Paulina Borsook (loris) Sat 1 Feb 14 18:41
international rescue committee http://www.rescue.org/history hias http://www.hias.org/en/default/index/index/subdomain/6 yes, these are indirect pointers. but these orgs were very active in the yrs you are interested in and might have some suggestions...
Lena M. Diethelm (lendie) Sat 1 Feb 14 19:40
I'm going to point our pal, Jack, here who knows a huge amount about war and commies.
Lena M. Diethelm (lendie) Sat 1 Feb 14 20:05
Jack Radey via Lena Diethelm (lendie) Sat 1 Feb 14 20:09
I asked my pal, Jack Radey, for a time Gus Hall's driver/bodyguard the following question: Hey Jack, if someone was any flavor of communist and served in the armed forces inWWI, were they treated any differently? Were they discriminated against in any way? His response: An interesting question with no simple answer. 1) It was hard for many Communists to get INTO the armed forces. Mickey Lima is a case in point. Mickey was a fisherman when the war started, and within a few weeks found himself quickly drafted into the Navy, and running a large trawler up and down the coast off N. Calif, with a few depths charges and maybe a machinegun aboard, looking for Japanese submarines. Six weeks later he was jerked off the boat, told fishing was a "reserved occupation" and was a civilian for a few weeks, after which he was drafted into the Army. Milt Wolff, last commander of the Lincoln Battalion, was a prized commodity in 1941 - a field grade officer with actual recent combat experience. He had been YCL, not in the Party, and had worked with Donovan recruiting guys like Goff and Fajans (heroes from Spain, Lincoln vets, specially trained saboteurs and guerrillas, for first Brit intelligence and then for OSS. Wolff himself was eager to join the Army, "just give me a machinegun and let me go kill fascists." They wouldn't take him at first, then shipped him off to one non-combat role after another, he ended up in Burma (where there were few US troops), as a sergeant working for Joe Stillwell (which whom he got along great). Donovan flew out to Burma personally to bring him back and put him to work in Italy working with the Garibaldini (Communist Italian partisan movement). Herb Aptheker made captain, and was assigned to an all-Black artilley battalion, armed with 155mm cannon, the "Long Tom". They were probably the battalion that was with the 101st Airborne in Bastogne, and were granted the special privilege of wearing their pants tucked into their boots, like paratroopers, because they fought so well. Herb was eventually kicked out of the Army for being too friendly "fraternizing" with the enlisted men in his battalion. Two comrades, one named Boetcher, can't remember the other, were awarded posthumous Distinguished Service Crosses, the second highest medal, for fighting in New Guinea. Both were captains. Frank Thompson similarly got the DSC, and was subsequently beaten nearly to death in Federal prison during the Smith Act. Archie Brown was in an infantry division in France, not sure what rank. Like Wolff, he had the experience equivalent to a captain's or major's. My own father, not in the Party, was in the Navy, and was observed in the Party book store in Chicago, and as a result was kicked out of Navy radar school, for "moral failings." He served as a deckhand in Mr. Robert's Navy, shipping supplies across the South Pacific. Goff, who was the model for the hero of For Whom The Bell Tolls for his work in Spain, also received the DSC, and Donovan was questioned by Congress about him, given that the YCL had awarded him its Lenin medal. Donovan, a Wall St. lawyer who was a mortal enemy of J. Edgar (and vice versa - Donovan said that unlike Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, he not only had to fight Hitler and Mussolini, he also had to fight J. Edgar Hoover), told the committee that he recommended Goff for his bravery in service to his country, he wasn't able to speak as to why the YCL awarded him. Some comrades got into combat units, some were excluded, or harassed by officers for their attitudes. Fast talks about his experiences in his book, Being Red, and mentions running into the Weavers manager (whose name I can never remember, major figure in the post-war music scene, also Dylan's manager), who was in India with Stillwell, working to get supplies to the Red Chinese. And then of course there is the famous leader of the Marine Raider battalion that fought in the Solomons. It was he, as an observer with Peng Teh Hueh's 4th Route Army, who learned the slogan "Work Together" (Gung Ho) and brought it to his battalion as their motto, and appointed commissars to each platoon to explain our war aims. Swedish name, I think, they said of him, "He may be Red, but he sure ain't Yellow!" Need more?
Jack Radey via Lena Diethelm (lendie) Sat 1 Feb 14 20:15
I think the point of what I sent was that there was no standard one-size- fits-all policy. A lot of comrades volunteered, and volunteered for combat, because that's who they were, militant antifascists, and, face it, patriots. In some cases they were promoted rapidly, because they were hard working motivated people. But I think their Party membership would be indicated in their personnel file. If they got a CO who was progressive, or didn't give a shit, they had no problems. Because the armed forces were vastly expanded during the war, the predominately Southern military family professional soldier reactionary types were not so thick on the ground, but they were there, along with plenty Northern sympathizers with Hitler and Mussolini, and other anticommunists, who would indeed discriminate against known comrades. The Marine Raider was Evans Carlson, and was not the first in a long line of USMC leftists, including of course Smedley Butler, and Jack Shoup (head of the USMC under Kennedy, commander of the first wave at Tarawa who signaled that "the issue is in doubt" but hung on to win. During Vietnam he labeled the war an imperialist war... (Sorry for my crappy formatting)
Jack Radey via (lendie) Sat 1 Feb 14 20:25
That's lena's crappy formatting.
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Sat 1 Feb 14 21:50
Lena, this is fantastic, thank you. And Paulina, thank you, too, I will follow up on those links! I suppose a lot of men would have been embarrassed not to be in a combat role. But they also serve who only sit and push paper.
Paula Span (pspan) Sat 1 Feb 14 21:58
Sorry, still moaning about a moray.
Jack Radey via (lendie) Sat 1 Feb 14 22:04
Let me know if you'd like me to put you in touch with jack directly. He is a military historian as well as having a deep CP knowledge.
Jack Radey via (lendie) Sat 1 Feb 14 22:13
Fawn, it occurs to me that now that Leon has passed away you could request his FBI file via FoiA request. It's very simple to do. <http://www.getmyfbifile.com/> then go to the link for get my grandfather's fbi file.
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Sat 1 Feb 14 22:58
I think his son is already doing that, or has already done that, but if not, I definitely will. And at some point, yes, I would love to talk to Jack, although I don't want to waste his time quite yet. The WELL, I'm telling you. Source of good information about damn near everything.
Ed Ward (captward) Sun 2 Feb 14 09:31
Jack's got Herb Leventhal (Weavers' manager) mixed up with Albert Grossman (Dylan's manager) up there. Albert was leftish, but not CP, that I've ever heard.
Gary Lambert (almanac) Sun 2 Feb 14 09:33
Harold Leventhal, not Herb.
those Andropovian bongs (rik) Sun 2 Feb 14 09:51
Fun fact. If you've got a $100 bill handy, draw a pair of wire-rimmed glasses on Bennie, et viola, you've got Woodstock era Albert Grossman.
Paulina Borsook (loris) Sun 2 Feb 14 10:06
fawn, the reason i thot of IRC is that a friend's father escaped vilnia to canada before the war --- and then fought in the canadian army (istr tanks were innvolved). so i assume there were protocols in place for how to handle people in the armed forces with families still there. not that i know anyone to recommend there, but berkeley and uw-madison have always had lots of study-of-labor folks....
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Sun 2 Feb 14 10:18
For anyone following along off-WELL, this is one reason why I've been hanging around here since 1992 -- no matter what I need, someone somewhere around these parts will have it or know where to find it.
Paulina Borsook (loris) Sun 2 Feb 14 10:59
and fawn, one last tangential helpy thot: there has to be some sort of professional association of jewish-chaplains- in-armed-forces. maybe someone there might know of someone or something
Ed Ward (captward) Sun 2 Feb 14 17:40
(Yes, Harold Leventhal. Took hours, but I remembered. And Grossman's nickname among some of his clients was Cumulus Nimbus, for all the mass of white hair.)
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Mon 3 Feb 14 11:04
It's Monday, and that means a blog post. Who wants to guess what Leon might be referring to in today's excerpt? http://a-certain-party-i-love.tumblr.com/post/75491826154/gee-we-had-a-swell-t ime-huh-dear
Brady Lea (brady) Mon 3 Feb 14 12:35
It certainly sounds sexy-- and yet, it fits in a drawer. And, the color of snow. Oh, LEON.
behind on BADGES! (obizuth) Mon 3 Feb 14 13:30
it puts me in mind of THIS! <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFQ-frSG5Gs> (just the first line, i hope.)
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Mon 3 Feb 14 13:45
AHAHAHAHA. Yes. I got an ask this afternoon wondering whether the blog was fact or fiction. (Tumblr provides two different inboxes for its blogs. The Ask box takes short questions with no URLs included. If you want to send something long, with or without a URL, you send it to the Submit box. I like this system -- it cuts WAY down on spam.)
Fawn Fitter (fsquared) Tue 4 Feb 14 21:44
More questions? Comments? Ideas?
Cliff Dweller (robinsline) Tue 4 Feb 14 21:54
Do you have pictures of Leon and Elly?
Paulina Borsook (loris) Wed 5 Feb 14 07:47
are you already starrting on the research?
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