Mastrodicasa, Leonida, 1888-1942

Leonida Mastrodicasa
Leonida Mastrodicasa

A short biography of Italian anarchist metal worker, Spanish Civil War and French Resistance fighter Leonida Mastrodicasa, who died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1942.

Submitted by Steven. on September 20, 2005

Leonida Mastrodicasa
Born 23 January 1888 - Ponte Felcino, Italy , died 20 March 1942 - Germany

Leonida Mastrodicasa was born at Ponte Felcino, near Perugia, on 23rd January 1888. Son of an anarchist, Iborio, he moved at 16 to Terni to take employment as a metal worker and became an anarchist himself. He founded an anarchist youth group in Ponte Felcino.

He was arrested in 1906 during a protest demonstration and in 1909 deserted during a draft ceremony. Amnestied, he refused to take part in the war in Libya and secretly crossed the border to Switzerland where he remained until after the entry of Italy into World War I.

He was an enthusiastic supporter and writer for the paper Risveglio Anarchico (Anarchist Re-awakening). He was imprisoned by the Swiss authorities in 1918 with the Zurich bomb affair, and locked up in the Vallorbe fortess. He returned to Italy after an amnesty, and renewed anarchist activity in Umbria until the rise of fascism forced him to emigrate. He settled in Paris, and wrote for the anarchist papers Adunata dei Refrattari, Risveglio Anarchico and later for Luigi Fabbri’s review Studi Sociali, writing his articles under the name of Numitore, Nemo, P. Felcino and Leomas.

He edited the anarchist papers Lotta Anarchica (Anarchist Struggle) and Lotte Sociali (Social Struggles). He went to Spain in August 1936 and fought in the Civil War at Monte Pelato. He then served on the editorial board of Guerra di Classe (Class War), alongside Italian anarchist Camillo Berneri. He shared lodgings with Berneri, Barbieri, Bonomini, Corsinovi and Tantini on the Plaza Angel in Barcelona. He witnessed the events of May 1937, when the Communist Party consolidated their hold over the Republic, and the murder of Berneri and Barbieri by the Stalinists.

He returned to France despite the expulsion order that had been issued against him. He was imprisoned in the Argeles concentration camp and was a member of the Liberta o Morte (Liberty or Death) group there alongside Angelo Bruschi, Carlo Montresor, Bruno Salvadori and others.

After the fall of Paris, he took part in Resistance activities. He was captured by the Nazis and deported to a German concentration camp. He died there on 20th March 1942.

Nick Heath