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Joseph Epstein

Joseph Epstein in Spain. Epstein was chief of the Resistance in the Paris region.

Sevek Kirschenbaum (left) & Leon Pakin (right)

Sevek Kirschenbaum was born in Blojna (Poland) in 1904 in a poor workers family. He went to work very young, engaged in left politics and was persecuted by the police until he had to flee from Poland to Paris. There he was very active in the Communist party and became secretary of the Red Help of his sector. He arrived in Spain before the formation of the International Brigades and joined the column "Libertad," the first part of the Dombrowski battalion. After the withdrawal of the Brigades, he was placed in Sain-Cyprien, Gurs and Argeles camps in France, but he managed to flee and join the Resistance to the Nazi occupation. After creating the Jewish second detachement F.T.P (Franc-tireurs et partisans) he was detained by the Nazis and deported to Auschwitz where he died from typhus in September 1943.

Marcel Langer

Marcel Langer was born in 1903 in Auschwitz, Poland. After passing his first years in Tarnow, he emigrated to Palestine where he worked on the railroad in Haifa as a mechanic fitter. He joined the PKP (Palestine Communist Party) and was expelled by the British authorities. In 1929, he settled in Toulouse (France) where he continued his political activities. In Spain he married a Spanish woman and had a daughter, but was forced to leave them behind after the withdrawal of the International Brigades and he would not see them again. In Toulouse he joined the Resistance and was the founder of the first Jewish group of F.T.P. A very well known and liked leader, he was detained in February, 1943, condemned to death by a French court, and guillotined in July, 1943.

Olga Bancic

Although not allowed to travel to Spain, Olga Bancic was very active in pro-Republican activities in France.

Henryk Torunczyk

Henryk (Heniek) Torunczyk was born in 1909 in Wloclaweck, Poland, the son of a Bund activist. He was a textile engineer, very involved in revolutionary activity and arrested many times. He did his military service in Poland and when he arrived in May 1937 in Spain (after crossing through Czechoslovakia, Austria and Switzerland on his way to Paris) he formed a new company in the Dombrowski batallion. Being one of the relatively few volunteers with a previous military experience he was given responsible posts from the beginning including adjutant of the Palafox batallion. After being wounded, he assumed the command of the Mickewicz batallion, then captain and chief of staff of the Dombrowski Brigade, and commander of the demobilization camp of the Dombrowski Brigade after its demobilization. In January 1939, when most of the brigadistas were already back in their respective countries, Torunczcyk was the commander of the "Agrupació Internacional" which was composed of the remains who were still in Spain and helped the Republic once again protecting civilians in their exodus to the French border. He was interned in a French camp and volunteered to serve in the French army after the German invasion but was not accepted. He was interned in Vernet and Djelfa (Algeria). In the latter he volunteered to join the Polish army that operated in the Soviet Union and trained other soldiers there who subsequently parachuted into occupied territory. After the war he lived in Poland where he played an important role in the reconstruction of the country. He died in January 1966.

Pinkus Kartin

Pinkus Kartin was born in 1914 in Luck, Poland. He joined the Communist Youth at a young age and later the Polish Communist Party. He entered the International Brigades in Spain in January, 1938 and fought in the ranks of the XIII Dombrowski Brigade. He was wounded and returned to Paris in April 1939 where he edited Dziennik Ludowy, the newspaper of the Polish section of the CPF, which was forbidden by the French authorities. When his birth town was annexed to Soviet Union in 1940, he became Soviet citizen and went there in 1941. Subsequently, he was parachuted into Poland, entered the Warsaw ghetto, and worked to create the "anti-fascist block" but he and other activists were betrayed by an infiltrated Gestapo member leading to their arrests. He died in June 1942.

Yaakov Shmushkevitch

Yaakov Shmushkevitch was born in Rokiskis, Lithuania in 1902. He fought in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War (1918-1920) and in 1936 he was sent to Spain to reorganize the Republican Air Force. On his return, he was named a Hero of the Soviet Union. Subsequently he was made commander of the Soviet air force in the Far East and again named Hero of the Soviet Union (one of the very rare cases of an official who received this distinction twice). Later he was put in command of the entire Soviet air force, but shortly before the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, he was dismissed from his post, tried for treason, and executed in 1941. He was posthumously rehabilitated at the 20th Communist Party Congress

Grigori Stern

Grigori Stern (in Spain known as Grigorjewitch) was born in Smela, near Tcherkassy in 1900, the son of a doctor. He was a volunteer in the Red Army in 1919 and did a brilliant military career. He was the chief counselor of the Republican army in 1937-1938 and was instrumental in organizing it. In April 1938 he was called to Moscow. One month afterwards, he was named chief of the Staff of the Soviet army in the Far East and in August he was the commander of the Soviet forces in the fight against Japan. He was named in August 1939 "Hero of the Soviet Union" and he was one of the four officials who received the grade of "chief general" after the rank of general was introduced in the Soviet army in 1940. Deputy of the Supreme Soviet and member of the central committee of the Communist Party. In 1941 he was named chief of the Soviet air army. At an uncertain date (1941 or 1942) he was tried, convicted and condemned to death. Rehabilitated after his death.

Manfred Stern

Manfred Stern (in Spain known as Emilio Kleber): was born in 1896 in Woloka (Buchovina, Austrian Empire), near Czernowitz. He began to study medicine but was mobilized during Word War I and sent to the Russian front. In 1916 he was taken prisoner and, after the 1917 revolution he was liberated and fought with the Bolsheviks. He began then a brilliant military career in Russia and in the Far East. In September 1936 he was sent to Spain and when the formation of the International Brigade was decided, he was the commander of the I.B. battalions who take part in the defense of Madrid. But the Spanish General Miaja, responsible of the Madrid defense, did not get along with him an accused him of having commited some grave errors. He was called back to Moscow, tried for treason and "Zionism" and sent to Siberia where he died in 1954.

Arthur London

Arthur London was born in 1915 in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, the son of a socialist activist. From his first years he participated actively in strikes and anti-fascist fights and was arrested for the first time in 1931. After the Spanish Civil War, he participated in the French Resistance where he was one of the three leaders of the MOI (Main d’Oeuvre Immigrée) which included the communist foreign immigrants in France). He was an active organizer of the campaigns of anti-nazi propaganda in the ranks of the German soldiers in France and other countries. Arrested in 1944, he was sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp where he was one of the leaders of the resistance. After the war, he returned to Czechoslovakia where he became deputy minister of Foreign Affairs. He was arrested in 1951 as part of a series of mass arrests of Communists (many of them Spanish Civil War veterans) known as "the Slansky trial" (for the general secretary of the Czech Communist party and deputy Prime Minister Rudolf Slansky, the primary people accused). He was subsequently convicted, but then rehabilitated in February 1956. He died in France in 1986. He is the author of the book Spain, Spain and another based on his experiences during his trial, The Confession.

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