Monday, March 28, 2016

A belated R.I.P. to Delmer Berg, who fought against fascism.

The decidedly anti-communist Senator John McCain was moved to reflect on Delmer Berg's generation, his thoughts filtered through memories of a Hemingway novel.

John McCain: Salute to a Communist, by John McCain (New York Times)

... You might consider them romantics, fighting in a doomed cause for something greater than their self-interest. And even though men like Mr. Berg would identify with a cause, Communism, that inflicted far more misery than it ever alleviated — and rendered human dignity subservient to the state — I have always harbored admiration for their courage and sacrifice in Spain.

Berg died several weeks ago, even as Bernie Sanders continued his campaign for president as a democratic socialist. I wonder what Berg thought about that? I'll close the loop and think about Berg when I cast my primary ballot for Sanders.

Delmer Berg, last Abraham Lincoln Brigade veteran, dies (SF Gate)

Delmer Berg, the last known living veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which vainly fought against fascism’s advance into Spain in the late 1930s, died last Sunday Feb. 28 at his home in Columbia (Tuolumne County). He was 100.

His death was confirmed by Marina Garde, the executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives in New York, who said Mr. Berg was believed to have been the only survivor left of the nearly 3,000 quixotic young Americans who volunteered for the Spanish Civil War in a bloody prelude to World War II. About 800 of those who volunteered were believed to have been killed.

Mr. Berg, an unreconstructed Communist, was a 21-year-old union-card-carrying hotel dishwasher in 1937 when he spotted a billboard for the brigade and, through the Young Communist League, enlisted. After cobbling together bus fare to New York, he boarded the French luxury liner Champlain for France.

“I was a worker,” Mr. Berg told the Modesto Bee in November. “I was a farmer. I was in support of the Spanish working people, and I wanted to go to Spain to help them.”

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