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Al Tanz

Biography

Tanz


Tanz, Alfred Leo. Jewish, b. March 15, 1906, NYC, Graduated from the City College of New York and NY Law school, Separated, Lawyer, American Labor Party, received passport# 357374 on December 15, 1936 which listed his address as 1436 R Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia, Sailed December 26, 1936 aboard the Normandie, Arrived in Spain on December 31, 1936, Served with the XV BDE, Lincoln BN and Lincoln-Washington BN, Quartermaster for BN, February 14-August 1937,  Jarama and Brunete, Returned to the US in Spring 1938,  Returned to Spain June 1938,  XV BDE, Lincoln-Washington BN, Machine gun Company,  rank Teniente, WIA in wrist during the Ebro Offensive, Returned to the US on December 20, 1938 aboard the Ausonia, WWII US Army 1942, Promoted to Lieutenant in 1943, Attached to Office of Strategic Services (OSS), Received Airborne Training, Served in European Theater of Operations, Northern France and Rhineland, Parachuted into France prior to D-Day, Stayed in a farm near St. Mere Inglese, Attached to EngineerS, served at the Battle of the Bulge, Promoted to Captain, Discharged 1947, Decorated with European, African, Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon, American Theater Campaign Ribbon, WWII Campaign Ribbon, d. November 29, 2000, Oakland, California, One of seven volunteers who completed a second tour in Spain.

 

Sources:  Sail, SACB, Pay, (obituary) The Volunteer, Volume 23, No. 5, Winter 2001, p. 20;   (obituary) San Francisco Chronicle, December 6, 2000.

Photograph: Al Tanz. International Brigade Archive, Moscow: Select Images, Folder 188: 15th International Brigade Volunteers, Portraits, 1937-38, Box 2, Folder 14; ALBA Photo 177; ALBA Photo number 177-188081. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

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Last Name Tanz
First/Middle Name Al
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Additional Notes Tanz was one of seven volunteers who were repatriated to the U.S. in 1938 and then returned to Spain for a second tour of duty. Al was born in New York City to Austrian parents, attended City College, and graduated from New York Law School. As a member of the International Labor Defense, he was one of the lawyers who assisted Bill Bailey and others charged with tearing down the Nazi swastika from the Bremen in New York harbor in 1935. In December 1936, Al sailed aboard the SS Normandie from New York with 95 other volunteers, the first Americans to form the Lincoln Battalion. With the rank of lieutenant, he served as quartermaster on the Jarama and Brunete fronts, then as a representative to the International Brigades headquarters in Barcelona. In the spring of 1938, he returned to the U.S. to participate in activities to gain public support of the Spanish Republic. But in the summer of 1938, as the Lincolns prepared for the Ebro offensive, Al volunteered to return to Spain. He served with the machine gun company and was wounded twice in the Sierra Caballes. He returned home in December 1938. When the U.S. entered World War II, Al enlisted in the army and was recruited by Wild Bill Donovan for service in the Office of Strategic Services. He parachuted into France prior to D-Day, preparing for the U.S. invasion. He served with the army all the way to Berlin, participating with the Corps of Engineers during the Battle of the Bulge, and earning promotion to captain. He also took part in the liberation of the Nordhausen concentration camp and witnessed the arrival of the first Russian troops into Berlin. Al Tanz, one of the original volunteers in the Lincoln Battalion, died November 29, 2000, at the age of 94. - Excerpted from The Volunteer Vol. XXIII, No. 5 (Winter 2001)