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Guide to the Felix Kusman Papers ALBA.178

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 Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Susan Tofte, 2007

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 12, 2018
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Kusman, Felix, 1909-1983
Title: Felix Kusman Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1937-1983
Dates [bulk]: 1937-1963
Abstract: Felix Kusman (1909-1983) served in the Spanish Civil War with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and later was active in the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee (JAFRC) and the United American Spanish Aid Committee. This small collection contains Kusman's FOIA, file including information collected about Kusman while he was under surveillance by the FBI from the early 1940s to the early 1960s.
Quantity: 1.25 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
Call Phrase: ALBA.178

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Biographical Note

Felix Kusman (1909-1983) was born in Estonia in 1909. He lived in Brazil for a year before working for twelve years on board ships out of Brazil and Argentina. He moved to New York City in 1929 and worked as a seaman on U.S. ships until 1936. In 1936, he moved to France and soon traveled to Spain to fight as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. He served for two years in the George Washington Battalion, where he was a captain. He arrived back in New York as a stowaway on the S.S. Normandie in September 1938. In New York, he worked as a social worker for the North American Committee for Spanish Relief in 1941 and as a national organizer for the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee (JAFRC) from 1942-1949. He raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the JAFRC and was a liaison for them with the embassies of many countries, doing work in arranging for Spanish and International Brigades exiles to live in Central and South America. In 1940, he registered for selective service in the United States Army, but never entered the military. His Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) file reveals that Kusman was under surveillance by the FBI from 1942-1963 because of his ties to the Communist Party and his work with the JAFRC. Never a U.S. citizen, he was detained on Ellis Island under the McCarran-Walter Act in 1954. His INS file (part of the FOIA file) includes information about his time in Spain. Kusman was active in the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

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Scope and Contents

This small collection contains the following: Kusman's FOIA file (requested by Peter Carroll, president of ALBA in 2003); a contract on behalf of the United American Spanish Aid Committee signed by Edward Barsky engaging a passenger ship for the sum of $90,000 to transport Spanish refugees to Mexico; a remembrance of Kusman by Moe Fishman, a fellow veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade; and a certificate of appreciation from the Republican government of Spain for his services to the cause of the Spanish government.


Folders are arranged alphabetically within the series. The files are grouped into one series: Subject Files, 1937-1983

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Fishman, Moses (Moe), 1916-
  • Barsky, Edward K., 1895-1975
  • Wolff, Milton.
  • Kusman, Felix, 1909-1983

Document Type

  • Research (document genres).
  • Reports.
  • Personal papers.

Subject Organizations

  • Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives
  • Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee
  • Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Subject Topics

  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939.

Subject Places

  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Participation, American.
  • Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |v Biography.

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Administrative Information


The Felix Kusman Papers came to New York University in 2001 as part of the original acquisition of Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) collections, formerly housed at Brandeis University. The bulk of the collection was donated to ALBA by Helen Kusman in multiple installments between 1984 and 1991. Jannas Zalesky donated materials to New York University's Tamiment Library in 2010. The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 1991.018 and 2011.018.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

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; Felix Kusman Papers; ALBA 178; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives; New York University.

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

ALBA collections at the Tamiment Library.

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Container List

Series I: Subject Files, 1937-1983.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Freedom of Information Act File (FOIA), I
Box: 1 Folder : 2 FOIA File, II
Box: 1 Folder : 3 FOIA File, III
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Obituary by Moe Fishman
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Personal Papers: Certificate and Carnet Militar
Box: 1 Folder : 6 United American Spanish Aid Committee
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Unprocessed Material
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Unprocessed Material
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Unprocessed Material
Box: 2 Unprocessed Material
Box: 3 Unprocessed Material

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