Anarchists in the Gulag (and prison and exile)

Bolshevik repression of anarchists after 1917

Archive for May 2010

Italian Anarchists in Russian Prisons

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1.

SURNAME

Anelli

FORENAME

Marino

FATHER’S NAME

Emilio

DATE/PLACE OF BIRTH

Lerici (Spoleto) 24 July 1898

SOCIAL/POLITICAL BACKGROUND PRE-USSR

Postman. Anarchist, took part in the defence of Sarzana in 1921. Arrested for killing two fascists and sentenced to 6 years 3 months in prison. Amnestied in 1925, fled the country.

DATE ARRIVED IN USSR

23 February 1932

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR

Worked as foreman at the Azneftstroy plant in Baku. Between 1936 and 1937 the Italian CP leaders working for the Comintern’s Cadres Section looked into his case several times. In tracing his life story and political career, they repeatedly stressed his anti-soviet stance and lack of political education.

DATE, PLACE, REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested in Baku 14 February 1938 on charges of anti-soviet activity.

SENTENCE

Given 8 years in a camp on 16 July 1940 by the NKVD’s Special Board on foot of Article 72 of the penal code of the RSFSR. On 8 August he was sent to Segezhskiy camp (Kotlas station on the Gorky line).

REHABILITATION

Rehabilitated 5 July 1963

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2.

SURNAME

Blum

FORENAME

Ernesto

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Born in Fiume

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRIOR TO ARRIVAL IN USSR

Involved in Bela Kun’s Hungarian Revolution and fled to Italy after it was defeated. Found work in Crevacuore in Vercelli province and lived in Greco Milanese. Arrested on suspicion (?) of involvement in the anarchist bombing of the Diana Theatre in Milan on 23 March 1921. He managed to exculpate himself (?) but on 20 March 1921 he had actually thrown a bomb at the ‘Ordine e Lavoro’ fascist club in Greco Milanese. He fled to Vienna where his two sisters were living. In the Austrian capital he learnt from the press that the communist Giovanni Forlani had been convicted of the bombing of the fascist club, owned up and tried to send proof back to Italy to clear the convicted man.

DATE ARRIVED IN USSR

1928

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER in USSR

Arrived in Rostov-on-Don in 1928 with his wife Sonia and found work on building sites. Later he moved to Gahyri on the Black Sea where he was the manager of a sovkhoz.

SENTENCE

Sentenced to 10 years in prison in Kazakhstan. Freed before completion of that sentence, he was then assigned residence in the Kuban.

RELEASE

May have returned to Yugoslavia after 1956

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3.

SURNAME

Bonaccorsi

FORENAME

Luigi

AKA

Virgola

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Born in Spain 17 April 1877

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

From 1892 to 1919 was a member of anarchist groups in Spain. He moved to France and in 1919 joined the French CP. Moving on to Belgium, he switched to the Belgian CP in 1929.

DATE ARRIVED IN USSR

1932

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR

Between 1936 and 1937 Italian CP leaders working with the Comintern’s Cadres Section looked into his case several times. In retracing his life story and political career, they always highlighted his anarchist origins.

DATE, PLACE AND REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested sometime between 1934 and 1935

_____________________________________________________________________
4.

SURNAME

Bucciarelli

FORENAME

Guido

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Modena 12 August 1901

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

Worker

DATE ARRIVED IN USSR

1922

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR

Arrested in Feodossiya in 1933 by the political police but quickly released. Thereafter his trail runs cold and he may have moved to Simferopol. This is confirmed by the Italian CP leaders working for the Comintern’s Cadres Section when, looking at his file in 1937, they stressed the dearth of information about him.

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

1933

RELEASED

1933

_____________________________________________________________________

5.

SURNAME

Buticchi

FORENAME

Antonio

FATHER’S NAME

Bonafede

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Chiaravalle (Ancona) 10 August 1879

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

Salesman. Anarchist, then joined the Italian CP in 1921. Lived in Constantinople for a time before returning to Italy and then left for the Soviet Union.

DATE ARRIVED USSR
1923

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR

Initially settled in Odessa with his brother Amedeo (who was to return to Italy legally in 1928). He was then sent by the Italian CP to Ekaterinburg to carry out communist propaganda. He returned from the Urals to Odessa again where he looked after propaganda among the crews of Italian ships anchored off the port. Joined the CPSU (Bolshevik) in 1925 and was expelled from it in the early 1930s. Between 1936 and 1937 the Italian leaders of the Comintern’s Cadres Section looked into his file a number of times. In retracing his life story and political career they primarily emphasised his expulsion from the CPSU on account of the ties he had had in earlier years with certain unspecified unwholesome elements and with his brother Amedeo who, having gone back to Italy, was regarded as a traitor.

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested in Odessa 10 August 1935 for hostile activities under Articles 54-3 and 86.

SENTENCE

Sentenced to 5 years in a camp on 15 March 1936 by the Special Board of the NKVD under Art. 54-3 and 86.

RELEASE

Freed 10 August 1940

REHABILITATION

10 July 1956

_____________________________________________________________________

6.

SURNAME

Cursi

FORENAME

Vittorio

FATHER’s NAME

Gaetano

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

San Giovanni Valdarno (Arezzo) 22 October 1896.

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

Anarchist and metalworker, he then joined the Italian CP. He was repeatedly arrested and jailed for acts of insubordination and insulting a public official. In 1922 the Arezzo Court issued a warrant for his arrest and to avoid arrest he tried to quit Italy for Switzerland. Failing in that, he stowed away in Trieste on a ship bound for the Black Sea.

DATE ARRIVED IN USSR

1922 and 1930

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR

Reached Batum as a stowaway on board an Italian ship of the Trieste-based LLoyds line, the ‘Carniola’. In 1926 he visited the Italian embassy in Moscow seeking repatriation with his wife and daughter at around the time when the warrant out for his arrest had been cancelled due to an amnesty. In 1926 he returned to Italy with his family. Shortly after that he split from his wife. He lived first in San Giovanni Valdarno and then in 1927 moved to Milan. In 1928 (?) he was expelled from the Italian CP. In 1929 he left Italy for good and after a few months drifting around Europe he returned in 1930 to the USSR where he was arrested by the soviet authorities as soon as he reached Leningrad and accused of being a spy for the Italian government.

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested in Leningrad 12 February 1930 accused of spying for he Italian government.

DATE/PLACE/CAUSE OF DEATH

Died on 21 May 1930 in the Leningrad prison hospital where he was detained; officially the cause of death was TB of the lungs.

[Vittorio Cursi was married to Berta Milonek Cursi by whom he had a daughter called Aurora – PS]

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7.

SURNAME

Di Modugno

FORENAME

Sergio

AKA

Nino Pilato

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Cerignola (Foggia) 8 May 1902

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

Bricklayer. An anarcho-communist, he was involved in the early antifascist struggles. In 1927 he left for France to avoid arrest. In Paris, still in 1927, at a demonstration in support of Sacco and Vanzetti, he killed the Italian consul, Nardini. The French courts recognised his political motives and sentenced him to just two years in prison. After serving his time he moved to the USSR.

DATE OF ARRIVAL USSR

1929

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR

He lived in Moscow where he worked in a factory. In 1931 he joined the CPSU but in 1933 was expelled for his anti-soviet stance. He refused to take soviet citizenship. Between 1936 and 1937, the Leaders of the Italian CP working for the Cadres Section of the Comintern repeatedly looked at his file. In retracing his life story and political career, they repeatedly highlighted him as an extremely negative and hostile element.

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested first in 1935 but soon freed. Arrested a second time on 6 August 1937 for anti-soviet agitation.

SENTENCE

After his second arrest he was sentenced on 10 October 1937 to 10 years’ hard labour. He was deported to Siberia where he probably died while serving out his sentence.

_____________________________________________________________________

8.

SURNAME

Gaggi

FORENAME

Otello

FATHER’S NAME

Silvio

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH
San Giovanni Valdarno (Arezzo) 6 May 1896

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

Metalworker and anarcho-syndicalist involved in the Castelnuovo dei Sabbioni riots in 1921 and sentenced by the court in Arezzo to 30 years in jail for political murder and fled to the USSR.

DATE ARRIVED IN USSR
1922?

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR
First lived in Baku and then in Moscow where he worked at the Uruguayan consulate. He married a Russian woman, N. M. Lakhtina who was arrested with him in 1935. In 1934 the Italian CP leaders working for the Cadres Section of the comintern had him down as a Trotskyist.

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested first in Baku in November 1922. Then arrested in Moscow in January 1935 for involvemnent with a Trotskyist counter-revolutionary organisation. He was tried alongside Bellusich, Bernetich, Biondini, Calligaris and Martelli. He was rearrested on 29 July 1937 for having carried out anti-soviet propaganda among the inmates.

SENTENCE

Convicted in December 1922 in connection with the Caucasian SR case and given 3 years’ jail and detained in Chelyabinsk prison. Following his second arrest he was sentenced to 3 years’ incarceration on 4 March 1935 by the Military Chapter of the USSR Supreme Court under Articles 58-10 and 58-11; and committed to Yarensk (in the Archangel guberniya) and then jailed in Eastern Kazakhstan (Semipalatinsk). Later given a 5 year jail term.

DATE/PLACE/CAUSE OF DEATH

Died in prison in 1945, after having had a further sentence imposed.

REHABILITATION

Rehabilitated 14 July and 22 August 1956

_____________________________________________________________________

9.

SURNAME

Ghezzi

FORENAME

Francesco

FATHER’s NAME

Giulio

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Cusano Milanino (Milan) 4 October 1893.

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

From a working class family, he started work at the age of 7. An anarchist, he faced trial several times for defeatist activity, organising strikes and possession of explosives. In 1914 he moved to France to avoid arrest and then on to Switzerland. Returning to Milan in 1920 he was involved in the anarchist bombing of the Diana Theatre. Sentenced in absentia to 18 years and 8 months in jail he was sent to the USSR to the 1st Profintern congress by the Milan anarcho-syndicalist organisation.

DATE ARRIVED USSR

1921

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR
Three months after reaching Moscow he travelled to the international anarchist congress in Berlin where he was arrested in 1922. After 9 months in jail he was freed, returning to the USSR in 1923. Up until 1926 he lived in Yalta where he worked on an agricultural commune set up by anarchist political emigres. Then he was a factory hand at the Labormetiz plant in Moscow.

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested 11 May 1929 in Moscow and charged with “having, as an anarchist activist, carried out counter-revolutionary propaganda against the CPSU and soviet authorities”. Rearrested 5 November 1937 and committed to the NKVD’s internal prison No 1 in Moscow.

SENTENCE

Sentenced to 3 years’ incarceration on 11 January 1930 and sent to the political prison in Suzdal. After his second arrest he was sentenced to 8 years in a camp on 3 April 1939 by the NKVD Special Board under Article 58-10 and sent to the Vorkutlag. On 13 January 1943 (by which time he had died in a camp) he was sentenced to death for his involvement in an anti-soviet organisation.

DATE/PLACE/CAUSE OF DEATH

Died 3 August 1942 in Vorkutlag.

RELEASE

Free in 1931 thanks to an international campaign on his behalf orchestrated by Romain Rolland. On returning to Moscow he worked in the repair shop of the Labormetiz plant up until he was rearrested in 1937

REHABILITATION

21 May 1956

[Ghezzi had a daughter – Tatiana Ghezzi Stepanova – PS]

_____________________________________________________________________
10.

SURNAME

Petrini

FORENAME

Alfonso

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Ancona 15 December 1900

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

Anarchist and tailor

DATE ARRIVED USSR

Early 1920s

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR

Worked in Moscow. In 1934 the leaders of the Italian CP working for the Comintern’s Cadres Section identified him as an anarchist.

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested for espionage 16 December 1927 in Moscow

SENTENCE

Sentenced to 10 years in the Solovsky Islands (Solovyetsky camp) 14 January 1929

RELEASE

Freed 23 May 1932 due to intervention by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, expelled on 1 June 1936 and returned to Italy

REHABILITATED

19 May 1989

_____________________________________________________________________

11.

SURNAME

Rossi

FORENAME

Angelo

FATHER’s NAME

Luigi

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Venice 2 February 1900

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

Seaman, initially anarchist then in 1923 joined the Italian Social Party and later the Italian CP in 1924. Repeatedly arrested, he left Italy in 1931

DATE ARRIVED USSR

1931

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR

Worked on the docks on the Black Sea then in Moscow and later at the Molotov car plant in Gorky

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested 6 February 1935 in Gorky, Released then rearrested in Baku on 5 September 1940

SENTENCE

Sentenced by the NKVD Special Board to 3 years in the camps on 8 July 1935 for anti-soviet agitation. While in the camps was sentenced to a further 5 years in the camps. Following his second arrest he applied for and was granted an Italian passport by the Italian embassy only to be rearrested: sentenced to a further 8 years in the camps.

DATE/PLACE/CAUSE OF DEATH

Died 9 February 1943 in the Republic of Comi [Komi?]

REHABILITATION

Rehabilitated 26 July 1956

[Angelo Rossi was also known as Angelo Motta – PS]

_____________________________________________________________________

12.

SURNAME

Scarselli

FORENAME

Oscar

FATHER’s NAME

Eusebio

AKA

Zoppo or Roma

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Certaldo (Florence) 14 July 1902

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR
Farm labourer and anarchist who was involved in the killing of a militia member in 1925. Sentenced on 30 April 1925 to 30 years’ imprisonment. Escaped from Volterra prison and fled to Russia

DATE ARRIVED USSR

1927

WORK/POLITICAL LIFE IN USSR

Worked as a bricklayer in Yalta and Sevastopol

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested in Moscow

_____________________________________________________________________

13.

SURNAME

Specchi

FORENAME

Umberto

FATHER’s NAME

Luigi

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Milan 4 July 1896

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

Sculptor and anarchist emigrated to the USSR in 1934

DATE ARRIVED IN USSR

1934

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR
Worked in Moscow at the Kaganovitch ball bearing plant and took soviet citizenship

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested March 1937 and charged with counter-revolutionary activity. Rearrested start of 1938 in Katynakh in Yagoda province for “active participation in an anti-soviet insurgent organisation”

SENTENCE

Sentenced to 5 years in the camps on 16 June 1937 by the NKVD Special Board and sent to the Severo-Vostotchny camp where, on 1 March 1938, he was condemned to death by the Dalstroy NKVD

DATE/PLACE/CAUSE OF DEATH

Shot sometime between 10 and 14 March 1938 in Severo-Vostotchny camp

REHABILITATION

Rehabilitated 22 February 1965

[Umberto Specchi was only one of at least 15 Italian workers at the Kaganovitch ball bearing plant to be arrested in 1937. – PS]

_____________________________________________________________________

14.

SURNAME

Vacchi

FORENAME

Romeo

FATHER’s NAME

Oreste

PLACE/DATE OF BIRTH

Bologna 20 February 1902

SOCIAL/POLITICAL CAREER PRE-USSR

Railwayman and anarchist involved in the Palazzo d’Accursio incident in Bologna in the autumn of 1920 and sentenced in absentia to 30 years in jail. In 1923 he was arrested in Germany but managed to escape to the USSR

DATE ARRIVED USSR

1923

WORK/POLITICAL CAREER IN USSR

Lived and worked in Moscow, Nikolayev and Mariupol. Member of the CPSU from 1930 on and manager of a cinema in Voroshilovsk (Ukraine).

DATE/PLACE/REASON FOR ARREST

Arrested in Voroshilovsk 11 October 1937 by the local NKVD and charged with spying: alleged to have carried out missions on behalf of the Italian espionage service and to have hatched sabotage operations against military industry. Under questioning Vacchi confessed to having passed on information on the A. Marty naval dockyards in Nikolayev and on other Moscow plants to Italian consular staff and to the captain of the oil tanker ‘Nautilus’.

SENTENCE

Sentenced to death 31 January 1938 by an NKVD commission and by the Prosecution service of the USSR

DATE/PLACE. CAUSE OF DEATH

Shot 31 January 1938

REHABILITATION

Rehabilitated 3 October 1956

From: Info from http://www.gulag.italia.it. Translated by: Paul Sharkey.

http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/7sqw48

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Written by gulaganarchists

14, May 2010 at 9:44 am

Posted in Sources / Links

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