Samuel Harold Levinger


My full name is Mark Samuel Hurvitz. The Samuel is (I have always thought (only) partly) for Sam Levinger. My father was a student at Ohio State in the '30s and active in Left political causes. He wanted to volunteer for the Abraham Lincoln Brigades, but R. Lee Levinger (Sam's father and Hillel Rabbi at Ohio State) dissuaded him by telling him that (and here I paraphrase my father): "enough bright Jewish boys had already died in Spain." (I don't know whether at the time Sam was alive or not. Sam died in the successful assault on Belchite [41.18 N x 0.45 W in the Province of Zaragoza on the Aguas river, south-west of where it joins the Ebro] which was one of the worst battles fought at that time.) In the summer of 2007 Debbie and I had the opportunity to visit the site. When I was born I received an autographed copy of one of (Sam's mother) Elma Ehrlich Levinger's books (The Golden Door - she wrote many children's books on Jewish themes) which I read shortly before my teens. (I still have it and my son Noam read it when he was around 10.) Both Lee and Elma Ehrlich Levinger are burried in a military cemetery in Hawaii.

I'm also curious about the whole family and what role the Levingers had in Columbus. Lee Levinger wrote a text book about American Jewish history that was published by the UAHC, but there's almost no reference to him anywhere either.

I did not know until 2001 (when reading Robert A. Rosenstone's book Crusade of the Left (published by Pegasus in 1969)) that Sam Levinger had written about his experience. I have finally been able to track this down and transcribe it for anyone to read it here.

The Spanish Civil War Journal of Samuel Levinger

"It was in Spain that men learned that one can be right and still be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, that there are times when courage is not its own reward. It is this, without doubt, which explains why so many men throughout the world regard the Spanish drama as a personal tragedy."
Albert Camus
from the preface to "L'Espagne Libre" (Calmann-levy, Paris, 1945)

Jay suggested adding the following (obviously, I think it's a good idea.... We may be able to add some links to useful tools):

Are you named after someone who died in the name of a cause? What do you know about this person? What would you like others to know about him/her?

Jay sent me the code for this (thank you) [Click Add Message to share your story]:

A Starting Point












© Mark Hurvitz
Last modified December 23, 2005