Pasotti, Giuseppe, 1888-1951


A short biography of Italian anarchist, Giuseppe Pasotti, who ran a network to smuggle militants and materials into Spain during the Civil War.

Submitted by Steven. on February 19, 2006

Giuseppe Pasotti - The Network Man
Born 10 February 1888 - Italy, died 21 April 1951 - Tunis, Tunisia

Giuseppe Pasotti was born on the 10th February 1888 at Conselice near Ravenna into a radical family, and his brother, Romolo was a member of the Socialist Party. A mechanic by trade, he was condemned to 3 months in jail in 1911 for having stopped blacklegs going to work, took part in the Red week of 1914, and in 1918 the War Tribunal of Milan issued an arrest warrant for his incitement to desertion. Transferring to Milan for work reasons, he was described in police records as a revolutionary socialist and as frequenting the company of lawless and anarchist elements!

He took an active role in the 1920s in agitations and strikes to save the lives of Italian American anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti.

In the early thirties he emigrated to Toulouse in France with his wife and son Nullo and took part in various anti-fascist demonstrations. He moved to Perpignan in May 1932. Active in the Italian League of Human Rights (LIDU) he worked with the French anarchists Alphonse Tricheux and Maria Vauthier.

From 1934 he was involved in a series of attacks on Italian fascists living in France. In 1935, he was one of many Italian anarchists served with an expulsion order. Following its suspension, he took part in the annual conference of the Alpine federation of LIDU at Chambery. He had already been involved in smuggling propaganda into Spain and from July 1936 at the start of the Civil War and Revolution he used his network alongside his son Nullo, to get a large number of Italian and other volunteers over the border into Spain, making many journeys between Barcelona, Perpignan, Marseilles and Nice.

At the beginning of 1937 he maintained links between the Federacion Anarquista Iberica (FAI) and French and Swiss anarchists, involving himself in propaganda work and the recruitment of Italians, and acting a link with the Italian Column operating in Spain. He was head of the political investigations bureau of the Spanish FAI, responsible for handing out entry documents for Spain, and his home in Perpignan was the weekly meeting place for anarchists coming and going from Barcelona.

He was arrested in March 1937 along with the Spanish anarchist Melchor Escobar y Moliner for a bomb explosion on the Port Bou-Marseilles train and the discovery of five other devices and of being in possession of the letters of several fascist emissaries. Despite a vigorous defence, he was sentenced to 3 months jail. After that he was expelled from Perpignan, taking refuge at Marseilles.

He moved from there to Spain, and at the beginning of 1939 took the boat for Tunis with his son. He was arrested on the 15th April and detained for several weeks on suspicion of having taken part in a bomb attack. There he continued to take part in activity alongside the outstanding anarchist Luigi ‘Gigi’ Damiani.

He returned to Italy with the Liberation. Disgusted by the “Historic Compromise”, that filthy little deal between the Communist Party and the Christian Democrats to maintain the status quo in Italy, he returned to Tunis where he died on 21st April 1951.

Nick Heath