Jerry Weinberg (also known as Gerald Weinberg and Jerry Warren) was a Jewish orphan whose date of birth is unknown. He also had a sister named Estelle. He went to Brooklyn College for a year before going off to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. He fought as a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade against the fascist forces of General Francesco Franco and the Nationalists on February 6th, 1937. He received his passport on February 2nd, 1937, which revealed that he was 23 years old and lived in Brooklyn.
As a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, he was present when Oliver Law (the first black commander of an American Military Unit) died at the battle for Mosquito Ridge. As Law recklessly charged towards the heavily fortified fascists, he was gunned down almost instantly. Weinberg crawled to Law, pulling him to safety, and removed Law’s boots from his feet. However, Law died less than an hour later, according to fellow Brigade member Harry Fisher. Law’s death, however, is subject to controversy. One story claims that he died from enemy fire (the official story). The other (an unofficial story told by William Herrick, another Brigade member) states that he was shot by a black Brigade member who thought Law was behaving recklessly and endangered the brigade. He then paints Jerry as a looter who stole Law’s belt and boots after slashing the aforementioned boots. However, it is widely agreed that Herrick’s story was a lie, despite the fringe groups who believe it to be the truth.
After the Spanish Civil War, Weinberg became a bombardier on a B-24 Bomber in World War II. As a bombardier, he earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for participating in the Bombing Raids of Ploesti Oil Fields in Romania. Weinberg said that the action “made up for” Spain, alluding to how the Brigade and the left failed to prevent the rise of Francesco Franco and his Nationalists in Spain. During the Ploesti Oil Field Raids, rather than landing in neutral Turkey and staying in safe detention, he instead chose to escape by flying over Egypt, reaching England and so that he may continue to fight as a bombardier. Sadly this is where his story ends, when October 30th, 1943, he died flying over Germany.
“Jerry Weinberg” The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives
Furr, Grover. “Anatomy of Lie: The Death of Oliver Law” Reconstruction, 1 June 2010
Loren Katz, William. “Oliver Law, the Lincoln Brigade’s Black Commander” 15 June 2018
N. Carrol, Peter. The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade: Americans in the Spanish Civil War
Stanford University Press, 1994