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Vol. XXVI, No.  March 

Walter Rosenblum's Photographs of Spanish Refugees, page 3

Birth of the Modern Refugee, page 6. History Wars, page 10. Paul Robeson in Spain, page 13.
Letter from ALBA Special Issue Coming
The next issue of The Volunteer will be a special issue
Dear Friends, devoted to Paul Robeson in Spain, illustrated by Joshua
The beginning of 2009 has been a busy time for Brown and co-authored with Peter N. Carroll. This publication
ALBA. This year’s program schedule at NYU’s King is part of ALBA’s educational program and includes the final
Juan Carlos Center began with the opening of an exhibi- installment in the long-running series, as well as additional
tion of the newly acquired Spanish refugee photographs features about African Americans in the Spanish Civil War. The
special issue will appear in mid-summer.
by Walter Rosenblum. (See page 3.) It was a wonder-
For budgetary reasons, we will publish three issues of
ful event, and it was good to see many of you there.
The Volunteer this year.
We have several additional programs and screenings
There are several ways you can support our journal
planned for New York in the next months, but ALBA is through the hard times that all non-profit organizations are
also dedicated this year to working with our commu- currently facing:
nity throughout the United States and internationally. t4VCTDSJCF
Our education initiatives this spring will reach t"EWFSUJTF GPSBCVTJOFTTPSJOIPOPSPGBQFSTPO

out to the San Francisco Bay Area, with workshops t"EPQUBQBHF

planned for teachers of high school social studies and t.BLFBEPOBUJPO
Spanish. We will also offer a summer institute for teach- "T.PF'JTINBOMJLFEUPTBZ JGZPVWFBMSFBEZEPOBUFE 
ers in Tampa, Florida. We continue with our plans for please consider doing it again.
reunion events in New York and San Francisco in the For more information on these different ways to sup-
spring. We’ll be in touch very soon with details. QPSUUIF7PMVOUFFS DPOUBDU+FBOOF)PVDLKIPVDL!
The easiest way to keep posted is to sign up for our alba-valb.org; --
monthly email newsletter online at www.alba-valb.org to More of our readers are using ALBA’s new e-newsletter
get the very latest ALBA schedule of events and news. to get prompt information about our activities and public
On the international front, ALBA is also partici- events. If you’re not signed up, please do so now at the
pating in the commemoration of a new plaque at the website: www.alba-valb.org
cemetery of Fuencarral, Madrid, in May to honor the
U.S. and British volunteers in the Spanish Civil War.
Portions of our new publication, War is Beautiful: The Volunteer
The Journal of an American Ambulance Driver, by founded by the
James Neugass (New Press, 2008), will appear in Veterans of the
the winter issue of the journal Military History. Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Visit the ALBA website to order copies. an ALBA publication
Finally, the ALBA Board and I would like to offer 799 Broadway, Suite 341
a heartfelt thank you to all of you who responded so New York, NY 10003
generously to our December fundraising letter. As (212) 674-5398
your contributions, along with notes and comments, Editorial Board
arrived in our offices each day throughout January, I 0ETER.#ARROLLs'INA(ERRMANN
especially felt the process gave me a wonderful way Fraser Ottanelli
to connect with so many of you. I was impressed with Book Review Editor
the individual outpouring of support that added up Shirley Mangini
to an affirmative collective “we,” dedicated to the his-
Art Director-Graphic Designer
tory and legacy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Richard Bermack
All My Best for the New Year,
Editorial Assistance
Jeanne Houck, PhD
Nancy Van Zwalenburg
Executive Director
jhouck@alba-valb.org Submission of Manuscripts
Please send manuscripts by E-mail or on disk.
E-mail: volunteer@rb68.com
ALBA’s Educational Initiatives:
A Dream Coming True
By James D. Fernández

ne of the dreams of the Lincoln
vets, when they chose to place
their archives at NYU’s
Tamiment Library, was to have droves
of young students visiting and using
the collections. Thanks to the partner-
ship between ALBA, Tamiment, NYU,
the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center,
and the Puffin Foundation, that dream
is coming true, slowly but surely.
During the course of the past eight
months, an impressive array of educa-
tional activities has been organized on actually been sitting in a box in the are soon going to be student teaching
the NYU campus, allowing scores of ALBA collection all these years. in high school, did their final papers
high school and college students to on the U.S. response to the Spanish
become acquainted with the antifas- Cross-listed Spanish Civil War. Their task was to write
cist legacy preserved in the folders and History Course an alternative to the traditional high
and boxes of the ALBA collection. A grant from NYU’s Curriculum school American history textbook
Development Fund enabled Professors chapters covering the 1930s, which
Visual Culture in ALBA Fernández and Nash to co-teach a barely mention the Spanish conflict
Thanks to a special grant from course centered on ALBA and cross- or the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. To
NYU’s Visual Culture Initiative, listed between the History and the insure that students had powerful sto-
Professors Jordana Mendelson Spanish Departments. Eight under- ries and rich primary sources for this
(Spanish and Portuguese), Miriam graduates—four Spanish majors assignment, the seminar held two ses-
Basilio (Museum Studies and and four history majors—took the sions at the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Art History), and Michael Nash course “Historical Memory in Spain Archive, where the students learned to
(Tamiment) have organized a year- and the US: The Case of the Lincoln use the archival materials on dozens
long, monthly series of seminars Brigade,” which met in the Archive. of Lincoln Brigade members. The stu-
focusing on the visual aspects of the The focus of student research proj- dents were then able to take the stories
Spanish Civil War collections. Fall ses- ects ran the gamut from notions of these Lincoln volunteers and use
sions, featuring distinguished guests of Jewish masculinity among the them for their papers, bringing out the
from NYU and other institutions, volunteers to the trajectories of the ways in which the anti-fascist cause
focused on ALBA’s posters, postcards, Puerto Rican brigadistas; from net- inspired the volunteers and chal-
and objects. The highlight of the fall works of solidarity among Franco’s lenged old isolationist assumptions.
term was Juan Salas’s presentation, female prisoners of war to ten- The students learned valuable
in which he revealed that a copy of sions in New York’s Spanish colony lessons about how archival sources
Cartier-Bresson’s third documentary between Loyalists and Francoists. and vivid story telling can bring his-
about the Spanish Civil War–a film tory to life for high school students,
considered “lost” for decades—has Steinhardt School knowledge that will be helpful in
In the fall semester, the students in their future work as history teach-
James D. Fernández is a Vice Chair of Professor Robert Cohen’s undergradu- ers. Most of them had never used an
ALBA and Chair of the Spanish and ate social studies seminar at NYU’s historical archive before. Even though
Portuguese Department at NYU.
Steinhardt School of Education, who Continued on page 2

March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 1

Continued from page 1
they had taken many history courses, a week, where
they felt that this was the first time they learned
they got to experience and practice about the archive
the ways professional historians use contents and
archival sources to construct nar- explored ways
ratives and write history, and they of incorporat-
found this an exhilarating experience. ing the archive’s
themes and treasures into their In June 2009, the institute will
Summer Institute and teaching of history and Spanish. be offered to a new set of teachers
Its Offshoots In December and January, one of in New York. We will also inaugu-
Last June, the highly successful our institute alumni, Oscar Góngora, rate a new institute site in Tampa,
ALBA Summer Institute for High organized a special program for nine Florida, led by Fraser Ottanelli.
School Teachers brought a group of his students from New York’s High ALBA is now the most consulted
of 17 teachers into the archive for School of Business and Finance. On collection housed at NYU’s Tamiment
five Wednesday afternoons, they Library. In addition to the scores of sea-
visited the archive, where they were soned researchers from all over the
introduced to the collection and world who come to consult the ALBA
to the practice of archival research materials, thanks to our new educa-
by Mike Nash, Gail Malmgreen, tional initiatives, we now have dozens
and James D. Fernández. Oscar of young people–high school and col-
is already making plans to bring lege students—visiting the archive,
another group of students to ALBA giving new meaning to the acronym
next semester, this time students “ALBA”: A Living, Breathing Archive.
enrolled in his AP Spanish class. We think the vets would be pleased.

he newly discovered journal of an award-winning
poet’s experience on the front lines as a member
of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade—All Quiet
on the Western Front for the Spanish Civil War

In 1937, James Neugass, a poet and novelist praised in the New

York Times, joined 2,800 other passionate young Americans who
traveled to Spain as part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade—
an unlikely mix of artists, journalists, industrial workers, and
students united in their desire to combat European fascism.

War is Beautiful was one of the fall picks from Library Journal.

The book is currently available through our website,

www.alba-valb.org/books, and the ALBA office, 212-674-5398.
Hardcover: $26.95

2 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

Scenes of Bravery and Determination:
Walter Rosenblum’s Homage to the Spanish Republicans
Photography Exhibit, King Juan Carlos I
of Spain Center, January 22-May 10, 2009
By Sebastiaan Faber

n the spring of 1946, the Unitarian
Service Committee (USC) in Boston
hired the American photographer
Walter Rosenblum to document its
extensive refugee relief work in
Europe. Only 26 years old, Rosenblum
had returned to New York less than a
year before as one the most decorated
photographers of World War II.
Drafted in 1943 as a U.S. Army Signal
Corp combat photographer, he had
landed on a Normandy beach on
D-Day morning, after which he had
joined an anti-tank battalion in its lib-
eration drive through France,
Germany and Austria. He took the
first motion picture footage of the
Dachau concentration camp. Photographs in this article were taken by Walter Rosenblum in France
Born in 1919 into a poor Jewish in 1946. Courtesy of the Tamiment Library and the Rosenblum family.
immigrant family living on New
York’s Lower East Side, Rosenblum He spent several months traveling voices of the Left. (Its contributors
had begun to photograph his through France and Czechoslovakia, included Howard Fast, W.E.B. DuBois,
neighborhood as a teenager, using where the USC had a number of proj- Earl Browder, and Paul Robeson.)
a borrowed camera. In 1937 he ects. In France, Rosenblum visited the At the annual meeting of the
joined the Photo League, a vibrant USC rest home at St. Goin (Aquitane); American Unitarian Association
community of New York photog- the Walter B. Cannon Memorial in May the next year, Rosenblum
raphers, where he met Lewis Hine, Hospital and recreation center in reported on his trip. “I can say that
Berenice Abbott and Elizabeth Toulouse; the Camp Clairac (Lot-et- you have produced an epic story in
McCausland; studied with Paul Garonne) for underprivileged French the field of European relief, and his-
Strand (who became a life-long and Spanish children; the Meillon tory will judge it so,” he stated. “[Y]ou
friend); and worked on his first Rest Home in Pau, which housed are giving help to the finest elements
major project, the Pitt Street series. Spanish Nazi victims; and a summer of society, those people who began to
Rosenblum embarked on his USC camp and canteen in Les Andelys fight back when we didn’t even know
assignment in the late spring of 1946. (Normandie). Starting in October, his the meaning of the word.” By then,
photos began appearing regularly in his photos had been picked up by
Sebastiaan Faber is chair of Hispanic the Unitarians’ monthly magazine, mainstream media outlets such as the
Studies at Oberlin College. His newest
the Christian Register, which, under New York Times and Liberty magazine.
CPPLJTAnglo-American Hispanists and
the Spanish Civil War. Hispanophilia, the editorship of Rosenblum’s friend Established in 1940 by the
Commitment, and Discipline 1BMHSBWF  Stephen Fritchman, had emerged as American Unitarian Association

)FJTDVSSFOUMZXPSLJOHPOB an important venue not just for reli- (AUA), the USC was one of the
photographic exhibition focusing on gious liberals, but also for more radical
Spanish refugees. Continued on page 4
March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 3
Continued from page 3
most important U.S.-based refugee ones for the organization, which issue of the Register, whose cover fea-
organizations working in Europe found itself at the heart of intense tured one of Rosenblum’s photos.)
during and following World War II, political conflict. When, at the end To make things worse, around the
assisting numerous refugee com- of 1945, the Joint Antifascist Refugee time Rosenblum was in Europe, a rep-
munities throughout the continent. Committee became a target of the resentative of the rival International
At its height, the USC had an operat- House Un-American Activities Rescue Committee wrote a letter that
ing budget of more than a million Committee, the USC, as the sole dis- accused the two central USC figures
dollars. This money came from tributor of JAFRC funds in Europe, in Europe, Jo Tempi and Noel Field,
a variety of sources, not only the soon found itself in the spotlight as of giving Communists preferential
National War Fund, the War Refugee well. In October 1946, a seven-man treatment, of being CP-members
Board, and the Intergovernmental USC delegation testified in a closed themselves, and of working for the
Committee on Refugees, but also session before the HUAC, stating Soviet secret police. Similar accusa-
the Spanish Refugee Appeal of that they helped all refugees in need, tions emerged from non-Communist
Dr. Edward Barsky’s Joint Spanish organizations in Toulouse.
Antifascist Refugee Committee, Although a special investigation
which contributed close to by a delegation of three Unitarian
$300,000 over several years. leaders in 1946 found no evi-
Two factors made dence to support these charges,
Rosenblum’s assignment espe- the allegations were not entirely
cially timely and important. fictitious. Jo Tempi was indeed a
First, it would help remind the Communist, as was Noel Field.
American public of the Spanish And many of the USC’s beneficia-
refugees and their cause. After ries were affiliated with the Party,
Germany invaded France in 1940, simply because many antifascists
thousands of exiled Spaniards were. Field had assisted the OSS
had been killed and deported to during the war in establishing
German concentration camps. contact with Communist lead-
More important, Spanish guerril- ers in the Resistance. Meanwhile,
las and veterans of the Civil War political conflict erupted within the
had been a key component in the American Unitarian Association,
Resistance and Free French move- focusing on the Service
ment. By the end of World War II, Committee and the Christian
hundreds of thousands of surviv- Register, whose leftist slant had
ing Spaniards remained in France. long irritated more conserva-
But they could not return home tive groups in the organization.
as long as Franco remained in After his return from Europe,
the saddle. (The logic of the Cold Rosenblum's photos in Liberty magazine, March 1947 Rosenblum documented several
War would quickly strengthen domestic USC projects. By the
the dictator’s hold on power, culmi- regardless of their political affilia- middle of 1947, however, his closest
nating in the admission of Franco’s tion, “as long as there was no attempt contacts among the Unitarians—USC
Spain to the United Nations in 1955.) to make use of the relief for political director Charles Joy, the Register’s edi-
Second, Rosenblum’s work would purposes.” At the same time, they tor Stephen Fritchman, and Jo Tempi,
help improve the public image of the were forced to admit that they had who headed up the Paris office—had
Unitarian Service Committee itself. no policy preventing the hiring of been fired or forced to resign. While
As it turns out, the years follow- Communists as personnel. (One of political controversy hampered
ing World War II were challenging the exhibits at the hearing was an fundraising, federal funds for relief

4 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

work were drying up fast. By 1948, refugees are unlike any of the images
the number of USC-run programs that had been published until then.
had dropped by more than half. In The photographs and films docu-
early 1949, Noel Field, who had left menting displaced Spaniards early
the USC in December 1947, mysteri- in the war, the mass exodus into
ously disappeared, and over the France, and life in the concentration
following three years his name was camps had invariably portrayed the
prominently featured at a series of Spaniards as helpless and hapless
show trials in Hungary, East Germany victims. Even in Robert Capa’s most
and Czechoslovakia, where he was gripping shots, the refugees appear
branded as an American spymas- as anonymous, almost generic, repre-
ter. Rosenblum himself, meanwhile, sentatives of collective suffering. Not Walter and Naomi Rosenblum receive the
had accepted a position at Brooklyn so in Rosenblum’s work. Whether his ICP Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.
College, where he taught from subjects look directly into the camera a renaissance painting. Other photos
1947 until his retirement in 1986. or not, and regardless of their age and exude health and happiness, such as
the group shot of children posing on
a winding staircase at the USC rest
home in St. Goin (an image used on
the cover of a fundraising booklet
from the Joint Antifascist Refugee
Committee under the slogan “Help
Us Climb the Stairway to Life”).
The portrait of a doctor examining
a child at the USC dispensary in
Toulouse, published in the November
1946 issue of the Christian Register,
looks like an ad for a drug company.
(Interestingly, medical advertising was
among the few commercial assign-
ments that Rosenblum ever took on.)
The Rosenblum archives hold 46
photos of Spanish refugees. Two were
first published on the covers of the
December 1946 issue of the Christian
“My love affair with the Spanish their obviously dire circumstances, Register and the 1946 holiday issue of
people goes back to my childhood,” they appear strong, confident, digni- the New York Times Magazine. A wider
Rosenblum wrote in 2003. “When I fied. Some of the domestic scenes—a selection appeared in the March 1,
was a youngster, I distributed leaflets family eating, a mother washing 1947, issue of Liberty. Throughout the
on the streets of New York in sup- clothes—show their subjects’ deter- 1940s and 1950s, Rosenblum’s images
port of the struggles of the Spanish mination to carry on with daily life. were used in fundraising materials for
Republicans in their fight against There are smiles, although they are the USC, the Joint Antifascist Refugee
Franco.” In France, he writes, “I always a bit wary. The lighting and Committee, and UNESCO refugee
had expected to find dejected and composition, along with the unusu- campaigns. Starting in the late 1940s,
tired people, but instead discov- ally large depth of field, emphasize Rosenblum included them sporadi-
ered bravery and determination.” detail, line, and contour. Some por- cally in exhibits. In 2001, the Reina
Rosenblum’s portraits of Spanish traits have the intense chiaroscuro of Continued on page 8

March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 5

Images of Displa  
The Spanish Civil War and
the Modern Refugee
By Sebastiaan Faber

The 20th century was the century of the refugee. In 1999, the UN reported that
one in 214 people on the planet—50 million in total—had been forced to flee
violence and persecution. The massive displacement of 500,000 Spanish
Republicans in 1939, spurring years’ worth of intense relief work by Lincoln vets
and other Republican sympathizers, was the first major refugee crisis in the world
to be widely covered by the visual media.
The heart-wrenching images first delivered to the western public by Robert
Capa, “Chim” Seymour, Jean-Paul LeChanois, and others have by now become
read images of suffering? Should refugees be portrayed as innocent victims or
political actors? What should be done to help them? And is it possible to distin-
guish between humanitarian relief and political work? This spring, ALBA is
sponsoring a series of events around these topics, culminating in a symposium
on May 1 featuring seven speakers, more than an hour’s worth of rare docu-
mentary footage, and scores of previously unseen images of Spanish refugees

he cause of Republican Spain the Spaniards’ struggle against fas-
did not die when Franco cism and generously given their time,
declared victory on April energy, and money to support it in
1, 1939—far from it. It lived on in whatever way they could.
the hopes and despair of millions All these people experienced the
of people around the world: the Republic’s long-feared defeat as a
surviving Republicans in Spain tremendous blow. Personal reactions
who were bracing themselves for varied. Some got depressed; others
whole-scale repression; the 500,000 turned away from politics altogether.
Spaniards who by then had fled Given the divisions among the
their homeland in fear of reprisals, Left, it was hard to avoid the blame
and most of whom had been herded game. Still, the overwhelming atti-
into French concentration camps; tude was one of determination. This
the tens of thousands who had gone was not the time to give up: there
Coverage of the Spanish refugee to Spain from all corners of the was work to be done. The Spanish
crisis in Life and Picture Post, globe to help the Republic and lived defeat made the struggle against
February-March 1939. Photos by
to tell the tale; and the hundreds fascism more critical than ever.
Robert Capa.
of thousands more who, for three Governments needed to be convinced
long years, had sympathized with that Franco’s regime was illegitimate.

6 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

“That was all the West had done

The birth of the modern refugee graphs. … [P]ortraits of Spaniards
Regarding the Pain of Others, the The men of Barcarès detested

the Birth of Spanish Civil War was the first “media

war,” the first armed conflict “to be
witnessed (‘covered’) in the modern
the photographers, and yet they
a docility that was only apparent.
sense: by a corps of professional pho- … [W]hen someone realized that
tographers at the lines of military a camera was ready to shoot, he’d
engagement and in the towns under yell photo! and then everyone
bombardment, whose work was would get to their feet, stand up
Most importantly, the hundreds immediately seen in newspapers and straight, and lift up their fists and
of thousands of Spanish refugees magazines in Spain and abroad.” The chins in the same direction. From
needed help, and urgently so. Spanish conflict was also the first time the outside, it may have seemed
The images and reports coming that the human consequences of an angry and useless gesture, but
from southern France were alarm- war—of a new kind of war, moreover, for them it was different, a furious
ing. French authorities had only with city bombardments and large- affirmation of identity, of will, which
reluctantly opened the border to the scale civilian casualties— became the allowed them to yell out to the
fleeing Spaniards. Upon entering subject of extensive visual press cover- world that they were still alive, …”
France, refugees were treated like age. Capa, Chim, and others shot more —Almudena Grandes,
criminals. Possessions were con- than just battle scenes: from the very El corazón helado, .
fiscated, families separated. Most beginning, they felt the need to regis-
men, women, and children—weak, ter the conflict’s many civilian victims. Mr. Adamson: “As I understand
wounded, sick, demoralized—ended And few images proved as heart- you, your organization has nothing
up in improvised camps where liv- wrenching as those of the thousands to do with politics; is that right?”
ing conditions were dismal. In the of Spanish men, women, and children Rev. Brooks: “Sure. That is sort of a
first months some 15,000 died. who were forced to flee their homes, USJDLRVFTUJPO1PMJUJDTJTTPNFUIJOH
In February, Life featured a beginning with the Nationalist that pervades the whole of life, as we
large photo of seven hunched-over advances in Andalusia in the first UIJOLSFMJHJPOQFSWBEFTUIFXIPMF
Spanish women crossing a moun- months of the war (among Capa’s and of life. It impinges on you here and
tain pass in the Pyrenees, trudging Taro’s first photos from Spain are their there and you cannot escape it. If
through the snow, dragging their portraits of refugees from Málaga, you mean political activity, we do
possessions. Another photo showed published in September 1936), leading not have any political activity.”
a cold, slushy road with a column of up to the mass exodus into France of —Testimony of Rev. Howard L.
refugees walking next to horse- and early 1939. Scenes that would later Brooks, acting Executive Director
oxen-drawn carts. Robert Capa’s become sadly familiar to news readers of the Unitarian Service Committee
chilling images of an old woman around the globe—long columns of before the House Un-American
on the road between Tarragona and displaced people carrying their Activities Committee, Oct. , .
Barcelona allowed readers to see what belongings; emaciated but combative
havoc was wrought by the persistent men being herded into makeshift modern refugee, the Spanish Civil
Nationalist strafing and shelling of camps; anonymous victims looking War marks his visual birth.
fleeing civilians. The camera caught into the camera from behind a barbed-
her walking in a daze around her wire fence—were widely distributed “It’s difficult to work under
half-destroyed cart, useless because for the first time in 1936-39 by photog- such a gaze.”
her horse, mule, dog, and donkey had raphers covering Spain. If the 20th As Paul Preston has shown in
just been machine-gunned to death. century saw the emergence of the his recent book, We Saw Spain Die,
Continued on page 8

March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 7

the Modern Refugee
Continued from page 7
reporting on the Spanish Civil War suffering that others must endure.” the Social Workers Committee to
was a job fraught with emotional Capa—a displaced leftist Jew himself, Aid Spanish Democracy, entitled
and political tensions. Several promi- after all—has a hard time accepting “Children in Concentration Camps.”
nent journalists abandoned neutral his passive role; but it is also clear that The text leaves little room for ambigu-
objectivity in favor of a deeply-felt he hopes his images will sway some- ity: “What you do today makes their
commitment to the Republican one else to take action. If the girl’s world tomorrow,” “They have suf-
cause. Photographers, too, had a hard gaze made him uncomfortable, he fered too much,” “Send your check,
time distinguishing reporting from knew that a photograph of that gaze your money, or money-order today.”
advocacy and the moral impera- could move thousands of viewers. Fundraising materials like these
tive to provide immediate help. Given their sympathy for the show that their editors fully realized
In January 1939, Capa was in Republican cause, it is not surprising the power of images. And they clearly
Catalonia covering the exodus toward that photographers and filmmak- preferred those that combined notions
the French border. On the 15th, his ers were quite willing to let relief of innocence and suffering—women,
camera frames a young girl laying organizations use their images of children and families—with the kind
exhausted on a couple of sacks at a refugees to raise awareness and relief of gaze that sent a chill up Capa’s
refugee transit center in Barcelona. funds among the public. In the frame- spine. In fact, the Social Workers leaf-
“She must be very tired,” he notes, work of a leaflet or ad campaign, let features some of the Hungarian’s
“since she does not play with the other the moral dimension of the images, most touching refugee portraits: a
children; she does not stir. But her eye often left fuzzy in the press cover- mother in a French camp blowing her
follows me, one large dark eye follows age, was suddenly crystal clear: right son’s nose; a dark-haired girl of about
my every movement. It is difficult next to them was a direct appeal to 10, a sleeping baby in her lap, looking
to work under such a gaze. It is not the viewer’s conscience and a clear earnestly, almost defiantly, into the
easy to be in such a place and not be recipe for action. “80,000 children camera, while a boy lies at her feet.
able to do anything except record the look to us,” says an early leaflet from Their misery was palpable, but help-
ing them was easy: a donation of $1.50

Continued from page 5
buys a Play and Work Package with
crayons and a drawing book; $400
will bring a child to the Americas.
Sofía museum in Madrid purchased
a set of 30; in 2005 they were part Human suffering above
of a Rosenblum retrospective at and beyond politics
PhotoEspaña in Madrid. The 25 pho- Capa’s work is a good example
tographs displayed at the King Juan of the blurring border between news
Carlos Center until May were given coverage and relief efforts in the wake
as a gift to the Tamiment Library of the Spanish conflict. Although he
by the Rosenblum family. It is the had left Spain on January 28 and gone
first time a large set from the series Working in East Harlem, Haiti, on North, Capa returned to southern
has been shown in the United States. Europe, and the South Bronx, he was France in March to visit the camps
Rosenblum’s photographs for the drawn to situations that revealed the at Argelès-sur-mer, Bram, and Le
USC form an integral part of his experiences of immigrants and the Barcarès, in part as an assignment
career. Following in Hine’s footsteps, poor. Early on, he made an important for the Comité international de coor-
he recorded the impact on ordinary discovery. “I realized,” he said, “that I dination et d’information pour l’aide
people—particularly children—of worked best when I was photograph- à l’Espagne républicaine, the French
some of the major events of the 20th ing something or someone I loved and counterpart to the North American
century, from economic depression to that through my photographs I could Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy.
colonialism and armed conflict. pay them homage.” As soon as the North American

8 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

Committee in New York received a half-hour documentary on the French hundreds of organizations in many
set of prints, they incorporated them camps. The film, entitled Refuge, was countries had drummed up sup-
into their own publicity. But they also a dubbed-over and shortened version port for Spain. Although from the
sent them on to the American media, of Un people attend. This documen- beginning much of the fundraising
alerting them to the Committee’s tary, directed earlier that year by had been geared toward humanitar-
one-million-dollar relief campaign. Jean-Paul LeChanois, alias Jean-Paul ian aid (in part because other forms
Capa’s photos from his March Dreyfus, and edited by Irving Lerner, of support were prohibited by leg-
trip are as powerful as ever: fam- combined newsreel with original islation demanding neutrality or
ished Spaniards wrapped in blankets footage, including sequences shot non-intervention), almost all of the
in front of improvised tents and in the camps with a camera hidden organizations involved were clearly
huts in the sand; a corpulent French in a grocery bag. Long thought lost, identified with either the Republicans
gendarme impassively contemplat- a 16mm print of Refuge has recently or the Nationalists. (The main excep-
ing a long row of identical wooden surfaced among ALBA’s collection and tions were the Quakers and the Red
crosses on what can only be fresh will be screened at the symposium on Cross.) During the war, most groups
graves; five squatting men with their May 1, along with other rare footage. had focused on political work, par-
trousers on their ankles in an end- ticularly mobilizing public opinion in
less, feces-covered expanse of beach. The politics of favor of one side or the other. Franco’s
The Committee’s efforts paid off: on humanitarianism victory confronted these organizations
April 16, the New York Times printed Refuge was the SRRC’s last large with a different reality. Pro-Franco
three of Capa’s images in its Sunday fundraising project before it suc- groups could tranquilly disband.
photo section on a full page dedicated cumbed to the political tensions But most of those supporting the
to Spain, mentioning the campaign. undermining the Left’s relief efforts in Republic recognized that, even if they
In May, the New Masses did a full-
page photo spread on the Spanish The large cache of negatives from Capa, Taro, and Seymour that
“heroes”: “These refugees, tempered
in the blast furnace of fascism, are
were recently recovered includes 10 rolls covering the French
400,000 living witnesses to the crimes camps; a selection will be shown at the symposium on May 1.
of Franco. They are the most impor-
tant refugees in the world.” The large the wake of the Spanish war. The refused to give up the fight against
cache of negatives from Capa, Taro, Refugee Relief Campaign had initially fascism, the new situation in Spain
and Seymour that were recently come out of the North American called for different tactics and priori-
recovered includes 10 rolls covering Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy. ties. To be sure, the political struggle
the French camps. A selection will be But while the Committee’s goals were continued after April 1939—the goal
shown at the symposium on May 1. political in nature (as its name clearly now was to block international rec-
Throughout 1939, the New York indicated), the SRRC explicitly profiled ognition of the Franco regime—but
office of the Spanish Refugee Relief itself as purely humanitarian—a “non- humanitarian work took center stage.
Campaign (SRRC)—headed up by political relief organization made up The decision to scale down
Herman Reissig, with Roosevelt’s of hundreds of individuals who are political profiles and to focus on
Secretary of the Interior, Harold interested in aiding the Spanish refu- humanitarian aid was as tactical as it
Ickes, serving as honorary chair- gees.” “This,” an informational was pragmatic. Of course it was over-
man—undertook a number of projects handout emphasized, “is its sole pur- whelmingly clear that the hundreds
involving its more than 100 chapters pose. It has no connection with any of thousands of Spaniards in France—
throughout the country. In addition political group and does not engage in among whom were also some former
to leaflets and photos, their most any other activity.” International Brigadiers—required
ambitious program that summer It was an important distinction. urgent help. What was needed more
was a screening campaign of a new During the previous three years, Continued next page 17

March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 9

end of the war and monopoly of the past. This radically
30 since the return transformed the approach to history
to democracy, in academia and popular culture.
is not explained Contrary to what is sometimes sug-
by the evident gested, since the return to democracy,
complexity of the the Second Spanish Republic and the
issues involved, but Civil War have always been a favorite
rather by the way subject of historians, film directors,
in which the trag- and novelists who, with a few notable
edy of the war and exceptions, are almost all broadly
dictatorship have sympathetic to the Republican cause.
been treated under In the social, political, and legal
Franco and suc- spheres, however, the break with
cessive democratic the past was much more muted. The
governments. “pact of silence” of the Transition,
From its very which enjoyed widespread sup-
first days, the port among both the political elites
Francoist state and Spaniards themselves, rested
commemorated its on a largely tacit agreement not to
National Court judge Baltasar Garzón opened an investigation
into the disappearance of victims of Franco. victory. Victims rake over the past or investigate the
1IPUPCZ3JDIBSE#FSNBDL of repression in repression unleashed during the
Republican Spain war or the dictatorship, as well as

paniards today are engaged were given dignified funerals, monu- a legal amnesty for perpetrators.
as never before in debating ments were raised in every village to The price for an agreement that
the “historical memory” of the those who had fallen for “God and for undoubtedly facilitated the return to
Civil War and Francoist dictatorship. the motherland,”
Although the term is nebulous and and on April
open to differing interpretations, what 1, 1940, Franco
is at stake is not so much history itself, ordered the
History Wars  By Justin Byrne
but how these past events should be construction of
treated, remembered, and transmit- the huge fascist monolith of the Valley democracy was paid by the victims
ted in the present. The problems of the Fallen, built to “defy time and of Francoism. While pensions were
involved are complex and manifold, oblivion” and honor “the heroes and eventually granted to those who
but revolve around two core issues: martyrs of the Crusade.” These “sites had served in the Republican forces,
on the one hand, the victims and their of memory” were matched by a whole and essentially symbolic compensa-
rights to the truth, reparation, and new calendar celebrating the military tion was paid to political prisoners
even justice with respect to political victory that spawned the regime. of Franco, successive democratic
crimes committed during the war and Throughout the almost 40 years of dic- governments failed to institute any
dictatorship; on the other, public poli- tatorship, July 18 (Day of the Uprising), public policy of reparation for the
cies of history and how the history October 1 (Day of the Caudillo), and victims of Francoism or recognition
of the period should be remembered April 1 (Day of Victory) were the of the place of the Republic in Spain’s
and transmitted for current and future key dates in the official memory of democratic tradition. Nor were there
generations. That this debate is at its a regime that imposed total silence significant demands for them to do so.
most intense now, 70 years after the on the vanquished in the conflict. All this changed in the 1990s, as
The Transition to Democracy a series of developments put the Civil
University in Madrid. in the late 1970s broke the Francoist War and dictatorship back on the

10 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

political agenda. In the international victory in March 2004 gave José Luis The law establishes new principles
arena, the truth commissions, human Rodriguéz, himself the grandson of for public history and memorializa-
rights investigations, and in some a Republican army officer executed tion, requiring the elimination of
cases trials of perpetrators of other during the war, the opportunity Francoist symbols and monuments
oppressive regimes showed what to fulfil his campaign promise to from all public spaces and build-
could, and some feel should, be done legislate on historical memory. The ings, with the significant exception of
in Spain. Some commentators point consultative committee of jurists, his- those deemed of ill-defined artistic or
to a significant change of strategy torians and politicians took almost religious significance, and prohibit-
on the part of the Spanish Socialists, two years to present its conclusions, ing the use of the Valley of the Fallen
who, faced with the electoral advances and parliament a further year to for acts of nationalist exaltation. At
of the conservative Partido Popular debate the bill. Tortuously entitled the same time, the law includes a
(PP), broke the unwritten agree- the “Act recognizing or extending commitment “to promoting histori-
ment not to use the past as a political rights and establishing measures in cal understanding of the conflict and
weapon and presented a series of favor of those who suffered persecu- of Spain’s democratic memory,”
legislative initiatives designed to tar tion and violence during the civil war most tangibly by ensuring easier
the PP with the Francoist brush. and dictatorship,” but universally access to archives as well as the cre-
Almost all agree that the new atti- known as the “Law of Historical ation of a national Documentation
tude towards the past also reflected a Memory,” the new law was passed Center for Historical Memory.
broader social and cultural shift led in December 2007 with the votes of The 2007 law has drawn criti-
by a younger generation of Spaniards, all the political parties except the PP cism from both the Right and the
the grandchildren of the victims, and the Catalan Left Nationalists. Left. Repeating their longstanding
who, free of responsibility for war, as Along with a formal condemna- opposition to legislation on histori-
well as of any fear of an authoritarian tion of all ideologically motivated cal memory, the PP and rightwing
backlash, feel an urgent need to render violence and specifically of the media brand the law as unneces-
homage to their elders before their Francoist dictatorship, the “Law of sary, sectarian, and divisive, a threat
Historical Memory” introduces a wide to the foundational consensus of

 in Spain range of measures relating to the two

core issues mentioned above. The
law brought new moral and material
the Transition; they maintain that
rather than serving to heal wounds, it
threatens to reopen them. For many
reparation for the victims of Francoist others, above all those on the Left,
death. This is the profile of many of repression, including the right to a the problem with the law is that it
the “memory activists” who founded formal certificate of recognition of does not go far enough. Victims and
the Asociación para la Recuperación their status and the declaration of the memory and human rights organiza-
de la Memoria Histórica (ARMH) in illegitimacy of politically motivated tions argue that it manifestly fails
2000. While the efforts of the ARMH sentences dictated by Francoist courts. to guarantee the rights of victims to
have focused on identifying and dig- Broadening the concept of victims, truth, justice, and reparation. They
ging up corpses of Republican victims the children and grandchildren of criticize the decision to declare the
of repression still lying in hundreds Spanish exiles have been given the sentences dictated by Francoist courts
of unmarked graves around the coun- right to Spanish citizenship and, more legally null, rather than just illegiti-
try, it and other similar organizations symbolically, International Brigaders mate. Even more significantly, they
have played a crucial role in mobiliz- who wish to exercise their right to criticize the State’s failure to assume
ing demands for reparation for the citizenship (granted in 1996) no longer responsibility for exhuming mass
victims of Francoism and recognition have to renounce their own. The law graves rather than just for facilitating
of Republican memory more generally. also commits the State to facilitating and assisting the families of victims,
While these came to little under the exhumation of the mass graves who are still responsible for organiz-
the PP, the Socialists’ electoral of victims of Francoist repression. ing and covering the costs of these
Continued on page 12
March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 11
History Wars
Continued from page 11
initiatives. In practice, 18 months As part of his investigation, he investigation has served to deepen
after the law came into effect, tens required the Church and civil authori- understanding of the scale and sys-
of thousands of Spaniards are still ties to open their archives to help tematic character of Francoist violence
lying in mass, unmarked graves, clarify the fate of over 110,000 victims both during and after the war, as well
and their families are little nearer of Francoist repression identified by as to generate new and exhaustive, if
to being able to recover their bod- historians, historical memory orga- not definitive, information about the
ies and to honor their dead, or to the nizations and relatives; ordered the number and identity of the victims.
closure which this might bring. As exhumation of 19 mass graves; and There is little likelihood of these
for public history, many on the Left appointed a committee of experts investigations prospering. This is
want stronger identification with to compile, for the first time, a com- not only because the majority of
the Second Republic (which is not plete map of the hundreds, possibly the perpetrators, including the 35
even mentioned in the text) and its thousands, of mass graves. The judge named by Garzón and headed by
values, as well as a more complete later extended his investigation to General Franco, are long dead, but
ban on pro-nationalist memori- include a less well-known dimen- also because of the opposition of the
als; while the last public statue of sion of the repression, the seizure Attorney General and the majority of
Franco in mainland Spain was finally of thousands of children of “reds” the judiciary to any idea of reopening
removed in December, thousands for re-education by the Church or cases that they consider proscribed
of churches in Spain still display State, and in many cases, adoption by and, in any event, covered by the 1977
plaques to the nationalist war dead. families sympathetic to the regime. Amnesty. It was in response to this
The most recent initiatives with In these ways, Garzón’s preliminary Continued on page 18
respect to the historical memory have
come despite, rather than as a result of,
the 2007 law. In October 2008, contro-
versial National Court judge Baltasar Swiss Settle With History
into the disappearance of victims of PGUIF64)PVTFPG3FQSFTFOUBUJWFT
Francoist repression between July 1936 with the notable exception of the right-wing nationalist party, voted to reha-
and 1951 (when the maqui abandoned bilitate Swiss volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. Eight years ago, a similar
their armed resistance to the regime). CJMMIBECFFOVOTVDDFTTGVM TFFThe Volunteer,4VNNFSêèèè
Using legal argumentation, Garzón stigma that the five surviving veterans had carried with them for  years.
maintained that insofar as thousands Switzerland imprisoned returning International Brigade veterans for fight-
been found, they should be treated however, once the tide had turned, the same standard was not applied to
as disappeared, with their cases the Swiss who volunteered for the Foreign Legion or the French Resistance.
open, and so not covered by the 1977 Eolo Morenzoni, a former Italian volunteer, said he was arrested
had done in the past with respect to jail, followed by  days of solitary confinement. He and other return-
the Argentine Junta and Pinochet in ing veterans were ostracized in their home country as “dangerous
Chile, he invoked international law as leftists.” In Switzerland in the s, the Communist Party was outlawed,
the basis for his claims to jurisdiction. as was any antifascist activity. Morenzoni does not hesitate to accuse
Defining the Francoist upris- the Bern government of the period of being “filonazi sympathizers.”
ing and repression as crimes against The law is a complete political and moral rehabilitation, which nullifies all
petrators’ claims to immunity from of its history,” according to the Socialist Carlo Sommaruga, who mentioned the
prosecution, because crimes against profound emotion in the aisles of parliament on the day of the vote.
humanity are not entitled to amnesty.

12 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 13
14 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009
March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 15
“Old Movie With the Sound Turned Off ”
By Robert Hass And as she sings, you sense she is afraid.
The hatcheck girl wears a gown that glows; Not only have I seen this film before—the singer
The cigarette girl in the black fishnet stockings Shoots the gangster just when he thinks he’s been delivered
And a skirt of black, gauzy, bunched-up tulle From a nemesis involving his brother, the district attorney,
That bobs above the pert muffin of her bottom— And a rival mob—I know the grandson of the cigarette girl,
She must be twenty-two—would look like a dancer Who became a screenwriter and was blackballed later
In Degas except for the tray of cigarettes that rests Because she raised money for the Spanish Civil War.
Against her—tummy might have been the decade’s word, Or at least that’s the story as I remember it, so that,
And the thin black strap which binds it to her neck When the gangster is clutching his wounded gut
And makes the whiteness of her skin seem swan’s-down And delivering a last soundless quip and his scarf
White. Some quality in the film stock that they used Is still looking like the linen in Heaven, I realize
Made everything so shiny that the films could not That it is for them a working day and that the dead
Not make the whole world look like lingerie, like Will rise uncorrupted and change into flannel slacks,
Phosphorescent milk with winking shadows in it. Hawaiian shirts; the women will put on summer smocks
All over the world the working poor put down their coins, Made from the material superior dish towels are made of
Poured into theaters on Friday nights. The manager raffled— Now, and they’ll all drive up to Malibu for drinks.
“Raffled off,” we used to say in San Rafael in my postwar All the dead actors were pretty in their day. Why
Childhood into which the custom had persisted— Am I watching this movie? you may ask. Well, my beloved,
Sets of dishes in the intermission of the double feature— Down the hall, is probably laboring over a poem
Of the kind they called Fiestaware. And now And is not to be disturbed. And look! I have rediscovered
The gangster has come in, surrounded by an entourage The sweetness and the immortality of art. The actress
Of prize fighters and character actors, all in tuxedo Wrote under a pseudonym, died, I think, of cancer of the lungs.
And black overcoats—except for him. His coat is camel So many of them did. Far better for me to be doing this
(Was it the material or the color?—my mind wanders (A last lurid patch of fog out of which the phrase “The End”
To earth-colored villages in Samara or Afghanistan). Comes swimming; the music I can’t hear surging now
He is also wearing a white scarf which seems to shimmer Like fate) than reading with actual attention my field guides
As he takes it off, after he takes off the gray fedora Which inform me that the flower of the incense cedar
And hands it to the hatcheck girl. The singer, I saw this morning by the creek is “unisexual, solitary, and terminal.”
In a gown of black taffeta that throws off light Reprinted from Time and Materials (New York: Harpercollins,
2007) with the permission of Robert Hass. He is a MacArthur
In starbursts, wears black gloves to her elbows Fellow and former Poet Laureate of the United States.

16 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

the Modern Refugee
Continued from page 9
than anything else was money: mas- the International Relief Association Unsurprisingly, the main chapters in
sive funds for food, supplies, legal and the Emergency Rescue this story were the Spanish Civil War,
fees, and travel. More than ever, the Committee, which later fused into the period of the Hitler-Stalin pact
relief organizations realized that they the International Rescue Committee; (August 1939-June 1941), the years
should make the broadest possible the Joint Antifascist Refugee of the anti-Axis alliance (1941-1945),
appeal among the general population. Committee; the American Friends and the Cold War that followed.
Everyone knew that explicit politi- Service Committee; the Unitarian The first years read like a left-
cal affiliations would scare off large Service Committee; and dozens of ist soap opera. The Spanish Refugee
sections of the public, particularly smaller organizations. While all Relief Campaign began as an initia-
the gift-prone church communities. tive from Herman Reissig’s North
But who wouldn’t donate money for American Committee to Aid Spanish
purely humanitarian work devoid of Democracy and the Medical Bureau,
politics, especially if their gift was tax- led by Edward Barsky, a prominent
deductible? Similarly, de-politicization New York surgeon and Spanish Civil
was necessary to qualify for the War veteran. Like most Popular Front
increasing amounts of government organizations, the SRRC did not sur-
funds for overseas refugee relief made vive the fallout from the Hitler-Stalin
available by the United States and pact. In March 1940, a conflict between
other countries through the National Communists and non-Communists
War Fund (1943-47) and the War caused a split; Barsky and several
Refugee Board (1944-45). In the face of prominent Lincoln vets broke away
these realities, several pro-Republican %S&EXBSE#BSTLZ MFBEFSPGUIF+PJOU to form a rival organization. The
organizations changed their iden- Antifascist Refugee Committee, was mortally weakened remains of the
persecuted by the U.S. government for his
tity, while others merged into new SRRC eventually joined with the
activities. Photo from the ALBA archives.
entities. But even organizations that Emergency Rescue Committee, which
did not change their names shifted claimed—and many aimed—to be was run from France by Varian Fry.
their priorities in an attempt to lower humanitarian in nature, and while Continuing conflicts and gov-
their political profiles and increase many cooperated with each other ernmental barriers thwarted an
their fundraising appeal. The VALB, to different extents, their work and ambitious plan by Barsky and others
which from 1939 on concentrated their mutual relationships were ham- to charter a ship that would bring
on helping the refugees, decrying pered by clashing political views. Spanish refugees to Latin America.
their dismal treatment by French Conflicts arose at two differ- In early 1942, the United American
and Spanish authorities and putting ent levels: the stated or suspected Spanish Aid Committee, the Rescue
political pressure on Washington to political beliefs and interest of the Ship Mission, and the American
isolate Franco internationally, was organizations’ leaders and mem- Committee to Save Refugees merged
conscious in the extreme about its bers; and the political identity of into the Joint Antifascist Refugee
need to avoid negative publicity. their beneficiaries. As usual, the hot- Committee (JAFRC), led by Barsky.
test point of contention was the role Because the JAFRC had no license
Refugee aid of, and relation to, the Communist to expend funds in Europe, it chan-
organizations divided Party. And as usual, local conflicts neled its fundraising to the Unitarian
Still, as the years following the were largely a function of develop- Service Committee (USC), with spe-
Spanish war saw the emergence of ments in international politics, which cific conditions on use of the funds.
a dizzying variety of refugee relief radically altered the connotations and Ominous Cold-War clouds had
organizations, conflict was rife. In the values associated with the Republican been gathering throughout World War
United States alone, there were the cause, Communism, anti-fascism, II, and the Axis powers had barely
Spanish Refugee Relief Campaign; or opposition to the Franco regime. Continued on page 18

March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 17

the Modern Refugee
Continued from page 17
capitulated when the first drops started Milt Wolff wrote in 1951, “are trying to 1951 convention regulating the legal sta-
to fall. From the beginning, sympathiz- implant the idea that it is un-American tus of refugees, which included the
ers of Republican Spain were singled to be anti-Franco.” Needless to say, crucial stipulation that no refugees
out for anti-Communist investigations. fundraising for the Spaniards became should be returned to their homelands
In mid-1945, accusations arose that nearly impossible. Franco, mean- if they are at risk of persecution. For the
the JAFRC and the USC were not only while, continued to strengthen his Spanish Republicans, the new laws and
dominated by Communist Party mem- position, and he remained in power institutions came too late. (If the Lincoln
bers and sympathizers, but they were until his death from old age in 1975. vets were labeled “premature antifas-
using funds to help Communists over cists,” one could say that the Spanish
other refugees. The House Un-American “Premature refugees” Republicans were “premature refu-
Activities Committee asked the JAFRC Three times the western democra- gees.”) In practice, of course, the
to hand over its records; the refusal cies left the Spanish Republicans out in UNHCR could not prevent the intensely
of Barsky and his board to do so led the cold: after the attempted coup in politicized treatment and representation
to a long legal battle that ended in 1936; at the end of the Civil War in 1939; of the millions of displaced peoples—
prison sentences for 11 board members. and again after the end of World War II. from Palestine to Cuba to Vietnam to
The USC, meanwhile, had hurriedly Ironically, this was precisely the southern Africa to the former
purged the radicals from its ranks moment when the political refugee Yugoslavia—whose collective suffering
in an attempt to save its reputation. became recognized as a legal category. cast a dark shadow over the second
In the early 1950s, the belief that the The foundation of the United Nations in half of the 20th century, and whose
CP-dominated organizations had long 1945 spurred the creation, five years fate and imagery largely mirrored
neglected the fate of non-Communist later, of the Office of the High Commis- the Spaniards', sometimes to an
refugees spurred Nancy and Dwight sioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the uncanny degree.
MacDonald, both Trotskyites, to
found the Spanish Refugee Aid (SRA),
whose incorporation papers explicitly History Wars 
excluded Communists as beneficiaries. Continued from page 12
(Several years ago, ALBA helped nego- opposition that, in November 2008, Republican struggle for democracy
tiate the transfer of the extensive SRA to the disappointment of activists, during and after the war. However, it
archives to NYU’s Tamiment library.) Garzón withdrew from the investiga- is difficult not to agree with those who
As Peter Carroll has shown in The tion, putting it into the hands of the criticize the law, and above all its fail-
Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, courts in the various provinces in ure to resolve the problems of the
the ripples of the JAFRC court battle which the mass graves are located, mass graves. The inevitable existence
soon extended to the VALB, which had which must now declare whether of not one, but various, conflicting col-
been harassed by the FBI and HUAC they are competent to judge these lective memories of what happened in
since the late 1930s and which, like the cases. Most are unlikely to do so, but Spain between 1936 and 1975 means
JAFRC, had been included in the 1947 will instead follow the example of that, in the short term at least, the
Attorney General’s List of Subversive the National Court in declaring that recovery of historical memory will
Organizations. With the Cold War in it, and hence Garzón, is not compe- continue to be a source of conflict
full swing, even refugee relief, however tent to investigate these crimes. rather than consensus. But until the
humanitarian, could be considered a There are no signs, however, that bodies of these Republicans are recov-
potential act of subversion. “Among the pressure for truth, reparation, and ered, the injustice is perpetuated, and
the few palpable ‘exhibits’ of political justice will go away. The Law of there would appear to be little likeli-
views” at the Rosenberg trial, Carroll Historical Memory represents a major hood of Spanish society as a whole
writes, “was a cardboard collection can unprecedented step forward both for achieving any sort of collective closure
that read ‘Save a Spanish Republican victims’ rights to reparation and in with respect to its traumatic past.
Child.’” “The American warmongers,” terms of public recognition of the

18 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

Book Reviews
Franco’s World War II the Germans. According to Payne, the
deception convinced the Axis of an
Franco and Hitler: Spain, Germany and fascist dictators for assistance. While imminent strike in the Aegean and
World War II. By Stanley G. Payne. New Mussolini sent the greater numbers thus “greatly facilitated the [Allied]
Haven: Yale University Press. 328 pp.
of ground troops, Hitler delivered the invasion of Sicily,” though he offers
better hardware, together with well- but thin support for that thesis.
By Daniel Kowalsky trained advisors and the mercilessly That Franco never contrib-

adfly of Loyalist defenders for effective Condor Legion. As the author uted more directly to the Nazi war
nearly six decades, Stanley correctly shows, German participation effort was less a consequence of the
Payne is the historian of Spain was a vital determinant in Franco’s Caudillo’s savvy diplomacy than of
the Left loves to hate. His rational, eventual victory. Hitler’s concentrated Hitler’s refusal to accept Spain’s con-
deeply-informed defense of Franquista intervention in Spain resulted from his ditions for abandoning neutrality. If
positions and his career-long refusal keen awareness of the strategic advan- this book contains a bombshell, it is
to cave in to the groundswell of sup- tages of having a close ally on the that Madrid strongly favored entering
port for the lost cause of the Spanish Iberian peninsula. Yet Hitler’s recom- the war, but Berlin continually balked
Republic have exasperated all those pense for his steadfast support of the at the concessions the Spaniards
who still mourn Franco’s victory in the Caudillo was delivered only in fits demanded up-front. As negotia-
Spanish Civil War. Payne may have and starts, complicating Germany’s tions dragged on, the Axis position
raised political incorrectness to the campaign for European hegemony. across Europe steadily weakened.
level of subversion, but no serious stu- In the global war, when most By the end of 1942, a better deal for
dent of modern Spain can afford to states lined up alongside either the Franco was taking shape with the
ignore him; he is without a doubt the Allied or the Axis camp, Franco pur- surging Allies, who quickly forgave
most prolific Hispanist working on sued the most ambivalent position of the dictator his bloody excesses
either side of the Atlantic, with an out- any neutral power. Franco declared and earlier fascist associations.
put easily surpassing one book per Spain a “non-belligerent ally” of Some readers will be especially
year. Payne has now turned his atten- Germany, though this was disin- interested in what Payne has to say
tion to Franco’s supposed neutrality in genuous. As Payne demonstrates with about Franco and the Holocaust.
World War II. The result is a book that, impressive detail, Franco’s assistance For many years, the Nationalist
while reflecting the author’s well- to the Nazi cause was wide-ranging regime’s official historians made
established ideological tendencies, and included extensive maritime much of Spain’s supposed magna-
brings new insights to a fascinating support; regular delivery of vital min- nimity towards Jewish refugees,
subject. erals, raw materials and foodstuffs; and the heroic and risky efforts of
The book opens in the first days unprecedented political favors, such Franco’s diplomats in France, Greece
of the Civil War. Stranded with as the reception onto Spanish soil of and Hungary have often been cited
his troops in Spanish Morocco, several thousand Nazi agents; and the as evidence of philo-Semitism. It is
the Generalissimo appealed to the belated dispatch of the Blue Division, true that at least 30,000 Jews suc-
whose doomed volunteers fought cessfully crossed into Spain by
%BOJFM,PXBMTLZUFBDIFTNPEFSO4QBOJTI alongside the Germans until the fall 1942, but Spanish attempts at rescue
history at Queen’s University, in Belfast, of Berlin. The Allies rued but also once the Final Solution was imple-
Northern Ireland. He is author of La
exploited Franco’s loyalty to Hitler, as mented were tardy, half-hearted
Unión Soviética y la Guerra Civil Española
BOEStalin and evidenced in Operation Mincemeat, and ineffective. Payne correctly
the Spanish Civil War $PMVNCJB61 
 when fake invasion plans planted on concludes that, overall, Hitler’s
a corpse were translated and sent to
Continued on page 21
March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 19
Added to Memory’s Roster
resettling refugee children, many Virginia taught community organiz-
of whom had been traumatized and ing and grant writing in the social
orphaned by the war. In that capacity, work department of San Francisco
she encouraged Spanish children to State University. She was involved in
describe their own wartime experi- campus politics, most importantly in
ences as a form of creative therapy. support of the historic student strike
Returning to the United States, that ended in the creation of the first
Virginia went on a speaking tour to school of ethnic studies in the nation.
inform Americans about the situa- During the 30 years that she lived
tion in Spain and to raise funds for in Berkeley, Virginia traveled the
relief efforts. In 1938 she returned to world with friends, hiked with the
Spain, joining her husband Barney, Sierra Club and the Berkeley Hiking
a physician working near the front. Club, sailed in the Caribbean and the
Virginia assisted with evacuating San Juans, rafted the Middle Fork of

wounded internationals, many from the Salmon and the Colorado (the
lands already under Nazi domina- last time when she was 90), and was
tion, to countries that would protect active in Women for Peace. In 1993, she
them. With the defeat of the Republic returned to Portland to be near fam-
and the start of World War II, the ily. Until the final weeks of her life,
couple returned to the United States. Virginia led a full life. She marched
Barney served as an Air Force flight against the war in Iraq just weeks after
Virginia Malbin surgeon; Virginia cared for her two hip surgery, maintained membership
young children and continued her in the Women’s International League
(1913-2008) work in anti-Fascist organizations. for Peace and Freedom, enjoyed
“You’ve got to fight back. Once After the war, the Malbins moved Portland’s cultural offerings, went to
you begin to feel that way about to Vancouver, Washington, then to water aerobics classes, and studied
the world, you never stop.” Portland. During the 1950s, they were Greek philosophers with the Inquiring
Virginia Malbin, proud veteran of part of a vibrant community of labor Minds group at Terwilliger Plaza.
the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and life- organizers, artists, educators, and Virginia was preceded in death by
long activist in progressive grassroots left-leaning people from all walks of her husband and her daughter Linda.
politics, died December 10 in Portland, life, making a good life in defiance She is survived by her son Edward,
Oregon. She was a youthful 95. of the ravages of the McCarthy era. his wife Diane, and three generations
In 1937, committed to defending Virginia worked for Child Welfare of nieces, nephews, and cousins. She is
a government that was succeeding in Portland. Soon after her husband’s remembered by an extended family of
against enormous odds at improv- death in 1959, she left for graduate relatives and friends as a lively, tough,
ing the lives of the poor, Virginia school at the University of Southern impassioned intellectual, who inspired
joined the international effort to aid California. After obtaining a mas- them to work for the same causes
the Spanish Republic, which was ters degree in social work, Virginia that shaped her life: economic justice,
under siege by Fascist forces. She won a grant for a project that chal- equal rights, civil liberties, peace.
was in her early 20s, a recent Phi Beta lenged San Francisco’s practice of “When people have a vision and
Kappa graduate of the University of incarcerating indigent elderly in state they know what they are struggling
Chicago, already a seasoned com- mental hospitals. Her research and for and they work together to accom-
munity organizer, social worker, advocacy resulted in the funding of plish it—I think that it is still the most
and unionist. Her main task was appropriate housing and services. important thing for people to learn.”
to aid Spanish social services in From 1967 until retiring in 1977, —Diane Nowicki

20 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

Added to Memory’s Roster

Bob Doyle year in the concen-

tration camp of San
(1916-2009) Pedro de Cardeña. More information about Bob Doyle and news
One of the last surviving Irish In February 1939, coverage of his memorial can be found at the
International Brigaders, Bob Doyle, has he was released as following websites:
died, just short of his 93rd birthday. part of a prisoner www.geocities.com/irelandscw/ibvol-BD-Feb.
Born into poverty in Dublin in exchange deal. www.rte.ie/news///news.html
1916, Bob grew up with a hatred of During World www.indymedia.ie/article/
injustice that pushed him towards War II, Bob served
left-wing politics. When civil war in the merchant
broke out in Spain, Bob saw the navy before becom-
struggle as an extension of his ing a firewatcher in London. After Spanish tricolour. In 2006 his mem-
own street battles with the fascist the war, he undertook danger- oir, Brigadista, was released, and he
Blueshirts. In December 1937, he ous clandestine work, travelling cheerfully accepted his duty as one
joined the International Brigades. to Franco’s Spain to help organ- of the few surviving brigaders to
Bob fought with the British ise underground trade-unions. travel and speak extensively in Spain,
Battalion, which was involved in a Over the years, Bob continued Ireland and Britain. Bob delivered
desperate attempt to defend Belchite to return to Spain, resolutely car- his last speech at the rededication
in March 1938. During the retreats he rying a banner with “International of Belfast’s International Brigade
was captured, and he spent the next Brigades” inscribed over the memorial on November 8, 2008.
Bob is survived by his sons
Bob and Julian, five grandchildren,
and three great-grandchildren.
Remembering Virginia Malbin: —Richard Baxell

The Woman Who Never Seemed to Age

When I first met Virginia Malbin
at a meeting in the s, she told
living there, she replied, “We have
the whole place organized. There
Franco's WWII
Continued from page19
me she was a Lincoln Brigade vet. are only a few people who are vot-
I didn’t believe her; she just didn’t JOH3FQVCMJDBO BOEXFSFXPSLJOH policy towards the Jews was viewed
MPPLPMEFOPVHI8IFOTIFTQPLF  on them. We also found some issues from Madrid with benevolence.
she put things in the perspective of with how management treats the Payne has always been the master
the current historical moment with janitorial staff, so we are going to synthesizer, and here again he skill-
an intellectual depth that was both UBMLUPUIFNBCPVUUIBU8FIBWF fully culls recent secondary studies,
eloquent and not always appro- a great community, with discus- from numerous languages, to produce
priate for the meeting’s agenda. sion groups on politics, philosophy, a welcome addition to the bibliogra-
5IBUXBT7JSHJOJB4IFXBTLOPXO literature, and of course I have my phy of Spain’s international relations.
GPSIFSFUFSOBMZPVUIGVMMPPLT group, Women for Peace.” As we It is perhaps unfortunate that some of
and her professorial intellect. XBMLFEUPUIFMVODISPPN WBSJPVT the secondary studies on whom the
The last time I visited Virginia, elderly residents tapped her on the author relies are Payne’s earlier works,
a few years ago, she had recently TIPVMEFSi7JSHJOJB *IBWFUPUBML and those readers who know his
moved into a senior housing complex to you later,” they said. And I real- books on the Franco regime, the
owned by a teachers association in ized how she stayed so young. Second Republic or the civil war will
1PSUMBOE8IFO*BTLFEIPXJUXBT —Richard BerNBDL detect a whiff of self-plagiarism.

March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 21

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22 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

Friend ($1 – $99)

Continued on page 24

March 2009 THE VOLUNTEER 23

Continued from page 23


The above donations were made from November 1, 2008, through January 31, 2009. All donations made after
January 31 will appear in the June 2009 issue of The Volunteer.

Your continued support of ALBA and its important projects is so appreciated!

24 THE VOLUNTEER March 2009

Join ALBA’s Guernica Society
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Documenting Displacement:
Images of Spanish Civil War
Refugees, a Symposium
King Juan Carlos Center
53 Washington Square South
New York
Friday, May 1, 3-9 pm

The New York Annual ALBA Reunion

Performance and Reception
Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street
Sunday, May 3, 2 pm

ALBA Reunion, Bay Area

San Francisco, Delancey Street Theater
Sunday, May 31, 2 pm

for more information:


Photograph by Walter Rosenblum, courtesy of the Tamiment Library and the Rosenblum family

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