1-2 Abril “Hello Albacete Again”

1-2 April
Robert Merriman’s diary for the 1st and 2nd of April, 1937. Merriman had returned to Albacete by train from Murcia.

Robert and Marion Merriman returned to Albacete from Murcia after an overnight train ride.  They arrived before businesses opened and had to wait for the café to open and he says they ate with someone called “Larmore” if the writing can be deciphered.  He had already met Pierre Lamotte who ran the Armory in Albacete and perhaps Merriman mistook the name, having been away from Albacete for two months.

We have met the people that Merriman contacts and links will be given to the posts where they showed up previously.  Neumann, Stember, and Brodsky all were in the Brigade leadership at this point and Merriman had to check in with them and Vidal to get his next assignment.   It is believed that Neuman (or Newman) is Dr. Rudolf Neumann who was said to have co-founded the International Brigades.¹

James Harris pops up again briefly in this diary segment and the woman Polish doctor is probably the same woman that Merriman referred to as leading the La Pasionaria Hospital in Murcia.  She is now in Albacete.

In the afternoon, Merriman learns that he is to lead the Officers School in Pozo Rubio.  He mentions speaking again with Brodsky and Stember and then speaking to a Sam Winkelman.  Winkelman does not appear to be an American or Canadian.  He could be British or German.

Significant socializing took place on April 2 and Merriman notes that he landed a vehicle.  Marion, who had been about the town with James Harris, joined up with Robert and they met Wally Tapsell, who had taken over after Peter Kerrigan was wounded at Jarama.

Later they meet with Andre Marty (not Marti, error in the transcription) and “Rodman and Mike from Moscow”.  It is not known who Rodman is.  Mike is likely to be the reporter Michael Koltsov.  He appears to have known the Merrimans in Moscow, since Marion chatted with Mike for some time and, as we will find out on the next page, was likely being interrogated.


¹  Sugarman, Against Fascism – Jews who served in The International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, ibid. Accessed January 2014 at http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/spanjews.pdf