Biographies/Melvin M. Ofsink

Tags: Jewish Member Of Communist Party Jarama Brunete Offensive Gandesa

Researcher: Kazi Hyder, Stuyvesant '22

Melvin M. Ofsink was born on September 13th, 1910 in New York City to Jewish parents. He spoke both English and Yiddish. After graduating high school, Ofsink had aspirations to be a lawyer. He attended St. John’s Law and graduated in 1932 after he earned a bachelor of laws degree. He was a practicing lawyer and one of the earliest members of the National Lawyers Guild. He was a legal staff member who worked at the International Labor Defense. Ofsink was a registered member of the Communist Party of New York. He was unmarried and lived alone in a two-story house located at 1035 Hegeman Avenue, Brooklyn NY. 

After almost five years of practicing law, Ofsink decided to fight for the Republic side in the Spanish Civil War. He was determined to fight off the fascists and was one of the many Jews that served in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion. Ofsink was issued a passport on January 5th, 1937. His passport number was 361878. It took him 11 days to arrive in Spain aboard the Paris. He arrived in Spain in February 1937. 

Ofsink served as part of the land army of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion and was ranked a Teniente, which translates to a lieutenant in English. He served in the Battle of Jarama. While fighting at the Battle of Brunete, Ofsink was severely wounded on July 13th, 1937. He went to train at the Officers Training School at Tarazona. He was discharged from the training school on September 13, 1937. Ofsink was known as very reliable among his comrades and had a good record in Spain. According to his superior’s remarks, Ofsink was reliable, disciplined and worked well with other men. He was seen as “an extra good” political influence among his comrades. Ofsink was reported Missing in Action on April 3rd, 1938 near Gandesa. It is presumed that he died on that day.


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