Friday, November 18, 2022

Abraham Alfred "Chick" Chakin

Abraham Alfred "Chick" Chakin (1904 – 1938) was an American volunteer in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, an athlete and educator.

Born in Brooklyn, Chakin studied education at Cornell University, graduating in 1926. A fine athlete, he was the star of Cornell's wrestling team and just missed being named to the 1924 US Olympic wrestling team. He was an active participant in the College Teachers Union and Anti-Fascist Association.

In July, 1936, Chakin went to Barcelona as coach of the American team at the People's Olympiad, an international athletic meet organized to protest the official Olympics held that summer in Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany. 

In 1937, Chakin left his position at City College to join the International Brigades fighting on the side of the Spanish Republic. He served as armorer with the mostly-Canadian Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. He was captured by Fascist forces on March 17, 1938, near Caspe as the XV International Brigade retreated from Teruel, and was executed a few days later.

Chakin was married to Jennie Berman, a New York social worker who headed the Child Care Commission of the Social Workers Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy, which visited Spain to assess the humanitarian situation and resettle children displaced by the war.

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