Saturday, March 7, 2015
The Black berets of the Battalion of Death
The Battalion of Death (Battalion Malatesta) was an Italian anarchist unit during the Spanish Civil War.
The battalion was formed by a few hundred Italian anarchist exiles in France. It was organized and funded by Diego Abad de Santillan and commanded by the Italian Camillo Berneri.
Late March 1937, the battalion made its debut parading through the Paseo de Gracia and the Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona wearing their smart uniforms and brandishing the slogan "without God nor master". It made quite an impression on the audience, partly due to the resemblance with Italian fascist units’ uniforms.
They wore black turtleneck jerseys, olive-green uniforms with ammunition belts and a black beret with a skull and a dagger badge. The battalion consisted of both men and women.