Biographies/Abraham Sasson

Tags: Algerian Siblings Killed in Action Hebrew Orphan Asylum Bronx Lincoln-Washington Battalion Gandesa Ebro Jewish Salesman Virginia XV International Brigade Company Commander KIA Member Of Communist Party

Researcher: Zoe Wei Buff, Stuyvesant '23

Abraham Sasson was born on May 26th, 1915 in the county of Warwick in the city of Newport News, Virginia. He was Jewish and Algerian-American. Abraham’s parents, who were 11 years apart, were married at the time of his birth. His father, Joseph Sasson, was born in Tunis, Algeria, and he was a merchant tailor. He moved to the United States in 1914, just a year before Abraham was born, at which time he was 34 years old. Abraham’s mother was also Algerian; she was 23 at the time of Abraham’s birth and she considered herself a housewife. Abraham had 4 siblings total, all who were born before him. His father died in 1928.

Abraham moved to New York in May, 1929, according to records from the “Hebren Arphan Asylum” (Hebrew Orphan Asylum) in Manhattan. The asylum was established in 1860 by the Hebrew Benevolent Society with the purpose of taking care of Jewish orphans. Abraham was placed at the asylum on May 11th, 1929, and he was 14 years old at the time. He was literate, he could read and write, and he attended school. Later, when he stationed himself in the Bronx, his address read 65 East 2nd Street, which today is 67 Stevenson Place. Starting in 1934, he became affiliated with the Communist Party. Prior to his time in the military, his primary occupation was a salesman.

Abraham arrived in Spain through Setcases on July 5th, 1937. He served with the XV International Brigade of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as adjutant Company Commander for the Lincoln-Washington Battalion. There are records that show he was arrested for enlistment with the Spanish Government Forces during his time there, but nothing came of it.

Abraham was involved in the Ebro offensive, in the Battle of Gandesa. Gandesa was the capital of the Terra Alta region in the province of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain, and the Battle of Gandesa was part of the Ebro Offensive, a long set of battles by the Ebro river that eventually ended in the Republicans retreating and the Nationalists claiming the territory. At the end of February, the Nationalists had reached the outskirts of Gandesa. Abraham’s brigade, the XV International Brigade had been retreating since the Aragon Offensive had begun (when Republican lines collapsed). The XV brigade decided to hold onto Gandesa to try to slow down advancing Nationalist troops, but alas, not much came of it. Gandesa fell on April 3rd, 1938 and 140 British and Americans were captured as prisoners. The resistance allowed Republicans to regroup and move over the Ebro River, but in his battle the Nationalists defeated one of the International Brigades and dug into Gandesa. From July to November 1938, Republicans tried to recapture, but failed, and their final retreat ended on November 10, 1938. Tragically, Abraham was killed in action (KIA) in the Battle of Gandesa on April 1st, 1938.


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Ink, Social. “Sasson, Abraham.” The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, December 1, 2022.

“New York, U.S., Hebrew Orphan Asylum Records, 1860-1934 for Abr Sasson.” Ancestry®. Accessed June 9, 2023.

“Virginia, U.S., Birth Records, 1912-2015, Delayed Birth Records, 1721-1920 for Abraham Sasson.” Ancestry®. Accessed June 9, 2023.