The American Lincoln battalion of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War 1937.
Universal History Archiveā€”UIG via Getty Images
By Julia Zorthian
March 3, 2016

The last known living veteran of the famed Abraham Lincoln Brigade died on Sunday, at age 100.

Marina Garde, the Executive of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, confirmed Delmer Berg’s death to the New York Times. The brigade was a group of 3,000 American volunteers that fought General Francisco Franco’s Fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War almost 80 years ago.

Though America stayed neutral officially, many soldiers enlisted to join a battalion within the XV International Brigade, which opposed Franco’s Italian- and German-backed forces. Delmer Berg was 21 years old when he saw a billboard about the brigade and volunteered for service, the Times reports.

“I was a worker,” said Berg to The Modesto Bee last year. “I was a farmer. I was in support of the Spanish working people, and I wanted to go to Spain to help them.”

He shipped off to France and crossed into Spain by 1938, where he fought at the Battle of the Ebro, the war’s largest battle. Later on, he was wounded by shrapnel that embedded in his liver for life.

Berg eventually left Spain after the Munich Pact in 1939. Franco and the rebel forces won the war that year, and the general created a dictatorship in Spain that lasted for decades.

[NYT]

 

Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com.

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