Spanish Civil War Vet
By John Johnson
roommate during the beginnings of the new left in
His father Bob and his mother Helen
lived in the
Here is an excerpt from another obit.
Robert Klonsky was just a teen-ager at the bloody
battle of the
Klonsky was a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which fought on the side of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War that historians view as a prelude to World War II.
He was with green troops, untrained and sparsely armed, who emerged from their trenches to charge up Pingarron Hill, dubbed "Suicide Hill," in the face of withering fire.
Of the 500 who went over the top, 300 were killed or wounded. Klonsky was one of those who survived, only to be wounded later and sent home.
The Spanish war was just the first battle in the lifelong ideological wars of this former Philadelphian, who spent most of his life in conflict with forces that he believed were oppressing the common man.
Klonsky, Communist, civil rights firebrand, anti-war activist, and occasional movie actor, died Saturday.
He was 84 and lived in Chicago.
While living in
The marathon 71-day trial, widely
covered by the press of the time, was then the longest criminal trial in the
history of the
The nine were convicted in 1954 of violating the Smith Act, which outlawed "teaching or advocating the overthrow of the American government by force."
Klonsky was sentenced to two years in prison, and served a little over a year at the federal penitentiary at Allenwood before the Justice Department withdrew charges in 1958.
JOHN F. MORRISON