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Paolino Sarti




Sarti, Paolino, Italian American. (Sala Perez, Paolino [party name]; Albo, Paul; Sarti, Paul), b. May 21, 1908, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Single; Waiter and Newspaper salesman, CP 1934, Domicile 349 W. 4th Street, NYC; Arrived in Spain on October 22, 1937;  Served with the XV BDE, Lincoln-Washingotn BN, Co. 1 served at Teruel, WIA Seguro de los Baños (leg wound), after recovery became an MP in Albacete, WWII US  Navy, October 8, 1943, served on USS Alaska; mustered out January 31, 1945, d. 1956.

Sources: Cadre (under Sala), “Paolo Sarti,” RA Fond 545 Opis 6 File 528, 9, Fond 545 Opis 6 File 979, 52-57; and Fond 545 Opis 6 File 979, 52-57; Italian; Rememberance Day: A Grandson Learns of his Grandfather's Noble Fight Against the Fascists ;http://www.straight.com/article-117447/remembrance-day-a-grandson-learns-of-his-grandfathers-noble-fight-against-the-fascists 

Photograph: Paolini Sarti in Spain, Fond 545, Opis 6, Delo 979 courtesy Doug Sarti.



Paolino "Paul" Sarti was born on May 21, 1908, in São Paulo, Brazil. The son of Italian immigrant farmers, he set off for America at age 19 and settled in Chicago. In 1931, he moved to New York, but times were hard. He sold newspapers, worked as a waiter, and, like many people at the time, he often found himself unemployed. The Great Depression, and the hard realities of the immigrant experience, galvanized left-wing politics within Paul. He became staunchly anti-Fascist after seeing what that movement had done to his ancestral homeland of Italy, and the gathering Nazi storm in Germany.

In the summer of 1936, a Fascist general, Francisco Franco, led a coup against the democratically elected Republican government of Spain. It quickly became more than a localized civil war, with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini providing Franco with arms and soldiers. While the western democracies remained neutral, the Soviet Union and Mexico sent assistance to the beleaguered republic. Foreign volunteers, organized by the Soviet Union as the International Brigades, began to pour into Spain. They numbered almost 40,000 and came from 53 different countries, including 2,800 from the United States and 1,500 from Canada. They came as soldiers, pilots, doctors, nurses, and ambulance drivers, all eager to take up the Republican cry of ¡No Pasaran! : "They shall not pass!"

Although he had no military experience, Paul enlisted in the American unit, the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, which became popularly known as the Lincoln Brigade. Because the U.S. officially was neutral in the case of Spain, and raising troops for a foreign army on American soil was prohibited, it wasn't easy getting to Spain. Many of the American volunteers travelled under noms de guerre. Paul took the name Paulino Sala Perez and began his long and dangerous journey to the front.

So what kind of men went to Spain? They were idealists and men of conscience, united by the belief that the Fascists had to be stopped in Spain, or it would only be a matter of time until they'd be fighting them in their homelands. To be sure, a good number of them were involved in left-wing politics. George Orwell fought in Spain and was seriously wounded. Canadian doctor Norman Bethune went and revolutionized battlefield surgery. There were outright Communists, fellow travellers, and socialists, but the volunteers crossed all party lines and came from every walk of life, as did their support. The Lincoln Brigade even became something of a cause célèbre, attracting such supporters as Ernest Hemingway, who spent much time in Spain with the brigade and wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls as a result. Although he didn't always agree with the politics of the Lincoln Brigade, Hemingway, a strident anti-Fascist, saw its cause as noble and wrote of the Lincolns: "No men ever entered earth more honorably than those who died in Spain."

And die they did, in scores. Poorly trained and ill-equipped at the beginning of the war, the Lincoln Brigade suffered horrendous casualties, especially in early battles (by the war's end, more than a third would be killed in action, and almost every survivor would be wounded at least once). By the time Paul set out for Spain, more than six months had passed since the Lincolns had first fought, with frightful casualties, at the Battle of Jarama. He must have had a pretty good idea he wouldn't make it out of Spain alive. But he still went.

Excerpt from Remembrance Day: a grandson learns of his grandfather's noble fight against the fascists, by Doug Sarti.


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Paolino Sarti in Spain. Photo courtesy of Doug Sarti.

Full Database Record

Last Name Sarti
First/Middle Name Paolino
Ethnicity Note
Immigration Status
AKA Last Name 1
AKA First / Middle 1
AKA Last Name 2
AKA First / Middle 2
Foreign Nation
Foreign Nation City
Alt Pob State, City
Family: Name
Family: Relationship
Family: Begin Date
Family: End Date
Family: Comments
Education HS
Education College / Univ 1
Education College/Univ Notes
Education College/Univ 2
Graduate or Doctoral Work
Graduate or Doctoral Work Notes
Prior Military Service
Passport #
Passport Series
Passport Reported Lost in Spain
Passport Age
Passport Date
PP or Known Address Street
PP or Known Address City
PP or Known Address State
ALT City
Alt State
Sail Date
Marital Status
Marital Notes
Vocation 1
Vocation 2
Vocation 3
Party Affiliation
Date Affiliation
ALT Affiliation
ALT date
ALT affiliation 2
Arrival (in Spain) Date
Units served with
Battle action
Returned Date
Returned other
WWII Service
Place Died City
KIA/MIA/Died other
KIA/MIA/Died other Date
KIA/MIA/Died other Location
KIA/MIA/Died other Battle
Additional Notes