Author Archive for James D. Fernández

Archives of Activism: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (2004, 11 mins)

April 13, 2011
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I finally figured out how to upload to vimeo.com the video I made in 2004 about ALBA and the uses to which the archive was being put in the early 2000s. Many of the details contained in the video are by now obsolete: the number of surviving veterans has dramatically declined since 2004; the...
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Documentary screening in New York: Monday, April 18, 2011

April 13, 2011
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Documentary screening in New York:  Monday, April 18, 2011

Spain in/and the United States Screening and discussion of two documentaries about Spaniards in the US. NYU’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese and its King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, together with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives and the Comisión de Archivos de La Nacional, are pleased to present filmmaker Luis Argeo, who...
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Nueva York (6): Networks and Barbed Wire

April 7, 2011
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Nueva York (6):  Networks and Barbed Wire

More heart-wrenching clippings from New York’s Spanish-language press, this time from the Brooklyn-based paper, Frente Popular.  The war is over, and the international network of Spanish Republican immigrants and exiles is abuzz with desperate attempts to locate loved ones.  Spaniards fleeing from Franco  have been corralled into horrific concentration camps in southern France, and...
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When the War Was Over: Remembering April 1, 1939

April 1, 2011
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When the War Was Over:  Remembering April 1, 1939

On this day, 1939, Franco declared victory over the Spanish Republic.  In this five-minute video, produced for the exhibition “Facing Fascism: New York and the Spanish Civil War,”  several New Yorkers, including Lincoln vets Abe Osheroff and Abe Smorodin, remember that sad day. Video here:   When the War Was Over
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Treasures from the Archives (2): Pre-Mature Americans

March 31, 2011
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Treasures from the Archives (2):  Pre-Mature Americans

The socialization and assimilation of second generation children of immigrants promoted by World War II is a relatively well-known phenomenon.  Peter Carroll has argued that for many of the children-of-immigrant volunteers in the Lincoln Brigade, service in Spain was, in a complex way, a path towards Americanization.  This insight is powerfully borne out in...
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Nueva York (5): The Olondo Brothers

March 30, 2011
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Nueva York (5):  The Olondo Brothers

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...
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Nueva York (4): Pedro Fandiño

March 29, 2011
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Nueva York (4):  Pedro Fandiño

Honest archival work is, I think, the most powerful antidote against complacent and arrogant certainty about the past.  I believe that most of us somehow instinctively feel that  the present is immensely complex and hard to grasp, and yet we often allow ourselves to think about the past as being somehow less complicated.  While...
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Treasures from the Archives (1): Bernard Danchik

March 23, 2011
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Treasures from the Archives (1):  Bernard Danchik

Today I had the pleasure of introducing the Spanish journalist, Anna Grau, to the treasures of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.  Together, we went through the scrapbook of Bernard Danchik, a young gymnast from Brooklyn, who lobbied for, and participated in, the Olimpiada Popular, an alternative anti-fascist sports competition organized in Barcelona in 1936,...
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Nostalgia for the Light

March 19, 2011
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Nostalgia for the Light

Because of its altitude (10,000 feet above sea level), low humidity and minimal light pollution, Chile’s Atacama desert is the site of some of the world’s largest and most powerful telescopes.  The observatories in the desert are privileged viewing and listening posts, where antennae and lenses can capture signals emitted from the most distant...
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Memorial for Matti Mattson

March 19, 2011
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Memorial for Matti Mattson

The haunting strains of “El Cant dels Ocells” – a Catalonian folk song orchestrated by the great cellist and Spanish Civil War refugee Pau Casals—were the overture to the memorial service for Lincoln vet, Matti August Mattson, held yesterday, March 18, in the auditorium of NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center. The...
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