Abraham Lincoln Brigade

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The Abraham Lincoln Brigade (ALB) was a force of American volunteers who fought on the Spanish Republican side in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-38. It was composed of people with many political and ideological perspectives, including non-communists, but it quickly fell under the control of the Communist Party USA CPUSA and its Soviet cadre, including Political Commissars and killers.

After the war, American survivors of the war (which killed many of the original force), formed a CPUSA front known as the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB), led by identified Soviet spy Steve Nelson.[1][2][3]

Some interesting insights into the myths about the VALB can also be found in magazine and newspaper articles by Sam Tanenhaus[4] and Ron Radosh, among others.

Sept. 1969 Article on the Lincoln Brigade Men

A major story on the American veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (ALB) appeared in the Sept. 13, 1969 edition of the Washington Post by UPI writer Robert Carey. It contains a lot of background information of key members of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and their defense of their activities. Key individuals interviewed included:

"I never saw the American Communist Party as part of any conspiracy. I was attracted to its humanism, for what I thought it would do for man." [But, he said, communism failed to come up with an "American ideology".} "I love my country" he said.

  • Steve Nelson - "Steve Nelson began to lose his faith when Russia went into Poland and Hungary in 1956. he left the party in 1958.". Chairman of the Communist Party of Western Pennsylvania. Convicted re Pennsylvania's 1939 sedition laws and sentenced to 20 years in jail, which was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which was then upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Left out was the fact that Nelson was identified as a Soviet agent/spy besides his open membership in the CPUSA)[5].

Another good source on Nelson's background as a CPUSA member and Soviet operative can be found in the SISS hearings entitled "Proposed Antisubversion Legislation", Senate Internal Security Subcommittee on various Senate bills, April 20 - May 15, not inclusive, 1959, Appendix to Part 1, The Case of Steve Nelson From the Records".

A real name and aliases for Nelson included Steve J. Mesarosh, Joseph Fleischinger, Louis Evans and Hugo (page 631), SISS hearing cited immediately above.[6]


  1. "US Communist Party Assistance to Foreign Communist Parties - Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade", hearings, House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA), July 29, 1963
  2. The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors, Herbert Romerstein & Eric Breindel, Regnery, 2000
  3. Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, John Earl Haynes & Harvey Klehr, Yale Un. Press, 1999
  4. "Innocents Abroad", Vanity Fair,September 2001
  5. The Venona Secrets:Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors, Herbert Romerstein & Eric Breindel, Regnery, 2000, esp. pp. 253-258 (atomic espionage; p. 263,"The FBI also watched Folkoff's secret meeting with agents Steve Nelson, William Schneiderman and Louise Bransten". Isaac Folkoff worked for the Soviet secret spy agency, then called the NKVD whose successor became the KGB.
  6. proposed Antisubversion Legislation, Hearings, Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, on various Senate bills, April 20, 21, 23, 24, 27-30, May 1, 5 & 15, 1959