Bonomini, Ernesto, 1903-1986

Bonomini, Ernesto, 1903-1986

A short biography of Italian anarchist and Spanish Civil War fighter, Ernesto Bonomini, who assassinated a leading fascist in France.

Ernesto Bonomini was born on 18 March 1903 at Pozzolengo in Italy. From a very young age he became interested in socialist ideas and became an active antimilitarist. He trained as a tailor, in which trade he was expert.

With the fascist repression against the workers’, socialist and anarchist movements, Ernesto was forced to emigrate to France in 1922.

In Paris, he became an anarchist. Horrified by the beatings, imprisonment and murder administered by the Italian fascist regime, he decided to act.

On 20 February 1924 he shot at a leading Italian fascist in a Paris restaurant and slayed him. This fascist, Nicola Bonservizi, was the leading official of the local fascio and editor in Paris of the fascist paper L’Italie Nouvelle and correspondent for the Italian fascist paper Popolo d’Italia. Bonservizi spied on the exiled opposition, passing information back to Mussolini’s secret police and making sure they were harassed in France.

Arrested after the killing, he was tried on 24th October 1924. At his trial he declared that he wanted to avenge the victims of fascism, adding that he had no sympathy for Soviet communism which persecuted anarchists as much as fascism did. He was sentenced to 8 years hard labour, which was then commuted to simple imprisonment.

Freed on the 20th February 1932, he was expelled from France in June. He stayed in Belgium for a few months before illegally returning to France, smuggled across the border by Umberto Marzocchi.

He then worked in Lille at Marzocchi’s Librairie Moderne bookshop. Arrested in April 1933, they were both sentenced to a month in prison.

Ernesto returned to Paris and was arrested again. He then went on a long hunger strike.

In 1935, he took part in the congress of Italian Anarchists in Exile in Paris.

At the end of July 1936, he left for Spain and took an active part in the revolution and in the struggle against Franco. He denounced the attacks on the anarchist movement by the Stalinists in the pages of Camillo Berneri’s paper Guerra di Classe.

In April 1938, he took part in a public meeting in Paris under a false name but was arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for breaking the expulsion order. He was interned in the Rieucros camp in the Lozère department.

He managed to escape in April 1939, first to Belgium and then to Canada and the USA. Here he learnt upholstery in California and got at job in the Twentieth Century Fox studios in Hollywood. He continued his anarchist activity, writing for the anarchist press under the name of Dick Perry. He died on 6th July 1986 in Miami.

Nick Heath