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Edmondo Peluso 1882 - 1942

he was a journalist in many socialist editorial offices; he was interrogated and tortured

Edmondo Peluso

Edmondo Peluso

He was born in Naples in 1882, but when he was still a child, he went with his family first to Spain, then to the USA and to many other countries, because of his political militancy. He joined many parties of workers all around the world (in France, USA, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland, Germany); in 1921 he joined the Communist Party of Italy. He was arrested many times, both in Italy and abroad. He accepted, during his peregrinations, to do the humblest and hardest jobs.
He perfectly knew many languages (French, English, Spanish, German, Russian and Italian) and worked as a journalist in the socialist editorial offices all over the world. He wrote many works about the socialist revolution and an autobiographical book: " Il cittadino del mondo".
He went to Russia and settled down there in 1927. The following year he received the honorary membership card of the Bolscevique Communist Party. He started teaching Italian and History of the working movement in the schools of Moscow and in the clubs of the political emigrants, and held some important positions in the Komintern. Even Lenin appreciated him for his works.
During the Stalinist purges, on the 26th April 1938, he was arrested by NKVD and closed in the Lefortovo prison, where he had to go through exhausting examinations with the accusation of anti-revolution activity.
He was then sent to the Butyrskaja prison and tortured over and over again until the trial, that began on the 16th November 1939, during which he declared himself innocent and asked for justice. He utterly defended himself and forced the judges to ask a supplementary judicial inquiry. On the 14th May 1940 he was condemned for espionage to a five years deportation in the region of Krasnojarsk, in Siberia. On June 1941 he was arrested again; the judge tried to obtain from him a confession and to force him to delation. On the 31st January 1942 a special commission of NKVD condemned him to the death penalty by shooting, for anti-soviet propaganda, with a simple administrative act, without any trial.
On the 7th July 1956 the military College of the Supreme Court of USSR decreed his rehabilitation, because he was "condemned without foundation".

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Stories of Italian victims

of Soviet totalitarianism

During the Twenties and until the early Thirties of the Twentieth Century, political refugees joined the ranks of the traditional Italian immigrant communities in Kerc’ and Mariupol. These newcomers were communists, anarchists, socialists and antifascists in general. Moscow became the destination of continuous political pilgrimage: very often, albeit for a short time, it was visited by the middle and high rank Italian Communist Party officials, the militants who came to work as officers in the party's branches and, in the end, the cadres who had to study at the party schools. We can calculate that at the time there were nearly 4,000 Italian in the USSR.
As a whole, nearly 1.020 underwent some kind of crackdown from 1919 and 1951: shooting, internment in a labour camp, confinement, deportation, deprivation of civil rights, loss of job, outcasting. At least 110 where shot and 140 sentenced to forced labour, while about 50 of them were confined, while over 550 members of the Italian communities in Crimea were deported to Northern Kazakhstan in 1942.
Despite all, many kept on believing in the ideal of communism and those among them who managed to get into safety, very often returned to civil life resigned and hopeless. Some of them instead were deceived, above all to honor the disappeared comprades. In this mission they met with huge difficulties, they risked to undergo new persecutions and they underwent discrimination and ostracism.
Their tales have just started coming into light, as the Soviet archives are opened and the group Memorial in Moscow carries out its denounciation activities.