Domaschi, Giovanni, 1891-1945

Giovanni Domaschi

A short biography of courageous anarchist and veteran escapee, Giovanni Domaschi who was tortured and had an ear severed before dying in the Dachau death camp.

Submitted by Battlescarred on November 26, 2007

Giovanni Domaschi was born on 30th December 1891 at Verona, the son of poor peasants.

They were never able to feed their eight children adequately, and three of them died young.

His hard life alerted him at an early age to social injustice and he began to see that the world was divided into two camps, the rich and the poor, those who rule and those who produce wealth.

At 16 he joined the youth wing of the Socialist Party, but after much thought moved over to the anarchist movement, while working as a mechanic in the railway workshops of Verona.

He was a committed opponent of the war. When he was called up, he refused to serve and was confined in a military prison for several months. He was very active in the workers movement in Verona and worked within the Camera di Lavore (Chamber of Labour).

He was active in the anarcho-syndicalist union USI from February 1919. Targetted by the employers, he had to open his own workshop in the Veronetta district, where in 1920 he set up an anarchist group with other workers.

On 26 May 1921 he was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and a year of special surveillance for having resisted a fascist squad (supported by the police) that had invaded the working class district of San Stefano on April 21. He had been arrested after a subsequent gunfight. He was released in 1922.

He continued his activities after the rise of Mussolini and was again arrested in November 1926 and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. He was transferred to Favignana, then to the island of Lipari.

During an illness there he was tended by the anarchist Maria Ciarravano and formed a relationship with her. On 21 July 1928 he managed to escape with other comrades dressed as a priest. He was recaptured after 2 days and condemned to a further 4 months in jail.

At Rome in November 1928 he was condemned by the fascist Special Tribunal to 15 years imprisonment for subversive activity against the regime. During a spell at the prison of Messina he managed to escape again on 16 February 1929 but was recaptured after 3 days, for which he received an extra 3 years imprisonment.

At the prison of Fossombrone he organised an anti-fascist action with other prisoners on 1 May 1931. He was transferred to Piacenza, where he prepared another escape which was discovered. He was transferred again to Rome, then from 1936 was moved to Ponza, then to Ventotene, finally to the concentration camp at Renicci d'Anghiari, from which he managed to escape in 1943 and to return to Verona.

He joined an armed anarchist resistance group. He was captured by the fascist Black Brigades on 14 July 1944. He was tortured and one of his ears was cut off. He was then handed over to the Germans who deported him first to the Flossemburg death camp then to Dachau where he died on 23 February 1945.