US leader in Spanish Civil War dies at 92
THE last American commander of anti-Fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War – who befriended Ernest Hemingway during the conflict – has died.
Milton Wolff, 92, died on Monday of heart failure in Berkeley, California, according to Peter Carroll, the chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, an organisation devoted to preserving the history of North American volunteers in the war.
While in Spain, Mr Wolff met Hemingway, who was writing about the conflict, and the author served him his first ever Scotch.
Hemingway described Mr Wolff as being "tall as Lincoln, gaunt as Lincoln, and as brave and as good a soldier as any that commanded battalions at Gettysburg".
"He is alive and unhit by the same hazard that leaves one tall palm tree standing where a hurricane has passed," he said.
Born in New York City on 7 October, 1915, Mr Wolff was only 21 when he stepped off the soapboxes in his native city, where he defended his Communist views, and into the Spanish war. By the time he was 22, he was the ninth leader of what was known as the Lincoln Brigade, which fought to support Spain's elected socialist government against General Francisco Franco.
About 3,000 Americans fought in volunteer battalions in Spain and more than 900 were killed. About 40 are still alive today.
Soon after the American fighters returned home on 15 December, 1939, Madrid fell to the Fascists, and the war was over.
But Mr Wolff never stopped fighting for what he considered worthy causes, including integration in baseball, and against the Vietnam War.
He is survived by his daughter, Susan Wallis, son Peter Wolff, four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
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