by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio

“Young people make constitutional values ​​their own. The April 25th party encourages us to reflect on how our country was able to rise again after the tragedy of the Second World War. A true second resurgence ”. President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella al Quirinale said this, receiving ex-combatants.

“Knowing the tragedy whose memory is still alive helps us to understand the many sufferings that are consumed at the gates of Europe that involve people close to us”. So much was enough for Ansa to write the biased title “No to rewrite history”. Since I am a historian by passion (and studies) I find it very appropriate to republish an article a few months ago in the hope that the Head of State will learn the whole story and not just the one he likes.


Femicide is a serious scourge of contemporary society, the phenomenon of a cultural legacy that over the centuries legitimized male abuses but also, or perhaps above all, of a general unprecedented recrudescence of blatant social violence that victims among elderly parents as well as among children in cots.

In Parliament we are trying to give a legislative response to the phenomenon with the new law on the Red Code in defense of women, which, however, like the previous legislation on stalking, is likely to turn out to be just an empty attempt to dampen the effects, sometimes really unpredictable , rather than a real solution to face the real causes. Moreover, if we take a look at our history, we, unfortunately, discover that femicide is as old as the freedom of Italy,


Everyone today is scandalized by episodes that jump on the front pages, sometimes without even knowing the whirlwind of tensions and reciprocal psychophysical violence that has led to an aggression or worse to a murder, but few are outraged by the massacres of civilian women carried out after on 25 April 1945 by the liberating partisans and almost all remained without justice and hidden in historical oblivion: one of the very rare tombstones in memory of a victim, that for the 13 year old Giuseppina Ghersi of Savona , was recently vandalized by a vindictive hate never dormant that nobody pursues or punishes as he deserves.

But there are dozens of cases similar to his, hundreds … According to the historian and journalist Gian Paolo Pansa, there were 2,365 victims. It is one of the most shameful feminicides in Italy: a memory that certainly creates a bit of embarrassment among the feminists themselves, in most cases of a communist vocation and therefore maybe daughters, sisters, grandchildren of those whom those crimes perpetrated them with cruelty: adding to the bloody homicidal violence also the torture and the eternal shame of rape.

As in Nero’s time, Christian virgins were deflowered by gladiators before they were killed, as in the ignominious war of Bosnia, women were savagely raped for days before being slaughtered (or forced to give birth to a rape child), even in liberated Italy similar events took place. With some substantial differences: in Roman times there was a tyranny, in Bosnia there was a bloody ethnic war, in our country, instead, it was in time of peace: the dictator, il duce Benito Mussolini had in fact been executed on April 28 1945, the fascist military forces had surrendered, the German ones withdrew.

Italy was liberated from occupation on April 25, 1945. But the month of May was one of the six most bloodthirsty and feral, so much so that on May 7, marks the anniversary of the death of four women killed by red horrors in peacetime.

The memory returns to the province of Cuneo , following the slope of the stories of a journalist who as a child went to watch the trials of the “blacks” to see the punished “bad guys”; a historian who only after having written so much about the Resistance and the partisans , narrated his journey in the Second World War through the book of high historiographical value  “Il sangue dei Vinti”by Gian Paolo Pansa.

Multiple anecdotes, which then come from a researcher with the partisan heart, tell of simple civilians, abducted suddenly from squads of improvised executioners, sometimes tortured, then killed; and women with the sole fault of presumed and never tried collaborations: the smell of suspicion was enough to sanction the death that even came blessed when it was immediate.

Now the victims of this immense feminicide hidden from history want to do a little justice by remembering their martyrdom. Sometimes even in the name of Jesus Christ before those guerrillas of the Resistance in large part atheists and able to choose Satan as the name of battle.


It was not immediate for Francesca G., 42, and her daughter Michelina of 20, from Borgo San Dalmazzo, in that Granda province of Cuneo where the guerrilla war between partisans and fascist-Germans was harsh as in all the pre-Alpine areas. They were taken from the home on April 29 together with her husband Giuseppe G.

The fact that their son Biagio died being shot by the Black Brigades as a partisan was not enough to defend them! Michelina was an occasional typist to earn some money in the hard times of the war, her fault was to do it for a captain of the Littorio military police. On April 29, the executioners entered their home, took their father and mother with her: the parent was immediately executed, the two women were kidnapped and then returned home “to be raped in turn by a partisan band. This torture went on for a few days, “writes Pansa. On May 7, her mother was killed, and the 11 fell to Michelina. Only God knows how many times that young woman invoked death in those 12 days …

The same day that Francesca died, Vercelli consumed one of the bloodiest red-blooded massacres, which is reported in numerous local newspapers. The executioners entered a house in the Isola district and, for futile reasons, they killed Luigi Bonzanini, along with his nieces of 16 and 21, Elsa and Laura Scalfi, defenseless and innocent sisters pursued and killed on the gallery.

The story was told to me directly by the survivor of the massacre ( see pdf at the end of the article). In order not to leave witnesses, the murderers then returned home to eliminate the Bonzanini’s mother-in-law, Luigia Meroni, who was paralyzed in bed. The bodies were thrown into the Sesia river.

It was one of the few massacres to have partial justice because the cruelty of the partisans was such that the killers of that massacre, Felice Starda and one of his accomplices, were mysteriously killed days later, suspected by their own comrades: but the name of Starda he was inexplicably inscribed among the Liberation victims in the tombstone of the Billiemme cemetery and his wife received the compensation reserved for the fallen for their country …

Laura and Elsa Scalfi, victim of a massacre in Vercelli


In order to highlight the absurd feminicides of liberators left without justice and even forgotten by history, I will not deliberately tell you about all those auxiliary executed, so as not to confuse the fighting and civil women.

And obviously I will keep silent about the wartime crimes, before April 25, although the fascists were widely touted to eternal infamy and those partisans passed over in silence. Among the victims there was also a famous one: the Milanese actress Luisa Ferida, 31, was murdered along with her colleague Osvaldo Valenti of 39, at dawn on April 30th in via Poliziano, executed for never tried accusations.

For a woman in liberated Italy, it was only fatal to have done the editorial secretary in a newspaper, if it was the wrong one. Pia Scimonelli was 36 years old, and worked for the Fascist Republic: “wife of an officer dispersed in war in East Africa, she was repatriated to Italy from Eritrea with the ship Vulcania, along with her three children.

She needed to work to keep them and she had managed to find that place in the newspaper … “Pansa points out. He fled with two colleagues from the newspaper, found refuge in accommodation then searched by the partisans. A few days later nothing was heard of them: their three bodies were recognized at the morgue in Via Ponzio.


No mercy even in front of a pregnant woman. It happened on April 27 in Cigliano when the partisans made a group of fascists capitulate who, after having tried a brief resistance, surrendered. Among them were two young women who had visited their official husbands. One of the two, Carla Paolucci, was five months pregnant and told her improvised executioners. But this was not enough to save her. “It could have been justice even for recent or non-existent faults”, points out Pansa. The Sap partisans abducted them and released them.

The next day they were found killed at the Rondò della Forca ». Death for relatives of the alleged collaborationists is therefore inevitable. Perhaps not to leave witnesses in search of justice. This is the case of Luisa, daughter of a hotelier from Bra whose hotel, the renowned Gambero d’oro, was requisitioned by the Germans, it is not known whether with the consent or not of the owner (and if he had expressed dissent what would have happened ?).

The fact is that “on April 26 the partisans arrested him, along with his adopted daughter, Luisa, 19 years old. Fascist sources claim that the girl was raped and then killed with her father and others at Zizzola ». The fact is that “on April 26 the partisans arrested him, along with his adopted daughter, Luisa, 19 years old. Fascist sources claim that the girl was raped and then killed with her father and others at Zizzola ».

The fact is that “on April 26 the partisans arrested him, along with his adopted daughter, Luisa, 19 years old. Fascist sources claim that the girl was raped and then killed with her father and others at Zizzola ».


An image of little Giuseppina exhibited as a trophy by the red partisans who then killed her

But there is a story that makes one shudder. «In Savona, the end of the civil war saw a dull barbarity explode. On the morning of April 25, a 13-year-old girl, Giuseppina Ghersi, was kidnapped in Viale Dante Alighieri and disappeared. He belonged to a wealthy family, fruit and vegetable traders “.

They were not even members of the Republican Fascist Party, but had a registered relative who reported “something they should not see”, according to Pansa, according to other sources as a student of the magistrates Rossella had been awarded for a school competition directly by Mussolini. «The kidnappers of Giuseppina immediately decided that she had been a spy for the fascists or for the Germans. They cut her hair to zero. They dusted her hair with red paint, “says the book.

They took her to a middle school in Legino (Savona) used as a concentration camp: «Here they beat her and raped her. A relative who had managed to trace her to Legino found her reduced to the extreme “. He was only thirteen, thirteen! He was in a prison camp where, admitted and not granted that he was a prisoner of war, in some way he should have been defended by the 1929 Geneva Convention.

After being beaten and raped, he did not escape the killing that he may have taken away from destiny a life in remembrance of horrors. Of the many parliamentarians, men and especially women who are agitating for human rights in Guantamano, I do not remember anyone who has ever reopened the story of little Giuseppina although there is a complaint filed with the Savona Police Headquarters since 1949 …

«They beat her and raped her. A relative who had managed to trace her to Legino found her reduced to the extreme “. He was only thirteen, thirteen! He was in a prison camp where, admitted and not granted that he was a prisoner of war, in some way he should have been defended by the 1929 Geneva Convention.

After being beaten and raped, he did not escape the killing that he may have taken away from destiny a life in remembrance of horrors.

Of the many parliamentarians, men and especially women who are agitating for human rights in Guantamano, I do not remember anyone who has ever reopened the story of little Giuseppina although there is a complaint filed with the Savona Police Headquarters since 1949 …

The plaque deposited only a few years ago to Noli in memory of the young Giuseppina Gherzi victim of the vandalized partisan violence recently


Senseless crimes were perpetrated near Alassio until May 29th. Three women, no longer young, were executed at Stella in the San Martino area: they are known only by names and ages, nothing more. On the other hand, many victims were buried in mass graves, even disguised. This is the case of other Ligurians, Maria Naselli, 54, daughter Anna Maria of 22, and maid Elisa Merlo of 35. They were arrested in Legino with the head of the family Domingo Biamonti, 61, captain of the Red Cross, guilty of having a lieutenant son in the San Marco. They were executed by machine gun in the cemetery of Zinola and buried in a single pit with a fake tombstone: “Here rests the body of Luigi Toso, aged 84. The family posed”. A concealment that proves the awareness of the executioners to make a violent and illicit gesture,

Also exterminate his wife and three daughters in their twenties of a well-off farmer from Lavagnola (Savona). Giuseppina Turchi, the eldest of the girls, seems to have been linked to a San Marco officer. “And as happened to many women, in those days, they were accused of having made the spy,” Pansa notes. For this she had been kidnapped and then sent home. But this did not quench the thirst for blood and vengeance: on the night between 13 and 14 May, a team of armed men broke into the Turchi family’s farmhouse and killed everyone (the youngest bleeding to death in a wood), even the dog.


In the mystery died Clotilde Biestra, 45, of Loano: imprisoned by the partisans and disappeared into thin air on an unspecified day in May 1945. The reason? He had an auxiliary niece who had the good fortune to escape, in the days following the Liberation, but was then killed by a killer on January 15, 1946: perhaps he could have testified against who had decided the execution of his aunt?

As it was possible to read, they were defenseless women, civilians, without direct implications with a militancy of war: killed because mothers, wives, sisters, aunts. In Genoa alone there were 71 women killed among the 456 civilians. There were 15 females also among the 53 victims of the slaughter in Schio (Vicenza) in July 1945. Among the executed also a 61-year-old housewife, Elisa Stella, victim of an absurd story – always tells Pansa that also refers to the book ” The Schio massacre. July 1945: a useless massacre ”- He had rented a lodge to a guy who, after a while, refused to pay her rent. At the protests of the landlady, the delinquent tenant, who in the meantime became a partisan, thought it well to denounce her as a dangerous fascist. The woman was arrested,


Among all perhaps the most “guilty” was a nurse from Conselice, Anselma G. aged 25. Rea to be engaged to a fascist military and to have treated German soldiers. She was raped and then killed with an injection of poison, perhaps for a cynical law of retaliation … In the red triangle, in the Communist province of Bologna, there were 42 victims of the femicide among the 334 civilians.

Massacres of women not infrequently accomplished for “family dislikes, contrasts at work, ancient rusts. And even for completely private affairs such as love affairs that have ended badly or issues of jealousy “it is written in” The blood of the vanquished “evoking those reasons of” femicide “which in our days provoke the indignant reactions of politicians and public opinion but then they were passed over in silence and still today they are relegated to oblivion.

Among them there was also Ida, 20 years old, married and mother of a child: strangled with the telephone up together with her six brothers, all guilty because two of them had the Pfr card, and thrown in a mass grave with ten other victims . In the Modenese, now overdue Liberation, the treatment given to the fair sex was not less than that it found itself to pay a double impiety for its nature: to the sentence to death the wickedness of the rape was added indeed.

Pansa tells of murders “which we cannot even partially remember here. All or almost without a semblance of process. And often preceded by barbaric atrocities, especially towards captured women ». “Rosalia P., 32, Medolla’s secretary of the bundle, was taken home on April 27, raped in front of her husband and three children …”, she was then forced to dig her grave in the garden and “buried alive”. «On 2 May in Cavezzo, mother and daughter, Bianca and Paola C., were tortured for a long time, until their death. Not long ago a fifty-year-old teacher who was looking for information on the disappearance of her friends from Cavezzo made the same end “.

As stated in this narrative I have deliberately removed the stories of those who, to quote a paragraph of the book, learned “To die as men” having fought and believed in fascism. Among them there was also a teacher, suspected of being auxiliary but certainly a Franciscan tertiary, who left touching words. Angela Maria Tam thus announced her death in a letter to a priest: “During the whole journey from Sondrio to Buglio I sang the songs of the Virgin. I spent hours in prison in concentration and closeness to God. Long live Italy! Jesus bless her and lead her back to love and unity for our sacrifice. So be it!””.

For many there was the shame of the rape that had previously known the partisans or couriers captured by the fascists. With macroscopic difference: for 90 of them, auxiliaries of the Saf, death, in many cases preceded by unprecedented violence, arrived after April 25, in time of peace, by those partisans who liberated Italy precisely from the violence and abuses of fascism and the Nazi occupation. A mobilization against feminicide should therefore start from the past, recognizing the unarmed victims of a vindictive ideological carnage that paid double … Only because they were women.

Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio
no reproduction without authorization

bibliographic source: The Blood of the defeated by Giampaolo Pansa

journalistic source: Fabio Carisio’s interview with the survivor of the massacre






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  1. The partisans in Italy committed many atrocities. The actress Alida Valli went into hiding after they wanted to kill her because she made films for the fascist government. Partisans turned up at her mother’s home looking for her but she wasn’t there so they killed her mother instead. Don’t expect to see this in a Hollywood or European movie.
    The French partisans could be just as bad. Sometimes they behaved like murderous thugs as well.

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