EMERSON GALLERY HOSTS PANEL DISCUSSION WITH AMERICAN VETERANS OF THE SPANISHCIVIL WAR
The panel will take place on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 2 p.m. in Dwight Lounge ofthe Bristol Campus Center. Peter Carroll, a co-curator of the exhibition, willmoderate the session.
The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) has been called the "last pure war," the"Good Fight" and a "dress rehearsal for the Second World War." Just threeyears before Hitler plunged the whole world into war, he and Mussolinibankrolled Generalissimo Francisco Franco in a brutal military coup in Spain,providing his Nationalists with arms and supplies in their suppression of thedemocratically-elected Republican government.
The western democracies, including the U.S., chose to remainnon-interventionist, thereby cutting off the flow of arms to the beleagueredRepublicans (also called Loyalists.) In an unprecedented internationalresponse to the threat of fascism, nearly 40,000 idealistic volunteers from 52countries around the world went to Spain to assist the Republic. Over 2,800Americans, collectively dubbed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, were among them.Wellman and Osheroff were two of these volunteers. They are among perhaps175 surviving Lincoln Brigade veterans.
Abe Osheroff was a 21-year-old labor organizer from New York when hevolunteered in 1936 to fight in the Spanish Civil War. In the years sinceWorld War II, in which he also fought, he has worked as a carpenter,filmmaker, history teacher and activist, joining the Mississippi voterregistration drive in 1964 and building houses for the poor in Nicaragua in1985. A self-described "radical humanist and working-class intellectual,"Osheroff produced an award-winning documentary on the Spanish Civil War,Dreams and Nightmares, in 1974.
Saul Wellman was 23 years old and working as a truck driver andactivist in Brooklyn when he volunteered to go to Spain. He fought for 20months in Spain, rising through the ranks to become a major and commissar inhis battalion. In 1945, Wellman, serving in the Second World War, was woundedin the Battle of the Bulge. Soon after, he moved to Detroit to be involved inlabor politics and to work as a printer. A victim of the Cold War purges ofthe McCarthy era, Wellman spent a year in a federal prison in 1953.
Peter Carroll is one of the leading authorities on the Americanexperience in Spain and author of The Odyssey of the Abraham LincolnBrigade: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, the definitive study of theBrigade. Carroll, who teaches history and film at Stanford University and atthe University of California at Berkeley, is chair of the Executive Committeeof the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.
Emerson Gallery Director Lise Holst says the public is invited to attend thepanel discussion and to participate in a dialogue with these extraordinary menabout the significance of the volunteer effort of the Spanish Civil War andother humanitarian causes to which they have dedicated much of their lives.
Following the panel discussion, the public is invited to an opening receptionfor the exhibition and the speakers from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the EmersonGallery in Christian A. Johnson Hall. The exhibition continues throughOctober 19. These events and admission to the gallery are free and open to thepublic. The gallery hours are weekdays, 12-5 and weekends, 1-5. The galleryis closed national holidays.