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Guide to the Vincent Lossowski Papers ALBA.071

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Elizabeth Compa and Jessica Weglein

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 07, 2017
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lossowski, Vincent, 1914-1984
Title: Vincent Lossowski Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1937-1983
Dates [bulk]: bulk
Abstract: Vincent Lossowski (1914- 1984) fought with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War and served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II under the direction of General William Donovan helping to organize anti-Nazi guerrilla actions. He left the Army with the rank of captain in 1945 and was presented with the Legion of Merit. In the 1950s Lossowski was investigated by a Congressional Military Affairs Subcommittee because of his activities in Spain and his ongoing association with the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB), which had been cited by the Subversive Activities Control Board as a Communist-front organization. This collection includes Spanish Civil War correspondence, documents, and clippings, as well as World War II-era newspaper clippings related to Lincoln Brigade veterans serving in the OSS.
Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: ALBA.071

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Historical/Biographical Note

Vincent Lossowski (1914- 1984) was born and raised in Rochester, New York in a Polish working-class family. As a young man, he served in an artillery unit with the United States Army's Coast and Harbor Defenses in Panama. He returned to Rochester, worked as a machinist and, in 1936, became active in the Young Communist League. A newsreel graphically depicting the fascist bombing of Madrid incited Lossowski to join the International Brigades to defend the Spanish Republic.

He sailed for France in July 1937 on the S.S. Berengaria and from there crossed the Pyrenees into Spain. From August 1937 until September 1938 he served with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as a battalion observer and artillery firing officer, attaining the rank of lieutenant. Soon after his arrival, Lossowski took part in the battles of Quinto and Belchite. He was wounded in the latter conflict and hospitalized at Benicasim in September 1937. He returned to active duty in November of that year, participating in the Teruel Offensive during the winter of 1938 and the long series of retreats that lasted into the fall. Lossowski was repatriated in February 1939 following the withdrawal of the International Brigades.

Back in the United States Lossowski worked at the Brundy Engineering plant in the Bronx, and, in September 1939, took part in a United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers strike when contract negotiations broke down over a closed-shop provision. After serving briefly in the Coast Guard, Lossowski, along with a half dozen fellow Lincoln Brigade veterans, was recruited to join the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in 1942. During WWII he served behind enemy lines in North Africa and Italy under the direction of General William Donovan helping to organize anti-Nazi guerrilla actions. He left the Army at the rank of Captain in 1945 and was presented with the Legion of Merit. He returned to Rochester, married, and raised three children with his wife, Helen.

In the 1950s Lossowski was investigated by the Congressional Military Affairs Subcommittee because of his activities in Spain and his ongoing association with the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB), cited by the Subversive Activities Control Board as a Communist-front organization. In his later years, Lossowski granted interviews and gave lectures to local college groups about the International Brigades and American participation in the Spanish Civil War. He remained an active member of VALB until his death in 1984 at the age of 70.

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Scope and Content Note

Series I, Correspondence, consists chiefly of letters written by Lossowski to his mother and sister Wanda, and chronicles his experiences from his arrival in France in July 1937 to shortly before his departure from Spain in January 1939. His letters offer insights into his motivations for going to Spain, and provide accounts of aerial warfare, battlefield carnage, life in the Loyalist camps, and the beauty of the Spanish countryside. Of particular note is a letter (12/6/1938) that describes the liberation of 300 Asturian prisoners in a guerrilla attack led by Captain William Aalto, and a printed International Brigade's Christmas card (December 1938). Also in this series is a letter from Edward Lending to Wanda offering assurances of Lossowski's welfare, and letters to archivist Victor Berch, which include clippings that relate to Lossowski's involvement with the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers strike in 1939.

Series II, Subject Files, includes documents related to Lossowski's time in Spain. Notable are an annotated list of 96 repatriated Americans; military orders, medical documents, and safe conduct passes; a photocopy of a Battery Record detailing personnel and daily duties of the unit from January 1938; and a typescript of a play written by Lossowski and four other volunteers.

This series also includes Spanish Civil War and World War II-era newspaper clippings. The clippings from WWII are related to Lincoln Brigade Veterans serving in the OSS.

Arrangement

Series one is arranged chronologically. Series two is arranged alphabetically.

The files are grouped into two series:

Missing Title

  1. I, Correspondence, 1937-1939; 1980-1981
  2. II, Subject Files, 1937-1947; 1981-1983

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Aalto, William.

Document Type

  • Correspondence.
  • Personal papers.
  • Articles.

Subject Organizations

  • Spain. Ejercito Popular de la Republica. Brigada Internacional, XV
  • Spain. Ejercito Popular de la Republica. Abraham Lincoln Battalion
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. Local 1227 (New York, N.Y.)
  • Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
  • United States. Office of Strategic Services

Subject Topics

  • Teruel, Battle of, Teruel, Spain, 1937-1938.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939.

Subject Places

  • Belchite (Spain) -- History -- Siege, 1937.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Campaigns.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Aerial operations.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x African Americans.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Participation, American.
  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Hospitals.

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Administrative Information

Provenance

The Vincent Lossowski Papers were donated to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives by Lossowski in 1977. This collection came to New York University in January 2001 as part of the original acquisition of ALBA collections, formerly housed at Brandeis University.

Access Restrictions

Materials are open to researchers. Please contact the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives for more information and to schedule an appointment, tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu or 212-998-2630.

Use Restrictions

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), were transferred to New York University in November 2000 by the ALBA Board of Governors. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. For more information, contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu or 212-998-2630.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

ALBA collections at the Tamiment Library.

Separated Material

Photographs and audiotapes from the Vincent Lossowski Papers have been transferred to the non-print section of the ALBA collection in the Tamiment Library (ALBA Photo #36; ALBA Audio #71).

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Container List

Series I: Correspondence.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Lossowski, Vincent to Mom and Wanda
Jul 1937
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Lossowski, Vincent to Mom and Wanda
Sep 1937-Oct 1937
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Lossowski, Vincent to Mom and Wanda
Nov 1937-Dec 1937
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Lossowski, Vincent to Mom and Wanda
Jan 1938-Feb 1938
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Lossowski, Vincent to Mom and Wanda
Mar 1938-Apr 1938
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Lossowski, Vincent to Mom and Wanda
May 1938-Jun 1938
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Lossowski, Vincent to Mom and Wanda
Jul 1938-Aug 1938
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Lossowski, Vincent to Mom and Wanda
Sep 1938-Oct 1938
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Lossowski, Vincent to Mom and Wanda
Dec 1938
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Lossowski, Vincent: Fragments
ca.1938
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Lending, Edward to Wanda Lossowski
Jan 1939
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Lossowski, Vincent to Victor Berch (includes clippings, 1939)
1980-1981

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Series II: Subject Files.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Artillery Unit: Correspondence and Daily Orders
1938
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Battery and Company Lists (photocopies)
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Battery Record: 35th Battery, Anglo-American Unit at Almansa (photocopy)
Jan 1938
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Firing Officers Log (Photocopy)
1937-1938
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Medical Documents (Spain)
1937-1938
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Repatriated Americans List
1939
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Salvoconducto (Safe Conduct passes)
1938
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Spanish Civil War: Clippings
1937-1938
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Spanish Civil War Vets: Clippings
1981-1983
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Spanish Civil War Veterans: Participation in WWII: Clippings
1942-1947
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Writings: "Gypsy's Curse," typescript of a play written by Lossowski and fellow volunteers (photocopy)
1937

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