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PostSPANISH CIVIL WAR: Marion Stone Merriman Wachtel's Obituary (John Eipper, USA, 10/06/05 7:34 am)
Robert Lemmon, Jr. writes: Finally had a chance to transcribe Marion Merriman Wachtel's obit; it's appended below. Did some initial searching yesterday for an obit on Robert Hale Merriman in the Santa Cruz Sentinel (which incidentally bought out the Santa Cruz Evening News in 1941). Though this is just a guess, it may be that Robert H. Merriman was considered a communist operative & not worth mentioning, for I scanned several articles on the days shortly before his death in late March 1938 (or perhaps 1 April 38 according to another source) that described the battles on fthe ront page but made no mention of Merriman.
I will also look for an obit on a Henry H. Merriman, who died in Santa Cruz County in July 1986 at age 99, but is about the right age to have been Robert's father. I will let you know if I find anything that I think might be of interest to you.
San Jose Mercury News (12/12/91, p. 5B)
Marion Wachtel, Spanish Civil War veteran
Marion Stone Merriman Wachtel of Palo Alto was the only American woman volunteer in the Spanish Civil War and as a corporal was one of the few women to serve in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the 15th International Brigade. Mrs. Wachtel was co-author of American Commander in Spain, a biography
published in 1986 about Robert Hale Merriman, a Santa Cruz High School graduate who was her husband when he left college teaching to fight for the Spanish Republic. Mrs. Wachtel, 82, died at home in her sleep Monday of natural causes. Born in Santa Barbara, she was a graduate of the University of Nevada at Reno, as was Merriman, whom she married on the day in 1932 when they graduated. She was with him in the Soviet Union where he was studying on a scholarship, when the war broke out in 1937.
He went to Spain to command the Lincoln Battalion, the American unit. When a bullet shattered his shoulder, she went to Spain to be with him. With Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini supplying the Spanish fascists under Francisco Franco with arms and troops, Western democracies refused to take sides. But many Americans championed the cause of liberty in Spain and joined the fight. Among them were writers Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, who with Merriman broadcast pro-Republic radio programs to the world from Madrid. "Hemingway and Bob were just really full of the old ginger and knew exactly what they were doing," Mrs. Wachtel recalled in a 1982 interview. "Dos Passos was just frightened by the whole thing." Hemingway is said to have modeled his character Robert Jordan, in For Whom the Bell Tolls, after Merriman. Marriman was killed in battle in 1938. [March 1938 or 1 Apr 1938]
Mrs. Wachtel returned to the United States and made speech-making tour of the country with such celebrities as Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker in an attempt to raise funds for the Spanish Republic. She married attorney Emil Wachtel in November of 1937 [?] and worked as a Stanford University administrator in the education and civil engineering departments. She became commander of the Bay Area post of the Veterans of the Lincoln Brigade. Milton Wolff of El Cerrito, the last commander of the Lincolns, remembered Mrs. Wachtel as a "lovely woman who continued her interest in worthy causes, helped us maintain our presence in the Bay Area and several times opened her house to us."
In American Commander, which Mrs. Wachtel co-authored with Warren Lerude of the University of Nevada at Reno, she describes a lonely male soldier asking her to "share" herself. "Sharing didn't really work," she wrote. "If I slept with him, I'd have to sleep with the other two thousand men to be fair, and I wasn't up to it." Tri-Star Productions has an option for movie right to the book and is developing a script.
RH: Did the film ever appear
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