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Francesco (Franz) Widmar

Page history last edited by john 3 years, 3 months ago

Francesco Widmar / Franz Widmar

[AKA Widemar, Vidmar, Midwar, Midward]

 

So, Francesco Widmar. Can anyone find an obituary, or work if he was at the IWW convention?

 

[Most of this comes from Elvino Petrossi see http://bfscollezionidigitali.org/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/601]

[For research by the estelle negre comrades see http://www.estelnegre.org/anarcoefemerides/1501.html]

Born in Trieste, January 15 1871, parents Francesco Widmar and Anna Prosenc, commercial agents. Speaks several languages (Italian, Slovenian, German)

October 1889, however, he is sentenced to five months for “anarchist intrigue/scheming”.

In July 1898 he is investigated on the recommendation of public security authorities of Rijeka [in nowadays Croatia] after the anarchist Cesare Agostinelli from Ancona is arrested in this city and expelled; he was found in possession of a list of buddies, amongst which Widmar appears. Following the search of his home, anarchist journals and manuscripts were seized, from which it turns out Widmar is the author of two articles titled Two Weights, Two Measures and Our Correspondances under the penname “Francis Miward”, published in “La Questione sociale” [The Social Issue] (10 Oct 1898) in Patterson (USA) and distributed, as usual, also in Trieste. […] Widmar is therefore expelled from Trieste on 12 March 1899 and sent to Sagor [Zagorje ob Savi, nowadays Slovenia] in the Linai district of Carniola.

On May 27 1899 he is arrested in Rijeka for subversive activities and deported. With the permission of police authorities, he embarks June 22 1899 on the Hungarian steamer Villam, calling at Ancona and Naples, from where, on June 24 1899, he departs for New York. In the USA, he settles down in Paterson, New Jersey, where he finds work in the editorial office of in “La Questione sociale” [The Social Issue]. At the end of 1899, he succeed Errico Malatesta as the editor of the same journal after he [EM] gets expelled from New Jersey.

[The Estelle Negre text gives more detail: “he found work on the editorial staff of La Questione Sociale and was active in the “Right to Existence (Diritto all’esistenza) Group”.]

1900 Among others, Widmar chairs the enthusiastic anarchist assembly which takes place in Paterson in Bertoldi’s Hotel (the most important anarchist centre in the city) and publicly claims Bresci’s courageous gesture.

 

Later Widmar relocates to Tampa, Florida, where he is the editor of the journal “L’Alba socale” [Social Dawn]. -
(Three records on worldcat:
L' alba sociale. Tampa, Fla. at Deutsche Nationalbibliothek and Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience (Antwerp, Belgium). L'alba sociale : periodico socialista-anarchico. Ybor City, Fla. 1901(+?) (IISG, Amsterdam)

[Estelle negre: In Tampa, he had a lot of dealings with members of the Hispanic anarchist community (Spaniards, Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans , etc) and with Pedro Esteve and Maria Roda. ]

Circulars of the Austrian police indicate his departure from Washington on the ship Deutschland toward Southampton in England on 18 April 1901. On June 3 1902, he wrote to a fellow in Trieste to communicate the intention to leave Tampa to go to Brooklyn, New York.

[Petrossi then says “His date and place of death remain unknown.”]

Paul Avrich has him in Anarchist voices as Franz Widmer; mentioned by William Gallo, p155 as “a printer, a tall man with a small wife” (and editor of La Questione Sociale). Note 285 states La Questione Sociale “was succeeded in 1908by L’Era Nuova, edited by [Ludovico] Caminita and Franz Widmer until its suppression in 1917.

Estelle negre on L’Era Nuova (etc):
After that [ie the 1902 ‘moving from Tampa to Brooklyn’ letter] it seems he sent reports to Les Temps nouveaux in Paris signed FW. In 1903 he published the pamphlet (in Italian) Anarchist Education. [see Educazione anarchica. Il nostro dovere. By Miward, Francis Buenos Aires : L'Avvenire, 1900. https://search.socialhistory.org/Record/378473]

In 1908 he was one of the founders of the L’Era Nuova anarchist group in Paterson and along with Pedro Estreve, Camillo Rosazza Riz and Ludovico Caminita, from June that year onwards, he saw to the publication of its mouthpiece of the same name, the replacement for La Questione Sociale. The editors of L’Era Nuova would meet at the ‘Libreria Sociologica’ at 77 Ellison Street in Paterson. The bookshop had been launched in 1903 by Fermino Gallo (aka Frank Gallo) who was in close touch with the Francisco Ferrer Association (FFA). L’Era Nuova had contributions from prominent anarchist activists like Alexander Berkman, Jay Fox, Saverio Merlino and Pedro Esteve.

 

Estell negre: IWW

On 27 June 1905 Widmar attended the Continental Congress of the Working Class in Chicago Illinois, at which the Industrial Workers of the World was launched, an umbrella for all strands within the labour movement, especially revolutionary socialists and anarcho-syndicalists; at that labour congress, he was the first to demonstrate his solidarity with Asian immigrant labourers in the USA.

[His presence at the IWW convention has been disputed. It’s suggested he’s been confused “with another Trieste-born anarchist, Andrew Klemencic. Widmar was not a delegate to that convention.” The original claim possibly comes from “Misliti anarhizem v slovenskem prostoru: kronologija in zgodovinski razvoj 1/Thinking Anarchism in Slovenia: Chronology and Historical Development” ]

 

Estelle Negre: The Magonist connection

A supporter of the Mexical Liberal Party (PLM), in the summer of 1911 he recommended a number of comrades to make for Baja California to join the Magonist revolution and from 1911 to 1914 he monitored the PLM cause through the pages of L’Era Nuova.

Relations with Ludovico Caminita were to cool in 1911 when the latter took over the Italian-language section of the Magonist paper Regeneracion. During 1912 Widmar took part in fund-raising on behalf of the families of PLM Junta members incarcerated on McNeill Island.

[The reference above to the PLM and Widmar may be incorrect. The copy of Regeneración (7 October 1911) to which you directed reports a squabble between some PLM-associated Italian anarchists and Galleani who seemed to be quibbling over whether the “revolution” being pursued in Mexico was “the right sort. The article” Inqualificabile!” (Indescribale!) in Regeneración mentions Widmar once, where it states:

In May last, some Italian workers, not at the invitation of any of us, indeed dissuaded by a letter from Francesco Widmar, set off for Baja California. After a few days’ stay in Tijuana they came back, declaring that, for the time being, they reckoned they could no nothing useful for the Mexican revolution by remaining down there, because prevalent among the revolutionaries was a majority of American hoboes who, like hoboes the world over and throughout the ages, were making revolution, not on behalf of a well-defined ideal of justice, but out of the need they felt to fire rifles at the defenders of the ruling system and maybe get their hands on some loot.” ]

[Extra mentions of Widmar in connection with the PLM:
http://archivomagon.net/obras-completas/manifiestos-y-circulares/manifiestos-1911/1911-85/1911-85-2/

http://www.archivorebelde.org/paginas/21987 Regeneración Septiembre 1914), pág. 2.

remainder of the Estelle Negre bio:

Come the Great War, he and Pedro Esteve saw to it that Piotr Kropotkin’s arguments about the war appeared in the pages of L’Era Nuova. On 7 April 1917, the day after the US Congress declared war of the Central Empires in Europe, the premises of L’Era Nuova were ransacked and Widmar was arrested along with type-setter Giuseppe Marchese, charged with “breaching public order” and “sedition” for having printed a pamphlet around town calling upon workers to refuse to turn themselves into “Wall Street murderers”. Bail was set for the pair at 20,000 dollars. When compulsory military service was introduced, the members of the L’Era Nuova group made and handed out poosters urging men not to register for army service and Itaian familiees in the city were to receive this appeal in their mail-boxes. In 1917 L’Era Nuova was hit by a government ban. On 14 February 1920 John Edgar Hoover, as head of the General Intelligence Division (GID) of the US Bureau of Investigation, backed by dozens of volunteers from the American Legion mounted a great raid in Paterson leading to the arrest of 29 local anarchists, of whom Widmar was one, plus other leading activists (Pietro Baldiserotto, Ludovico Caminita, Firmino Gallo, Serafino Grandi, Alberto and Paulo Guabello, Beniamino Mazzotta, etc.). All of the detainees were taken to Ellis Island, New York to await deportation and Widmar was to be interrogated by special agrents Frank R Stone and Emmet T Drew. When the liberal Louis F Post, deputy secretary of the US Department of Labour became head of that department, he rejected most of the expulsion orders on the basis of lack of evidence and that included the files on Widmar, Alberto Guabello and other Paterson anarchists, leaving the Justice Department high and dry. The last report of Widmar is that he was recorded in the 1930 census in Paterson.

 

 

Extras from PS

The Italian edition of Malatesta's Complete Works states that his languages (on arrival in the USA at any rate) were Italian, German, French and Spanish but NOT English. I imagine he spoke Slovenian too.

In 1900 he was one of Malatesta's two chosen nominees in his dispute with Ciancabilla over the running of La Questione Sociale. Sort of his "second" at an honour board.

 

Zimmer’s Immigrants against the state has several entries for Widmar: and pictures (drawn portrait from New York Herald, 1900, and group (picnic) photo ca. 1919)

FBI files give his address as 77 Ellison Street, Paterson NJ.

include translations of:

Newscutting by FW on 'Execution of Anarchists in Warsaw’ (1906, inc Victor Rifkind, on him see http://militants-anarchistes.info/spip.php?article5162)

Letter from Pisa, 25 March 1919 to Widmar, from Renato Siglich of Trieste (aka Souvarna, Dr Kibaltchich, publisher of 'Avvenire anarchico' of Pisa*), now Renato Frenvurme. [and we learn the name of Widmar's partner: Elvira, also from Trieste]. *IISG hold the paper: see https://search.socialhistory.org/Record/1321003

Newspaper clipping 'The parade is going on' signed 'the committee', Paterson NJ, Sept 20th 1899

List of books.

 

--

Full translation of the Original text from: Elvino Petrossi: Dizionario Biografico degli Anarchici Italiani [Biographical Dictionary of the Italian Anarchists]. 2003-2004, Vol. 2, p. 965.

WIDMAR, FRANCESCO

Born in Trieste, January 15 1871, parents Francesco Widmar and Anna Procenc, commercial agents. In Trieste he attends five classes of the Normal [primary] school and of the civil lower civic school. Up to 1898, a company in Trieste named Ignazio Broli employs him. Widmar stands out for a discrete cultural sense and speaks several languages (Italian, Slovenian, German). In the nascent local anarchist movement, he engages himself in propaganda of ideas rather than violent action. In October 1889, however, he is sentenceded to five months for “anarchist intrigue/scheming”. In July 1898 he is investigated on the recommendation of public security authorities of Rijeka [in nowadays Croatia] after the anarchist Cesare Agostinelli from Ancona is arrested in this city and expelled; he was found in possession of a list of buddies, amongst which Widmar appears. Following the search of his home, anarchist journals and manuscripts were seized, from which it turns out Widmar is the author of two articles titled Two Weights, Two Measures and Our Correspondances under the penname “Francis Miward”, published in “La Questione sociale” [The Social Issue] (10 Oct 1898) in Patterson (USA) and distributed, as usual, also in Trieste. In these articles contain, the police authorities affirm, the crime of condoning Luccheni’s attack on the Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Geneva. Widmar is therefore expelled from Trieste on 12 March 1899 and sent to Sagor [Zagorje ob Savi, nowadays Slovenia] in the Linai district of Carniola. This measure is a result of the strict monitoring carried out by the Austrian authorities, in collaboration with signatory states of the Triple Alliance, after the above-mentioned attack. On May 27 1899 he is arrested in Rijeka for subversive activities and deported. With the permission of police authorities, he embarks June 22 1899 on the Hungarian steamer Villam, calling at Ancona and Naples, from where, on June 24 1899, he departs for New York. In the USA, he settles down in Paterson, New Jersey, where he finds work in the editorial office of in “La Questione sociale” [The Social Issue]. At the end of 1899, he succeed Errico Malatesta as the editor of the same journal after he [EM] gets expelled from New Jersey. Widmar becomes involved in the matter of the attack on Umberto I. Different rumours, collected by the police and reported in the US press, including “New York tribune” (3 August 1900), indicate Widmar as an intimate acquaintance of Gaetano Bresci and present at the [imaginary] meeting in which the name of the regicide [King’s assassin] would be randomly drawn [as in drawing numbers/lots]. Among others, Widmar chairs the enthusiastic anarchist assembly which takes place in Paterson in Bertoldi’s Hotel (the most important anarchist centre in the city) and publicly claims Bresci’s courageous gesture. Despite the opening of an investigation strongly urged by Rome which occupies American investigators, including the famous Italo-American cop Joe [Joseph] Perosino, there don’t discover valid evidence to substantiate the thesis of a plot hatched within the anarchist community in Paterson to assassinate besides the Italian King also Wilhelm II, Emperor Franz Joseph, and the French president Loubet. Later Widmar relocates to Tampa, Florida, where he is the editor of the journal “L’Alba socale” [Social Dawn]. His later whereabouts are quite fragmentary. Circulars of the Austrian police indicate his departure from Washington on the ship Deutschland toward Southampton in England on 18 April 1901. On June 3 1902, he wrote to a fellow in Trieste to communicate the intention to leave Tampa to go to Brooklyn, New York. His date and place of death remain unknown. (E. Petrossi).

References: ___________________

Bibliography: E. Maserati, Anarchist in Trieste during the Habsburg Rule, Milan 1977;

A. Petacco, The Anarchist Who Arrived from America, Milano 2000.

 

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