Gaggi, Ghezzi and the Spanish Civil War

Comitato Anarchico Pro Vittime Politiche d’Italia 291 Rue Lecoube

Paris 15th Arrondissement

Paris 30 September 1936

Dear Berneri

You will be aware that our comrade Otello Gaggi, banished to a small village in Siberia, in Semipalatinsk, has asked the Italian section of the III International in Moscow to send him to Spain as a volunteer to fight the fascist hordes at the side of the CNT-FAI militia.

Said Gaggi writes to us at the Comoitato Pro VP, as well as to the committee in Brussels.

Last week I wrote back to Gaggi that the Russian government is not going to accede to his request. Yesterday comrade Schapiro advised us to write to the CNT-FAI to get it to ask the soviet representative in Spain to ask for Otello Gaggi to be sent to Spain as a fighter in the ranks of the antifascist militia.

I beseech you, dear Camillo, to lobby the Spanish comrades and at the same time to let me have your response.

Fraternal greetings, Yours

Georges Giordano


Comitato Anarchico Pro Vittime Politiche d’Italia Paris 26/10/1936

Dear Berneri

Could you tell us if the request put to the Russian government by the workers’ delegation from the Aragon front, that comrades Ghezzi and Gaggi be sent to Spain was agreed to by the Russian government? Just the other day Gaggi wrote us that he was still awaiting a response to his request.

A month ago he asked us if we might send him a winter coat because it can be 40 to 45 degrees below zero in those parts. And we are waiting to learn if Stalin is or is not ready to dispatch him to Spain before going to the needless expense. […]


[Ernesto Colombo, b. 1891 was in charge of the Comitato A. Pro VP finances in 1936]

From: Letters taken from Camillo Berneri, Epistolario Inedito, Vol. II (Pistoia 1984), pp. 177-178. Translated by: Paul Sharkey.