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Chicago Memorial Honors Lincoln Brigade Vet Eddie Balchowsky May 19 Sun 2 pm

Chicago Memorial Honors Veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Eddie Balchowsky May 19, Sunday, 2:00 pm at Forest Home Cemetery, 863 DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, Illinois. Public Transportation: Take the Blue Line to the end of the line in Forest Park. Cemetery is easy walking distance.
See the ALBA web page at for more information as well as the flyer on the event.

Eddie Balchowsky, one of the most colorful and well-known of the 150 Lincoln veterans who went to Spain from the Chicago area, is buried not far from the Haymarket Martyrs in the near western suburb of Forest Park.

A campaign to place a memorial stone in his honor will culminate on Sunday, May 19, 2:00 PM at the Forest Home Cemetery, 863 DesPlaines Avenue with Cary Nelson, Vice Chair of ALBA (Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives), speaking and Jamie O'Reilly singing songs that Eddie sang and loved. The program will be held in the chapel on the grounds of the Forest Home Cemetery.

Studs Terkel said of Eddie: "I knew Eddie Balchowsky for half a century. He represented the most beautiful aspect of human beings in his quest for beauty, truth and justice. Pursuing justice is what led him to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight that 'premature war' against fascism..."

Ed Balchowsky was a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Artist, raconteur, and one-armed piano player Ed Balchowsky was, in the words of author and oral historian Studs Terkel, "Chicago's own Huck Finn." Balchowsky, an accomplished artist and musician, accompanied Paul Robeson on piano during Robeson's 1937 visit to Spain.

Balchowsky joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in 1937 to defend the Spanish Republic against General Franciso Franco's fascists. He lost his right hand and forearm in battle. He had earlier studied at the University of Illinois with the goal of becoming a concert pianist. His disability did not vanquish his impulse to play music -- he learned to play beautifully with his left hand. He was also a gifted painter and writer, well-known to Chicago's musicians and artists as well as to the city's political progressives. Intimately familiar with Chicago's neighborhood cafes and their downtrodden patrons, Balchowsky liked to call himself the 'King of the Alleys'.

Those who knew Eddie are encouraged to attend or send a message to jbalch (at) or call 708-488-9552 for further information.



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