Siete quiThe Road to Freedom

The Road to Freedom

Da admin- Scritto il 04 settembre 2010

After the Armistice of 8th September 1943 armed and civil resistance developed in this war torn land as a result of the harsh German occupation and increasingly difficult living conditions. This resistance won the Province of Massa-Carrara the Medaglia d’Oro al Valor Militare (the Gold Medal for Military Valour) and the Medaglia d’Oro al Merito Civile (the Gold Medal for Civilian Merit) for the Comune di Massa (Massa’s Town Council). In memory of this the Council and the European Community have reawakened these memories.

Controlling and protecting the passage over the front line, crossing the posts on the Gothic Line, was one of the principal tasks entrusted to the partisans of the “Gruppo Patrioti Apuani” and in particular to the IV Company commanded by Vinci Nicodemi (“Comandante Uberti”): the path that left Antona, 368 metres above sea level, a village controlled by the partisans, at night became the route, even though it was exposed to the shots of the German divisions and the Alpini of Monterosa, one of the divisions of the Republican Fascists who controlled that sector. One had to climb 850 metres to Campiglia then at 1,164 metres at the Passo del Pitone where during the night a patrol of partisans was stationed as guards. Then one descended rapidly on a dangerous track to 452 metres at Azzano where the advance guard of the American division “Buffalo” was found. From here the refugees arrived at Seravezza. The entire route was 11.5 kilometres long.

Passo del PitonePasso del PitoneThe route called the “Via Della Liberta” was dangerous, because it was mined and because of the difficult conditions during the winter: some “tens” of civilians died during the journey. But thousands (it’s calculated about 8,000 from October 1944 to March 1945) managed to cross, helped from February 1945 by the partisans of “Vinci”. The partisans guaranteed the security of the operation, stopping those that wanted to pass (refugees, soldiers, exiles, anti-fascists and military allies) from falling into the hands of profiteers without scruples, controlling whenever possible that spies couldn’t pass. Guiding and carrying (children were carried on their shoulders) being paid with the money that came from those that could pay for the service, but nobody was left behind because they didn’t have any money.

According to the register that the partisans kept 1,886 people were accompanied on the passage across the front line in the two months of February and March 1945 (1,687 in February alone).The Germans knew about the passage and tried to close it, but without success, during a meeting with the Commander of the “Gruppo Patrioti Apuani”, Pietro del Giudice on the 20th of March 1945.

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