Gabriel Jack Quinones was born on April 30th, 1910, in the Bronx borough of New York City. His highest form of education was his second year of college, and his occupation was being a driver before he went to Spain. Quinones was a part of the Young Communists League USA (1922-1946), where their messages of democracy and socialism resonated with him at a young age. Learning of the injustices in Spain happening against his Communist comrades, he was emboldened to fight on the warfront.
Quinones obtained his passport on February 17, 1937, and he boarded the Ile de France just three days after. He arrived in Spain on March 15th. As a soldier under the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, he was given the name Jack Gabriel in an attempt to "Americanize" him, although he was already white. Using his experience, he worked under the Regiment de Tren as a driver before being transferred to the American Hospital at Tarancon, on September 5th, 1937, a bit over a month after he fought at the Battle of Brunete.
The Battle of Brunete was an attack launched by General Vicente Rojo of the Republicans in order to exploit a weakness in the Nationalist lines and ease the pressure of an ongoing offensive in Santander, located near the northern region of Spain. This attack was well equipped, with 50,000 men, 128 tanks, and 150 aircraft. The Republicans succeeded in the capture of Brunete and a small, nearby village named Villanueva de la Canada. However, the small village was not a significant military asset, and the Republican forces were not able to make significant progress to their destination of the Romanillos heights. Due to constant aerial bombardment and fatigue, Brunete was quickly taken back by Nationalist forces, barely a week later. Quinones had survived this battle and was part of the retreating army.
Evidently, not deterred by the loss in Brunete, Quinones would go on to employ his skillset in the Battle of Aragon, working as a driver for the #1 American Medical Bureau to Save Spanish Democracy (AMB). He was a valuable asset, being both a driver and a handyman, meaning that he would be able to quickly fix any mechanical issues that plagued the Republicans, not just cars.
The Battle of Aragon lasted from March 7, 1938, to April 19 of the same year. It began as an offensive launched by the Nationalist army, and it had caught the Republican forces completely off guard. There was no question as to who the victor would be; Franco’s forces enjoyed the advantage of having better gear, larger numbers, and the element of surprise. Many Republican troops saw the battle as futile and abandoned their posts. Those loyal stood their ground, and yet their bravery was paid in kind with lead. Quinones was one of the latter, a noble man who stayed to ferry the injured to hospital tents. This courageous act would spell his retirement from the war; on March 14 --barely a week after the battle began– Quinones was wounded in a bombing of the hospital tent he was working in. He was out of commission, and returned to the U.S. on July 20. Quinones stayed long enough to see the battle’s conclusion: a crushing defeat for the Republicans, and the spiral of losses they would yet face.
Quinones arrived home aboard the Champlain, and married Dorothy Rose Baskin on February 8, 1939, only a few months before the war had officially ended. Baskin was a job interviewer for the state of New York, and Quinones took up a profession of photography. It seemed that Baskin was the primary breadwinner of the house, as she earned more income between the two, while Quinones (most likely plagued from war and his wound) was a freelancer. He lived out the rest of his life in relative peace, without any other sort of notable contributions in the public eye. Quinones moved to Long Beach, California, where he died peacefully on October 14, 1992. Baskin joined her husband in 1997.
“1940 United States Federal Census.” Ancestry.com - undefined. Accessed June 9, 2023. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2442/images/m-t0627-02643-00573?ssrc=&backlabel=Return&pId=5588298.
Ink, Social. “Quinones, Gabriel.” The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, January 6, 2023. https://alba-valb.org/volunteers/gabriel-jack-quinones/.
“Quinones, Gabriel Jack.” SIDBRINT. Accessed June 9, 2023. https://sidbrint.ub.edu/ca/node/26231.
Shubert, Adrian. “Francoist Soldiers Reach the Mediterranean.” Francoist Soldiers Reach the Mediterranean | Virtual Spanish Civil War. Accessed June 9, 2023. https://vscw.ca/en/node/77.
“YOUNG COMMUNISTS LEAGUE USA.” Young Communist League (1922-1946) organizational history. Accessed June 9, 2023. https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/eam/other/ycl/ycleague.html.