Carlo Tresca assassination closed case files

Collection REC0067 - RG 007. New York County District Attorney


Carlo Tresca, an early-20th century Italian-American newspaper editor, labor organizer, and vocal anti-fascist, was assassinated in New York City on January 11, 1943. This collection contains the New York County District Attorney’s investigation files into his assassination.


0.5 cubic feet (1 box)


1943-1955, 1943-1950

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Patrons are required to use microfilm when available. Advance notice is required for using original material. Please contact us to arrange access.

Physical Location

Collection is stored onsite at 31 Chambers St., Shelf 13666.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was transferred from the New York County District Attorney's Office to the Municipal Archives in late 1976.

Alternate Forms Available

This collection has been microfilmed. See microfilm roll 1, master negative 2824. Microfilm is available on-site or via interlibrary loan.

Processing Information

This collection was originally processed and described by a Municipal Archives intern around 2005. Updates and standardization of the finding aid was completed by staff archivist Alexandra Hilton in April 2019.
The New York District Attorney's records relating to Carlo Tresca’s assassination begin with Tresca's murder in 1943 and extend through the mid-1950s. The information they contain is the cumulative result of an investigation involving almost 60 people. Records include investigative reports, witness and suspect statements, photographs, correspondence, and other information gathered throughout the course of the case. It is possible that the records are not complete and that more information documenting the Tresca investigation is contained in the files of other involved individuals.
Carlo Tresca was born in Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy on March 9, 1879. From 1900 to 1904, he was the editor of Il Germe, a socialist newspaper. In 1903, he was elected secretary of the syndicate of Firemen and Railroad Engineers, the largest labor organization then existing in Italy. Tresca was arrested on many occasions, presumably in connection with political activities. Finally, facing a two-year prison sentence, he escaped to Switzerland, ultimately making his way to the United States in 1904.

In the United States, Tresca became a leader within the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). He participated in some of the most well-known strikes that the "wobblies" led, including the 1912 textile workers strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and the 1913 textile workers strike in Paterson, New Jersey. From about 1924, until the time of his death on January 11, 1943, Tresca was editor and publisher of Il Martello (The Hammer) in New York City. Because of his crusade against Italian fascism and its American sympathizers, the Italian government reportedly initiated proceedings to deprive Tresca of his Italian citizenship in 1926.

At the time of his murder, Tresca was working with the Office of War Information to form an "Italian-American Victory Committee." This committee was supposed to embrace anti-fascist, anti-Nazi groups. Although there was some debate over the inclusion of Communists in its membership, Tresca's position concerning this issue is not clear. Tresca, however, was opposed to the inclusion of people that he considered pro-fascist or fascist sympathizers in the committee.

Tresca was shot on January 11, 1943, at 9:30 p.m., just after leaving his office building with Giuseppe Calabi. Although Calabi, and two other witnesses, saw the assailant, they were unable to give a detailed description of him to the police. Calabi was also unable to identify Carmine Galante, a prime suspect, as the man who shot Tresca. Galante was held as a material witness and a parole violator. The District Attorney's office possessed circumstantial evidence, which, at best, incriminated Galante, but they never acquired enough evidence to bring the case to trial. Galante was released on December 21, 1944.

Carlo Tresca's murder generated intense interest because of his prominent role in the American labor movement and Italian-American politics. Tresca's last journalistic battles, conducted primarily against Communists and fascist sympathizers, engendered a barrage of speculation, accusation, and counter-accusation after his murder.
The collection is arranged into six series.

Series Outline

  1. Witnesses and statements, 1943-1944
  2. Evidence, 1943
  3. Investigative reports, 1943-1955
  4. Grand jury minutes, 1947
  5. Suspects, 1943-1954
  6. Interdepartmental and public relations, 1945-1953
Guide to the Carlo Tresca assassination closed case files, 1943-1955
Alexandra Hilton
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Edition statement
Updated from the legacy version created by the Municipal Archives in or around 2005.