Siete quiMaresciallo Ciro Siciliano – Don Vittorio Tonarelli
Maresciallo Ciro Siciliano – Don Vittorio Tonarelli
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.
Ciro Siciliano was born in Portici in 1908 and was the Carabinieri Maresciallo who commanded the station in Forno. He was married to Anna Pegollo who came from a family of anti-fascists and was the sister of the partisan “Naldo”: they had two very young children.
The 9th of June 1944 the Maresciallo had a friendly meeting with the partisans who occupied Forno and in the Carabinieri barracks had installed their command. On the 13th of June 1944 when the Germans and the militia of X Mas invaded the village Maresciallo Ciro Siciliano, was on convalescent leave and wasn’t present. He could have been saved, therefore, but he decided to return to Forno: he wanted to try to intercede on behalf of his men and the civilian population who had been rounded up. He was accused of not opposing the occupation of the village by the partisans and of having fratenised with them and was put in the group of prisoners to be shot.
In 2005 he was posthumously awarded the Medaglia d’Oro al Merito Civila (the Gold Medal for Civilian Merit) Don Vittorio Tonarelli, the parish priest of Forno during the day of the 13th of June, risked his own life to save the inhabitants, and in particular the children of the nursery school, at that point housed in Filanda, and he was even able to make an official doctor of X Mas treat a wounded child. However, he was not able to save a partisan wounded on the edge of the village, while he tried to help, some Germans saw them and finished off the partisan by machine-gunning him. He was derided and insulted by the Commander of the Italian militia, the lieutenant of the X Mas Umberto Bertozzi, and several times threatened with death together with his sister, on that day of terror he was able to carry on with dignity and courage his work as mediator and defender of the community to the end. For his courage he was awarded, in 1955, the Medaglia d’Argento al Merito Civile (the Silver Medal for Civilian Merit).
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