Paris, 1892-1894

Ravachol The great bomb panic in Paris started in 1892, although there had been some incidents in previous years. According to the police count, in 1892 there were 2400 anarchists operating in small groups that were mostly deemed subversive. There were many Italians and Spaniards in their ranks. Ravachol (1859-1892), pseudonym of François Koenigstein, had a French mother and a Dutch father who had left his family as a young man. Even before Ravachol turned to anarchism, he already had a police record that included robbery and the murder of an elderly man. His assaults aimed at killing high-profile judges, but they failed and only caused injuries to others and damage to property. Ravachol was betrayed to the police by a waiter working in Restaurant Véry. Another anarchist took revenge for this betrayal by exploding a bomb in this very restaurant on 25 April. He initially escaped from arrest, although the explosion left two dead and many wounded. In July 1892, Ravachol was guillotined. His acts were responsible for adding the verb 'ravacholiser' (doing someone in) to the French vocabulary and a song to French culture: La Ravacholle, to be sung to the melody of La Carmagnole.

Auguste Vaillant, Emile Henry, RavacholAuguste Vaillant (1861-1894), the son of a single mother, had to beg as a child. His attempts to earn a living in Argentina failed. In 1893 he was back in Montmartre, and he decided to revenge Ravachol. He threw a bomb in the Chamber of Deputies on 9 December 1893. There were no casualties, just a few bruises, and the meeting continued as usual. All the same, Vaillant was condemned to death and Prime Minister Sadi Carnot refused to pardon him. Laws were passed designating anarchism as a criminal offence, the lois scélerates.

Assault, 1893For his part Vaillant was revenged by Emile Henry (1872-1894) on 12 February 1894. Henry's father had been active in the Commune of Paris in 1871. Henry had worked for the anarchist magazine l'Endehors for a short time, but had gone into exile in London to avoid arrest after a bombing in 1892. In London he met many anarchists from foreign countries. Back in Paris in 1893, he targeted his bomb at a pub crowded with bourgeois 'scum', as he saw them. This pub was aptly named 'Terminus', as many wounded and one dead person were the result. Henry was very proud of his deeds and bravely faced the death penalty.

Carnot and CaserioSante Geronimo Caserio (1873-1894) was a baker's assistant from Lombardy who had left his native country because he was pursued for his anarchist ideas. During a festive event in Lyon on 24 June 1894, Caserio was in the crowd when Prime Minister Sadi Carnot passed in his open carriage. Caserio stabbed him to death with a dagger hidden in a bunch of flowers. Caserio was later beheaded. Like many other anarchists before him, Caserio hailed anarchism and cried for vengeance from the scaffold. But with his execution, the wave of assaults in France had come to an end - for some time at least.


La Cocarde. Paris 1890-1893 - IISH callno. Microfiche 3122
Le Déchard : organe hebdomadaire révolutionnaire de la région Est et Nord. 1892 - IISH callno. Microfiche 3200
Le Drapeau noir : organe anarchiste Lyon 1883 - IISH callno. ZF 10386
El Eco de Ravachol. Sabadell 1893 - IISH callno. Microfilm 647
L'émeute : organe anarchiste. Lyon 1883-1884 - IISH callno. ZF 10386
l'Endehors / Réd.: Zo d'Axa. Paris 1891-1893 - IISH callno. Microfilm 5092
on line publicaties uit l'Endehors: www.iisg.nl/collections/zodaxa/
La Favilla. Mantova 1891 - IISH callno. ZF 53690
The Fortnightly Review. London 1892-1894 - IISH callno. ZO 6168
L'Idée ouvrière. Le Hâvre 1887-1888 - IISH callno. ZK 10016
La Lutte : organe anarchiste. Lyon 1883 - IISH callno. ZF 10386
La Misère : organe anarchiste bi-mensuel. Bruxelles 1892 (met verklaring van Ravachol) - IISH callno. ZF 16067
Le Paria. Paris 1893-1895 - IISH callno. ZDK 15200
Le Père Peinard. Paris 1889-1899 - IISH callno. ZF 10224
Ravachol. Sabadell 1892 - IISH callno. Microfilm 646
La Révolte/Le Revolté 1879-1894 - IISH callno. ZF 10402 + ZF 10264
Le Riflard. Paris 1895 - IISH callno. Microfiche 4160
La Revue libertaire. Paris 1893-1894 - IISH callno. ZO 10691
Les Temps Nouveaux. Paris 1895-1914 - IISH callno. ZF 10285
La Voz de Ravachol : periódico comunista-anarquico. Buenos Aires 1895 - IISH callno. Microfiche 1103


Lucien Descaves inv.nr. 128: Letter from Auguste Vaillant in Argentina, 15 March 1891
Max Nettlau inv.nr. 2916: Manuscript of 'Camerades de l'Endehors', an open letter by Emile Henry
Max Nettlau inv.nr. 3203: Leaflets and other documents concerning Ravachol
Max Nettlau inv.nr. 3247-3248: Leaflets and documents concerning anarchism in France 1888-1913
Zo d'Axa, letters from Emile Henry, 1892


Cour d'assises de la Seine. Audience du 28 avril 1894. Déclaration Emile Henry. (Bruxelles 1894) - IISH callno. Bro An 270/80
The Dynamite Club... / John Merriman (Boston 2009) - 2010/370
Four patients [Ravachol, A. Vaillant, E. Henry, S.G. Caserio] of Dr. Deibler. A study in anarchy / J.C. Longoni (London 1970) - IISH callno. 31/182
Ravachol et les anarchistes / Jean Maitron (Paris 1992) - IISH callno. An 55/8 s
Sante Caserio : vita, tragedia e mito di un anarchico lombardo / Roberto Gremmo (Biella 1994) - IISH callno. 1997/263
Vaillant, Henry, Sante Caserio : gli attentati alla Camera dei Deputati, al Caffè Terminus e al Presidente della Repubblica, Carnot / C. Cavalleri (Guasila 1994) - IISH callno. 1995/3308