runs until 2020. The same majority of votes that supported Sánchez during the vote of no confidence—which includes Podemos and the Catalan and Basque nationalist parties—is expected to back his ambitious plans in the area of historical memory. Among other measures, the Sánchez government has announced plans to remove Franco’s remains from his tomb at the Valley of the Fallen and to reform that monument along the lines proposed in 2011 by a blue-ribbon commission. Sánchez has also mentioned the possibility of a Truth Commission—which is among the recommendations that the United Nations has been making for years—and ordered that the government study annulling a battery of judicial verdicts of a political nature issued under the Franco dictatorship. Finally, Sánchez has promised that the administration will take over the search for, and exhumation of, mass graves from the war. These exhumations started in earnest as a grassroots initiative around 2000. But while the law from 2007 included some funding for these efforts, it was still the families that were expected to take the lead. To coordinate the enforcement of the 2007 law and shepherd these many updates, the Sánchez government has created a historical memory office within the Ministry of Justice and appointed Fernando Martínez López as its coordinator. An accomplished historian, Martínez López has led research projects on Francoist repression in Andalusia and coordinated the public map of mass graves in that same region.

September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 9

The Valley of the Fallen, 2012. Photo Jorge Díaz Bes, CC BY-SA 3.0 / Franco’s tomb. Photo Xauxa Håkan Svensson, CC BY-SA 3.0

If the Francoists knew about the conditions in which the crypts are now, they would be horrified. itinerary of European totalitarianisms, together with Germany, Russia, and Italy, where you could visit totalitarian monuments like the Nuremberg Stadium, the Munich Stadium, the leftovers of the Germania project by Speer and Hitler, the Stalin skyscrapers… This was originally an idea of a childhood friend of mine, the architect Alejandro Zaera. It would show us how a totalitarian ideology literally petrifies itself, turns itself into stone. But right now, this idea cannot be realized because the Law of Historical Memory stipulates that the Valley continue to serve as a place of worship. In other words, it cannot be desacralized. Currently, the crypts fall under the jurisdiction of the Benedictine monks. In our report we proposed that the place become a special public cemetery, with a state jurisdiction. This is crucial, but the mass media has never ever paid any attention to it.

was the year that, for the first time, bodies were transferred to the site. José Antonio Primo de Rivera arrived a few days before, who, by the way, had been initially buried in the Royal Pantheon of El Escorial, in 1939. The Falangists actually hated that his body was taken from there. They considered it a degradation to go the Valley. He eventually was transported by shoulder from El Escorial to El Valle. What should be done next is an assessment of every single crypt and level of burials, to give us an exact idea of the state of the crypts. If the Francoists knew about the conditions in which the crypts are now, they would be horrified. Let’s not forget that many Franco followers donated their dead to this project. And they may very well be mixed up with Republicans now. It is a tremendously complex issue; it is one of the most complex forensic issues in the world right now, comparable to the identification of bones found at Ground Zero in New York City, or at Srebrenica.

What about the vast amount of unidentified bodies in the crypts? Do you think it would be an impossible task to identify them? It is very complicated. There are 28 levels of burials. There are three levels of burials on each of the sides of the transept, behind the chapels dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Some have 3,000 bodies, others have 6,000, some do not have any… But in the transept itself, in the chapel dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Sepulcher, there are five levels. In 2010, a forensic doctor from the Ministry of Justice issued a report regarding the state of the crypts. It was very superficial. They were able to get some cameras inside and take pictures, but they were considered top secret. I had to really push so that our commission could see the pictures. A lady from the Ministry of Justice came one day with a pen drive and kind of reluctantly showed them to us. They showed very disorganized crypts, with cluttered bones. Right after that, she put the pen drive in her pocket and left. Somehow, I do not know how, those same pictures were leaked, and arrived to Cadena Ser a year ago, who published them. Many families were not happy with that report.

10 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

When do you think Franco is actually going to come out?

But a more recent report included images from a crypt in which you can see wooden and bulging boxes next to a wall and on top of each other. In some of them, the name of origin can be read in white paint. In other words, things may not be as chaotic inside as we thought.

Everything surrounding the Valley is always very secretive. Whenever it is, it needs to be done as soon as possible. There are some municipal mortuary sanitation laws from the Sanitation Department that need to be followed. It seems that these mortuary laws object to performing exhumations during the summer because the heat might damage the body. Another obstacle. But we have to make sure that, when the exhumation finally takes place, all these judicial hurdles have been patiently taken care of, until there is not a single impediment any more.

Regarding the dead people inside of the Valley, there is a book of names, guarded by the Benedict Order, which states where each box is located. The list has the names of about 20,000 people, but there are over 12,000 unidentified bodies, who mainly come from military cemeteries. There are republicans among them, but it is unknown exactly how many. The Valley was inaugurated on April 1, 1959, in commemoration of the day of the victory of the war. That

The Sunday right after this interview, hundreds of people protested at the Valley against the removal of Franco’s remains from the site. Demonstrators hailed the dictator, making the fascist salute, chanting his name, and waving flags with Francoist symbols. What is seen by many in Spain and the world as a long awaited and naturally democratic move, is considered almost heresy by his many faithful followers.

Paul Preston addressing the IBMT commemoration in London, 2016. Photo IBMT

“I’m Not a Theorist. My Vocation Is Biography” Checking in with Sir Paul Preston By Sebastiaan Faber

The British historian Paul Preston, who just turned 72, has been knighted—a good moment to look back on his career and assess the latest developments in Spain, where one of his major research subjects, Franco, continues to stir up controversy. “In Spain, there’s a kind of historic notion that the British are polite, gentlemanly, and so forth. Bizarrely, I seem to plug into that image.” When I last spoke with Paul Preston, five years ago, he was correcting proofs of The Last Stalinist, his critical biography of Santiago Carrillo, long-time leader of Spain’s Communist Party. Three years later he published The Last Days of the Spanish Republic, a detailed account of the bloody infighting that marked the final month of the war. Preston’s work also formed the basis for two new graphic novels, on the history of the Spanish Civil War and the bombing of Guernica, drawn by José Pablo García. Next year will see the publication of his long-awaited book on the role of corruption in Spanish politics from 1874 to the present, A People Betrayed: A History of 20th Century Spain. Although he’s officially retired, Preston continues to head the Cañada

Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies at the London School of Economics, which hosts frequent events and sponsors a long-running book series published through Routledge and Sussex. Earlier this summer, on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s 92nd birthday, and about a month before he celebrated his own 72nd, Preston was honored with a knighthood—as good an excuse as any for an interview. I catch Preston on an August afternoon in the booklined study where he spends almost every waking moment of his life. “The last time we did this, you said I was ambitious because I never stop working. But I simply wouldn’t know what else to do!”

September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 11

Frames from the graphic novel based on Preston’s work by José Pablo García.

I guess congratulations are in order. Of course, I’m very pleased. But to be honest, I’m also vaguely embarrassed. People tell me I should change my passport and credit cards to get upgrades on airplanes and discounts in restaurants. I’d be so hideously embarrassed. But there are some advantages. If I sign my correspondence with my full title, university bureaucrats become crawlingly sycophantic. (Laughs.) You’re the second working-class kid from Liverpool I know to become “Sir Paul.” McCartney is only four years older than you. His journey to the knighthood was obviously different from yours. But do you think your ascendency through the rigid British class system says something about your generation? A lot of people get knighted in the U.K. for all kinds of reasons. Some have given money to a political party. In some cases, it’s automatic, for example if you’re president of a university or the Regius Professor of History at Oxford or Cambridge. Sometimes they make a mistake and knight someone who turns out to be a total scoundrel. Still, I can’t think of many historians with a working-class background who have been knighted. The only one that occurs to me is Ian Kershaw, the great historian of twentieth-century Germany. You got knighted for your service to Anglo-Spanish relations. Do you feel you have actually served those relations? (Laughs.) Well, I wouldn’t have thought so. But it’s an interesting question. On the one hand, 13 million British people visit Spain every year, and 1.3 million of them live in Spain. Within those two groups, a very large proportion have never bothered to learn a word of Spanish. Among the holiday makers there are absolute hooligans who go to Spain to have sex and to drink, and to engage in mind-bogglingly disgusting stuff. You’d think that, among the Spaniards, all this would add up to disgust with the British. Yet at the same time, there’s a kind of historic notion that the British are polite, gentlemanly, and so forth. Bizarrely, I seem to plug into that second image. Although, come to think 12 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

of it, I am actually very polite. With all the debates going on at the moment about Spanish history, for example, I refuse to get involved in polemics. Speaking of current polemics, the plan to exhume Franco from his tomb in the Valley of the Fallen has stirred up the Spanish right. What do you make of the manifesto in defense of Franco’s reputation, published last week by 181 retired military officers? Or of the conservative historians who claim that Spaniards still suffer from the Black Legend and have much too negative an image of their own national history? Well, as it turns out, they have a powerful champion in Stanley Payne, the U.S. historian who recently co-authored a biography of Franco that extols the dictator’s virtues and downplays the extent of his repression in a way that I found quite shocking. I think Payne’s most recent book is actually titled In Defense of Spain: Deconstructing Myths and Black Legends. It’s a curious phenomenon: in the post-Franco period something has happened that would have never occurred in, say, France. In Spain, both the left and the right seem to have felt they needed some kind of legitimation from abroad. In that context, I have become something like the legitimator-in-chief of the democratic left, of the historiography that is sympathetic to the Second Republic. Payne is fulfilling that role on the pro-Franco right. In her introduction to Interrogating Francoism, the book of essays that Helen Graham edited in your honor two years ago, she makes an interesting point. She says that Spain’s “memory wars,” which for a while pitted non-historians against historians, have now “turned into full-scale ‘history wars.’” The battle, she writes, “now entered the Academy to involve—and divide—professional historians.” She’s right. For the book I’m writing now, in fact, I’m catching up on some of the recent research. It’s been a while since I wrote about the Second Republic, and a lot of stuff has come out since then—including from historians close to Stanley Payne who basi-

cally seek to blame the Republic for the outbreak of the war. One recent study in this vein claims that the February 1936 elections, in which the Popular Front won by a narrow margin, were fraudulent. Now, some of the research in these books is actually quite interesting. The arguments are deeply flawed, though. When these authors quote extremist statements that were made in the years of the Second Republic by leaders on the left, for instance, we can’t deny that those statements were made. What these authors ignore, though, is the basic social context which shows that there is a fundamental difference between a speech by a well-heeled lawyer on the right like Gil Robles, who heads up the CEDA, and statements made by someone like Margarita Nelken, a deputy for the Socialist Party who spends her time with peasants in Extremadura who are in total desperation from having to watch helplessly as their children die of hunger. They are simply not the same. Although you try to avoid sterile polemic, you’ve been regularly quoted in recent debates around the Valley of the Fallen. The right wants it to stay as is. Among the left, some have called for its destruction. There is so much unfinished business in Spain still. When it comes to the Valle de los Caídos, I think it makes no sense to demolish it. At some strange level, it’s one of the wonders of the world—thanks, mind you, to the Republican slave labor that built it. But the Valley can be turned into an educational site. The same is true, for that matter, for streets named after Franco’s generals. Below the sign that says “Calle del General Yagüe,” for example, you could add a simple note: “Responsible for the massacre of Badajoz.” Looking back on your career from your newly-gained knighthood, would you say that, as an historian, you are a product of your time? Over the past thirty years, you’ve overseen about that same number of dissertations on Spanish history. Many of your pupils have become distinguished historians in their own right. But their work is often quite different from yours in focus and methodology. Is there a something like a “Preston school”? First off, I am not a theorist. I would never write a book about historiography. But it’s true that, between the dissertations and what I do with the Cañada Blanch Centre, I have worked with a lot of people. A lot of Spaniards have come and spent time with me in an early stage of their careers, including Julián Casanova, Enrique Moradiellos, and Ismael Saz. What would you think your impact has been on the Spanish historians you helped train? Teaching them about readability and simplicity—that there is nothing that can be said that can’t be said better, more simply

and elegantly. When I started out, Spanish history was written in the most obscure manner. It almost seemed passive aggressive, intended to keep ordinary people from reading it. By now, much history has become much more approachable—and I would like to think I have contributed to that in some measure. Now, if you laid end-to-end the theses I have supervised and the many books I’ve edited, is there something that ties it all together? For one, obviously there are no pro-Franco items among them but there are several from a pretty conservative point of view. In that sense, you are right that there are a lot of different approaches. Maybe the only thing that links these people is their personal connection with me. There are certain things that I absolutely try to instill. I try to teach people to build a narrative in a way that doesn’t depart from the sources but remains readable and accessible. But clearly there’s no “Preston School” in terms of theory. When I started out, the nearest to theory that hooked me was Barrington Moore’s The Social Origins of Dictatorships and Democracy, which I found absolutely mind-boggling. I also read a certain amount of Marxist stuff. But my work is not Marxist. First, because I’m not clever enough. And second, rigidity is not my scene: I didn’t give up being a Catholic in order to become a Marxist. When I wrote The Coming of the Spanish Civil War, if anyone had asked me what kind of historian I was, I’d have answered I was a social historian. But actually over time I have become more and more aware of the role of the individual—an idea, of course, that no Marxist would accept. And I have to say I’m happiest when I’m actually writing about individuals. By the time I wrote my book about Franco I came to accept that my vocation is biography. But has that had an impact on my students? I’m not sure. Again, I’m not a theorist. Indeed, any time I have to delve into some of what is farcically called “cultural studies,” steam comes out of my ears. In the same way that, as you say, Spanish historians used to pay little attention to readability, the next challenge may be education. In that same book Interrogating Francoism, your Spanish colleague Julián Casanova makes a plea to improve radically secondary-school treatment of twentiethcentury Spanish history. Do you know if your own work has been used in that context in Spain? I’m thinking, for instance, of your recent graphic-novel histories. The artist I work with, José Pablo García, is fabulous. And the graphic novel project isn’t over. Next, the publisher wants us to do my biography of Franco—which is a thousand-page book: condensing that will be a challenge. As far as I can tell, though, the project is a success. The Civil War comic is on its tenth edition. Parents and school teachers have told me it’s been very

September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 13

useful. Actually, in Spain a lot of top-notch historians work as secondary-school teachers because there is not enough work at the universities. The historian Fernando Hernández Sánchez, who trains school teachers in Madrid, has done some excellent work in this area. Can you say a bit more about the book you’re writing now, A People Betrayed, in which you cover Spanish history from 1874 through the lens of political corruption? The notion of the Spaniards as a noble people cursed with a woefully inept and perpetually corrupt political class has been around at least since Gerald Brenan, if not before. Hasn’t it become a cliché? I’m a big admirer of Brenan. His Spanish Labyrinth from 1943 was a big inspiration when I set out. I still go back to it from time to time. I’m surrounded by books this high (points to the shelves behind him) but Brenan’s among the ones that’s off the shelf most. Much of it, of course, has been modified if not disproven by later research. But the essential story is there. My present book is a narrative history but it has a triple thematic filter: political corruption, the incompetence of the political class, and the social consequences of both—that is, the frequent breakdown of social cohesion. Working on it has been fascinating. For one, I realized that I didn’t actually know that much about the late nineteenth century. But even in the early twentieth century, the focus on corruption has really confirmed for me things that I knew about but had never gone into in detail. The secret government financing of agents provocateurs and mercenary assassins, for instance, in the repression of workingclass movements. I have a chapter on the seven years of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship, 1923-30, which is actually the topic I started my Ph.D on, so I figured it’d be easy. But what I’ve written is wildly different from anything I could have anticipated, thanks in part to what I’ve found out from contemporary investigative journalists who were forced into exile and wrote for clandestine publications. As it turns out, the regime was rotten to the core. I’ll give you one example. One of the absolute villains is Severiano Martínez Anido, who was Primo’s hitman, responsible for large-scale political repression even before Primo came to power. During the dictatorship, one of the ongoing rackets was the creation of monopolies. The ones everyone knows about involve petroleum, the telephone, the large hydraulic projects, and so forth. Each these projects provided jobs for aunties, uncles, brothers-in-law, and so on, with Primo and Anido as the two biggest beneficiaries. But get this: They invented a monopoly on rat extermination! When I first saw it, I figured it was a symbolic reference to the need to root out political opponents. But no, it was actual vermin. As it turns out, Anido’s son gets to be the man who creams off the profit from the rat extermination monopoly. I understand that your book takes us all the way through the post-Franco period, right up to the resignation of Prime Minister Rajoy earlier this year. Yes. After Franco’s death, the real corruption starts with the consolidation of democracy in the early 1980s. Now on the one hand, you could write ten volumes on that and I simply don’t have the space, let alone the time for the massive research 14 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

necessary. In the last, post-1982 section of my book, rather than a massive chronological history of the many scandals, I’ll limit myself to an essayistic survey. Political incompetence and corruption in Spain today are as ever entwined and feed into so many social discontents—including the Catalan issue. One of the themes throughout is how central government after central government in Spain has screwed up relations with Catalonia. The tensions and divisions over the Catalan issue have to do with a very Spanish phenomenon. To agree to disagree is not a concept that exists very prominently in Spain. (Although, by the looks of it, it’s rapidly losing ground in the United States and the U.K. as well.) This means that most debates in Spain are Manichean: you’re either with us or against us. I obviously love the country and its people. But I’ve learned over the years how unbelievably easy it is to make enemies. This book sounds like it’s bound to make you some new ones. Dealing as you are with corruption, for example, you won’t be able to avoid discussing the monarchy. You’ve said many times that you look up to King Juan Carlos, about whom you wrote a biography that was well received, even on the right. Since the King’s abdication in 2014, a lot of information has come about his less-than-clean wheeling and dealing. In the present book I don’t spare the monarchy. I’m pretty hard on Alfonso XIII, who reigned from 1902 to 1931, and who was both incompetent and corrupt. I do have enormous admiration for Juan Carlos. He was of crucial importance in the democratic process. I’m not saying remotely that he’s the man who made democracy happen. But without him as the hinge that basically kept the extreme right quiet while a limited transition was negotiated between the progressive Francoists and the moderate left, the passage to democracy would not have been possible. Was he really a democrat at heart? Who knows; it’s an irrelevant question. He had a whole series of reasons to do what he did, including the fact that advisors from the U.S., the U.K., and Germany told him that’s what he had to do if he wanted to stay on the throne. He read the script, he played the role—even though it put him in danger—and he went the distance. That said, once we get into the twenty-first century, the evidence of the King’s financial corruption has accumulated, and it seems overwhelming. As time went by, a psychological element must have come into play. I imagine him thinking something like this: I’ve had a shitty life so far. They stole my childhood and adolescence. I had to kowtow to Franco. I risked my life during the transition. I was “the fireman of democracy.” Now it’s my turn: what I deserve is the warrior’s rest: el descanso del guerrero. And if that means I get to sleep with a lot of beautiful women and have a certain amount of money coming my way, so be it. Sebastiaan Faber teaches at Oberlin College.

Ramon J. Sender and Amparo Barayón in the 1930s. / The new Spanish edition of Sender-Barayón’s book.

Violence against Women in the Spanish Civil War By Paul Preston

The following text is based on Paul Preston’s introduction to the Spanish re-edition of Ramón Sender-Barayón’s A Death in Zamora (Postmetrópolis, 2018), in which the son of Ramón J. Sender and Amparo Barayón investigates the circumstances of his mother’s death three months after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.


ne of the least well known aspects of the repression against civilians carried out by the partisans of Franco’s military coup against the Spanish Republic is the scale of their deliberate and systematic persecution of women. Throughout the rebel zone, many women were murdered and thousands of the wives, sisters and mothers of executed leftists were subjected to rape and other sexual abuses, the humiliation of head shaving and public soiling after the forced ingestion of castor oil. Murder, torture, and rape were generalized punishments for the gender liberation embraced by most liberal and left-wing women during the Republican period. Moreover, for Republican women, there were also the terrible economic and psychological problems of having their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons murdered or forced to flee into exile, which often saw the wives themselves arrested in efforts to get them to reveal the whereabouts of their men. They and the many women who had been politically active faced appalling conditions in overcrowded, unhygienic prisons in addition to being subjected to sexual abuse. Those who came out of prison alive suffered deep life-long physical and psychological problems. After the war, the cruelty vis-

ited upon women was justified by a Catholic rhetoric of “redemption.” As well as confiscation of goods and imprisonment as retribution for the behavior of a son or husband, the widows and the wives of prisoners were raped. Many were forced to live in total poverty and often, out of desperation, to sell themselves on the streets. The consequent increase in prostitution both benefited Francoist men who thereby slaked their lust cheaply and had the satisfaction of being reassured that “red” women were whores, a fount of dirt and corruption. For a variety of reasons, more is known about the sexual violence carried out in the areas of Andalucía and Extremadura than the experiences of the relative minority of Republican women in northern Spain. The extent to which the abuse of women was official policy can be deduced from the speeches of General Queipo de Llano who was effectively the viceroy of southern Spain. His daily broadcasts were larded with sexual references, describing scenes of rape with a coarse relish that encouraged his militias to repeat such scenes. In one notorious speech, Queipo de Llano declared: “Our brave Legionaries and Regulares have shown the red cowards what it means to be a man. And incidentally the wives of the reds September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 15

Ramon Sender in 2011. Photo Allan J. Cronin. CC BY-SA 3.0

too. These Communist and Anarchist women, after all, have made themselves fair game by their doctrine of free love. And now they have at least made the acquaintance of real men, and not milksops of militiamen. Kicking their legs about and squealing won’t save them.” Comparable atrocities were committed in the north albeit on a lesser scale and without the kind of publicity generated by Queipo de Llano. For instance, the conquest of Catalonia by Franco’s forces throughout the second half of 1938 witnessed horrific scenes of sexual violence. Similar abuse occurred in the deeply Catholic areas of Castille and León. One of the most extreme examples of the impact on innocent women of the repression was what happened in the town of Zamora to Amparo Barayón, the wife of Ramón J. Sender, world-famous novelist and anarchist sympathiser. Sender and his wife and their two children were on a holiday in San Rafael in Segovia at the beginning of the war. He decided to return to Madrid and told Amparo to take the children to her native city of Zamora where he was sure they would be safe. In fact, on August 28, despite being a Catholic, she was imprisoned along with her seven month-old daughter, Andrea, after protesting to the military governor that her brother Antonio had been murdered earlier the same day. This 32-year-old mother, who had committed no crime and was barely active in politics, was mistreated and eventually executed on October 11, 1936. Her crime was to be a modern, independent woman, loathed because she had escaped the stultifying bigotry of Zamora and had children with a man to whom she was married only in a civil ceremony. Amparo was not alone in her suffering. Kept in belowzero temperatures, without bedding, other mothers saw their babies die because, themselves deprived of food and medicines, they had no milk to breastfeed them. One of the policemen who arrested Amparo told her that “red women have no rights” and “you should have thought of this before having children.” Another prisoner, Pilar Fidalgo Carasa, had been arrested in the nearby town of Benavente because her husband, José Almoína, was secretary of the local branch of the Socialist Party. Only eight hours before her detention and transport to Zamora, she had given birth to a baby girl. In the prison, she was forced to climb a steep staircase many times each day in order to be interrogated. This provoked a life-threatening haemorrhage. In her account of her treatment published in exile, A Young Mother in Franco’s Prisons, she wrote, “Because I continued haemorrhaging, I constantly begged the warden for help. Finally she brought the prison doctor Pedro Almendral who came merely as a matter of form. Upon seeing my suffering, he commented that ‘the best cure for the wife of that scoun16 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

drel Almoína is death.’ He prescribed nothing – neither for myself or my baby.” Numerous young women in the prison were raped before being murdered. Pilar Fidalgo’s horrifying memoir is not the only evidence of what happened to women in Zamora. The investigation into what happened to Amparo, A Death in Zamora, is a deeply moving, indeed deeply upsetting book, which has much to say to several different audiences. The central narrative relates the quest by a man brought up in the United States to discover the fate of his mother in Spain during the Civil War of the 1930s. The author, Ramón SenderBarayón, is the son of Amparo and Ramón J. Sender. His mother was a target for the military rebels simply because of her husband’s fame as a left-wing novelist. He had told her to flee to Zamora on the assumption that she would be safe there with her Catholic family. In his book, the painful and painstaking research of Ramón Sender-Barayón finally managed to reveal the truth of how she was imprisoned, tortured, and eventually executed—her horrendous fate typical of what happened to many innocent women at the hands of the supporters of General Franco. In that sense, the book is a major contribution to the history of rightwing atrocities during the Spanish War. In addition, however, the subsequent story of how Ramón J. Sender took his two children to the United States and then virtually abandoned them is also harrowing in its way and makes for a tragic psychological drama that will be of interest to many people not concerned with Spanish history. The story of Ramón Sender-Barayón's quest also happens to be a riveting detective story. I read the first edition of this book nearly 20 years ago and immediately bought several copies to give to friends and their reaction confirmed my own. One of the people to whom I sent a copy was my great friend and mentor Herbert Southworth who worked in Washington during the Spanish Civil War for the last Republican Prime Minister, Dr Juan Negrín. Herbert was very excited when he read the book and told me that he remembered going with his friend, the great journalist Jay Allen, to meet Ramón and his sister at the docks in New York when they arrived. A Death in Zamora is a unique contribution to the quest for the memory of what happened to innocent civilians during the Spanish Civil War. It is an important and neglected masterpiece which I recommend to every reader of The Volunteer. Sir Paul Preston is a Professor Emeritus at the London School of Economics, where he heads up the Cañana Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies.

Delmer Berg at the Bay Area ALBA event in 2012. Photo Richard Bermack

Del Berg vs. J. Edgar Hoover What the Last Lincoln Vet’s FBI File Tells Us About Cold-War Surveillance

By Chip Gibbons

Like many returning U.S. veterans of the Spanish Civil War, Delmer Berg was targeted for surveillance by the FBI. His file, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, tells us less about Berg than about Hoover’s agency. Editor’s Note: This article is based on a longer piece that appeared in Jacobin under the title “Feds Watching.”


hen Delmer Berg passed away in 2016, he was the last known living veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Unsurprisingly, there was significant interest in his death. Obituaries ran in the Washington Post, New York Times, The Atlantic, and even in the British-based The Guardian. The Spanish Civil War was one of the key events of the twentieth century and the heroism of those who traveled to Spain to save the Spanish Republic continues to inspire. By all accounts Berg remained true to the ideals he risked his life for in Spain and was a committed activist for causes such as racial justice and farm workers’ rights long after he returned home. One tribute to Berg was particularly eye-catching. The New York Times, in addition to an obituary, ran an opinion piece titled

“Salute to A Communist,” by Arizona senator John McCain. Obviously, this was a purposefully provocative title. Still, given the demonization Abraham Lincoln Brigade members faced at the hands of the right, seeing a conservative senator praise Berg for fighting in Spain, even while acknowledging Berg as an “unreconstructed communist,” is notable. I had a particular interest in McCain’s piece. As a journalist I frequently write about the FBI’s surveillance of left-wing political dissent. I also work for Defending Rights & Dissent, a grassroots advocacy organization where FBI monitoring of political activists (and increasingly the Muslim community) is a top concern. While writing an article about how McCain’s tribute to Del Berg in 2016 contrasted with the FBI’s longtime persecution of Brigade veterans during the Cold War, I decided to file a Freedom of Information Act request for Berg’s file. Two years later, National Archives and September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 17

J. Edgar Hoover. US News and World Report Collection, Library of Congress. Public domain

John McCain’s tribute to Del Berg in 2016 contrasted with the FBI’s longtime persecution of Brigade veterans during the Cold War. Record Administration (NARA) granted me access to the case files on Berg from the FBI’s General Headquarters and its Sacramento field office. Running over 500 pages, they prove revealing. One of the most striking aspects of Berg’s FBI files is the degree to which the US government was willing to go to identify and track Communists. The FBI files contain a World War II-era report from Military Intelligence which concluded that Berg, then an enlisted soldier, was “either a member of the Communist Party or adheres to the Communist Party line.” The military opened its investigation into Berg because his name was found in the “personal effects” of another individual believed to be a courier between the US and Australian Communist Parties. (How the bureau got hold of these personal effects, they don’t say.) As a result, the military assigned Counter Intelligence Corp (CIC) agents to investigate Berg’s views. CIC agents interviewed (“inadvertently,” they inexplicably note) Berg’s mother: When questioned about the Subject’s religious preference, Mrs. Berg remarked that Subject was an Atheist and did not believe in God, that both Subject and his father are Communists and believe in the Communist doctrine that all persons were created equal and there is no Supreme Being. Subject was further described to always be in sympathy with the common people or the underdog. A neighbor reported “without any prompting on the part of the agents” that: [S]he did not believe the subject should be placed in any position of confidence and trust in the US army because “both subject and his father are Communists;” that she had seen the Communist Newspaper in their mail box and in their home on many occasions.… Subject gave several Communist papers to another neighbor, Arnet Christianson, to read. They also reached out to the FBI’s San Francisco field office. Per their final report, the FBI had not investigated Berg but had amassed a peculiarly large amount of information about him. They knew Berg subscribed to People’s World, that his father had been excommunicated from their local church for his communist views, that Berg had fought in Spain, and that he had reportedly once uttered “he had just as soon fight for Japan as the United States.” That Berg subscribed to People’s World, the West Coast paper of the Communist Party, is a reoccurring theme throughout Berg’s files. Agents interviewed Berg’s ex-wives, former mother-in-law, and others who much like his neighbor reported witnessing it in his possession. The FBI even relied on confidential informants to turn over information about Berg’s reading habits, including D.L. Lambert, the inspector in charge at the San Francisco Post Office who “made available for photographing the subscription list of the Daily People’s World.” 18 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

As FBI special agents complete yearly updates of Berg’s case file, they invariably cite his current subscription to People’s World, going so far as to document the calendar date on which his subscription was set to expire. Berg was apparently as meticulous in renewing his subscription as the FBI was in chronicling it. A file uncovered as part of the request for Berg’s records also shows the FBI was interested in who wrote for Communist publications. When an article by Robert Wells appeared in Political Affairs, the Communist Party’s theoretical journal, the FBI opened a file on him. This was in line with a little-known FBI policy to investigate the authors of “articles, letters, and/or book reviews” published in Political Affairs in order to determine if they should be placed on the Security Index. Wells’s case was closed when it was discovered that it was a pseudonym and Berg and another individual named Bob Lindsey wrote the article in question. Berg, of course, was already listed on the Security Index at the time the FBI opened its investigation into the nonexistent Robert Wells. In 1949, the San Francisco field office had written to the general headquarters asking to open a Security Index on Berg. Shortly after, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover would write to them informing that a note card on Berg had been prepared. It would not be until 1955, however, that Berg’s Security Index card would be “tabbed for DETCOM.” DETCOM was an abbreviated form of “Detain as Communist” and referred to individuals to be detained in the event of a national security emergency. The files show that Berg’s status on the Security Index was assessed at least annually. Every change in address was noted, as agents designed to keep constant tabs on Berg’s whereabouts. Agents not only documented his employment history and kept a photograph of him, but they went to great lengths to use confidential informants to obtain a handwriting sample for Berg’s file. These reports show an intense interest in Berg’s “Communist activities.” Attendance at local meetings, national conventions, dinners with fellow veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a meeting of the Vietnam Day Committee, and a conversation about farm-worker organizing are cited as evidence of why Berg needed to stay in the Security Index. Even though the FBI’s informants within the Communist Party allege Berg resigned from the party in 1960, for over a decade after the FBI deemed it necessary to include Berg in the Security Index. Even after the Administrative Index (ADEX) replaced the Security Index in 1971, the FBI continued to include Berg in it until at least 1972.

Del Berg with Marina Garde. Photo Jeannette Ferrary

Berg was apparently as meticulous in renewing his subscription to People’s World as the FBI was in chronicling it. As part of the Protection of Strategic Air Command Bases of the US Air Force program, the FBI sent copies of Berg’s Security Index files to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, as Berg lived within the vicinity of an Air Force base. Beginning in 1968, Hoover began forwarding Berg’s files to the Secret Service, as he believed Berg to be one of the “individuals covered by an agreement between the FBI and Secret Service concerning the protection of the President.” It’s unclear what threat Berg’s organizing of farm workers posed to either the President or the Travis Air Force Base. In addition to the Security Index, Berg’s files give a brief glimpse into another one of the FBI’s notorious programs: COINTELPRO. Berg’s second wife, Dolores Berg, made a complaint to the local sheriff against a leader in the local Communist Party. It is not clear what the complaint was about as NARA redacted that part of Berg’s file, citing the exemption to Freedom of Information Act that protects information that would lead to an unwarranted invasion of privacy. Nonetheless, Dolores Berg did not sign the complaint. The FBI hypothesized that should she do so, the resulting publicity would cause “widespread disruption” among local party members and “disruption for youth groups for which the CP is currently interested.” Hoover responded by sending an “urgent” radiogram to the San Francisco field office, authorizing agents to contact the sheriff and ask him to convince Dolores Berg to sign the complaint. With trademark Bureau honesty, Hoover makes it clear to the field office that under no circumstances are they to make the sheriff aware of COINTELPRO and that the sheriff must understand that the FBI’s involvement in the matter is to be kept secret. The bureau was willing to manipulate the legal process to bring unrelated charges against political activists with the intent of silencing them. Another brief glimmer is given into the FBI’s relationship with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). While both the FBI and HUAC are often understood as instruments of political repression, the symbiotic relationship between the two isn’t always realized. The FBI furnished HUAC with information and sometimes used it to propagate its own views. Accordingly, Berg’s file shows that the FBI was in on the planning of a HUAC hearing to be held in San Francisco. Berg was a potential witness to be summoned and the FBI, per Berg’s file, had a policy of reopening and bringing up to date its investigations on any HUAC witness—presumably to furnish HUAC with the most relevant information. (It’s not clear from the case file what happened; Berg later told an interviewer that he was asked to contact HUAC, but the committee “could never find me to serve a summons.”)

The driving motivator behind the FBI’s surveillance was Berg’s involvement in the Communist Party, but they were also deeply interested in his status as a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The FBI tracked Berg’s attendance at Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade events. It also cited his status as a Lincoln veteran as justification for giving him the distinction of “DETCOM.” A publicly available 1948 FBI memorandum on the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade gives us a look at how the FBI felt about veterans and the Spanish Civil War in general. Per its drafters, Spain suffered from “false liberalism,” which allowed communism to take root there. The idea that the Spanish Civil War was a war between democracy and fascism was “bogus,” as “[n]either side could claim any monopoly of virtues and vices in human relations. The Devil vs. Angel theory of war did not apply to the Spanish conflict.” (Perhaps, in the minds of those at the FBI, there were “some very fine people on both sides.”) The document expends considerable ink fretting over the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans had supported Spain’s Loyalist government over General Francisco Franco, a fascist. For this, the FBI blamed the propaganda efforts of the Communist Party, who confused the American people into believing there was a right and a wrong side to the war in Spain. Upon leaving Spain, American volunteers pledged to continue their struggle. Of course, many veterans, like Berg, continued to fight for a more just world. The Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade served as a vehicle for their activism. The FBI, however, in a fit of almost comical paranoia, interpreted this to mean that the International Brigades were waiting in the wings to regroup at any minute and carry out violence in their home countries. This is perhaps why, when Berg was designated by the FBI as “DETCOM,” the reason given was his participation in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Berg’s FBI files show an intense hostility to dissent. They also demonstrate that while John McCain found Berg’s defense of Spanish democracy admirable he was willing to overlook his leftist views, Hoover’s FBI only viewed that as yet another justification for depriving Berg of his civil liberties. Chip Gibbons is a journalist who has contributed to The Nation, Jacobin, and the book The Henry Kissinger Files (Forthcoming, Verso). He is Policy & Legislative Counsel for Defending Rights & Dissent, a civil liberties organization that traces its founding to the National Committee to Abolish HUAC.

September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 19

Book Reviews

Nancy Macdonald, Homage to the Spanish Exiles, Insight Books, 1987. Scott Soo, The routes to exile: France and the Spanish Civil War refugees, 1939-2009, Manchester University Press, 2013. By Eric R. Smith


ew traces remain today of the Republican exodus of 1939, when tens of thousands of refugees crossed the border between Catalonia and France, fleeing what would soon be Franco’s Spain. In and around the tiny town of Agullana, a dozen markers commemorate the final sites of the Spanish Republican government. A bit further north, as route 501 turns into France’s D-13, a remote field houses the “Temple of Peace,” a monument to Catalan president Lluís Companys, who was turned over by the occupying German authorities to Franco’s national police and promptly executed. More impressive is the exile museum in the border town of Jonquera. Founded ten years ago, the fabulous exhibit at the Museu Memorial de l’Exili extends well beyond the Spanish experience. A few kilometers to the north, a short walk from the beach, lies the grave of poet Antonio Machado at the La Collioure cemetery. North of that still was the internment camp Argelès-sur-mer, which housed more than a hundred thousand men and women under appalling circumstances. In our current era of displacement and dispossession, the Spanish diaspora serves as touchstone. Although the refugee camps and the accompanying aid movements have not gone unnoticed by scholars, they remain little studied. Scott Soo’s The Routes to Exile: France and the Spanish Civil War Refugees, 1939-2009 (2013), features the stories of families separated by French authorities and the exceptional cruelty of the internment camps. France had opened its borders to refugees in the period after World War I, but by the 1930s the French feared upsetting Mussolini and Franco and took their cue from Britain. Over the course of Spain’s Civil War tens of thousands streamed in, but many only short-term. The collapse of the republic in 1939 brought a wave of permanent asylum seekers who came up 20 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

In our current era of displacement and dispossession, the Spanish diaspora serves as touchstone. against a new reality constructed by Edouard Daladier’s government, marked by anti-communism and appeasement. By May 1938, Soo explains, the Daladier government had ordered the fortification of internment camps for undesirable refugees. By January 26, 1939, when France closed its borders, the country had already spent 88 million francs on refugees and relief. After warnings of an imminent crisis from the collapse of the Spanish Republic, French authorities instead chose inaction. Women, children, and the elderly were permitted to enter starting on the 28th, but military age men were forbidden entry, assuring the break up families, in some cases permanently. With the collapse of the Republic, itself a compounded tragedy resulting from the apathy of France and the U.K., France relented and began permitting the refugees into internment camps. On February 5, the Republican government went into exile. Within two weeks, nearly a half million refugees sought asylum. This diaspora represented a broad cross-section of Spanish society in terms of class and profession. It included anarchists, which the French authorities and press considered a menacing presence. (Anarchism had never made inroads in France as it had in Spain.) The media stirred up anti-anarchist sentiments with provocative articles red-baiting the Minister of the Interior Albert Sarraut. France in 1939 was not the France, the revolutionary, Republican France, the refugees had expected. In a document entitled “The Truth about the incidents at the camp at Agde when work companies were being made up,” which can be found at Columbia University in New York, a witness from Camp No. 3 explains: “When the refugees understood what the conditions were: inhuman conditions and no guarantees, miserable remuneration and disloyalty to the French workers through advantage being taken of the work of the refugees, many opposed it and refused to sign.” When the French tried to muster the work company by force, a hunger strike ensued. The sick and wounded, Soo finds, endured inhumane conditions. One aid worker wrote: “women, children, and the wounded were lying in the utmost filth in straw.” According to Soo, these conditions were “partly an outcome of the government’s erroneous construction of the issue as a choice between welfare and security. And by privileging the latter, the government proved itself utterly unequal to the task of receiving the Spanish republicans humanely.” The psychological impact for the Spaniards was made all the worse by the use of barbed wire to cordon off the camp. The better angels among the French were not without willing allies. An international aid movement emerged in the early days of the war, and it was not long before refugee assistance followed. Assistance and awareness-building came out of countless international activities as the anti-fascist raison d’être of the Popular Front came to be defined by Spain’s struggle. But as with everything related to civil-war Spain, politics permeated every organization. And with each doctrinal dispute, each appearance of favoritism, emerged a corresponding new organization. In a typical example, the republican Defense Minister Indalecio

Prieto absconded with the funds President Juan Negrín had sent to Mexico for safe-keeping and then used them to aid his own partisans. This pettiness, Soo shows, held real-life implications for internees. Tellingly, though, Soo finds that internees tended to find camp camaraderie by geographic affinity rather than partisanship. In other words, while those who could afford it continued to fight the war’s political battles, the refugees had moved on to wage a different struggle. This is more than evident in Soo’s chapter on life in the camps and the mixed feelings the exiles had toward their French benefactors/jailers. Many of the refugee organizations began their work during hostilities and began to shift more toward refugee aid and less toward wartime relief aid as the need shifted. The larger history of these organizations remains to be written. Amid the turmoil, Nancy Macdonald and her husband Dwight—editor of the Partisan Review and Politics—attempted to maintain contacts with the displaced, especially those antiStalinists they found to be neglected by other organizations and who were by virtue of their politics forbidden from entering the United States. After first working with several other organizations, in 1953, fourteen years after the end of the war in Spain, Nancy founded Spanish Refugee Aid (SRA), whose story she tells in her 1987 book Homage to the Spanish Exiles. By the time Macdonald created the SRA, the plight of the Spanish refugees was far from over, although international refugee aid had made major strides. French authorities shut down the refugee organization SERE in October 1939 for its assistance to communist Spanish republicans. During the war, international organizations had worked with the Paris-based International Coordinating Committee. The major refugee organizations included the International Rescue Committee (IRC) founded in 1933. Separately, the Emergency Rescue Committee, from where Varian Fry ran his operations, and the International Relief Association, would both later merge, finally to be subsumed by the IRC. World War II fostered a centralization lacking earlier. The IRC later received most of its funding from the International Refugee Organization set up by the United Nations in December 1946 (and disbanded in 1951). The Ford Foundation offered additional funds to the IRC afterward, though when those dried up, Nancy Macdonald was determined to set up her own organization. While the Republican exiles were able to finally achieve some recognition in France, as Soo explains in his final chapter, Macdonald shows that the Spanish situation was far different. The SRA existed until 2006, assisting over 5,500 refugees. The need never ended because even with the return of democracy, as Macdonald explains, Francoists sabotaged efforts to offer pensions to returning Republicans. By 1983, even the then-ruling Socialists refused to “reopen or expose publicly the wounds of the Civil War.” Pensions that were rewarded after immense scrutiny of the claims tended to be far less than veterans of Franco’s army. Even with Soo’s fine work and Macdonald’s interesting mix of oral history and narrative, there remains much yet to be explored. Integrating the Spanish refugee and aid experiences into the larger history of refugees and aid more generally remains a challenge for researchers. Both the SRA and the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee are part of that history, though we cannot at present say how they fit in. The academic

feat requires moving beyond the political and partisan toward a broader perspective. The papers of the SRA, like those of the JAFRC, now reside at NYU awaiting enterprising scholars. Eric Smith is the author of American Relief Aid and the Spanish Civil War. He has taught at Loyola University and Columbia College Chicago and currently teaches at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

Gerben Zaagsma, Jewish Volunteers, the International Brigades and the Spanish Civil War, Bloomsbury: London 2017; 250pp. By Inbal Ofer


mong the 35,000 volunteers from over 50 countries who joined the International Brigades to defend the Second Republic, Jews were exceptionally plentiful: according to most estimates, they numbered between 4,000 and 8,000. Like their non-Jewish comrades, these volunteers left behind a wide range of materials—memoirs, personal correspondence, and interviews— that offer a complex view of their personal and national backgrounds, the events that led them to enlist, their experiences in Spain, and how the Spanish Civil War affected their lives thereafter. The main objective of Gerben Zaagsma’s book is to explore how “a particular set of Jewish military experiences, both actual and remembered, became an expression of a process of emancipation and validation that were … integral to the project of Jewish modernity.” Zaagsma does this by “analyzing the participation of Jewish volunteers in the International Brigades and understanding its symbolic meaning both during and after the conflict.” The book itself, however, is less concerned with the experiences of Jewish volunteers and more focused on the symbolic and ideological meaning attached to Jewish participation in the Spanish Civil War among Jews and the other groups that went to Spain to fight. By putting all volunteers of Jewish descent under the heading “Jewish volunteers,” Zaagsma acknowledges that not all volunteers viewed their ethnic and religious affiliation as the central motivation of their decision to join the International Brigades. He rightly notes that for many Jewish volunteers, class affiliation played an important role—a fact reflected in the generally high number of Jewish activists within left-wing movements during the interwar period. For most members of the Brigades, to volunteer was to express class solidarity and Jewish resistance against fascism (especially Nazism). But these two motivations occasionally came into conflict. As countless personal testimonies show, Jewish volunteers often struggled to reconcile religious, ethnic, and class identities. Yet the voice of the volunteers is not

September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 21

For the Paris Yiddish press, the Jewish participation in Spain became a myth of engagement and heroism—and a model to be emulated.

Portrait at Dellums (fragment), U.S. House of Representatives.

sufficiently expressed in the book, nor is this internal struggle, which outside sources (both Jewish and communist ones, for example) tended to downplay. The first part of the book focuses on the formation of the International Brigades and the challenges faced by the group of Parisian Jewish communists (mostly recent immigrants from Poland) who lobbied for the formation of the Naftali Botwin Company. When the company was finally formed within the Polish Dombrowsky Brigade in late 1937, the majority of Jewish volunteers did not join. However, as Zaagsma shows, the Botwin Company not only became a key symbol of Jewish participation in the Spanish Civil War, but also emerged as a useful propaganda tool for the Comintern to present the Brigades as “a strong international brotherhood of men fighting fascism in Spain.” The book’s second part is devoted to the representations of the Jewish volunteers in the Yiddish press of Paris, especially the Communist Naye Prese, as Zaagsma explores the changing profile of the Jewish community in Paris during the interwar years and the challenges it faced. He analyzes the ways in which different forces within the community viewed the events taking place in Spain and the manner in which they constructed a myth of Jewish engagement and heroism as a model to be emulated. This third part examines the commemoration ceremonies, publications, and monuments of the post-war years, mainly between the 1960s and 1980s. As Zaagsma shows, these memory realms functioned as spaces in which post-Holocaust memory of Jewish participation in the defense of the Spanish Republic was reworked. As a result, the Spanish Civil War became an episode not just in Spanish history but also in Jewish history. The final section of the book pays special attention to the discourse surrounding the role of Jewish volunteers in the Spanish Civil War and the organizational frameworks that emerged for the commemoration of these volunteers within the context of Israeli society and as part of the Zionist nation building narrative. Zaagsma’s book is an important addition to the existing literature on the International Brigades and on the role of Jewish volunteers within its ranks. Its most valuable contribution, however, rests in the varied ways in which Jewish communities (both in the interwar period and following 1945) interpreted the struggle against fascism and their role within it. Inbal Ofer is an Assistant Professor of History, Philosophy and Judaic Studies at The Open University of Israel. She is the author of Claiming the City/Contesting the State: Squatting, Community Formation and Democratization in Spain, 1955-1986 (Routledge, 2017), and Señoritas in Blue: The Making of a Female Political Elite in Franco’s Spain. The National Leadership of the Sección Femenina de la Falange,1936-1977 (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2009). 22 THE VOLUNTEER September 2018

Ronald Dellums (1936-2018) By Nancy Wallach Ronald V. Dellums, a tireless advocate for peace, justice, and equality, served his Oakland, California district for 27 years in the House of Representatives. A vigorous supporter of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, he carried on their example when he stated, at the beginning of his career in Congress, that he was committed to “ending the insanity of war, … the absurdity of repression and racism and discrimination and poverty and hunger and disease … I’m talking about freedom and peace and the ability of human beings to come together.” It was fitting that he should be the honoree at the 54th anniversary of the VALB in 1991. At this event, he reflected on twenty years in Congress. Staying true to the ideals expressed at the onset of his career, his summing up concluded with a fervent message that reflected VALB’s own sentiments. “War, to me, is an anachronism. ... Peace is an imperative voice of survival.” Dellums had a profound appreciation of the Lincoln vets who had volunteered to fight fascism in Spain and repeatedly introduced legislation in Congress to provide U.S. veterans’ benefits to those Americans who had fought in the Spanish Civil War.  VALB’s support of Dellums’ bill was expressed in a June 1979 letter from VALB Secretary Hy Wallach to journalist Pete Hamill: “This bill gives official recognition to the fact that we were not premature anti-fascists, but the first fighters against fascism. World War II began in Spain in 1936 and ended in Japan in 1945.” Calling for Hamill’s support, he pointed out that Dellums’ bill was important because it set history straight. “By fighting in Spain, we were not only fighting for Spanish democracy. We were not only defending the Spanish republic. We were also defending the interests, the integrity, the honor of our country. We were fighting in defense of the United States of America, and all its people. There is no group of people in this country who have a higher moral right to the designation, ‘veterans of World War II’ than we, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.” Nancy Wallach is a member of ALBA’s Board of Governors.

CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED FROM 5/1/18 TO 7/31/18 Benefactor ($5,000 and above)

Jesse C. Crawford in memory of Bill & Ione Wheeler • Puffin Foundation, Ltd.

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

Hila & Gerry Feil in memory of Steve Nelson

Supporter ($250-$999)

Peter Carroll • Daniel Demaio • Karen Mittleman & Neil Hendrickson in memory of George Hendrickson & Harold Hoff • Adam Hochschild • Abby Rockefeller • Jeri Wellman • Josephine & Henry Yurek

Contributor ($100-$249) Henry Allen • Anonymous • Mara & Enzo Bard • Michael Batinski • Jorgia Bordofsky in memory of my father, ALB vet Joseph Siegel • Mrs. Betty Brown • Peter Cass in memory of Saul Shapiro & Sol Lerner • Francisco Dominguez Faura • Felice Ehrlich in memory of my uncle Morris Brier • Jon Ericson • Claire Feder • Herbert Freeman in memory of my brother Jack • Nicolas Granich • Rachel Harley • Laurie Harriton • Anne Kaufman • Ruth E. Kavesh • Nancy Kline Piore • Ella & Donald Kunins • John Lamperti • Steve Lerner • Eric Lessinger • James Moore • Robert Murtha • Lucienne O’Keefe • Michael J. Organek • Edith Oxfeld • Duna Penn • Retirees Association District Council 37 • Victoria Richter • Ruth & Michael Samberg • Marc Shanker • Carol Smith • Terry G. Trilling in memory of Jo Davidson & Barney Josephson • Chic Wolk

Friend ($1-$99) Everett Aison in memory of Irving Fajans • Mark Alper • AmazonSmile Foundation • John August • Elaine Babian • Michael Bailey • Charles Barrett • Dale Baum • Judith & Cyrus Berlowitz • Eric Botts • Edward Bronson • Tibby Brooks • Orval & Ernestine Buck • Paul Bundy • Robert Caminiti • Muriel Cohan • Leslie Correll in memory of Dick & Alice Correll • David Warren & Susan Crawford in memory of Alvin Warren • Barbara Dane • Emily Davis • Shulamit Decktor • S. Leonard DiDonato • Gabriel Falsetta • Lucy Fried • Victor Fuentes • Alex Gabriles • Leni Gerber • Francisca Gonzalez-Arias • Paul Gottlieb • Robert Greene • Victor & Alexandra Halitsky • Kendra Heisler • Carol Hochberg in honor of Edward, Julian & Asher Hochberg • Joan Intrator • Gabriel Jackson • Robert Jackson • Becky Jenkins • John L. Kailin • Deiandra Khan • Bill Knapp in memory of Boris & Sergei Matusewitch • Thomas S. Larson • Marjorie Lewis • Marlene Litwin • Bill & Mary McFeely • Andrew W. McKibben • Marilyn Montenegro • Nick Nascati in honor of Bob Cordery • Kenneth & Barbara Neuberger • Ann M. Niederkorn • Michael O’Connor • Nicholas Orchard • Ira Oser • Ruth Ost in memory of Steve Nelson • Ann & Vittorio Ottanelli • Steve Niederhauser & Nora Paley • James & Barbara Pandaru • Paul Paradise • Clayton Peterson • Louise Popkin • Richard S. Pressman • Edward J. & Gynis Pulia • Michael Quigley • Kathrin Quinn • Michael & Jacqueline Reece • Joanne & August Ricca • Constancia Romilly • Lisa Brier Rose • Josie Yanguas & Carl Rosen • Miki Rosen • Ruth Schultz • Douglas & Karen Seidman in memory of Elkan Wendkos • Pauline M. Sloan • Marc Smith in honor of my father, George Smith • Kurt & Martha Sonneborn • Lynne & Bertram Strieb • Esther Surovell • Carlyn Syvanen • Joseph Wexler • Robert H. & Lois Whealey • Ruth & Norman Williams • Frank Woodman • Leonard & Ellen Zablow • Kenneth Zak • Joseph Zirker

September 2018 THE VOLUNTEER 23