Archive/Louis H. Gordon

Tags: Union Organizer Battle For Teruel Ebro Offensive WWII Veteran

Researcher: Shahria Abeed

Louis H. Gordon was born in 1915 in Brooklyn, New York to Hyman and Rachel Gordon. He attended Boys High School, which is in Bedford-Stuyvesant and now a historical landmark. The school is known for its Victorian style design and has several famous alumni. After graduating, Gordon worked for Sulphite & Paper Mill Workers as a union organizer. Louis then moved on to attend the Labor Relations School of Cornell University, where he was exposed to the circumstances of Spain.

Louis Gordon joined the fight in Spain through The Communist Internationals, the communist parties of several nations, which recruited people to fight in Spain. The Communist Internationals would interview the recruits and have a physical check-up done on them to make sure they were fighting for their cause. While Louis himself was not a communist, he felt that many of his interests did align with the Communist Party, such as trade union activity.

To get to Spain, the volunteers had to walk over the Pyrenees mountains to avoid troops who were put on the route necessary to cross it by the League of Nations. They were led by a Spanish smuggler who helped them travel through the Pyrenees to Spain. The smuggler forced the volunteers to climb the mountains that looked “impossible”, as Gordon called it because they never had any troops on them. They did suffer a few casualties on the harsh trip.

After that trip, Gordon went to Cordoba, serving as the truck driver for several other volunteers, who he would not see again for six months. He fought at Cordoba six months later, where Francisco Franco tried to cut off Valencia from Madrid, which would give him complete control of the southern half of Spain. After this battle, they had to cross the Ebro river which proved to be a difficult task.

Gordon next fought in Teruel, where Gordon and the volunteers fought and drove Franco’s army out. The battle was one of the bloodier battles of the Spanish Civil War. Gordon tried to help take men who were wounded from the battle to any areas nearby that would treat them nearby, but they were denied treatment.

Gordon then also fought in the Battle of the Ebro, which was the largest battle of the Spanish Civil War, in order to take Franco’s armies by surprise. He suffered a wound to his eye during this battle.

After Gordon returned from Spain, Gordon was drafted for World War II, where he was involved with anti-aircraft warfare. He also served as a sergeant with the Combat Engineers of the seventh army. He was among the first troops that freed the Dachau concentration camp in April 1945.

After the war, Gordon continued his work with unions until retiring in 1985. He wrote in the union’s newspaper for thirty-three years. When he retired, he became the director of the Paperworkers Retiree program. Then, in 1998, he became a consultant of the union health and welfare fund.

In his final years, Gordon advocated for the Ulster County Consumer Fraud Bureau, which awarded him the Pride of Ulster County Award for his community service. Lous Gordon died on March 25, 2006, at 91 years old.


Sources

“Louis H. Gordon.” Recordonline.com, Times-Herald Record, 14 Apr. 2011, www.recordonline.com/article/20060329/news0301/303299915

Johns Hopkins University. “Louis Gordon-Abraham Lincoln Brigade Veteran.” YouTube, March 10, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81DCKBsvQEs

Rodriguez, Vicente, and Catherine Delano Smith. “Franco's Spain, 1939–75.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Apr. 2020, www.britannica.com/place/Spain/Francos-Spain-1939-75


“Professional Revolutionary: The Life of Saul Wellman.” Jewish Film Festival, jfi.org/watch-online/jfi-on-demand/professional-revolutionary-the-life-of-saul-wellman.


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