Friday, August 17, 2007

Moe Fishman is dead

The New York Times reported the death of Moe Fishman recently. The obit began: "Moe Fishman, who as a 21-year-old from Astoria, Queens, fought Fascists in Spain with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and was severely wounded, then led veterans of that unit in fighting efforts to brand them as Communist subversives, died on Aug. 6 in Manhattan. He was 92." And: "[Peter] Carroll said that about 40 of about 3,000 American veterans of the Spanish Civil War volunteers are living. It had been the job of Mr. Fishman, as executive secretary-treasurer of the veterans, to announce deaths. At times he was almost alone in keeping the group going, Mr. Carroll said, particularly during the long, ultimately successful legal battle to remove the group’s subversive label. Mr. Fishman put out a newsletter, kept scrupulous books, ran the office daily and spoke widely."

So there are 40 Lincolns left.

Jane and Ben and I saw Moe a few years back at one of the annual gatherings of the Lincolns in New York. Moe was, as always, the master of ceremonies. That afternoon the Lincolns were honoring Pete Seeger, who of course didn't fight in Spain but has taken a great interest in their songs and generally their legacy in all the years since.

The 1996 obit of Dwight MacDonald's wife Nancy is relevant and interesting in itself. So is this 1998 article about Joan Miro's art as it was shaped by his experience of the civil war. A piece in Miro's "Black and Red Series" (1938) is shown below. MOMA exhibited these in early 1999.