Family tree of Emile HENRY

political murderer, terrorist

FrenchBorn Emile HENRY

French anarchist and terrorist

Born on September 26, 1872 in Barcelone , Spain

Died on May 21, 1894 in Paris , France

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Émile Henry (26 September 1872 in Barcelona ? 21 May 1894 in Paris, France) was a French anarchist, who on 12 February 1894 detonated a bomb at the Café Terminus in the Parisian Gare Saint-Lazare killing one person and wounding twenty.

Though his activity in the Anarchist movement was limited, he garnered much attention as a result of his crimes and of his age. He was also seen as one of the first people of a growing group of revolutionaries (largely anarchist) who subscribed to the doctrine of the "Propaganda of the deed", which would later take the life of many governmental figures.


Henry had grown up in a liberal aristocratic environment. His father who was a communard (or early French communist) was exiled for some time for his beliefs. His brother was another key person in the French anarchistic circles. He passed successfully the written exam to the prestigious École Polytechnique but he failed the oral tests and found work in a draper?s shop.

Henry, who was furious over the execution of another anarchist, Auguste Vaillant, for a bomb attack on the French Chamber of Deputies on 9 December 1893 which injured 20 deputies, took it upon himself to strike back to avenge Vaillant's death. (Vaillant's motive for the attack was the political corruption that was rife within the French Third Republic)

Henry's capture

He saw the café as a representation of the bourgeoisie itself and his intent was to kill as many people as possible in the bombing. When brought to trial for these acts, he was asked by the courts why he had needlessly harmed so many innocent people, to which he replied, "?there are no innocent bourgeois", adding that his acts caused the "insolent triumphs" of the bourgeoisie to be shattered, and "its golden calf would shake violently on its pedestal, until the final blow knocks it into the gutter and pools of blood."

This was not Henry's first terrorist act; already on November 8, 1892, he had placed a time bomb at the offices of the Carmaux Mining Company, which had exploded when the police removed it, killing five officers in the commissariat on the rue des Bons-enfants. Indeed, after his arrest for the Terminus bombing, Henry took credit for a series of other bombings in Paris, and in his apartment was found material to make many more explosive devices.

Henry was executed by guillotine on 21 May 1894. His last words were reputed to be "Courage, camarades! Vive l'anarchie!"

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Geographical origins

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