Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

From KeyWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Alba logo.jpg

Template:TOCnestleft Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB) is a CPUSA front formed by members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought on the Spanish Republican side in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-38, and led by identified Soviet spy Steve Nelson.[1][2][3].

A small but potent expose' book about the role of the Soviet, American, and worldwide communists in the Spanish Civil War is Herbert Romerstein's "Heroic Victims: Stalin's Foreign Legion in the Spanish Civil War", Council for the Defense of Freedom, Wash. D.C. 1994, Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 4-72172, 127 pp. It demolished the myth of non-communist domination of much of the loyalist side's military and propagandistic operations. One of the advantages of this book is that it "is the first book on the Spanish Civil War to make extensive use of the archives of the Communist International in Moscow, where the files of the International Brigades are stored" (back cover of the book promotional statement).

Compare this book to "On A Field of Red: The Communist International and the Coming of World War II", Anthony Cave Brown and Charles B, MacDonald, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1981, which barely had more than 10 pages on the Spanish Civil War. This is still one of the definitive books on the Communist International, but the few years difference from 1981 to 1994 shows how invaluable the opening of some of the Soviet archives has been to writing more accurate and in-depth history of what the Soviets had been doing since the early part of the 20th Century.

More information on this subject and the role of the "Americans Communists" can be found in the early newsletters and now, the quarterly, scholarly journal "American Communist History", (Carfax Publishing,UK), Historians of American Communism. It has many articles based on findings in the Soviet archives, including the research of John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr.

One of the most recent and devastatingly revealing books on this subject is the one edited by Mary R. Habeck, a Yale University historian, and former "red diaper baby" turned historian, Ron Radosh. As Tanenhaus wrote, "The most explosive new revelations are contained in "Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War", Summer, 2001, Yale University Press. It is a thick compendium of documents long entombed in Moscow archives until enterprising Yale historian, Mary R. Habeck, 38, exhumed them more than five years ago.(She co-edited the book with Ronald Radosh and Grigory Sevostianov...The cumulative picture they give us is so at odds with the conventional view of Spain that before they had even read the manuscript two Yale professors strenuously urged that the book not be published."

Another book referenced by Tanenhaus in the article was "The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade" by Peter Carroll, "the most up-to-date history of the volunteers' experience", while George Orwell's famous work, "Homage to Catalonia", is described as it "gives a chilling account of Communist terror in the streets of Barcelona." Cecil Eby, a historian, wrote a book, "Between the Bullet and the Lie", 1969, as "the most sustained attempt to demystify the brigades, identified another dozen Americans who disappeared from the records" and were probably executed by the Communist Commissars and their hitmen for trying to leave the "cause."

One described Communist executioner was Tony DeMaio, who was in charge of the Casteldefels prison, according to the testimony of Maxwell Wallach,the father of ALB member Albert Maxwell, who "had never come home." Maxwell testified before the Special House Committee on Un-American Activities SPCUA in 1940. {CITATION}. Another Brigade member, William McCuiston testified that he saw DeMaio "kill two Americans in a Barcelona cafe while in the process of 'rounding up stragglers from the International Brigade'."

DeMaio denied this killing and any role as a communist executioner before HCUA (CITATION) but documents found in the Cominform "files identify him as an agent of the Servicio de Investigacon Militar (SIM), the brigades' secret police." He was a union organizer in CPUSA-dominated unions in America after the war (he died in 1994), and lived in Silver Spring, MD, right outside of Washington, D.C. His brother was Ernest DeMaio, a top CPUSA labor organizer and longtime member of most CPUSA major fronts and causes including the "Hanoi Lobby" and "Anti-Defense Lobby."

It was the opening of the Soviet archives for the (COMINTERN), some of the CPSU, and other collections, but not those of the KGB, that provided western scholars with a treasure-trove of new information that blew apart the myths of the Spanish War, showed how deep the Soviet penetration was of key American labor leaders in the 1930's, and helped to identify Soviet MKVD and GRU agents in America, among many other shocking revelations.

A very interesting and revealing article on the ALB appeared in the September 2001 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, "Innocents Abroad", written by leftist-liberal Sam Tanenhaus. It helped to further demolish the communist myth of the purity of purpose of the ALB in its fight against the "fascists", including exposing Soviet operative executions of American ALB members who wanted to leave or began to seriously doubt the cause that they were fighting for.

The revelations, often based on Soviet archives files, got former ALB and VALB member Abe Osheroff to admit that he was fighting for an ideology just as back as Franco's form of fascism (Page 302).

Feb 1971 article on VALB reunion

The CPUSA's newspaper, Daily World of Feb. 16, 1971, featured an article by Art Shields entitled "Lincoln Brigade vets mark historic anti-Franco battle." It described a reunion sent out by the cited CPUSA front, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade VALB for a banquet in New York City to mark the "thirty-seventh anniversary of the start of the grim Jarama River battle near Madrid. The fascists were stopped their with the help of volunteers - recruited by the Communist parties of the world - with many non-communists among them."

The names of those Guests and Speakers included:


1986 List of VALB Members and Widows

The CPUSA newspaper "People's Daily World" of June 3, 1986, ran several pages of "salutes" to the newspaper including the "Founders' List", lists of individuals and groups of people from a geographic region, and one from the VALB. The full-page salute and statement of support for the PDW was entitled "Towards the 21st Century - for Peace, Economic Security, Equality and democratic rights with the ... "People's Daily World".

"We, U.S. volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion and other units of the International Brigades, greet the first national daily working-class newspaper"

The list of those veterans and their widows included:

Abraham Lincoln Brigade's 54th Annual Benefit Dinner

In the February 16, 1991 edition of the CPUSA newspaper, the PWW, there appeared a notice about the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade's 54th Annual Benefit Dinner" honoring peace activist Vivian Hallinan. The notice stated:

Keynote speaker:

Also appearing:

Sunday Feb. 24, Centennial Hall, 22292 Foothill Blvd, Hayward, Calif. (Misc information)

Reservations and info: (415 468-5879 or 654-4290 Make checks payable to VALB and mail to P.O. Box 884353, SF 94188. Funds to Medical Aid for El Salvador (MAES)

VALB 56th Anniversary Dinner, February 14, 1993

A notice appeared in the January 30, 1993 edition of the People's Weekly World (PWW) about the February 14, 1993 "50th Anniversary Dinner of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB). It was to be held at the Parc Oakland Hotel, Oakland, CA, and "We will be Honoring those Africa-Americans who served in "The Good Fight"."

"Proceeds will benefit the:

Tickets: $25.00

Featured Guests:

1996 May Day Greetings, People's Weekly World, P. G

1998 Tribute to Paul Robeson by the San Francisco Bay Area VALB

People's Weekly World PWW, March 21, 1998, page 16, "Lincoln vets honor Robeson"

"On the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the defense of Madrid during the Spanish civil war, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Bridge Bay Area Post paid tribute to the memory of Paul Robeson, one of only three people who had been made honoray members of the Brigade."

The event featured:


  • Barbara Lee -State Senator "who is candidate for Congress to succeed the retiring Ron Dellums" ... [KW: who was her boss]


  • Milton Wolff - Bay Area Commander, VALB, and long identified member of the CPUSA

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) was founded by Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB) as a non-profit educational organization "dedicated to promoting public awareness, research, and discussion about the Spanish Civil War."[5]

The Volunteer

ALBA's journal is named The Volunteer and is published four times per year, with three issues appearing in print and the fourth online only. The following write for The Volunteer:[5]


the following made donations to ALBA from November 15, 2009, through February 23, 2010:[6]

$5,000 – $14,999:

$1,000 – $2,499:

$250 – $999:

$100 – $249:

$1 – $99:

ALBA Institute Contributions:

$100 - $249:

$1 – $99:



  1. US Communist Party Assistance to Foreign Communist Parties - Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, hearings, 88th Congress, 1st Session, Template:House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA), July 29, 1963
  2. The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors, Herbert Romerstein & Eric Breindel, Regnery, 2000
  3. Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, John Earl Haynes & Harvey Klehr, Yale Un. Press, 1999
  4. The KGB Against the "Main Enemy": How the Soviet Intelligence Service Operates Against the United States]], Herbert Romerstein & Stanislav Levchenko, Lexington Books, 1989
  5. 5.0 5.1 ALBA Volunteer: About (accessed on Feb. 16, 2011)
  6. ALBA Volunteer: Contributions (accessed on Feb. 16, 2011)