Nov. 17, 1948
Victims of the 80th Congress
The 11 Who Kept Faith
by Joseph North
The notoriety of the 80th Congress is equaled only by the fame of its victims, and the name of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee is proudly spoken wherever men swear by freedom.
The names of Dr. Edward Barsky, Howard Fast and nine other Americans are as well known to the Republican guerrillas in the mountains of Spain as they are in the shops of Detroit.
These Americans refused to turn over to J. Parnell Thomas the names of Spanish Republicans whose families have received help from their admirers in this country.
The Anti-Fascist Committee indignantly rebuffed efforts of the Un-American Committee to lay hands on their records, knowing that the names therein would promptly be handed over to the Franco ambassadors here. More firing squads would be put to work, more children orphaned.
Rep. Thomas repeated the revolting formula now so well-known: He appeared to ask that the 11 be cited on charges of contempt. No sooner said than done. They voted the citation overwhelmingly.
The 11: Dr. Barsky, Dr. Jacob Auslander, Dr. Louis Miller, Dr. Lyman R. Bradley, Howard Fast, Harry N. Justiz, Mrs. Ruth Leider, James Lustig, Manuel Magana, Mrs. Marjorie Chodorov and Mrs. Charlotte Stern, stood their ground, prepared to serve prison sentences rather than yield. They had confidence that the public, once it knew the facts, would support them, the friends of Spanish democracy, and not the 80th Congress, the allies of Spanish fascism.
The results on Nov. 2 warranted their faith.
The American electorate should recall that these men and women of the Anti-Fascist Committee have already been sentenced to prison. Dr. Barsky to six months, the others to four.
Dr. Barsky, veteran of Spain, crusading progressive in America, public benefactor as one of the nation's outstanding surgeons, may be taken from his patients and thrust into convict's stripes.
Howard Fast, tireless exponent of democracy, one of the world's foremost writers, may be torn from his manuscript and put behind bars.
Mrs. Marjorie Chodorov, mother of two children, may be snatched from her family and put into federal penitentiary.
So with all the others--all youthful, productive citizens.
The sentence against them should be promptly withdrawn.
Anything less would shock the civilized world, and put our nation to shame.
The vote of these 11 a year ago to reject the 80th Congress was endorsed by 23 million Americans a fortnight ago.