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Gruppo Patrioti Apuani
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 “Gruppo Patrioti Apuani” was created between June and July 1944 out of the reorganisation of the partisan movement after the massacre at Forno on the 13th of June. Scattered over the mountains behind Massa it was commanded by Pietro del Giudice, “Pietro” who was born in Montignoso in 1914. He was a Domenican Monk in contact with the Christian Socialists of Livorno, one of the first organizers of anti-fascism in the district of Massa after the 8th of September 1943. An important part of this were the men who made up the structure called F3 (for which Gino Briglia “Sergio” had one of the major responsibilities) which operated behind the front line, and represented a group in touch with the allies.
The formation, which always refused political officers, was based on military structure for a real war, with operational sections, advanced posts and support lines. Their military plans were shared with their allies and they supplied information and gave and received supplies. They reported to Massa’s Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale which was characterized by a strong Catholic influence. Del Guidice, discussed on behalf of the other groups, non-belligerent compromises with the Germans with the aim of controlling the territory and of protecting the civilian population trying to impede, as far as possible, the evacuation imposed by the Germans, and to assist with civilians’ basic needs. This attitude was criticised as passive resistance. “Pietro” replied that the meetings with the Germans signified final recognition of the military character of the partisans, considered no longer as being bandits but as regular troops.
The “Patrioti Apuani” managed to evade the two great round-ups at the end of August and the beginning of September 1944, and stayed active up until the Liberation. At the moment of the offensive against the Gothic Line, the 5th of April 1945, the “Patrioti Apuani” had the role of support – information on the enemy’s positions, guides for the mountain paths – for the United States troops, but this didn’t exclude combat and exchanges of fire with the enemy. They weren’t the first to enter Massa but their role in the liberation of the City was useful anyway.
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