25 April in Italy. The annual refrain.

Discussion in 'Italy' started by vitellino, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    This year I had fully intended being out of my adopted country, Italy, for the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation, but dear old COVID-19 has put a stop to that.

    Why? Because after 25 years of living here I can't take any more of the rhetoric. I read only yesterday some publicity for a new book on the Gothic Line, which, translated, says:

    In 1943 Italy was divided in two by the Gothic Line: to the north were the Germans and the troops of the Italian Social Republic; opposing them to the south was the Allied contingent, together with the partisans and the Italian auxiliaries.

    Yes, you 've read this correctly. The Gothic Line was already up and running in 1943 and the partisans were south of the line, in action with the Allies. I thought that the guerillas were in action behind the lines i.e. busy taking on the Germans and fascists. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Apart from the activities of the 28 Garibaldi Brigade led by 'Bulow' on the east end of the line I am not aware that the partisans made any significant MILITARY contribution to the Allied victory on the Line.

    This morning I read in an Italian paper that members of the Fire Brigade somewhere in the UK have been singing 'Bella Ciao' in support of Italy. What a compliment to their forefathers, 55,000 of whom were killed on Italian soil. 'Bella Ciao' is far from being an Italian national anthem and isn't even recognised as a song which was sung by the partisans at the time, though it has since been associated with the Resistance and with left-wing politics in general. (Edited to say: it is sung by people who believe that Italy was liberated by the Resistance, and who do not give due credit to the role of the allied forces.) One of the lines runs: ' I woke up one morning and found the invaders' - very appropriate, though, I have to admit, in the case of COVID-19.

    A lot has been written on the subject of this song, and for anyone who speaks Italian or uses Google Translate I suggest that they visit this site.La vera storia di “”Bella ciao”, che non venne mai cantata nella Resistenza

    Returning to the subject of the partisans, especially the communist Garibaldi Brigades, I have read a lot of SOE material recently ( original reports from TNA and in books), which comments on their activities, both as indiviuals and as a fighting force, and am concluding with some excerpts from Sir Tommy Macpherson's ''Behind Enemy Lines'' regarding two groups of partisans, the 'Osoppo' and one of the Garibaldi Brigades, both operating on the north-east frontier, pages 166 and 171-2.

    Behind Enemy Lines.jpg MacPherson p.166.jpg

    MacPherson p.171.jpg

    MacPherson p. 172.jpg


    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    I have not seen or heard anyone singing 'Bella Ciao', but the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) has for many years been well to the Left politically. So if it is the rank & file firemen & women singing such a song I am not surprised. See this photo: About Or these indicators: the FBU disaffiliated from the Labour Party in 2004 due to the union's opposition of policies put in place by the then prime minister and leader Tony Blair; rescinded in 2015 with Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader.

    Found one news report on the singing: Watch: British Firefighters send message of solidarity to Italian counterparts

    No harm in such solidarity.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
    Waddell likes this.
  3. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Perhaps they need a bigger repertoire. I woudn't put any money on their Italian counterparts approving of their choice.

    On the serious side, it looks as though ANPI - the partisans' movement - is going to be allowed to break the' no grouping together rule' and hold a parade tomorrow.

    On the lighter side, Alan Whicker's account of how the Germans surrendered to him in Milan - a mere cameraman - will be at the top of my reading list for tomorrow. In the meantime, here's the film version (2nd part).

    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
    Wobbler and SteveDee like this.
  4. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.


    is this book worth a read? War in Italy 43-45. A Brutal Story by Richard Lamb. Its a book that's been on my shelf for a few years.

    Chapter 4 Kesselring's Atrocities, & Chapter 8 Aegean Tragedy & Atrocities. Its a book that I've read twice, & will probably have to read again.

  5. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member


    I read it years ago when it was lent to me by a friend. I think it is worth reading, as it shows what was going on in the country in general at the time the Allies were fighting their way north.



Share This Page