Pantaleon Casildo Arteaga discovered anarchist ideas at 18 and joined the anarcho-syndicalist union the CNT . At the beginning of the Francoist rising which sparked the Civil War, at the age of 24, he joined the Ascaso Column of the CNT-FAI (the FAI was the Iberian Anarchist Federation, linked to the CNT) and fought on the Aragon front. He was at the battle of Ebro, where he was wounded. He was incorporated into the Carlos Marx brigade following militarization of the militias and the Stalinisation of the revolution. He remained in this until the retreat to France in 1939.
He was interned in the concentration camp of Saint Cyprien by the French authorities, before working in Savoie in a work camp for foreigners, from which he escaped three times to join the maquis – the rural resistance to Nazi occupation. The second escape resulted in six months in prison.
Pantaleon remained in contact with the anarchist movement throughout his life, first in Savoie and then in Lyon at the start of the 70s when he moved there with his wife and five children.
In the 1990s he made frequent visits to the Plume Noire bookshop and centre, seat of the dynamic Union Locale of the Federation Anarchiste, with a large membership. He loved the vital atmosphere there, and loved to discuss, even if his difficulties in speaking French limited exchanges. Just his presence was an encouragement, especially among the youngest comrades, for the struggle for our Idea, so dear to him and which remains so dear for the Lyonnais comrades.
In 2002, despite his 90 years and his problems with mobility, he found the strength to come to talk to the young at the entrances to high schools to warn them about the dangers of fascism.
‘The constancy of Pantaleon in his libertarian engagement forces respect. Despite setbacks, he kept his convictions right up to the end, his hopes and his humanity. We keep the memory of his presence, discreet but all the same so strong, of his malicious and sparkling look.’
Died 12th August 2006
Adopted from an obituary by Martial (Alternative Libertaire Lyon) in Alternative Libertaire (September 2006)