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The story of a Spanish Civil War veteran.

August 27, 2009

27lincoln.inline.650Long-time readers of this blog will know that my interest in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 is rooted in my family history. My father, Robert Klonsky, hitched a ride on a French freighter in 1936 at the age of 17 and volunteered to fight the fascists in Spain, a fight he knew would have great implications for a global fight against the growing fascist and Nazi movements.

My dad passed away in 2002. Our family returned his ashes to Spain in 2008.

Today’s NY Times has the story of another American veteran of the Spanish Civil War, a shrinking club. But notable none-the-less.

Ignoring an international nonintervention agreement, Mussolini and Hitler lent support to the Fascists, while the Republican side was aided for a time by the Soviet Union and Mexico. In addition, about 40,000 foreign volunteers — including 2,800 from the United States — fought on the Republican side. They formed international brigades, and the American contingent came to be known as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

One of those young Americans was Mr. Mattson, who is now 92 and who has lived in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, since the 1950s. On Wednesday, Mr. Mattson was awarded Spanish citizenship at the Spanish Consulate General, on East 58th Street in Manhattan.

One Comment leave one →
  1. jf2nyu permalink
    September 3, 2009 12:38 pm

    Dear friends,

    I had the privilege of accompanying Matti Mattson to the Spanish Consulate last Wednesday, August 26. You might have seen the article in the New York Times on Thursday: Matti is the 92 year-old Lincoln Brigade veteran who is taking up the Spanish government on its offer of citizenship to veterans of the International Brigades.

    I’ve put together a five minute video reportage/tribute, which can be viewed on youtube:

    (I recommend clicking on the “HQ” (high quality) icon.)

    Thanks to all who commented on a previous cut.

    Abrazos,
    Jim

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