The Flight by Sidney Kaufman

April 10, 2020

The Volunteer, V. 5, N. 3

Editor’s note:  Here are more excerpts from the log which Sid Kaufman[i] kept in the last days of the war.

You will remember, from the transcript of his tape which we printed in our last issue, that Sid got out of Spain much later than most of us. He was one of the I. B. ers who, after being evacuated from the Valencia region once Spain had been cut in two, found themselves in Catalonia at just about the time that the fascists were entering Barcelona.

The impact of this log lies in the immediacy of Sid’s impressions. Sid prettifies nothing. He makes no pretense of detachment. He tells about demoralization. He records sustained defiance and loyalty. Of course, this account of a great defeat, limited to just that event, cannot give a wholly truthful picture of the war. But we are of the opinion that only smug people would demand of the keeper of this log, jotting down hasty notes under the bitterest of conditions, that he pay ritual tributes.

In editing, we have concentrated on what Sid himself witnessed. For the most part, we have eliminated rumors and acrimonious judgements. We all experienced the stress which induced such reactions; but to include them now, so many years later, might lead to the conclusion that all hasty judgements continue to hold true.

Jan. 23, 1939 – Arrive in Barcelona from Casa de la Selva. Checked into the International Hotel on the Ramblas. The city is bombed at 8:30 pm, and five more times that night – at the air raid warning I would make for the subway station at the Ramblas and Plaza Cataluna. This got tiresome after a few times, and I was exhausted so decided to tough it out. There was a direct hit on the hotel – a small bomb came down the airshaft, the concussion causing all the glass doors to cave in – The chambermaids chirping away early in the morning looked into my room in horror – the white counterpane filled with glass and me asleep – They decided I was dead – I shook the glass off the bed, hurriedly dressed and started for I. B. Headquarters. When I got there, there was a great deal of chaos and panic, records were being buttoned up – I was told to get out of Barcelona – The Fascists were “nearby” – none of us realized they were moving so fast – We could not conceive of the front just outside of Barcelona.

On the 24th of January I was able to get one of the last trains out of the main station (Horta) at 10:30 pm – Major Galleani[ii] was on the train with me. It was miserably, slow, agonizing ride north to Gerona – spent the night here curled up in a chair in a café – now we begin to see the stragglers – mostly civilians – men, women, children – walking mostly – pushing a cart, bicycle or wheelbarrow – the start of an exodus which swelled to almost 400,000 in the refugee camps across the French border – My notes indicated that I arrived back at Marcia Planes’ home in Casa de la Selva on the 25th of January. The main body of Americans had left. I had referred to Marial Planes earlier in this account – Harold Dean[iii] and myself as Non-coms had been billeted in her home. I note in Jan. 26th log that she “nurses” me back to health – Dysentery – Physical exhaustion – don’t know how she accomplished it – hot milk with eggs in it, toasted bacon sandwiches, etc. (she said she had a connection in the country-side). Conlon Nancarrow[iv] shows up – telling me he missed the convoy at Figueras. He told me how the Americans (about 100) had gone by truck to Figueras and were put on a train for the trip to Paris. He had missed the train – I didn’t ask the details – now there are two of us.

Now the “bulos” begin. – that the Fascists have taken Barcelona and no one will be able to escape because they will make landings on the coast of Catalonia and cut off any retreat – some panic as a result of the rumors. Later we learned that Barcelona had surrendered without any resistance on Jan. 26 —

On the 27th of Jan. Hendricksen[v] set up a radio in Maria’s house and we hear Italian spoken on the government radio out of Barcelona. – Late at night we hear a news report in English, that the British consul has arrived in Cerbere – now there is plenty of panic – rumors that the Fascists have already landed on the Catalonian coast to the north to cut off refugees headed for the Spanish-French border. Hendricksen was from the States; his citizenship was questionable, like many others. John Stuvenberg[vi] comes to mind. It was common, on the waterfront in particular – seamen would “jump ship” in the States and sail from the U. S. ports only during or after WW II did some get straightened out – citizenship was granted after sailing in war zones or time in the armed forces. According to my records, Casa de la Selva was evacuated as a demobilization point on Jan. 28th and we all took off north for the French border. We started the walk at 2 am. – walked 37 km – stopped for food – then 15 km more in an open camion in a driving rain, miserable, cold and hungry. Nancarrow and I used to joke about being left stranded, now it’s a calamity – sleeping in our civilian clothes – living like gypsies caught in the current. We are now at San Pedro la Pescadora and realize no formal repatriation is possible, instead we have to head for the border as refugees. On the 29th of Jan. early in the morning a political meeting is held in an open field. Carlos (Political Commissar, Colonel rank) announces that the Fascists have taken Mataro (just north of Barcelona) on the Catalonia coast. He states that the line is not broken and the government has moved its seat to Figueras which is being bombed constantly. He asks us to give our confidence to the command. Nancarrow and I had asked Oscar Hernandez[vii] (I. B.  Political Commissar) for a Salvoconducto to Port Bou and we are refused – What is our status now? – Pressman (?) shows up according to my notes.

On the night of the 29th, Andre Marty[viii] arrives – Gives a wild, emotional irrational speech in an open field in the dark. He speaks of Susso and Landetta – the “Conejos” and their whores, lacking discipline, couldn’t wait to go over the border in an organized way – stealing cars in their panic to get away. He also condemns Querpo[ix], Dominguez[x], and some Cubans, also the highly trusted SIM man.[xi] He explains why we had to leave Casa de la Selva. He put his pistol to the head of a simple innocent peasant who had put his light on in his bedroom, and Marty accused him of signaling the Fascist aviation to bomb our meeting Jan. 30th. We get orders to move – We are missing from the list of those entitled to be repatriated to the States – a bureaucratic foul-up – It was a supplemental list and it was assumed Nancarrow and I were already on the way with the main body – great chagrin and disappointment. Pat Gibson[xii] and Friedman[xiii] promise to straighten it out at I. B. Administration. Soria[xiv] got caught today with a stolen car for trip to the border. Our morale is exceptionally low – sick, tired, – raining all day, streets muddy – grub awful, no tobacco for a week.

Jan. 31st Still feeling very low – move to the schoolhouse, more rigmarole – Andre Marty returns – States all Americans will be able to go home – Morale perks up. Feb. 1 Hernandez (Political Commissar) leaves to find out about our case. No newspapers or smokes for days.

Feb. 2. More supplies are showing up. Those that have been held right across the border on our side. We’re beginning to see more meat in the diet. On the second of February the Canadian convoy leaves. They had been held up – Canadian Government had refused to accept them. On the third we get word that we are leaving tonight, but we are disappointed again and we don’t know why. Some of the German-Americans come in stragglers from hospitals including Stockstiel[xv], and now we begin to hear wild stories of the proximity of the Fascists. We still don’t go on the fourth Feb. No transport. Everybody standing by. Bill Schutt[xvi] shows up, Hoffman[xvii] also. And the long trek starts again.

On the fifth I hear, all I. B.’ers to the frontier and the Fascist have taken Gerona and the lines are broken. Cigarettes galore are thrown around. I hadn’t had an issue in fifteen days. Our Intendencia not so good. A half loaf of bread when we get in some of these towns: bread and bully beef – everything is being thrown at people, stores are being broken into, tens of thousands are on the march. The sabotaging of trucks – the trucks ran out of gas. Ammunition or materials that you could not carry or use were burned along with the trucks, or sabotaged in some way so they could not fall into the hands of the Fascists. My clothes (I mentioned earlier that I had been issued civilian clothes) are now full of lice and I am kept awake at night and slept last night in the Pyrenees – in the freezing cold in an olive grove. What a climax! I see the Carabineros destroying the records fires all over. Not possible to describe the night with words. Loot, loot – everything for the seeking, everything I am referring to here is right on our side of the border. Indendencias were just full of edibles and cigarettes and soap and things of this nature that had not been able to be moved down to the armies because of the chaotic situation, the extent of the retreats and the lack of actual lines. We found ourselves going into places where we would find rare cheeses, paté de fois gras, sugar, milk, and soap. I remember one of the guys puncturing a can – a ten gallon can. There was an amber liquid coming out that looked exactly like honey. It turned out to be cod-liver oil, sent by a charitable organization, intended for war orphans.

Our last night in Spain and everyone had a bellyache – We’re stealing thousands of cigarettes – wildest most exciting night in my life that I can remember. Realize now we’re all kind of selfish-subjective – just thinking of good grub – clean clothes, soft warm bed, etc., instead of great calamity – Fascism has scored a tremendous victory. I’ve also neglected thinking of the refugees – The tens of thousands of homeless orphans – the misery of walking untold agonizing kilometers with carts and burros and packs – Soldados walking back from the Lerida front for a month or more. Also neglected thinking of the best of the Americans who came over, those left behind – some with not even given the decency of a dirt covering – rotting bodies – stench.

Had a talk with Johnny Murra[xviii] – very sour, very negative. He’s convinced that too many “enchufas”[xix] got back – the worthy ones the Joe Biancas[xx], Harry Hines,[xxi] Jim Cody[xxii] and Taffy Skinner[xxiii] didn’t.

Feb. 6th. Saw our Major Watzek carrying his own suitcases –

We hear that 150 Czechs were captured or killed – that’s a black eye for us. No I.B.ers were supposed to be at a front – all withdrawn – understand they were with a Spanish outfit and the Spaniards raised the white flag – Not doing too badly organizing clothes – came across a bolt of English worsted good for a suit – I have no overcoat. No sleep been walking all night, last night and its now 6 am and we are 1 ½ km from the Spanish-French border. I feel I have witnessed something I’ll never see again as long as I live – There is tension, excitement – suspense all wrapped together; I’ve been lighting one cigarette to another and throwing away the butts – imagine. Were I a Herbert Matthews[xxiv] to describe the masses in motion – the whole road in a sense has a fiesta-like appearance. I’m elated – I guess its partly because of my own happiness at getting out with a whole skin.

Laughingly I thought of how I would describe my own “escape” – a fascist chasing me with a trench knife, makes a dive for me grabs my coat, I manage to elude him and fall across the border, safely, like a running back making a last minute touchdown. Night is coming on – it is freezing cold, better build a fire – Hope they separate the Americans for repatriation.

Half of Spain must be on the move north – so many women, kids, people have passed through today. Note here in my diary that there are disgraceful scenes of the Carabiñeros – being used as police, brutal and unfeeling – The Intendencias were certainly corrupt to have bulging luxury supplies. Hear rumors of what will happen to us. The border is wide open – Women, children and soldiers will probably be interned – some sent to the Levante by ship, others “no lo se”[xxv], -Good thing we carried plenty of canned goods with us – liable to be tough until things get organized – Trucks, equipment, arms going over with us or destroyed – no help to the fascists. Love to get one of those new Czech automatics through (Sub-Thompson type) but impossible.

Finally cross the border at 5am Feb. 7th. Mountains or arms piled upon the French side- Weapons of all descriptions confiscated. We cross at La Junquera (Spain) to the French Le Perthus. A long roundabout way from original start at Casa de la Selva. We send the truck on ahead. Now start long walk to the coast and internment camp at Argeles Le Plage about 18 km. It’s John Murra, John Palu,[xxvi] Nancarrow, Fontana[xxvii] with me – suitcase on my back – pleasant talks along the way – We’re “free” – See in French paper. Hell to pay in Spain – Might have expected as much from Azana, Caballero, and Luis Companys. Spent another freezing night outdoors – but on French soil – filled up on milk and chocolate etc. – going for salmon, tomatoes, coffee without milk.

Feb. 8th. Argeles – What a sight! Tens of thousands of people – no shelter – make do on the beach in the sand – the whole thing is practically organized in French-Albacete style – but control is excellent considering one has a “sou” in his pocket. The panic in some of the guys was disgraceful, not having the patience to stick together in a group to go over the border in a unit – when only 5km from the frontier.

Andre Marty truly discredited with his attempt to have the I. B.s return to the front after Negrin assured the outside world that all the International Brigades had been withdrawn. Many German and Italian I.B.ers killed as a result – L’Humanité carried his statement that 800 I.B.ers were “lost” in the mountains.

Hope the American papers are carrying some of the pictures of the refugee camps. The French papers are full of the story. The “deserters” show up to scrounge on our food. Among our American group in the camp were Murra, Palu, Nancarrow, Stockstiel, Schutt, John Stuvenberg, and Stanley Postek[xxviii] (whom we encountered wandering on the road, released from the hospital, with an airplane splint – festering wound etc.), Fontana and others I can’t recall – We held on to one camion and some sacks of rice – canned goods etc. so we were better off than most other groups – but don’t know of our future. Reactionary press here inciting people in this province against us – “Colonization of France” – The French soldiers are very brutal – Sengalese – Papers say there will be over 200,000 at this camp alone – Camp incidents include stabbings of those who advocate returning to Franco’s side.

Feb. 9th. – Miserable night, last night – the shits – dysentery and sick in general. “Incidents” still continue in the camp. There are “bulos” galore – understand the French are using many means of provocation – confiscating some of our food as “war materials” etc. Representatives of the League of Nations Commission show up and apologize for the mess and general disorganization in the camp. The Canadians not repatriated are in bad shape – no blankets, no food etc. anarchy crops up all over continually with lots of fights. Before I go into the notes for Feb. 10th on, I want to back up to an aspect of our long trek starting Jan. 30th.

In all the time that the roads were checked with retreating troops, withdrawn I.B.ers, civilians, vehicles of all kinds the news kept filtering through Frente Rojo and Treball (in the Catalan language) were being published right through the chaos – with hand presses – mobile presses – I do not know. However, almost every day couriers on motorcycles would ride way ahead and paste the newspapers to the telephone poles or utility poles, and we’d take a few minutes to read the dope. This is how we were aware that the Fascist armies had taken Gerona and the line was broken behind us. I took some samples off the poles, white wash and all (and they are now at Brandeis U. in the archives.)[xxix]

On Feb. 10th, The American Consul appears in the camp seeking us out. He brought cigarettes and chocolates. He promised to return the next day, with an American flag, medicine, and supplies. There are now eight of us out of the camp on the 11th uplifting to say the least. Former brass from Albacete try to carry over I. B. Organization into France.

Feb. 11th – Feeling low – gas pains, the shits, etc. At 2pm Consul had not arrived – attempt to censor our mail of all things – Consul still doesn’t show but Smith (assistant to Fred Thompson in Paris), Noel Field (Quaker – American representative on League of Nations Commission), and Steve[xxx] (Canadian representative), do show. They attempt to get us out of the camp but Field doesn’t want to take the chance, without proper authorization. Promise to try tomorrow. How often have we heard Manana?[xxxi] Smith is great, brings cigarettes and chocolate and news.

Provocations by the French continue – now convinced the Popular Front is failing – serious discussion, the evaluating of a new formation of the policy in view of France, Spain, etc. Smith says the American Consul is very busy and maybe on Lincoln’s Birthday the slaves may be freed.

On Feb.12th – a Fascist sound truck shows up with an officer, in the name of the French government, to send Spaniards immediately to Barcelona or Hendaye! Truck has to fuck off because of booing and cat-calling. French cavalry comes in to establish “order” (Spahis from Morocco, colorful scarlet tunics – crack troops for dress parades). They use their sabers recklessly – Many hurt – Later in the morning large groups of visitors – all of the consuls show up – many newspapermen and foreign correspondents – Stories of the barbaric conditions in the camps are finally getting out, but the home newspapers in London and New York don’t like it. Herb Matthews has been cabled by the New York Times “Why so anti-French?”

Finally escape from “Devil’s Island.” Smith does a great job of maneuvering us out, (Nancarrow and myself) outsmarting the right people – jumpy all the way to Perpignan – stopped once and searched but got by – Stop in a café in Perpignan – have my first glass of beer in ages – two glasses and I have a glow.

I am writing this on the night train to Paris. Saw a train in Perpignan railroad station full of “our” people going to the Franco side – The Bastards!

Spanish comrades in the camp at Argeles sur la Plage are so incensed they say the next war has to be against France even if it has to be on the side of Franco!

Andre Marty truly discredited. Someday the real story may come out. Noel Field said that he had heard Marty threaten and coerced some I.B.ers back to the front lines at the point of a gun. Field and other sympathetic members of the Commission interested in proving that the government had nothing to do with the return if the volunteers and the I. B. did it on their own. It strikes me that Marty had visions of another defense of Catalonia, similar to the defense of Madrid by the International Brigades in 1936, and made all the plans unknown to Negrin, then informed Negrin when it was too late to stop it – so we suffered untold unnecessary losses.

Feb. 13-14 Paris – Get reoutfitted – get fixed up. We hear about the deal between Roosevelt and France with the double-cross by Bonet and Daladier on Spain. Blackmailed by France – Agree to open the border in return for planes that landed in Toulouse in the south of France. See Larry O’Toole[xxxii] and hear some of the news regarding some of our guys. We hear Matthews has been given an ultimatum, by the New York Times, ongoing to Italy. Join Nancarrow and his friends partying in the Place Pigalle – Bob Allen, and Bob Oken, newspaper men. Oken was a young reporter in New Jersey on the Bergen Evening Record who just happened to be at Lakehurst, New Jersey when the Hindenburg blew up. He scooped the world on the story and was rewarded by the Associated Press. They gave him a choice and he chose, foreign correspondent. Also in the party was Pepita and little Ziggie, who got everything wholesale, even the champagne in the cabaret. Diarrhea still with me so I can’t appreciate the choice grub. Ended the night like typical tourists with onion soup at the market at 4 am – wild!

Can’t trace my mail or money sent to me by the family. Fred Thompson[xxxiii] doing an outstanding job on behalf of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. He is Kathleen Norris’s[xxxiv] brother – she’s very reactionary. He the opposite. Told some wild yarns about the arguments around the dinner table at her house. He was able to get Stanley Postek admitted to the American Hospital at Neuilly for treatment. His wound was still festering and draining.

I’ve been made Responsible for the eight Americans getting out of the camp by Saturday through his efforts. We’re booked for the President Roosevelt.[xxxv] I promise to look up Babin’s[xxxvi] wife in New York. We were given VIP treatment on the ship. Ex-shipmates amongst the waiters and room stewards including Al Rothbart from the NMU Pilot Staff.[xxxvii]

Arrived back in New York on the 25th of Feb. Met by Mom and sisters Ida and Ethel.

The pathetic scene on the docks – the women who carry pictures of their sons, who were among the “missing” and ask if we had known them or seen them.

[i] Sidney Kaufman (1914-1994) was born and raised in New York City. He was single and working as a seaman when he volunteered to serve in the International Brigades. He arrived in Spain in July 1937 and was assigned to the XV Brigade in the British Battalion.  Kaufman later transferred to the 4th Group, 35th Battery and remained with the unit after it switched over to an Anti-Tank battery attached to the 129th International Brigade. Kaufman served as the battery’s Commissar. He was one of the last volunteers to leave Spain and was briefly detained in a French Concentration Camp. Kaufman returned to the US in February 1939. During WW II he continued to serve as a seaman. Kaufman eventually transitioned into the role of Business Agent, Marine Cooks and Stewards Union.

His papers include ALBA 058 Sidney Kaufman Papers; ALBA AUDIO 058 Sidney Kaufman Audio Collection; Good Fight C; ALBA 048 Manny Harriman Video Collection; Elizabeth C. Compa, “Sid Kaufman’s Odyssey Out of Spain,” The Volunteer, Volume 27, No. 2, June 2005, pp. 11-14. 

[ii] Umberto Galleani (1888-?) was born Lambro, Italy and came to the US after WW I without proper documentation. Galleani served as an officer in the Italian Army and after the war he was an active member of the Socialist Party and founded the Association of Italian Antifascist Veterans. Galleani was an early international volunteer arriving in Spain on October 10, 1936. He briefly served as the acting commander of the Garibaldi Battalion as it was formed. He remained with the unit after turning over command to Paccciardi and fought at Cerro de los Angeles on the Madrid Front. Galleani returned to the US for a propaganda tour in the summer of the 1937. After returning he served in a number of staff positions including XV Brigade as Deputy Commander, 95th Division as Chief of Staff, and finally the 60th Division as Chief of Operations. Galleani returned to the US in April 1939. During WW II he worked for the Allies in the Sicilian and Italian Campaigns.  Post war he worked as the municipal secretary of Camparada, in the Province of Milan.

[iii] Harold Francis Dean (1914-1981) was a West Coast seaman who left for Spain in June 1937. In Spain he served with the XV BDE, Lincoln-Washington BN, MG Co. from October to the end of November 1937 before being selected for the Brigade’s Officer Training School (OTS). After the course he was assigned to the 4th Artillery Group, 35th Battery. He remained with the unit when it converted to an anti-aircraft/anti-armor battery in the 129th International Brigade.  He returned to the US in February 1939.  

[iv] Conlon Samuel Nancarrow (1912-1997) was born in Texarkana, Texas.  A musical prodigy he attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music from 1930-1933 and then to Harvard from 1933 to 1935.  Nancarrow was divorced and living in Boston when he volunteered to serve in the International Brigades. He arrived in Spain in March 1927 and was assigned to the XV Brigade in the newly formed George Washington Battalion. He served at Brunete and was wounded in action and sent to hospital in late July 1937. After a month-long recovery, he briefly served in an Auto Park before joining the German 14th Battery, DECA, an anti-aircraft unit known as the Dimitrov Battery. Nancarrow returned to the US in February 1939. After a long career as an Avant Garde composer Nancarrow died in Mexico City, Mexico.

[v] George Sidney Hendrickson (1906-1976) was born in Flushing, New York and during the 1920’s served in the US Army after high school. When he volunteered for the International Brigades, he was single, living in the Bronx, and working as a mechanic. He was part of the first large group of American volunteers who left for Europe on December 26, 1936 aboard the Normandie. Ion Spain he served in the XV Brigade and later as a radio operator in Valencia.  Hendrickson returned to the US in February 1939.  During WW II he served in the Merchant Marine as a radio operator. He died in Ossipee, New Hampshire, in 1976.

[vi] Johannes Stuivernberg (1891-?) was also known John Miller Stuyuenberg. He was born in Veenendaal, Netherlands and had lived in the US for 25 years when he volunteered for the International Brigades. Stuivernberg lived in San Francisco and was a West Coast seaman and a member of the Seamans Union of the Pacific. He arrived in Spain in July 1937 and was initially assigned to the 24th (Spanish) Battalion, Co. 3. He served at Quinto, Belchite and Fuentes de Ebro.  Stuivernberg was wounded at Fuentes and hospitalized in Benicassim for two months. After his recovery he was assigned to the 4th Grupo, 35th Battery. Stuivernberg returned to the US on April 16, 1939.

[vii] Cuban volunteer Óscar Hernández Rodríguez was born in Havana circa 1910 and lived in New York City. He was single and working as a typewriter mechanic when he volunteered to serve in the International Brigades. He left for Spain in January 1937 and joined the Centuria Antonio Guiteras which was attached to the Lincoln Battalion’s Company 1. He was wounded in action at Jarama and after recovery transferred to the 46th Division “Campesinos” where he served as a Battalion Commissar in the 10th Battalion. Major Oscar Hernández was the commander of the 129th Division English speaking group in Castellon de la Plana in October and November 1938.   Hendrickson was a Lieutenant who reported to Hernández and both were based in Valencia.

[viii] André Marty (1886-1956) was a Central Committee Member of the French Communist Party and Executive of the Comintern who commanded the International Brigade base and Headquarters in Albacete. Marty came to prominence after leading a naval mutiny intended to of stop French intervention against the Bolshevik Revolution. He was tried, convicted and imprisoned. In 1923 he was released and joined the Communist Party and quickly rose through its ranks. In 1952 Marty was accused of being a police spy and expelled from the CP. 

[ix] Likely a Spanish volunteer.

[x] Possibly a Cuban volunteer.

[xi] This may refer to Tony DeMaio (1914-1999). DeMaio was single and working as a representative for the UE-CIO union before volunteering to serve in the International Brigades.  In the early 1930s DeMaio served in the US Navy‘s Yangtze River Patrol. He sailed as part of the first group of American volunteers on December 26, 1937 aboard the Normandie. In Spain he initially served in the Lincoln Battalion’s headquarters and the Brigade headquarters as a representative of the military intelligence service, SIM. DeMaio saw combat on the Jarama Front and during the Brunete Offensive. He was wounded in action at Brunete and after recovery served in various roles including SIM chief Camp Lukacs, and SIM station chief at Figueras and Albacete. In May he returned to the XV Brigade as SIM officer with the rank of Second Lieutenant (Alfarez). He fought with the brigade during the Ebro Offensive where he was wounded a second time. After being released from the hospital he transferred to SIM of the administrative central on September 15, 1938 and remained in Spain after most American volunteer were already repatriated. DeMaio arrived in the US on March 3, 1939. During WW II he served in the US Army initially as an engineer before volunteering for the infantry for his service.  Post-war he returned to the UE Staff.

[xii] Patrick Gibson (1906-?) was born in Dublin, Ireland.  He was living in Canada when he volunteered to serve in the International Brigades. Gibson arrived in Spain in May 1937 and served XV Brigade, Headquarters as a staff officer. Later he transferred to the 35th Anglo-American Battery as the Executive Officer;. Gibson returned to Canada in February 1939.

[xiii] This is likely Martin Friedman (1914-1966). Friedman was single and working as a construction worker and machinist when he volunteered to join the International Brigades. Friedman had previously served in the New York National Guard’s 258th Artillery Regiment from1932-1935 and rose to the rank of Sergeant. Friedman left for Spain in February 1937. He served in the 11th Artillery Regiment, 2nd Group, 14th Battery known as the John Brown Battery.  He returned to the US in February 1939 and worked as a CP functionary in the New York office during the 1940s

[xiv] This may refer to Cuban volunteer Rolando Soria. Rolando Soria was born in Guantanamo or Santiago Cuba and moved to New York City in 1933. He was a member of the Club Julio Mella and was working as a driver and mechanic.  He arrived in Spain in June 1937 and served in the XIV Brigade, in the 9th “Commune of

Paris” Battalion. Later he transferred to the Republican Army’s 105 Brigade, 420th Battalion, where he served in the 4th Company as a Sergeant.

[xv] Stockstiel remains unidentified possibly German-American volunteer.

[xvi] Wihel “William” Schutt was a German American seaman. He was living in Connecticut when he volunteered to serve in the International Brigades. Schutt arrived in Spain in May 1937 and served with the XV Brigade, Lincoln-Washington Battalion, Company 1. Schutt served at Quinto, and Belchite. During a fascist counterattack that almost broke their lines on July 23, 1937 Schutt was hit in the arm. After recovery in the hospital he joined the Defensa Contra Aviación (DECA), Battery 17 in mid-August 1937. In February 1938, Schutt transferred to the 45th Division Artillery fighting at Teruel and The Retreats. He returned to the XV Brigade, Lincoln-Washington Battalion, Company 1, and fought with them in the Ebro Offensive. Schutt was wounded in the hip July 27, 1938 while storming a hill and spent the remainder of his time in Spain in hospital.

[xvii] Hoffman unidentified possibly German American volunteer.

[xviii] John Victor Murra [Lipschitz, Isak] (1916-2006) was born in Odessa, Ukraine, Russia. His family was Jewish and emigrated to the United States. Murra graduated from the University of Chicago in 1936. He was married and a graduate student studying Archeology when he volunteered for the International Brigades. He sailed to Europe in February 1937 and because of his extensive linguistic skills was retained to work in the International Brigade’s apparatus in Perpignan, France. Murra entered Spain in April 1937 and was attached to the Estado Mayor of the IB in Albacete as a clerk, interpreter and aide to Bill Lawrence, Will Paynter, Wally Tapsell and Bob Kerr. He requested to be transferred to the XV Brigade, Lincoln-Washington Battalion, Company 3 before the Ebro Offensive. Murra was severely wounded on July 28, 1938 an was in hospital for much of his remaining time in Spain. After leaving Spain he spent time in the French Argeles Sur-Mer concentration camp. Murra returned to the United States in June 1939.

[xix] Enchufas refers in a derogative manner to volunteers who had “connections”, officers or higher ranking party officials.

[xx] Louis Joseph Bianca [Duval, David] (1903-1938) was an Italian American seaman who was regarded as one of the best soldiers in the Lincoln-Washington Battalion. He arrived in Spain in Jun 1937 and served with the XV Brigade, Lincoln-Washington Battalion, MG Company.  Bianca rose to the rank of Teniente. He was killed in action on August 19, 1938 in the Sierra Pandols during the Ebro Offensive.

[xxi] Harold Ernest Hynes [Hall, Harry; Hines; Hynes, Harold E.] (1900-1937) was born to an English family in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan. He attended the University of Melbourne and during World War I attended Officer Training School in England. Post-war he moved to the United States and became a Seaman. He was an NMU member and living in New York City when he volunteered for the International Brigades. Hynes arrived in Spain in March 1937 and served in the XV Brigade, in the Lincoln Battalion.  He later moved to the Washington Battalion where he served as Commissar for Company 3. Hynes was killed in action on July 9, 1937 at Brunete

[xxii] James Edgar Cody [Cody, George] (1903-1938) was a Chicago born writer.  Cody arrived in Spain in July 1937 and served in the XV Brigade, Lincoln-Washington Battalion. During the Retreats he was promoted to Teniente and appointed Chief of Scouts for the Brigade. Cody was killed in action during the Retreats.

[xxiii] Taffy Skinner likely refers to either British volunteer Alwynne W. Skinner or Canadian volunteer Baden A. Skinner both were known as Taffy.  According to the International Brigade Memorial Trust data base Alwynne Skinner was born in 1912. He was a Communist Party member and arrived in Spain on June 5, 1937. Skinner served in the XV Brigade and was killed in action in 1938 during the Ebro Offensive.  Baden A. Skinner was born in Tredegar, Wales 1900. He moved to  Canada in 1928, where he worked as miner. Baden Skinner was single and living in Vancouver when he volunteered to serve in the International Brigades. He arrived in Spain in May 1937 and was among a group of 40 Canadians transferred into the Lincoln Battalion just before the Brunete Offensive.  Baden later served in the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion and was killed in action on September 23, 1938 on the Ebro Front.

[xxiv] Herbert Lionel Matthews (1900 – 1977) was a journalist for the New York Times who reported from the Republican side. Matthews was sympathetic to the Spanish Republic and popular among the American volunteers.

[xxv] No lo sé means I do not know.

[xxvi] John Palu [Paul] (1907-?); He was born in Estonia and came to the United States in 1930; He was living in New York City and working as a Carpenter and Construction Worker when he volunteered to serve in the International Brigades. Palu traveled on an Estonian and arrived in Spain on February 14, 1937. He initially served with the XVth Brigade, Lincoln Battalion. He fought at Jarama, Brunete, and Quinto. He was wound in action at Quinto and after a four-month hospital stay transferred to the 4th Artillery Group, 35th Battery. Palu served on the Levante Front and at Teruel with the battery. He returned to the US on April 17, 1940 aboard the Exhibitor.

[xxvii] This may refer to the Italian American volunteer Jerry Fontana. Ettore Fontana [Jerry] was a 27 years old Italian who lived in the United States. He travelled to Spain through, France, Italy and France again arriving in October 1936. Fontana joined the International Brigades and served with the XII Brigade, Thaelmann BN, Co. 1. He fought at Las Rosas, Casa del Campo and Jarama. He was WIA at Jarama and after recovery worked in a hand grenade factory.

[xxviii] Stanley Postek [Ladislaus Feinand Szeliga; Walter Szeliga](1912-1991) was a Polish American seaman from Massachusetts. Arrived in Spain at the end of May 1938. Served in the XV Brigade, Lincoln-Washington Battalion, MG Company. Fought in the Ebro Offensive and was severely wounded in August.  Returned to the US in May 1939 as a crewman aboard the Collamer.  

[xxix] The ALBA collection was transferred to NYU’s Tamiment Library from Brandeis University.

[xxx] A Canadian consular official or possibly Stepjan Polic a Canadian volunteer who spent several months in Argeles sur Mer.

[xxxi] Mañana means tomorrow. However, volunteers in Spain came to regard the term cynically as meaning anything from I don’t know, tomorrow, later, or never.

[xxxii] Lawrence John O’Toole (1914-1984) was an Irish American seaman from San Francisco.  Arrived in Spain at the end of April 1937. Served in the XV Brigade, Washington and Lincoln-Washington Battalions. Fought at Brunete, Quinto, Belchite and Fuentes de Ebro. Returned to the US on September 27, 1939.

[xxxiii] Fred Thompson (1883-1965), the father of volunteer David Thompson (1909-1988), served as the Paris representative of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. 

[xxxiv] Kathleen Thompson Norris (1880 –1966) Was the sister of Fred Thompson and the aunt of Bob Thompson. She was a well-regarded novelist and newspaper columnist.   

[xxxv] Nine American veterans returned aboard the President Roosevelt, Colon Velez Baudilio, Raymond Bell, Samuel Deluca, Raymond Gonzales, Sidney Kaufman, Alfred Netreba, Colon Nancarrow, Antonio Teixido Pages, and Royce Robertson.

[xxxvi]  This may refer to Thomas Babin who was married and had two children. Thomas Babin [Tomo] (1901-1956) was a Croatian immigrant and a founding member of the American CP in 192. He arrived in Spain in June 1937 and served in the 1st Grupo Eslavo Artillery Pesada, 3rd Battery with the rank of Cabo. Babin then transferred to the Commissariat School. His final unit was the 129th BDE as a Commissar in a Balkan BN.

[xxxvii] The National Maritime Union (NMU) was an American labor union founded in May 1937. It was affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Numerous members of the NMU fought in Spain. The Pilot was theNMU’s house paper.



One Response to “ The Flight by Sidney Kaufman ”

  1. vasili on June 23, 2020 at 4:24 am

    Subject: “We all experienced the stress which induced such reactions; but to include them now, so many years later, might lead to the conclusion that all hasty judgements continue to hold true.”

    Congratulations on a great magazine, one enjoys the content enormously. However, having had a legal sociology background , one can find no justifiable reason -lege artis or otherwise- for editing out “hasty” judgements. Yours is not to judge anything, let the reader do that, it’s her responsibility to weigh the narrative. Editing may be acceptable, indeed is obligatory, when confronting a text written down in the present and submitted for publication. First hand accounts have had all the editing allowed by merciless time. I’m afraid what you have done turns Sid’s notes into your notes. Even flat out wrong opinion or false information has a great deal to offer as a first hand account. Even to the untrained eye. As simple as that.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work and thanks again.