Biographies/Nils Mil(t)o Kruth

Tags: Finnish Machine Gun Company Washington-Lincoln Battalion Brunete Offensive Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Columbia University Member Of Communist Party New York University

Researcher: Junling Zhang, Stuyvesant '24

Nils Mil(t)o Kruth was born on the 24th of December of 1899 in Helsinki, Finland to Frank and Mathilda Kruth. Much of his early life is not known, but he immigrated to America with his parents when he was twelve years old. They settled in Brooklyn(the address is not known).

After he graduated from high school(it is not known which high school he went to), he went to study at the City University of New York. After that, he did graduate work at New York University and Columbia. He worked as a teacher before going to serve in the Spanish Civil War.

During the 1930s, he worked as an organizer for the Communist party in Ironwood, Michigan and Superior, Wisconsin. By 1938, he was married to Helen Kruth and they would travel extensively(it is not known where he traveled to).

He got his passport in March of 1937 and the passport listed his address as 337 West 71st Street in Lincoln Square, Manhattan. Sometime in March of the same year, he went over to Spain aboard the Manhattan to serve in the Spanish Civil War as part of the XV brigade. He would first join the Washington Battalion and fight as part of its Machine Gun Company. He was the adjutant commander in the Washington Battalion. The Washington Battalion was led by Mirko Markovics, who gave rigorous training and shaped the volunteers into somewhat proper soldiers. The soldiers had consistent training and high morale, even after setbacks.

Because of the large casualties in previous battles that Kruth was not a part of, the Washington Battalion would soon merge with the Lincoln Battalion, where he would continue the fight as a Section Leader of the Machine Gun Company. The Lincoln Battalion would go on to accept other nationalities and soon Spaniards outnumbered Americans within the battalion. He would later be promoted to Adjutant Commander and eventually Company Commander.

He was wounded at his first and last major battle, the Battle of Brunete. It was a leg wound and took him months to recover. When he eventually recovered, he became a training officer at Tarazona. He was in Spain from April of 1937 to August of 1938. During his time in Spain, he would have used a version of the modern machine gun.

He eventually went back home aboard the Manhattan, where he continued traveling extensively with his wife and organized extensively in the Northeast are of the USA.

In the late 1940s, he settled down and bought land in Trumansburg, New York. He worked as a farmer on this piece of land, until his death in the October 27, 1964.


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Brooks, Chris. “The Making of the the Washington Battalion.” The Volunteer, April 10, 2014.
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“Kruth, Nils Mito.” SIDBRINT. Accessed May 1, 2023.

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