| The War That Came Early |
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
|Appearance(s):|| West and East;|
The Big Switch
Kossuth was a Brigadier of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. He chose his alias in honor Lajos Kossuth, a nineteenth-century Hungarian political leader who had been one of the great voices of his day for democratization in Europe. Kossuth was himself a Hungarian communist, and his true name was very difficult for an Anglophone to pronounce. (Kossuth spoke no English himself, though he was certainly a polyglot.)
Kossuth had occasional dealings with Chaim Weinberg. First, he tried (with limited success) to convince Weinberg not to pursue his personal quest for a Jewish shul in Spain. He correctly pointed out that, if a shul were built, Weinberg would quickly lose interest in it. He later reassigned Weinberg from frontline duties to agitating POWs. When Weinberg spoke with Kossuth, his accent reminded him of Bela Lugosi's Dracula.
In the late fall of 1940, in Madrid, Kossuth finally took command of the regiment of Czech soldiers who had fought first for their own government, then for France when the French hosted the Czechoslovakian government-in-exile, and finally for the Spanish Republicans after France made its peace with Germany. The Czechs travelled through a great amount of Spanish Republican territory without anyone seeming to know what to do with them before finally reaching Madrid, meeting Kossuth, and being assigned to the International Brigades.