Siete quiThe Massacre at Forno
The Massacre at Forno
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.
The 9th June 1944 the partisans of the group “Luigi Mulargia”, founded in May 1944 and made up of various groups of men from Versilia and Massa, commanded by Marcello Garosi “Tito”, were waiting erroneously for an imminent landing between Viareggio and Marina di Carrara, they occupied Forno, using it as an outpost for actions in the city of Massa.
The Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale Apuano (the Apuan Committee for National Liberation), being aware of the danger to the partisans, ordered them to leave Forno, sending representatives of various political parties ,but again on the 11th of June some partisan commanders met with the Pisan Olivero Tilgher, a communist, the military representative of the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale Toscano, in order to confirm Marcello Garosi “Tito” as the sole commander of the various groups from Massa and Versilia. Not one representative of the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale Apuano was present at the meeting.
On the 13th of June it was the Feast of San Antonio, the patron saint of Forno, and perhaps this slowed down the already decided retreat from the village. But at sunrise of that day Italian troops of the X Mas and German troops from La Spezia attacked Forno, catching the partisans by surprise and beating them after some skirmishes, in the course of which Marcello Garosi the commander of the group died. Out of the captured men, 51 were deserters from Massa military district, evacuees, Forno residents to be deported to Germany and others suspected of being partisans, were shot that night of the 13th of June on the banks of the river Frigido below the small church of S. Anna. There were 68 victims that day, 56 were shot (another four were miraculously saved) 2 perished in the blaze at the carabiniere barracks, 10 (of which one was a woman hit inside her own house and a child of 9 years old) were killed during the skirmishes and the round up. For cruelty and fury towards the prisoners the worst was Lieutenant Umberto Bertozzi of X Mas.
After this episode the group of partisans “Mulargia” dissolved, some of the men joined the “Gruppo Patrioti Apuani”, an autonomous group from Massa that was finally organized in the following weeks, and others joined the Garibaldine groups belonging to the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale Viareggino.
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