Back in Murcia, now ensconced in an ofﬁce on Calle Nicolai, several blocks from the Street of Ragshops, I worked on the hospital newsletter with the help of an American boy who suffered from epilepsy. Why he had come to Spain in his condition, I don’t know. He had been wounded, and frequently suffered from seizures. When in high school I had had experience with someone suffering from petit mal, a boy who sat next to me, and I had learned how to be helpful, putting a handkerchief in his mouth so he wouldn’t bite his tongue, and so on. In Murcia, the kid’s name was Bercovici and he was related to a writer who was to become one of the Hollywood blacklisted.
Men were now being repatriated, but I didn’t ask, nor did Oscar Hunter, my pol, say anything to me about it. The men now coming to Spain from the States were told their hitch was only for six months. My group had not been told there would be a time limitation; we just assumed it was for the duration. Later, the limitation was arbitrarily rescinded. When men insisted they wanted to be repatriated after six months, they were viliﬁed as Trotskyites or cowards or spies, and those who decided to leave without salvo conductos were called deserters. A number were shot. It got so bad that Tony DeMaio, as I’ve said, was dispatched to Barcelona to stand outside the American Embassy to nab those seeking refuge there.