In 1942, Angie Lebowitz joined the U.S. Army, serving in the Army Nurse Corps, reaching the rank of First Liutenant. It was the horrors of fascism that had prompted her to enlist. “I read all the stories about the Holocaust, and how the government was turning away refugees from Eastern Europe—many of them died as a result—which was a terrible thing.”
Her story—she served in North Africa and Italy—is the story of the many contradictions faced by Communists who had enlisted in the armed forces in order to fight fascism.
Her first assignment was to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, where she says, “We had a nice view of the Statue of Liberty and a Tom Collins only cost 50 cents at the officer’s club. But it didn’t seem like much of a contribution to the war effort.
For Lebowitz, fascism was a personal thing: “Not only because I was a Jew, but because a guy named Louie Ladman from our neighborhood was killed in Spain while fighting with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.” She said that was a “defining moment for a high school kid.”
And there were the times when she met fellow Communist Party members who were working for the Office of Strategic Services, the U.S. intelligence agency that recruited Communists—and especially men who had fought in Spain during the Spanish Civil War—to parachute into German-occupied territory to work with the Partisans.
“They were HEROES, spelled in capital letters,” she said. “But the U.S. Army ordered the Partisan detachments demobilized as the battle line moved northward.” She said that, too, was a contradiction.
When the war ended in Europe, Lebowitz volunteered for duty in the Pacific and was in San Francisco awaiting orders when the war ended. Upon her return to civilian life, she completed college and went on to a career as a nurse in New York’s public hospitals.
Lebowitz endured the pains of McCarthyism in the years that soon followed.—FBI agents would check on her home and she was questioned by government officials at work—and witnessed most of the 20th century. However, she never stopped her involvement with the Communist Party USA or People’s World.
Endorsing Communist Party call
Of the more than 100 endorsers listed, almost all were identified members of the Communist Party USA.
Lebowitz of New York was on the list.
Communist Party MLK tribute
We salute Dr. King’s courage and vision. He saw and struggled for an America and world that can be. We pledge in his memory to work to reorder our nation’s priorities “so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.”
Communist Party USA
Angie Lebowitz, Betty Smith, Bill Davis, Bob Beachman, Carole Marks, Charlotte Sinovoi, Dan Margolis, Eileen Reardon, Estelle Katz, Esther Moroze, Gabe Falsetta, Gary Bono, George Robbins, Gloria Freedman, Grace Bassett, Judith Paulsen, Ken Besaw, Linda Feldman, Martin Sawma, Michael Moore, Rose Bilander.
- People's Weekly World Sep 2 1995 p 14
- We salute the labor movement!, People's World, September 1, 2006