Mancebo, Benigno, 1906-1940

Ushuaia prison
Ushuaia prison

A short biography of anarchist militant Benigno Mancebo, active in Argentina and Spain.

Submitted by Steven. on September 21, 2004

Born in Sanchorreja (Avila, Spain) in 1906 and died in Madrid in 1940 before a fascist firing squad.

From an anarchist family, he spent fifteen years (1908-1923) in the care of his grandmother and separated from his parents who had emigrated to the Americas.

By 1923 he was in Argentina where he was associated with revolutionary anarchist labourism and he quickly came into contact with the group publishing the legendary anarchist newspaper La Protesta (on which he worked as a typesetter) and improved his education. In Argentina he became a fan of the theatre (the Arte y Natura group) and he belonged to the Booklovers Guild set up by Diego Abad de Santilln.

Arrested by the Argentine military in 1930, he was interned on the island of Demarchi and then in Martin Garcia and the prison in Ushuaia, only to be deported along with his father, Pedro, to Spain.

He had scarcely arrived there when he was arrested as a draft-dodger and he was sent to Valencia to do his military service; right after discharge he joined the CNT and FAI and launched the important Madrid newspaper El Libertario. His journalistic activity was fleshed out with frequent pieces written for CNT, Tierra y Libertad and Solidaridad Obrera (as a result of which he saw the inside of the republics prisons fairly regularly).

During the civil war he was involved in activities of the first importance; he was a member of the CNTs regional committee in Castile and of the commission given the task of preserving the national heritage.

In February 1939 he joined the famous CNT Defence Committee of the Centre. Later he fled to Alicante where he was arrested. He was shot on 27 April 1940. Although less well known than other Argentines, Benigno Mancebo was one of that legendary band of militants with connections to La Protesta who played such a decisive role in the Iberian peninsula in the 1930s.

From the Kate Sharpley Library