Photo show honors vets

LOS ANGELES — The long-ago voices of Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie crackled over a loudspeaker, once more spurring on the soldiers of the International Brigades and vowing the defeat of Franco's fascists in the Spanish Civil War.

The occasion was the Jan. 9 opening of the "Aura of the Cause," a photo exhibit at the University of Judaism celebrating the deeds of the 2,800 Americans who fought in Spain under the banner of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Many of the 200 attendees recalled the hopes of the American volunteers fighting for Spain's freedom. They also recalled the agony of defeat when Barcelona and Madrid capitulated in 1939 after three years of brutal combat.

Historian Peter Carroll of Stanford University, who directs the Lincoln Brigade Archives, said nearly 40 percent of the American volunteers were Jewish. Roughly one-third of those were killed in battle, he said.

Today, an estimated 120 survivors of the long-ago war remain, many living in the Bay Area, where a reunion is scheduled for next year.

Tom Tugend

JTA Los Angeles correspondent