Nueva York (5): The Olondo Brothers

March 30, 2011
By

Milicianos from the Spanish Colony Here in New York: Brothers Timoteo, Gregorio, Juan and Ignacio Olondo, who have lived in this city and who are well known here, together with two other young men from Bermeo, Vizcaya, who are part of the ""Leandro Carro" Battalion, 4th Company, in Orduña, with the Loyalist forces. Their sisters Celestina and Clara Olondo are here in New York.

Some years ago, a student of mine did a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the percentage of Hispanic surnames that are included on the Lincoln Brigade roster, and she came up with the figure of 8% – 12%.  The ALBA archives contain the personal papers of roughly 280 volunteers, or about 10% of the total number of veterans.  None of these collections in ALBA belong to anyone with a Hispanic surname.  So theoretically, at least, somewhere out there, probably irretrievably dispersed, in attics and landfills, there is an archive the size of ALBA, pertaining to the 300 or so volunteers with Hispanic surnames.  We know very little about these individuals.  We do know that a significant contingent were Cubans, Puerto Ricans and other Latin Americans who were living in New York when the war in Spain broke out.  We also know that some of them were probably Spanish immigrants, or children of Spanish immigrants, many of whom, in the first decades of the twentieth-century, had emigrated (often after stints in Spanish-speaking America) to different points of the US:  New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Vermont, etc.

But there were also Spaniards in New York who returned to Spain to defend the Republic, and who don’t figure on any ALBA lists.  The title and caption of this photo, on the front page of La Prensa from February 20, 1937, refer proudly to four brothers from New York’s “colonia” who are fighting with the Loyalist Forces in the Basque Country.


Share

3 Responses to “ Nueva York (5): The Olondo Brothers ”

  1. A. Torrontegui Olondo on July 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks a lot to Mr.James D. Fernandez. One of the man in the picture (Gregorio) is my grandfather and we had no notice about this photo. Althoug it’s not clear enough it matches with his history in the north front of the Civil War. I also wish to clear the point that he had never been in USA, but her sisters were there by this time.
    Thanks again.

  2. James Daniel Fernandez on July 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Querido amigo,

    Gracias por el comentario y por el interés en mi trabajo.

    Le he mandado a su correo electrónico particular unas fotos que saqué en una excursión que hice al cementerio de Allaben, New York, en las montañas Catskill (a dos horas y media en coche de Nueva York), donde están enterrados varios miembros de la comunidad española, entre ellos, dos hermanas Olondo (Clara y Bibiana). Si entiendo bien el parentesco, serían hermanas de su abuelo ¿cierto?

    Me encantaría saber todo lo que sabe Ud. de la familia Olondo y sus vínculos a EEUU y la ciudad de NY.

    Reciba un cordial saludo de

    James D. Fernández
    Collegiate Professor
    Department of Spanish and Portuguese
    New York University

  3. Olondo & Olondo brothers on January 14, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Estimado profesor: Saludarle con gran afecto y admiración, agradeciéndo su trabajo de investigación, y en especial, la mención o referencia que hace sobre nuestra familia.
    Nuestro padre, Ignacio Olondo Monasterio(05/08/1933),es hijo de Ignacio Olondo Arteche, el cual, es el único de los hermanos de la fotografía perteneciente a la colonia vasca de New York(junto a sus hermanas), y por tanto, el único de ellos que pudo ser brigadista de ALBA (dato que no nos consta).
    De todas formas coincidieron en la guerra civil, los hermanos varones de la familia, momento al que pertenece la fotografía (imposible que este tomada en EEUU).
    Le estaríamos muy agradecidos si nos pudiera enviar algún dato más, para poder contrastar y ampliar la información.
    AGUR bero bat, ta gora Euskadi askatuta.
    Mila Esker!. (TY)

Leave a Comment