the deportees in Brianza
Biographies from the book of Pietro Arienti : "Dalla Brianza ai Lager del Terzo Reich" - editore Bellavite.
Translation: Daniela Binfarè Luigi Bersan - Born in Ronco all'Adige, in the province of Verona, on 16th March 1914, he lived in via Oriani 6 in Monza. Bachelor. He worked as fitter for Breda's section V. A certificate issued by Breda's corporate Italian Committee of National Liberation (Italian: CLN) on 31st August 1945 states:
This Committee of National Liberation acknowledges that the worker Luigi Bersan, deported and deceased in Germany, belonged to Breda's communist cell and to our armed underground patriotic action groups (Italian: G.A.P.) where he carried out his activity till the day of his deportation.
On 27th April he was transferred to Fossoli transit camp, where he remained till 21st July 1944, when he was transferred to Bolzano. From this last concentration camp, he was added to the deported group that on 5th August left for Mauthausen, where he arrived two days later. In the Austrian camp, he was registered under number 82279 and classed as schutzháftlinge; he declared to work as fitter. Later, he was transferred to Gusen and then back to Mauthausen, where he died of starvation on 20th March 1945. It should be noticed that a departure report about Luigi Bersan is available, as well as for other political deportees who were active in major factories, and his departure report was kept with the reports of the forced workers, as if his deportation to a death camp could be disguised under a voluntary action. On 25th July, while Luigi was imprisoned in Bolzano, his brother Giovanni, partisan imprisoned in Monza, died by hanging in Aicurzio, Brianza district, in reprisal for an act of sabotage against an overhead line tower.
Antonio Paleari - Born in Monza on 11th March 1924. Apprentice worker in Breda's section V. He gave his testimony of a typical action by a patriotic action group (Italian: G.A.P.), that was the murder of a fascist policeman in Cusano Milanino committed with Bersan. Firstly, he was imprisoned in Monza, then he was transferred to S. Vittore prison and later he was taken to Fossoli camp. On 21st June 1944 he was deported to Mauthausen where he arrived on 24th. He survived to this terrible experience and came back to his country. His elder brother Alberto, worker for Singer and partisan, was shot in piazza Trento e Trieste in Monza on 8th November 1944 with Giuseppe Centemero, the head of the Garibaldi patriotic action squads (Italian: S.A.P.) of Arcore. No further detailed information is available about Antonio Paleari; his name is mentioned by the list of the survivors to deportations of the 3rd patriotic action group, but above all, the testimony of another member of the patriotic action groups, Umberto Diegoli who we are speaking about later, is crucial, since not only he mentioned when Paleari was arrested, but he also described Paleari as his workmate in Wels and Linz aeronautical plants. Paleari and Diegoli escaped together on 10th April 1945 and came back to their country a month later.
Matteoldani Rizzardi - Born in Monza on 8th July 1924. His unusual name stems from the union of Matteotti and Oldani, an antifascist patriot of the very beginning, and shows that his family was strongly antifascist. He worked as cutter for Breda's section V. In 1999 his brother Giuseppe, military internee in Germany, wrote a valuable journal of the facts and events of his family during the war, where he gathered a report from Antonio Paleari about Matteo's activities during Resistance.
He took part to a number of propaganda actions by posting leaflets and taking fuel for the patriotic action groups (Italian: G.A.P.). In addition, he took part to a difficult transport of arms from Monza to Muggiò. On this occasion, twenty sub-machine-guns and two heavy machine-guns were transported and delivered to partisan Michele Robecchi. He gave shelter to some Russian prisoners and took them to Milan, where he left them to a partisan who took them to the mountains.
In the convulsive phases of his arrest, he tried to escape but was wounded; the fascists followed the trail of his blood and found him behind a main door. He spent some days in the hospital and on 27th April he was sent to Fossoli durchgangslager, and from there he sent several letters to his mother to reassure her about the conditions of his wounded leg.
Please do not worry about me, because I'm full of health and my leg has healed. But now please do
not try to come here because the travel is dangerous ...I'm very happy to know that every Sunday
you meet Bersan's mother and Fumagalli's wife. When you meet them, please give my regards to
them and please give my regards to Mrs. Colombo and to Paleari's father ...
Dear Mother, I always feel well and my leg has healed, I walk with a stick just to be safe, but I could leave it. My foot swells a bit when I walk, as I did not have a proper treatment, but time will heal it.
The foundation "post-war assistance departments" of Milan National Archives contains the departure and registration reports of the forced workers, whose case will be dealt with later in a specific chapter, and contains two separate reports about Rizzardi. As for Bersan, these reports are a forgery and aim at disguising a deportation. It is interesting to notice that the former report shows a departure date that corresponds to the date of his arrest, the 5th January 1944, and the remark "deported to Carpi" is a clear clue of his deportation to Fossoli, near Carpi. The latter document shows a remark of Carpi Registry Office that mentions the date when he left the camp: "Left for Germany in July 1944". Actually, this was the date of his deportation from Fossoli to Bolzano of 21st July 1944. The dates of his deportation exactly correspond to the dates of Bersan's deportation, as well as the date when they left for Mauthausen, on 5th August, where they arrived two days later by a cattle wagon. He was registered under number 82498 and classed as schutz; he declared he worked as a mechanic. On an unknown date he was transferred to Gusen where he died on 13th February 1945; his name is registered in Mauthausen totenbuch.
Umberto Diegoli - Born in Monza on 23rd May 1926, he worked as riveter in Breda's section V and he had been an antifascist propagandist since 1943 within Breda. He became a member of the patriotic action groups (Italian: G.A.P.) in October 1943 with the rank of serviceman of the 17th detachment. With this role, he took part to the acts of sabotage to the railway line that served Falck factory and to the assassination attempt on the procession at Aldo Resega's funeral on 20th December. While at home in Monza, on 13th February at 6am he was arrested and accused of the assault to the Casa del Fascio in Sesto San Giovanni. He was savagely beaten and tortured during the first interrogation in Monza prison and he underwent a mock execution by shooting. After ten days he was transferred to S. Vittore prison in Milan. On 27th April he was transferred to Fossoli concentration camp where he stayed for about two months. From S. Vittore prison in Milan, the detainees were transported by lorries to Stazione Centrale (Milan central railway station) and then loaded on freight wagons with the same methods and in the same place as the Jewish deportees (Jewish deportation will be dealt with later on). Diegoli tells us about his stay in Fossoli camp:
...in my hut there were Paleari, Rizzardi, Bracesco, Bersan and I. Life in Fossoli was monotonous, they called the roll in the morning and then nothing else. Some of us were in charge of the maintenance of the camp, while others built the fences around the camp or drove in poles. One night some drunken SS men entered the Jewish camp, threw some little children and some babies in the air and shot them dead. It was terrible. One morning we were loaded on some lorries, taken to Modena and loaded on sealed carriage. I can remember some farmers who threw some crates of cherries, while they were loading us. German soldiers did not care. No relatives or friends were at the railway station and nobody was aware of this departure.
This train which took him to Germany left for Mauthausen camp on 21st June and it was the same train which transferred Paleari and there started their common vicissitudes. Both of them were transferred to Wels, a satellite camp to Mauthausen where deportees repaired components of vehicles and airplanes, and then they were both transferred to Lins. At this regard, Diegoli remembered:
We were lucky enough as we worked in the aeronautical factories, they took us from the huts in the morning and they took us back in the evening. We were really lucky because in the factory we could have some food. The concentration camp was already operating and we were aware of the crimes that were committed there. When they obliged us to have a shower in the camp, we could see the gas exit holes. We always feared to be killed.
On 10th April 1945, Diegoli and Paleari fled. In the night they were called for some repairs and to remove some rubble in Linz, that had just been bombed. They blew out the lights of the area where they were working and escaped in the darkness of the night, while the guards were shooting with their machine-guns blindly. Together they reached Vienna, in the hands of the Russian army, and, after other vicissitudes that took them to Russia, Innsbruck, where the US Allies helped them. Later, they reached Munich, Bolzano, which was still under the German army, and finally Milan on 8th May 1945.
Angelo Fumagalli - Born in Monza on 4th September 1905, he lived in via Tommaseo 13 in Monza. He was married to Ester Spada and they had three children, who were 3, 10 and 13 years old respectively when he was arrested in Breda's section V in the night of 14th February 1944. He was arrested during the shift of Unpa, the anti-aircraft protection squads which gave aid and assistance after bombing attacks. Unpa was active only during the night shifts and the members of the patriotic action groups (Italian: G.A.P.) often held meetings during Unpa shifts to organize their activity. Angelo Fumagalli was accused of the assault to the Casa del Fascio in Sesto San Giovanni. Another additional source, Carlo Talamucci of the patriotic action groups, lists the people who took part to the assault with him and names Angelo Fumagalli, Umberto Diegoli, Carlo Magni and Luigi Ratti.
Firstly, he was imprisoned in S. Vittore in Milan, then he was transferred to Fossoli camp and later to Mauthausen camp, following Diegoli and Paleari. Later, he was transferred to Wels. He survived to two camps and came back home on 29th June 1945. About Fumagalli, a departure report for voluntary service is available and the date on this document corresponds to the day when he was arrested.
Enrico Bracesco - born in Monza on 10th April 1910, he is one of the most famous partisan of Monza and Brianza Resistance because of his long antifascist militancy, as he joined the underground communist party in 1935, and took part to the troubled events during the rebellious and rioting activities. Before 8th September he was reported as rioter within Breda V and on 1st June 1943 he appeared before the Military Court of Milan for the strikes of March 1943 together with other fifty workers of several factories. In particular, Bracesco and other six Breda workers were charged since:
...workers for the auxiliary factory "Ernesto Breda" in Sesto S.Giovanni, on 29th March 1943 all together they hindered the production and arbitrarily stopped it for few minutes...
This legal action led him to prison for one month, including the trial and his imprisonment, and caused his dismissal. He was sentenced to one year's imprisonment, but this judgment was not enforced since meanwhile it became final and definitive. So, thanks to some friend colleagues of his, he was employed by Breda again and he became toolmaker foreman. One of Luigi Ratti's testimonies, another member of the patriotic action groups (Italian: G.A.P.), defines him as "...Leader with an extraordinary ascendancy, indefatigable rioter, efficient and persuading propagandist". After the nazi-fascist occupation, his family supported Resistance; his brother, Carlo, run a trattoria in Monza, that was often used as base for meetings and gave shelter to men who were about to join the partisans on the mountains; his sister-in-law Matilde, worked for Breda, handed out underground leaflets and was active in "Soccorso rosso" (Red Aid). In October 1943, Enrico entered the patriotic action group30. According to the organization method of the patriotic action groups, restricting the contacts inside the organization was the only way to grant safety in case of arrests. In the same way, tasks and duties were assigned specifically; those who were in charge of an explosive attack, found the bombs in a certain site and at certain time, but did not have information about the targets. So, Bracesco was above all used as a dealer and carrier of arms. Eugenio Mascetti, who would have become the head of the patriotic action squads (Italian: S.A.P.) in Brianza and who was a long-standing antifascist, mentions Bracesco's help for the supply of rifles and explosive31. On 4th November, Bracesco is driving a small lorry after delivering a big quantity of automatic firearms in Muggiò to Michele Robecchi. These firearms were hidden after 8th September by some escaping soldiers in the yard of "Ugo Foscolo" school in Monza. A small group of local partisans had stolen and hidden these arms in a barn and in a farmhouse. When one of these local partisans was arrested, Bracesco, Paleari, Bersan and Rizzardi took these firearms and organized their transport. On his way back, between Cinisello and Taccona, in the hamlet of Muggiò, for some unknown reasons, the lorry overturned; Bracesco, the driver, was seriously wounded and his right leg was amputated at the hospital. When he came back home, he got in touch with his friends in Breda, who were involved in the strikes of March 1944, but he was in fascists' sight. He refused to escape to the countryside and to keep away from the riots; Andreina, his wife's young sister, gave him shelter at night and sometimes Bracesco came back home at dawn. In the early morning of 13th March (some other sources state on 15th March) some fascist soldiers arrested him. The moments after his arrest are described by the testimonies of his wife, Maria Parma. Her words remind us that the tragedy did not only involve the deportees, but also their wives, their children and their relatives.
I did not know that Enrico had been arrested. Someone came and asked me "Where is Enrico?". I
answered that he had gone to heal his leg and he ordered me to follow him with my little daughter. I
was taken on a lorry and driven to the slaughterhouse, where the prison are. He was there, but I did
not see him. I was questioned and they wanted to know where Enrico was. I answered that I did not
know and that perhaps Enrico was already there. They wanted to know so many things about Enrico,
but I always answered vaguely.
My husband was taken to S. Vittore prison and the presence register of 29th March mentions him as prisoner in the German section.
Thanks to the intervention of one of our cousins, I could see him for a while, a week later. It was an exception, as political detainees could not be visited. He was taken to Milan, to S. Vittore prisons, and I remember he looked desperate behind the small door. He was hungry and his voice was so weak. My aunt Maria, who accompanied me, went out to buy some food that we gave him thanks to the humanity of a young German guard, who pretended not to see.
A clue of his presence is given by a worker departure report dated 20th March 1944, mentioned as the dated of his departure. As for the other reports, the departure dates always correspond to the dates of the arrests. In this case, this date could help to fix the exact date of Enrico Bracesco's arrest35. On 27th April the prisoner is included in the transport that led a high number of "political" detainees to Fossoli. He was registered under number 225 in this camp. His wife remembers:
...he was transferred from Milan prisons to Fossoli concentration camp. I went to Fossoli three times by train, always under aerial bombardments that forced us to leave the train to hide in the fields. I have never seen him again ...
From Fossoli the deportee wrote eleven letters during the three months of stay. Some of these letters were sent secretly from the camp, as deportees were allowed to send two letters only per month.36 His letters clearly show the human tragedy, especially a husband's sorrow and his grief for his two little children, since he is forced to be far away from them, even if he tries to reassure his family about his conditions. Despite the censorship and his caution, here are some flashes of light on his life in Fossoli, in particular on the environment that his fellow prisoners had created.
They help and support me and I can not complain about our common situation. We understand each other, our misadventures, our sorrow, our grief as we are far away from home, we share everything, and some bursts of gaiety unify all fellow prisoners. Brotherhood is widespread among us, regardless of our social class and our social rank, we are one. Doctors who heal my leg do not lack, they are with us. There is one doctor who visited me when I was home...
As the allies approached, it became necessary to gradually empty out Fossoli concentration camp and to transfer all political and Jewish deportees to Bolzano Gries, the new transit centre for the deportation to Reich. On 2nd August Fossoli was definitively closed by SS. In his letter dated 21st July, Bracesco announced he was leaving for Alto Adige on the same day, even if he did not know his destination
My dearest Maria, I think that this letter of mine will reach you. We are leaving, but I do not know our destination, but I'm sure I'm leaving for a camp that they consider as safer. In any case, please do not worry, I will face this travel, my health is very good and also my mood is very good. I can not see anything wrong in this change and I believe you will read me very soon again...
They were loaded on lorries and buses that formed a column closed by German sidecars. They left S. Benedetto Po by ferry boats and reach Verona on the same day in the evening. The following day the left for Bolzano and arrived at 10pm. Here is his last contact with his wife Maria.
One day I received an envelope with a card written by him with a pencil. I think he had thrown it from the fence of the camp and a good-hearted person had taken it. With this card, he asked me to send him some documents to prove his disability, because hopefully with these documents he would not have been sent to Nazi death camps. I did what he asked me, but I did not receive any answer and my anxiety grew. I thought he was weak and defenceless with his crutches and facing very big difficulties. I wrote to Verona headquarters, but all my efforts were useless.
On 4th August Enrico Bracesco had enough time to add that:
...now it is quite useless to try what I wrote some time ago, because today we are leaving for Germany, but it does not matter, I do not complain because this is my character. I can bear what will come and I assure you that I can be ok everywhere they will take me, even if I'm aware that these roses will have thorns and no perfume...
On 5th August Bersan, Rizzardi and Valagussa saw a man with his crutches while he was getting on their sealed carriage, this man too was leaving for Mauthausen. In his book of memories Siro Riboldi, a partisan from Biassono, describes the moment when he arrived to the camp with Enrico Bracesco.
...meanwhile our ordeal began. The soldiers started striking the deportees with anything they could find, kicking them, hitting them with muskets, insulting them and so on. I was in the middle of the column next to poor fellow Bracesco, Canzi and the priest. Bracesco was walking on his one leg with a superhuman effort and so I helped him to keep the pace of the column and I dragged him to the camp.
Prisoner no. 82293, "deportee for safety reasons", stated he was a mechanic. He was firstly transferred to the sanitatslager, the nursing division of the death camp, that did anything but heal patients, and later to Hartheim Castle where he died on 8th December 1944.
Livio Capra - Born in Monza on 1st July 1913, his family consisted of seven children and his parents, Pietro and Celestina. Livio was bachelor and worked as mechanical fitter in Breda's section IV. He was arrested in Monza on 23rd October 1943 and imprisoned in Monza for a short period of time. Later he was transferred to S. Vittore in Milan where he stayed till 4th March 1944, when he was deported to Mauthausen camp. The deportees of this transport, one hundred approximately, were loaded on two freight wagons in the underground basement of Stazione Centrale (Milan central railway station) and reached Brenner on the following night. When the wagons reached the Austrian city of Innsbruck, the deportees had to get down and to reach Reichenau on foot, where a small camp with few huts stood. For some unknown reasons, the freight wagons had to stop. The deportees stayed in Reichenau camp for one week. By train they reached Mauthausen camp on 13th March at 6pm approximately. Capra was registered under number 57560 and classed as schutz; he declared that he worked as mechanic. On 15th April he was transferred to Gusen camp, where he died at 7am of 9th April 1945. His last words are reported by another deportee, Athos Gori.
I remember a deportee from Monza, his name was Capra. One night, before going to work, he was trying to sell some bread for a cigarette. "Capra, Capra, what are you doing?". His last words were: "Gori, please let me, let me have a last cigarette. I can't stand this any longer". He sold that piece of bread and smoked his cigarette. The following morning I found him dead in his bed.
Alvaro Terzi - Born in Monza on 15th July 1927, he lived in S. Maddalena and was the second son of seven children. He worked at Breda's section I as blacksmith boiler-maker and in 1943 he joined the underground communist party; therefore, inside and outside the factory he actively took part to the propaganda actions of the partisan cells, such as wall writing and leafleting. At the beginning of January 1944, he was in the small group that was in charge of the night attack to blow out the electrical substation of "Fucine" section. However, the guards noticed the group and the saboteurs were forced to flee. Terzi reached Monza on foot and in S. Rocco hamlet, he entered river Lambro to shake off his pursuers and walked home in the cold water. After these events, he decided to leave Breda, where it was easy to find him, and he went into hiding. However, after ten days, in the night of 30th January, he was found at home and taken to S. Vittore in Milan. There, he was questioned and beaten, but he did not disclose the names of his contacts in Breda and in Monza. He was imprisoned till 14th March when he was sent to Bergamo and where he joined the group of the workers arrested after the great strike of March 1944; on 17th March he was loaded on the freight wagons that reached Mauthausen camp on 20th March. When he was deported, he was not seventeen yet.
We tried to see how we could escape, but some of us feared the Nazi reprisal, as Nazi guards would have executed us. I think that someone on other wagons tried to escape as now and then we heard some screaming.
He stayed in Mauthausen camp for a short period of time, virtually during the normal quarantine like all newcomers. This quarantine was not a precautionary health measure, but quarantined deportees were physically and morally depersonalized to rapidly subdue them to the life and to the conditions of the camp. Quarantined deportees were ill-treated and beaten up so that they could become aware of the camp discipline. He was registered under number 59166.
We no longer had our names, we had nothing. We were nothing, but numbers. I was forced to rapidly learn my number. If they called me and I did not answer, I was beaten up. I know my number so well in German, but I scarcely know it in Italian. I cannot forget it.
On 24th March, together with other Italian deportees, Alvaro Terzi was transferred to Gusen camp.
We were transferred to Gusen camp on foot. There we built Gusen II camp. We mainly had to dig out and to remove earth and stones. Later, I worked in the quarry for ten or fifteen days. Finally, I worked in the tunnels of Gusen I camp. We filled the mine-cars with earth and we took the mine-cars outside to unload them. We were building the tunnels for the underground factories.
In March 1944, the erection works for the factories of Gusen II (St. Georgen) started. The quarry Terzi speaks about is Kasthofer quarry, while the tunnels were the sites for Steyr, Daimler-Puch and Messerschmitt factories. Probably his young age morally helped him to survive to these terrible conditions which thousands of deportees could not endure; on 5th May 1945 SS left the camp and few days later US allies arrived. Alvaro Terzi was repatriated after he had recovered his health and strength; by train he went along the way of his outward journey to deportation: Linz, Innsbruck, Brenner and Bolzano, but that time he was a free man.
From Bolzano, by lorries, they took us to Milan. I jumped down in Largo Mazzini in Monza. I was wearing my German trousers. Everyone stared at me, I was so thin, I weighed something more than thirty kilos. It was 29th June 1945. I had spent more than thirteen months in Gusen camp and seventeen months had passed between my arrest and when I came back home.
The deportation physically marked the young boy and for many years Alvaro Terzi fought in hospitals and with doctors to conquer a normal life.
Giuseppe Santamaria - Born in Monza on 27th August 1891, he lived in via Oriani 6. He was married to Adele Agnatica and they had one son in 1930. He worked as repair worker in Breda's section V. He was arrested and accused of antifascism on 14th February 1944 in Sesto San Giovanni and he was imprisoned in S. Vittore in Milan. Then, he was sent to Fossoli camp and on 8th March he was deported to Mauthausen camp where he arrived three days later. He was registered under number 57393, classed as schutz and transferred to Gusen camp on 24th March. In Gusen camp many Italian deportees died and a sign of Giuseppe Santamaria's deportation to this camp is registered in the revier and dated 8th September 1944. He died for starvation on 3rd March 1945.
Giuseppe Colombo - Born on 9th October 1895 in Samarate, in the province of Varese, he lived in Monza, via Amati 12. He was married to Teresa Fabbro and they had three children. He was an antifascist patriot of the very beginning and he had been reported in the central political register as communist since 1929. He was in contact with Eugenio Mascetti, the head of the Resistance in Brianza. He worked for CGE in Monza as mechanic. His departure report was kept with the reports of the forced workers and 22nd February 1944 is the date of his departure, which, as stated for other deportees, is clearly the date of his arrest. He was imprisoned in Monza and in S. Vittore in Milan and on 27th April he was sent to Fossoli camp and then to Bolzano camp, where he arrived on 22nd July. He left this camp by the freight wagon of 5th August which took so many deportees from Brianza to Mauthausen camp. Colombo was registered under number 82333. On 13th August he was transferred to Gusen camp and in the night of 22nd April 1945 he was gassed together with other eight-hundred deportees of various nationalities in hut no. 24. These were the first effects of Himmler's orders who had ordered to kill all deportees in Gusen camp, as the Allies were advancing relentlessly.
Vincenzo Moino - Born on 26th May 1899 in a town in the province of Treviso that at that time was called Melma, as the river that crossed it, and that in 1935 changed its name in Silea. He took part to the First World War as artillery man and in 1920s he left his place of origin and emigrated, like many natives of Veneto at that time.
He settled in Milan, where he met Vittorina Fabris, who worked as costume maker for Scala theatre and who became his wife. They had seven children, but Vincenzo Moino never saw his youngest child as he was arrested before his birth. Later he moved to Monza with his family and settled in Spalto Piodo 8, along river Lambro. He worked as bricklayer in Breda's IV section to maintain his big family. He did not hide his antifascism and took part to leafleting. He was arrested at his workplace on 28th February 1944, through a targeted action probably started by a tip-off. Firstly, the German SS took him home, where they searched all rooms and found some leaflets which became evidence against him; then, he was questioned at the German headquarters in Monza. When he was arrested, some people helped Moino to warn his son Bruno who came in time to see his handcuffed father getting on the tram of the Monza-Milan line and escorted by two German soldiers who took him to S. Vittore prison in Milan. He stayed in Milan prison for a short period of time because one week later the detainee joined the transport that on 8th March had left Florence and collected deportees from Fossoli and Verona. Moino's wife, like many other women, tried to see her husband when he was in S. Vittore prison to give him clothes and some food and, like many other women, reached Fossoli with big difficulties, but she never had the chance of meeting her husband.
Vincenzo Moino arrived at Mauthausen camp on 11th March, was registered under number 57280 and classed as schutzháftlinge. Vincenzo Moino died in Gusen camp, "the camp of the Italians", on 31st May 1944 at 6am; his body was cremated the following day in the crematorium of the camp.
Antonio Marigo - Born in Piove di Sacco, in the province of Padua, on 21st November 1919, he lived for a long time in Monza, via Rivella 270. On 18th January 1935 was employed as motor fitter in Breda's section V, which was the most antifascist division in Breda. He was arrested in February 1944 and probably accused of subversive activities, since he was imprisoned in the 6th division of S. Vittore in Milan, that was the German division and gathered all political detainees. He was registered under number 1429. On 27th April he joined the numerous detainees who from S. Vittore prison in Milan were transferred to Fossoli camp. On 21st June he was deported to Mauthausen camp, and he survived the terrible conditions of this death camp.
Almo Campana - Born in Bondeno, in the province of Ferrara, on 15th May 1909, he lived in Monza, via Marsala 14. He worked as mechanic for Singer, Monza, and was a member of the political opposition movement of Singer. In particular, his home was a collection and distribution centre for the underground press and he was helped by his father Primo and his brother Ivano, who worked in CGS in Monza and was a member of the agitators inside CGS, who promoted the strikes of March 1944. In Singer too the strike began in the same moment and the claim for better food distribution, that turned out to be successful, disguised the political content of the strike, that was the worker opposition against the war and against the German demands in the occupied country. SS and Wehrmacht soldiers had to force workers to go back to their workplaces. On 4th April 1944, a group of Fascists burst into his home, searched it and found the same leaflets that were seized in Singer. Almo and his father Primo, surprised at home, were arrested and taken to Monza prison and then, as usual, to S. Vittore prison in Milan. On 9th June Almo Campana arrived at Fossoli and on 21st June he left for Mauthausen camp. The antifascist had the chance to work outside the Austrian fortress probably in Garsten, near Steyr in Upper Austria, together with civilians and military internees; it should have been Garsten near Steyr as two of his letters, that are still available, state that he had been deported to Garsten. In conclusion, his tasks outside the fortress saved his life, rescued him from the death camp and allowed him to come back home at the end of the war.
Pierino Porta - Born on 8th May 1906, he lived in Monza, via Petrella 15, with his wife and their two children, a girl born in 1938 and a boy born in 1940. At the time of his arrest, he worked as motor fitter in Falck Unione, he was a propagandist inside the foundry and distributed propaganda leaflets and press even outside the factory. For this reason Fascist troops arrested him at home on 21st April 1944 at 6pm and imprisoned him in Monza. On 13th May he was taken to S. Vittore prison in Milan. The Investigation Police (Italian: UPI, Ufficio Polizia Investigativa) had reported him as propagandist of the underground leaflet "Prometeo", together with two other Falck workers, to the Special Court for the protection of the Italian State. On 6th June, the same Court sentenced Porta to six months of prison and to pay 250 liras for "...subversive propaganda to the detriment of the national proud by the distribution of leaflets". A petition of pardon was submitted on 1st July to the Head of the province, Piero Parini, who rejected it. "Prometeo" was the underground publication of the Internationalist Communist Party, an organization established in Northern Italy at the beginning of 1943 by some members of the Italian Communist Party who had been expelled for their extremist revolutionary ideas that clearly contrasted with the moderate vision that followed the dissolution of the Third International. During 1944, this Party consisted of two-thousand members and created "factory groups" in the major factories, in contrast with the "internal commissions" created by the Italian Communist Party. Eleven underground issues of Prometeo were printed from 1st November 1943 till 15th October 1944; therefore, Porta was assumed to belong to the Internationalist Communist Party and an official document accused him of distributing its issues.
The volume Streikertransport states the date and the place of his deportation: 11th July with destination Reichenau, an hamlet in the suburbs of Innsbruck, where a small camp operated as transit camp and where a strict discipline was imposed by SS. At Reichenau the first wagon with 25 Italian Jewish from Merano and bound for Auschwitz stopped for a short period of time. From this durchgangslager, Porta fled on 26th March 1945 and came back to Italy on 30th March. The foundation that keeps the reports of the forced workers contains a report of this deportee and states he was sentenced to the forced work in Germany in particular to the chemical industry as generic worker. It mentions 8th July as date of departure and Eibia plants in Verden were the final destination.
Domenico Bonfanti - According to some sources, he was born on 28th July 1900, while for others on 31st July 1900. All sources agree on his birthplace that is Pessano con Bornago. In 1943 Domenico Bonfanti lived in Monza, via S.Martino 3, with his wife Giulia Bassani. He worked in Breda's section V as fitter where he carried out anti-fascist propaganda. For this reason, he was arrested at home probably on 30th June 1944, if the departure date on his forced worker report can be considered and accepted as the date of his arrest, like for other deportees. On the other hand, in all lists of deportees in different publications that mention Bonfanti, his date of arrest generically corresponds to July 1944. Moreover, this report states that the deportee is available for German SS, confirming that Bonfanti was arrested for political reasons. On 7th September, he was sent to Bolzano. He stayed one month in Bolzano, till 5th October when he was deported to Dachau where he arrived on 9th October by a wagon carrying five hundred hungry and thirsty people packed into cattle wagons, like in all these journeys to the death camps. He was registered under number 113159 and classed with the deportees for safety reasons. On 26th October he was transferred in the kommando of Überlingen where he surely took part to the construction of the camp that would have lodged the deportees themselves. These deportees were used to dig the tunnels where some plants for several war factories of Friedrichschafen would have been erected. Friedrichschafen had been heavily bombed. After seven months, the deportees had dig a 4 km tunnel, but the plants were never started, as the Allies arrived before their start-up. Meanwhile, many deportees had died for starvation, fatigue, undernourishment and extreme cold. Domenico Bonfanti died on 18th February 1945.
The French troops that freed this camp gave the order to exhume the deceased deportees of Überlingen (180 approx.) and to bury them in a dedicated cemetery in Birnau, a nearby town, where Bonfanti too was buried.
Albino Pisoni - Born in Monza on 8th October 1913, his parents were Evangelista and Luigia Galbiati. He lived in Brugherio, via S.Michele al Carso 10. He was married and had four children. He worked as site worker in Breda's section I. He was arrested in Brugherio on 7th August 1944. His false departure report as forced worker mentions the exact date of his arrest and contains some important remarks, like the wording "German SS" that confirms that he was a deportee under the control of German SS and the expression "civilian deportee. Mauthausen concentration camp" that testifies he was deported. However, this expression is not so common in this kind of documents. From Milan, the deportee was taken to Bolzano where he was deported to Reich on 14th December; on 19th December he was taken to Mauthausen camp where he was registered under number 114066 and classed as deportee for safety reasons. On 3rd January 1945, Pisoni was transferred to Melk, one of the main satellite camps opened in April 1944.
Steyr-Daimler-Puch A.G. factories were established in Roggendorf and Loosdorf, in the tunnels that the deportees had dig in a very short time and at the cost of a high number of human lives. These factories manufactured ball bearings and they had been operating for few days only when Pisoni arrived. Meanwhile the deportees went on digging to build other tunnels for other plants. It is not clear where this deportee from Brugherio was used, but he did not survive for a long time to the heavy conditions of life in Melk and he died before 15th February. When the camp was closed, on 15th April 1945, five thousand people had died in this camp.
Enrico Mentasti - Born in Monza on 22nd July 1915, he worked as mechanic in Singer, Monza's branch of the US sewing machines factory. He was a worker and a partisan and took part with one of the first groups of rebels of Monza to the seizure of the firearms hidden after 8th September by some escaping soldiers in the yard of "Ugo Foscolo" school in Monza. Those firearms which were delivered to Enrico Bracesco's group. He was the main reference point and leader of the antifascist cell in Singer, which was the distribution point for the underground press and the propaganda point for the strikes of March 1944. By a miracle he avoided being captured in April, when Primo and Almo Campana with other partisans from Singer were arrested, he was arrested in Autumn 1944. He was imprisoned in S. Vittore in Milan, transferred to Bolzano on 11th November and then deported to Mauthausen camp on 20th November (he was registered under number 110328). He died for starvation in an unknown site on 25th January 1945, after two months of terrible sufferings.
Romolo Grilli - Born in Monza on 11th March 1914, he lived in Monza and worked as a haulage contractor on his own. He was arrested in Monza on 28th February 1944 and taken to Villa Reale, where he was tortured and beaten up. Grilli never disclosed anything about his contacts and so he was thrown in the fountain of Villa Reale, without clothes and on a very cold day. From Monza prison, he was transferred to S. Vittore prison in Milan, where political detainees were concentrated, they were transferred to the Italian transit camps and then to the deportation camps in Germany. On 9th June Grilli was in the dense motor convoy that transported many deportees, together with several deportees from Brianza, to Fossoli camp; the deportees were chained and taken to stazione Centrale (Milan central railway station) by some lorries and then by sealed trains they reached Carpi. Then, on foot they reached Fossoli. On 21st July he left this camp for Bolzano, the new departure site to Nazi camps, as Fossoli was about to be closed. After two weeks Grilli joined the group of 5th August that left for Mauthausen camp. Along the way to Mauthausen he fled with a lieutenant of the Italian Alpine troops and came back to Brianza. He hid in Trezzo d'Adda in the house of some of his relatives till the end of the war.
Virginio Radaelli - Born in Arcore on 5th October 1905, starting from 1936 he lived in Monza, via Aliprandi 1. He worked as mechanic. He was arrested on 27th February 1944, taken to S. Vittore prison in Milan on the following day and then transferred to Fossoli camp on 7th March. According to his number, he was transferred to Mauthausen camp by the wagon of 8th March that arrived at the camp on 11th March. He was sent to Gusen and died on 22nd April 1945 in the big massacre in the gas chambers of the camp of that day.
Osvaldo Bianchi - Born in Spino d'Adda, Cremona province, on 31st August 1921, he lived in Monza, viale Lombardia 288. He worked in Fonderie Pacchetti in Monza. In S. Vittore prison in Milan, he was registered under number 1398. In this prison, each deportee received a blanket, their cells were not heated and they were very cold; deportees ate once a day, washed with water only and they could not shave. In Bolzano camp, Bianchi was registered under number 9605 and was deported to block D. He was sent to Moso in Passiria where he was freed.
Franco Fossati - Born in Monza on 4th March 1926, he lived in Monza, via S.Fruttuoso 50. He worked in Falck Unione. Fossati dedicated to all the activities that an opponent to Nazi-Fascism could do in an area like Brianza: he was the postman of the Resistance cells in Falck, a fighting partisan in S. Fruttuoso hamlet and failed to report for military service. In the big foundry, he was a politic propagandist; above all he carried the underground press from one place to another and took part to sabotage actions, such as the modification and destruction of German indications, to create confusion behind the lines. With the group of S. Fruttuoso he sabotaged the electric distribution line and recovered arms that were hidden in a farmhouse near the cemetery.
At the beginning of 1944 Franco Fossati was called to join the army of the Italian Social Republic (Italian: Repubblica Sociale Italian), but he chose to take to the bush, like many other boys of his age, and was consequently fired by Falck. He got in touch with Falck again and the managers promised him that he would have been exempted from military service as Falck needed him for his war production. However, after one month and a half he was arrested. At 6am the soldiers entered his home directly through the door that his mother had left opened. Fossati did not have enough time for the escape plan he had prepared: a rope fastened to a window that would have allowed him to jump in another yard and flee. On 23rd January he arrived at S. Vittore prison in Milan and was registered under number 1397. In Bolzano camp, he was registered under number 9638 and was firstly interned in block D and used for the repair works to the railway. Two events told by Fossati describe the file in the camp and its discipline:
In the morning they gathered us in the yard for the roll and next to my name there was "visit" as I had a very high fever. I remember that a Nazi soldier came next to me and slapped me. No visit and I went straight with the others...
...At the entrance of the camp there was a SS, a young woman who threw old women on the ground. This woman was so brutal and I was shocked.
After a few time, he was transferred to block K, Fossati joined a group leaving for Mauthausen. The deportees reached the railway station of Bolzano on food and then they were loaded on cattle wagons. Once in Fortezza, the train had to stop because of the bombing attacks. The German guards decided to concentrate the deportees in Vipiteno. Here, the deportees understood that they were about to be freed, as the German troops were in retreat; after some days the guards fled and Fossati started his march to go back to his family who saw him:
...dressed like a convict, with a red-painted cross on his back, 9638 on a red small triangle, bald and bearded..."
Aldo Pessina - Born in Monza on 24th September 1923, he lived in Monza, via S.Fruttuoso 2. He was a carpenter. In S. Vittore prison in Milan he was registered under number 1396. In S. Vittore prison the five deportees from S. Fruttuoso hamlet only left their cell for one hour a day. In Bolzano camp, he was registered under number 9637 and taken to block d and then to block M. Firstly, he worked with Fossati to repair the railway line and then to Virgolo tunnel. He was freed from the main camp of Bolzano.
Mario Scuratti - Born in Muggiò on 9th February 1926, he lived in Monza, via Lombardia. He worked for Sapsa Pirelli in Sesto S.Giovanni as mechanic. As he was born in the first half of 1926, like his conscripts, he was called to join the army of the Italian Social Republic (Italian: Repubblica Sociale Italian), but he chose to take to the bush and to join the partisan cells of S. Fruttuoso hamlet. He was arrested at home while he was sleeping in some rooms used as storehouse for safety reasons. He was taken to the schools of his hamlet, which were the headquarters of the local Fascist groups, and after a short time he was transferred to via Grossi. He was questioned and pushed to recognize the photos of some partisans, like Carpani brothers, who were the leaders of the Resistance in S. Fruttuoso hamlet and who had joined Moscatelli's groups in Valsesia.
On that evening he was imprisoned in Monza. He was then transferred to S. Vittore prison in Milan and registered under number 1395 and then to Bolzano camp where he was registered under number 9643, block D. Shortly after arriving at the camp, he wrote:
...Early in the morning, we were loaded on lorries ... they loaded a high number of deportees packed like cattle ... we stayed in the sealed wagons at the station for two days. It was so cold. We were so thirsty. There we relieved ourselves...
After two days in these conditions, the deportees were unloaded as the railway line was damaged due to the bombing attacks of the Allies. The main camp was overflowing with the deportees and so many of them were transferred to the satellite camps. Scuratti was transferred to Sarentino where he was used to break the stones of river Talvera, which were used to build a purification plant for potable water for the tunnels that other deportees were digging. These tunnels had to protect some industrial plants. Scuratti had to work hard and his food only consisted of barley soup and of a piece of brown bread with a coating of margarine sometimes. Moreover, the guards were cruel and beat the deportees up if they did not work as quickly as they were expected to.
The partisan was freed on 1st May 1945 and arrived at S. Fruttuoso hamlet on 9th May after a long and extraordinary journey.
Giuseppe Serughetti - Born in Grumello al Monte (Bergamo province) on 1st Octobre 1921, he lived in Monza, via S.Fruttuoso 647. He worked as mechanic for Pirelli. He was registered under number 1394 in S. Vittore prison, in Milan, and under number 9645, block D in Bolzano camp. When he was deported to Bolzano camp, Serughetti and Mario Scuratti had the same vicissitudes and both of them were not deported to Mauthausen. In Sarentino he tried to escape, but failed and he was chained to a pole for the whole night and without food for a whole day as punishment. It was Scuratti who took him some food secretly and at night. However, Serughetti survived to these difficulties and came back to Monza.
Luigi Fazzi - Born in Casalmaggiore (Cremona province) on 25th December 1907, he lived in Monza, via Carlo Rota 12, where he worked as employee. He was arrested in Monza, imprisoned in Milan and deported to Bolzano camp on 14th February 1945. Here he was registered under number 9616 and taken to block K and then to block C. Later, he joined the group of deportees that was transferred to Vipiteno, where he was freed at the end of the war.
Angelo Preda - Born in Verano Brianza on 12th October 1917, he lived in Monza, via Cairoli. Preda cooperated with the intelligence service of the Allies and he joined the 12th regiment of the Intelligence Service as staff sergeant. He broadcast news about the movements of the German troops from home by a radio-receiving and broadcasting set. He was arrested in Monza on 11th March 1944. Ferdinando Calcinati, a partisan arrested in Valtellina, was with him in the same hut in Bolzano camp and testified Preda's arrest:
... I was with Preda from Monza ... he was arrested because the English troops had given him a radio-broadcasting set and he broadcast all movements in Lambrate. He was discovered as he was the son of a baker and in front of his father's bakery a Fascist pork-butcher who noticed him at home and called the Fascist troops that discovered his activities. Preda himself told me these events.
At the beginning he was imprisoned in the military prison in Peschiera del Garda and between the end of August and the beginning of September 1944, he was transferred to Bolzano camp in block E. On 12th September Angelo Preda, together with other 24 Italian soldiers of the Information Service of Italia Libera (an anti-fascist newspaper) was loaded on a lorry and the group was taken to the cattlesheds of Mignone headquarte4rs. Here the 25 deportees were shot in the nape.
Rosa Beretta - Born in Monza on 17th April 1924, she lived in Monza, Cascina Mandelli 136. Single, she worked as riveter in Breda's section V. She was arrested on 12th March 1944 at home at night and she was accused of taking part to the great strike of March 1944; on the same day she was imprisoned in S. Vittore prison in Milan and registered under number 1890 and taken to the political office of the Questura. The detailed remarks on the registry of the Questura describe Rosa Beretta and state that she was 1.68m tall and had blond hair. On 13th March she was transferred to the section controlled by the German guards and was registered under number 1648. Rosa Beretta had the same report as the workers sent to Germany that shows a false date of departure and that she was under the control of German SS.
Rosa Beretta was deported by a wagon on 5th April and arrived at Mauthausen on 8th April. Only one deportation train left on that date and arrived at Mauthausen on 8th April and it was the train that left from Bergamo with 340 men and 40 women that according to Italo Tibaldi joined in Milan with another wagon coming from Fossoli camp7. It seems that she was not registered in the Austrian camp, but she was transferred to the worst Nazi concentration camps. From Mauthausen camp, after a brief stay in the main camp of Vienna, she arrived at Auschwitz Birkenau camp on 2nd May 1944 (she was registered under number 81293), she was taken to block A, hut 18 and became a forced worker for IG Farben. However, on 30th August she was in Ravensbrück camp (she was registered under number 62093), a Nazi concentration camp where deportees were mainly women. Finally, on 16th November she was sent to Buchenwald camp (she was registered under number 31573); here she was transferred to Taucha satellite camp, Saxony, where a lot of women worked in a factory that manufactured rocket launchers, while before the war this factory manufactured bulbs and was called Hasag. She survived to the concentration camp and came back to Italy on 17th July 1945, but it took her a long time to recover physically and to have a normal life.
Giovanna Valtolina - Born in Merate, in Novate Brianza hamlet, on 18th March 1902, she lived in Monza, via Vittorio Emanuele 45. She got married and had children. On 21st June 1940 she started working as mechanical worker for Breda's section V. She was dismissed on 10th September 1941 and employed again on 18th January 1943 as worker in charge of the hacksaws. Her deportation experience progressed in parallel with Rosa Beretta's vicissitudes; Giovanna Valtolina was arrested at home in the night of 12th March 1944, that is during the raid that stroke many strikers of the main factories around Milan. She was imprisoned in S. Vittore in Milan under the German control and she was registered under number 1670, a number similar to Rosa Beretta's number. She was transferred to Bergamo to Umberto I headquarters and joined the wagon that left for Mauthausen on 5th April. Always together with Rosa Beretta, she arrived at Vienna and at Auschwitz on 2nd May, where they both were taken to the same block and hut. Giovanna Valtolina was registered under number 81295, that is two numbers after Rosa Beretta.
In Ravensbrück she was registered under number 73454. The two women divided when Valtolina was sent to Chemnitz, probably to the factory that manufactured explosives and was instruments in a big building where women of different nationalities worked, as Ines Gerosa, another deportee from Cinisello Balsamo, stated.
Giovanna Valtolina survived to the deportation and in October 1945 she was employed by Breda with other tasks.
Santina Pezzotta - Born in Brugherio on 17th January 1928, she lived in Monza, in S. Fruttuoso hamlet. She worked as specialized coil-winder in Magneti Marelli, shed "N" in Crescenzago. Her family was strongly anti-fascist and her father Serafino had been deported to France and had been arrested in Sesto S. Giovanni and accused of political propaganda. Moreover, he took part to Resistance movement in Monza with his daughter Elisa, who was in charge of distributing the underground press and of supporting the families of deported partisans.
In 1944 Santina was only sixteen years old and was not interested in politics, as her sister Elisa confirmed. On 16th March, she was in Bergamo for a task assigned by her father and she was arrested during a Fascist raid, probably aiming at providing workforce to Germany. Even though an historical research demands a strict series of facts based on documents which should allow readers to form their opinion about the facts themselves, in this case the fact that a guiltless teenager who could not be charged of any accusation implies proper considerations as she was deported to the most horrible Nazi death camps. In this case, but also in other cases, the strong words in the works of some survivors to the Italian Social Republic about the national pride and the love for their country lose their meaning and their dignity. This was what Santina's father cried to the soldiers of Muti legion who held the registry with the name of his daughter who meanwhile had been imprisoned in Bergamo. His protests were unheard and Santina's family did not have news about her for one year and a half, till she came back home.
Santina was deported to Theresienstadt, where she arrived on 27th May 1944. This concentration camp was in a region that nowadays belongs to the Czech Republic and was used to concentrate Jewish people before they were transferred to Auschwitz. Finally, she was transferred to Ravensbrück where the Red Army freed her on 30th April 1945. Elisa Pezzotta told that when the war ended, she approached any wagon that was taking back deportees to ask news about her sister. Finally, one evening she received good news and after few days Santina came back. She had survived to starvation but the severe privations she had undergone made her unrecognisable "she was so thin and scars covered her body". S.Fruttuoso hamlet prepared a great celebration for the teenager that Fascism subjected to the cruellest brutalities of Reich's camps without any reason.
Enrico Agostoni - Born in Cinisello Balsamo on 5th October 1913, he lived in Monza, via Marco Polo 6 and worked as mechanic. He was arrested for political reasons on 21st October 1943 and transferred to S. Vittore prison in Milan on 25th October. He was deported to Fossoli transit camp on 27th April and on 21st June he joined the group of deportees leaving for Mauthausen where he arrived on 24th June 1944. On 7th July he started working in Eisenwerke Oberdonau in Linz, in Austria, one of the biggest foundries in Reich and in Europe. This factory was part of Reichswerke Hermann Göring AG, the national industrial plant that manufactured steel and iron under the direct supervision of Hermann Göring, the economy plenipotentiary head. The steel manufactured in Linz was transported to other satellite camps, in particular to S. Valentin, where the deportees worked like slaves and built tanks for the Wehrmacht. Enrico Agostoni survived to starvation and was freed on 5th May 1945. He stayed in Germany till 25th June and then he came back to Italy.
Libero Casarini - Born in Colico, in the province of Como at that time and nowadays in the province of Lecco, on 8th March 1912, he lived in Monza with his wife and his little son. He worked as decorator. He was an anti-fascist who had tight connections with the working class of Monza. He was arrested in Monza probably at the beginning of 1944, since he was deported on 4th March 1944, after being imprisoned in S. Vittore in Milan for an uncertain period of time. On 13th March, when he arrived at the camp, he was registered under number 57562, classed as schutz and declared he was a painter. He was transferred to Ebensee camp where he died on 28th January 1945. Libero Casarini was buried in Ebensee Friedhof cemetery in the mass grave of the camp.
Ambrogio Avvoi - Born in Lissone on 12th April 1894, he lived in Monza, via Carlo Alberto 2. He was married with Alessandrina Dassi and worked as ebony carpenter. He was Communist and Siro Riboldi in his book "Un triangolo di stoffa" describes him as:
A revolutionary of the very beginning, a strenuous opponent, man of action, he was always ready to face and solve any situation by force.
He was arrested in Monza due to his anti-fascist opposition in the first days of March 1944 and he was taken firstly to Monza prison. On 20th March he was transferred to Milan prison where he stayed for two months and a half. His departure report as a worker for Germany states his real condition that was "Civil internee/Arrested by German SS". On 9th June 1944 he was transferred to Fossoli camp with other deportees. When Bolzano camp became the main concentration camp in Italy, he was transferred there and he was registered under number 1585. Avvoi was one of the deportees who in Vipiteno fled from the wagon that had left Bolzano for Flossenbürg on 14th December 1944. Silvio Mandelli too was one of this group of deportees. Unfortunately, their escape ended in Bressanone when they were seized and, after some days in the local prison, they were locked up in the punitive block "Celle". Registries show an imprisonment period from 16th to 19th January for Mandelli and an imprisonment period from 16th to 19th December for Avvoi. Therefore, there might be a transcription mistake, even though it is sure that the anti-fascist deportee and Silvio Mandelli were loaded on another freight train that left Bolzano on 19th January 1945 and arrived at Flossenbürg on 23rd January.
He was registered under number 43841 and classed as politisch. Both Avvoi and Mandelli were subjected to the "special treatment" for fugitives. Ambrogio Avvoi, probably because of this special treatment, died in Flossenbürg on 8th March 1945, after one month from his arrival in the death camp.
Primo Campana - Born in Bondeno, in the province of Ferrara, on 1st January 1882, he lived in Monza, via D'Azeglio 2. He was married with Maria Banzi and they had five children. Two of their children were Almo Campana (please refer to the chapter "Partisans in factories") and Ivano, who was an active anti-fascist but avoided being captured. Primo Campana retired after working as a baker for a long time; in Bolzano camp he declared he was a guardian, while in Mauthausen camp he declared he was a blacksmith. Primo Campana was arrested at home on 4th April 1944; on his departure report he was mentioned as a worker to be sent to Germany and next to his personal data a remark reveals that he was a "deportee for political reasons". The phases of his arrest are the same as his son Almo's and they were arrested together. The steps of his deportation correspond to the sequence of many other deportees from Brianza, as he was firstly taken to Monza prison and then to S. Vittore prison in Milan. On 9th June 1944 he joined the group of anti-fascists from Monza who were locked up in Fossoli camp. Two of his letters, the former to his son Ivano and the latter to his wife Maria, testify his life in Fossoli durchgangslager. Both letters contain his personal words to his family, but two facts are to be considered: the former is that he states that his son Almo was with him for a certain period of time and he supported to his father and sustained him. Then, when Almo left for Mauthausen on 21st June, his father did not receive news about him. The other fact to be considered is the date of the latter letter, 19th July, that is seven days after the massacre of Fossoli; Primo Campana wrote nothing about it, probably because German censorship worked perfectly. Another letter is available and it is written by Ivano Campana to his father. Ivano gives news of his brother Almo who was in Germany; the stamp from Monza is dated 16th August, but this letter was returned without any reason. However, we can figure the reason why it was returned: on 22nd July Primo was transferred to Bolzano camp, where on 5th August he was deported to Mauthausen camp where he arrived on 7th August. He was classed as schutz and he was registered under number 82302.
The sixty-two-year-old man survived to the starvation in the camp, but he died in the sanitatslager of Mauthausen camp on 9th April 1945, less than one month before the Allies freed the camp.
Federico Gaviraghi - Born in Monza on 1st January 1903, he lived in Monza, via Donizzetti 496. He was married with Assunta Oggioni and they had four children, who were respectively 15, 12, 10 and 8 years old. On 10th July 1944 Federico Gaviraghi was arrested in Monza and transferred to the local prison. On 2nd August he entered S. Vittore prison in Milan and the entry registry specifies that he was arrested due to some "investigations by the political police". He was registered under number 4871 and as a leather dyer. On 31st August he was transferred to the German division of the prison. On 7th September he was sent to Bolzano transit camp and the registry of this camp states that the deportee declared to be a farmer.
On 5th October he was deported to Germany by a wagon leaving for Dachau where he arrived on 9th October. In Dachau camp, Federico Gaviraghi was registered under number 113356, was classed as schutz and after a short period of time he was transferred to Ueberlingen satellite camp where he died for starvation and above all under torture on 26th November 1944. His body was cremated in the crematorium of Costanza on 1st December and his ashes were put in the cinerary urn no. 119/1520 that was returned to his family on 24th September 1948. His death certificate is available at the Office of the Civil Status of Ueberlingen.
Giovanni Bonacina - Born in Monza on 27th September 1885, he was deported to Bolzano camp on 5th September 1944. He was registered under number 21457 in Flossenbürg camp. He died in Flossenbürg camp on 9th January 1945.
Giuseppe Vismara - Born in Triuggio on 22nd January 1909, he lived in Monza. He was bachelor. His family had been strongly anti-fascist since the very beginning and was totally involved in Resistance. His sister Maria, worker for Breda, became the dispatch rider for the partisan groups on the mountains and then for the 108th Garibaldi patriotic action squad (Italian: S.A.P.). Giuseppe took part to the strikes of March 1944 in the factory where he worked, that was Hensenberger in Monza; he was arrested on 1st March with Valentino Rivolta and both of them were accused of sabotage. Vismara was accused of cutting the current to the factory at the beginning of the strike. He was arrested at home in the afternoon of 1st March and taken to Villa Reale and then to Monza prison7. After a short stay in S. Vittore prison in Milan, he was loaded on the wagon of 4th March and arrived with Rivolta on 13th March to Mauthausen camp after staying ten days in Reichenau. He was registered under number 57636, classed as schutz, he was firstly transferred to Wien Schwechat and then, on 13th July, in the satellite camp of Wien Floridsdorf and then back to Mauthausen camp on 2nd September 1944. Giuseppe Vismara died in the main camp on 30th October 1944 at 7.15am, according to the report by the International Research Service of Arolsen (Italian: S.I.R., Servizio Internazionale Ricerche).
Luigi Sirtori - Born in Monza on 8th October 1911, he lived in Monza, via Bezzecca 2. He was married with Enrica Mandelli and worked as blacksmith in Breda's section II. He was arrested at home at night on 3rd March and was taken to S. Vittore prison in Milan. Luigi Sirtori's false report for forced workers states that he was "deported by German SS". After one month in Milan prison, he added to the group of deportees sent to Mauthausen camp on 6th April by a wagon that in Milan joined some other wagons coming from Bergamo and Fossoli. The train arrived at the Austrian camp on 8th April and Sirtori was registered under number 61754, was classed as schutz, before leaving for Linz 3 and being sent back to Mauthausen camp and then being taken to Ebensee, where he died for starvation on 19th February 1945. It seems that Luigi Sirtori was buried in Ebensee Friedhof cemetery where the mortal remains of the deceased deportees were transferred from the mass grave of Ebensee camp.
Agostino Mantica - He was born on 1st January 1913 in Monza, where he lived. He worked as mechanical worker in Innocenti. His vicissitudes after his arrest are the same as the events that stroke the other deportees. Agostino Mantica was registered under number 58962, classed as schutz, transferred to Gusen camp on an uncertain date and sent back to the main camp of Mauthausen on 28th April 1944. On 26th July 1944 he was sent to Linz III satellite camp, along river Danube in Upper Austria, that had been opened on 22nd May 1944. In this camp, that was the third nebenlager (secondary camp) in Linz, the deportees were used to manufacture steel in Stahlbau factory, to assembly the notorious tanks "Tiger" and to build the steel factory. On 25th and 26th July some terrible bombing attacks destroyed the plants of Linz I and II and it took so many days to the deportees of Linz I and Linz II together with the deportees of Linz III to remove the rubble. Mantica died on 2nd August 1944, few days after being transferred to Linz camp; the report about Agostino Mantica made by the International Research Service of Arolsen (Italian: S.I.R., Servizio Internazionale Ricerche) declares that he died from the wounds caused by a bombing attack. Even though the death causes mentioned by this kind of reports are rarely real, in this case the cause can be real, considering the heavy bombing attacks by the Allies that stroke the steel plants in Linz.
Angelo Beretta - Born in Monza, on 7th October 1923, he lived in Monza, via S.Rocco 11. He was bachelor, his family was anti-fascist and he worked as turner in Falck Unione Oman. In Mauthausen camp he was registered under number 58708; after being quarantined, on 24th March he was transferred to Gusen camp, where he stayed till 16th April when he was transferred to Wien Schwechat. Finally he was transferred to Wien-Hinterbrühl; on 31st March the SS injected his heart with petrol or gassed him as he did not appear healthy enough to survive to the evacuation march from Hinterbrühl camp to Florisdorf camp.
Giuseppe Casati - Born in Monza on 13th July 1912, he lived in Monza, via Sempione 38; he was married and had one child. He worked as repair worker in Breda's section V. In Mauthausen he was registered under number 58780. Firstly, he was transferred to Gusen camp and then back to the main camp on 14th April 1944. Then, he was sent to a satellite kommando of Linz III and then, again to Mauthausen camp on 30th November 1944 and to Steyr Münicholz camp on 9th December. Giuseppe Casati died in this satellite camp on 25th January 1945.
Mario Certa - Born in Verona on 23rd February 1889, he lived in Monza, via Metastasio 3, with his wife Luigia De Mori. Their son was 24 and their daughter 19. He worked as workman in the forge section of Falck. The daughter of another deportee, Angelo Zampieri, told he was a tall man, the remarks in S. Vittore registry states he was 1.82m tall. Probably he was a pensioner and he was arrested because one evening in a tavern, he was almost drunk and was strongly criticizing Mussolini. He was sent to Mauthausen camp, where he was registered under number 58791, and then to Gusen camp, where he was used to dig the tunnels where the German war factories should have been built. A terrible job and the kapos were particularly cruel; Certa's physical conditions probably became terrible because on 29th December 1944 he died in Hartheim Castle, where ill and invalid deportees were sent to be killed.
Giulio Frangini - Born in Monza on 20th May 1896, he lived in Monza, Berchet 5, and was married with Ester Tatto. He had been working as specialised turner in Breda's section V since 2nd February 1942. On 10th July 1942, he was dismissed because he was often singing subversive songs, he was arrested and on 25th August he was sentenced to two years of internment with the following reason: "he sings Bandiera Rossa while he is working". On 4th November he was released and his sentence was suspended. When the fascist regime fell, on 12th August 1943 Breda employed him again, but he was unpopular with Breda management due to his anti-fascist past and on 15th January 1943 he was downgraded to unskilled worker. His arrest after the strike of March 1943 was inevitable. In S. Vittore prison in Milan he was registered under number 1873. The foundation "post-war assistance departments" of Milan National Archives contains two departure reports for Frangini that mentions he was a regular worker to be sent to Germany, while in reality he was arrested and deported; the former report states that he was recruited by the Employment Agency of Milan, while the latter report states that he was recruited by the Employment Agency of Bergamo. Angelo Signorelli in his book of memories gives a particular anecdote about Giulio Fragini during the deportation to Mauthausen camp:
On the second day, Frangini, from Monza, an anti-fascist who had already been arrested and interned for political reason, had just relieved himself and wrapped his business in a sheet of paper, as we had agreed. The train was in a small railway station in Veneto and Frangini, after looking outside from the small window, saw a Fascist in uniform near the track: Frangini hit him and I looked outside and I saw the Fascist crying and running after the train. All deportees started laughing and enjoyed that moment.
This was Frangini's last revenge against Fascists he had always detested. From Mauthausen camp, where he was registered under number 58870, he was transferred to Gusen camp and it was in this big satellite camp that Giulio Frangini died on 24th February 1945.
Ettore Galimberti - Born in Monza on 1st June 1913, he lived in Monza, via Carlo Rota 70, with his family, consisting of his wife Angelina Scotti and their two-year-old son. He worked as specialised crane worker at Falck Vittoria. Galimberti was strongly Communist and right after the creation of the Nazi-Fascist regime, he chose to take part to the armed resistance. Another partisan from Monza who took part to some actions with Ettore Galimberti declared:
Another action I remember is when we carried of some arms that were hidden in a cart drawn by a horse which that night took fright and there was no way to move it and so we were in danger as some Fascist or German patrols could discover us. When we arrived to Caponago, near the motorway, a group of partisans was waiting for us and they rapidly withdrew the arms. I was with a brave partisan from Monza, whose name was Ettore Galimberti, who worked in Sesto S. Giovanni and who got in touch with this group of partisans from Caponago. Some months later he was arrested and deported to Mauthausen camp.
After this action, Galimberti was arrested, questioned and beaten up in Villa Reale by Fascist Luigi Ratti at the end of 1943. The foundation "post-war assistance departments" of Milan National Archives contains his departure report stating he was a worker sent to Germany and the date of departure, 12th March 1944, that in reality is the date of his arrest, while the remark "available for German SS" clarifies that he was deported, as SS did not deal with forced workers. He was deported to Mauthausen camp where he was registered under number 58883 and after a short period of time he was sent to Gusen camp.
Ettore Galimberti, just like Giulio Frangini, can be considered as one of the most charismatic deportees of that deportation train, one of the most skilled in the struggle against anti-Fascism and one of the most unselfish. Angelo Signorelli declared that in Gusen camp:
Death was always with us, I was so frightened and discouraged. One evening, I was talking with other deportees about what was going on. We were all discouraged and incredulous, but Ettore Galimberti was always there, encouraging us and telling us to bear up and to endure all conditions, because we would have soon been freed and come back home. I tried to bear up with this hope.
In Gusen camp Galimberti worked in the war factories where the deportees of the camp were used, in Steyr factory in particular; a very heavy task, as one week deportees had day shifts of twelve hours and the following week they had night shifts of twelve hours; they could not rest and were beaten up by kapos. Signorelli tells about Galimberti's moral courage:
During the night shift at Steyr at midnight deportees received a ration of barley soup, after the ration at the camp, and from time to time, on Sunday, a slice of boiled meat. Sometimes Ettore gave his slice of boiled meat to me and to Galbani, because he knew that we never received it, and said: "Eat it, you are young". He was hungry, but he chose to give us his slice of meat: he was extraordinary and so unselfish. He had been unselfish for all his life.
However, due to the atrocities of the death camp, even the strongest man can give in and one evening it was seventeen-year-old Signorelli who tried to encourage the other deportee:
One evening I went to meet Galimberti and that was the first time that I found him very sad and discouraged. He said: "We will die, nobody will go back home. They cannot let us live because we will tell all the atrocities that Nazis are doing". He told me who had recently died, such as Maino Isidoro from Monza. He had no strength left and was exhausted. I tried to shake him out of his torpor and I told me: "How is it that now you are giving in? You have always encouraged us all, I always come to see you because then I feel better and now you are giving in. We are still alive and you can hear the distant thunder of cannonades. So we must bear up till we will be freed and come back to our families". After a while, he looked at me, woke up, hug me and said: "I'm really fool, you are right: we must bear up".
Signorelli and Galimberti will survive. On 5th May 1945 the Allies freed Gusen camp and Galimberti reached Linz on his own looking for help to go back home. He was one of the few strikers arrested during the raid of 12th March 1944 who survived to deportation.
Isidoro Maino - Born in Monza on 8th July 1905, he lived in Monza, via Casati 98, with his wife Isabella Merlini and their ten-year-old son. He worked as mechanical turner in Falck Unione Oman. He had been anti-fascist since the very beginning and always rejected to join the Fascist party. He was involved in the underground political activity inside the factory. He carried the propaganda leaflets in Falck and from Falck and hid them in his bicycle frame. The foundation "post-war assistance departments" of Milan National Archives contains his departure report, enclosed to an assistance request from his family and showing the remark "...arrested for safety reasons on 11th March 1944".
In Mauthausen camp he was registered under number 58953 and shared the bunk bed of quarantine hut 16 with Ettore Galimberti and Angelo Signorelli. On 24th March he was transferred to Gusen camp with most of the workers deported from Monza and Sesto S. Giovanni. In the big satellite camp he worked with Galimberti in Steyr factories, in particular in section II, where he was in charge of turning rifle barrels. Isidoro Maino died for starvation in Gusen camp on 12th April 1945.
Pietro Massari - Born in Monza on 29th September 1906, he lived in Monza, via Col di Lana 17. He was married with Maria Vailati and they had a three-year-old son; another child was born after that Pietro Massari left for Germany in June 1943. He worked as unskilled worker in Breda's section II. He was registered under number 58974 in Mauthausen camp, he was transferred to Gusen camp, he came back to the main camp in Mauthausen and finally was transferred to Ebensee camp. According to several sources, Pietro Massari died on 15th December 1944, even though the Mauthausen totenbuch states he died on 25th December, probably due to some mistakes in the first figure of the date. However, as the production of fuel from crude oil started in February 1945 in Ebensee, we can argue that he was used as slave either to dig the tunnels where the intercontinental missiles manufacturing plants were put or in the tank and lorry motors manufacturing plants, that were Steyr-Daimler-Puch and Nibelungenwerke that were put in those tunnels.
Luigi Montrasio - Born in Monza on 23rd March 1909, he lived in Monza, via Marco d'Agrate 21, with his wife Adele Moltrasi, their son and their daughter who were seven-year-old five-year-old respectively when he was arrested. Luigi Montrasio worked as foundry pattern maker in Caprotti Aeronautica; he was arrested by mistake, since the soldiers were looking for another Luigi Montrasio who lived one thousand metres far from there and who worked in Breda. His son recalls some moments of his arrest:
My father had just come back home from work, it was late in the evening, about 9pm as he worked in Milan and used to go there by bicycle. Four Fascist soldiers came at our door, led by a young and cruel German SS. They had the details of the other Montrasio, whose family was different from ours. My father contested and tried to underline that his father's name was Gerardo, and not the other name they were saying. The SS soldier did not care at all. He had to arrest a Luigi Montrasio and a Luigi Montrasio had to go with him. I started crying and clang to my father's legs and I almost blocked him. The representative of the chosen race gave me a strong kick and I run and hid under the table. I was seven years old. That was the last time I saw my father.
He was deported to Mauthausen camp where he was registered under number 59001. On 24th March he was transferred to Gusen camp, in particular to Gusen II that had been opened on 9th March 1944 to supply deportees to the tunnels in St. Georgen, one of the biggest underground systems planned by Nazis for the construction of industrial plants for war production, B8-Bergkristall-Esche 2 that started operating at the end of 1944. Every day deportees were packed on freight trains, kicked and oppressed in the construction sites. The working conditions were terrible and Gusen II was called "the hell of the hells"; on an average, the deportees working to the construction of Bergkristall survived for four months and Montrasio was no exception. Luigi Montrasio died very soon, on 19th May 1944.
Giancarlo Moretti - Born in Monza on 4th February 1926, he was bachelor and lived in Monza, via Aguilhon 10. He worked as repair worker in Falck Concordia Bulloneria. He was deported to Mauthausen camp, where he was registered under number 59003, and, like the other deportees, he was sent to Gusen camp on 24th March. From the registries in Gusen camp, it seems that he was sent to revier, but on 20th May he started working at Steyr. This young deportee was one of the few workers who survived to the terrible conditions of Gusen camp. He came back to Monza on 26th June 1945.
Angelo Pezzan - Born in Lendinara, in the province of Rovigo, on 28th July 1911, he was married with Adriana Marelli and he lived in Monza, via Casati 18, with her, his stepdaughter and their elder daughter, who respectively were twelve and three years old, and their younger daughter, who was a little baby when he was arrested. Pezzan worked as specialised worker in Falck Unione. His false departure report for forced worker states he was deported by the German SS and the date of his departure corresponds to the date of his arrest, like the departure reports of all deportees. He was deported to Mauthausen camp, where he was registered under number 59059 and he was sent to Gusen camp together with the other strikers of 24th March. He died for starvation on 9th April 1945.
Giovanni Poli - Born on 31st December 1903 in Civo, in the province of Sondrio, he lived in Monza, via Giovanni dalle Bande Nere 210. He was married with Maria Motta and their family consisted of five children, four sons and a daughter, who were 17, 13, 11, 7 respectively when he was arrested and a little baby. Poli worked as worker in Falck Unione, where he took part to the strike of March 1943. For this reason he was tried on 26th June of the same year in Milan Court. He was accused of "jeopardizing the working activities and stopping the working activities for some minutes on 29th March". His departure report for forced workers features the usual remark that he was available for the German SS, that means that he was deported. In Mauthausen camp, he was registered under number 59068. On 24th March he was transferred to Gusen camp and he had the misfortune of being sent to Gusen II camp, that was the most terrible of the three satellite camps. This satellite camp was a real extermination camp, Poli died very soon, namely on 16th June 1944, and he was cremated in Gusen I on the following day.
Giuseppe Radaelli - Born in Monza on 5th March 1905, he lived in Monza, via Ariosto 1. He was married with Emma Casiraghi and they had two children who were five and two years old when Giuseppe Radaelli was arrested. He worked as crane worker in Breda's section IV. Radaelli had an higher standard of education for that time, but, due to his political ideas against the regime, he could not find a job corresponding to his education level. On the contrary, to maintain his family, he often accepted close shifts and he often ate or slept in the factory. For this reason, he had frequent contacts with the anti-fascist movement in his division which he gave his support to. After he was arrested for the strike of March 1944, he was taken to Bergamo, to Umberto I barracks. As they could not get in touch with their families, many imprisoned workers in those days threw papers from the windows of their cells and some of the people living around the prison picked up these papers and delivered them to the families of the deportees. Two of the messages that Radaelli's wife received are available. In the former Giuseppe wrote:
Please send this paper to Radaelli Emma - via Ariosto 1 - Monza. My dear Emma, I have been declared available to the German SS. Please take care of our children. Ask Bramati to take the medicines at Fondazione R.G. Pompieri 2. I will send you the key of my locker in Breda so that you will take my things home.
Radaelli's wife received the latter paper when the train with the deportees had already left:
I'm in Bergamo at Umberto I barracks. Please see if you can send Luigi here and please give him a suitcase with a piece of soap, some towels and something to eat (money, comb, socks, handkerchiefs, this will be enough). Emma, take care of our children. Arrange to come immediately as we are about to be transferred.
Radaelli's departure report confirms that he was made available to the German SS, with the same remark as the departure reports of all other deported workers. In Mauthausen camp, he was registered under number 59083 and he was transferred to Gusen camp, like the other deported workers. It was this camp again to cause the death of another deportee from Brianza; Giuseppe Radaelli died on 28th December 1944.
Angelo Signorelli - Born in Grumello al Monte, Bergamo province, on 17th August 1926, he lived in Monza, via Bengasi 4, that nowadays is via Sant'Alessandro. He worked as melting modeller in Falck Unione Famo. He was seventeen years old when he was deported, thus the youngest of the group of deported workers. He was number 59141 in Mauthausen camp. He worked to the construction of Gusen II and in the quarry of Gusen I where deportees dug round the clock under any weather condition and no deportee ever survived for more than three months. Signorelli, with other Italians of the same age, was saved by the schreiber of the quarry, the accountant or the secretary of the quarry, who, while he was counting the deportees who were about to start working in the quarry, one morning selected the deportees under eighteen years old and declared that they were too young to work in the quarry. This group of young deportees was used for some gardening around the houses of the SS and of the soldiers of Wehrmarcht in Gusen; the worst enemy was hunger. He was so undernourished that he was stricken by diarrhoea that, generally, led deportees to death almost always. He was sent to the revier and he was lucky enough to totally recover after one week. During his stay in Gusen, he was sent to the infirmary three times totally and he was always lucky enough to stay alive. Then, he was sent to Kartoffelkommando, the group of deportees who unloaded potatoes from freight wagons and store them in the holes that they had just dug; later, he was used for other heavy farming activities. He survived to Nazis and to death camps, but he nearly joined the mass of deportees who died after they were freed due to their terrible health conditions. He stayed unconscious for a long time in a US field hospital; the US doctors saved his life with penicillin.
The book A Gusen il mio nome è diventato un numero (English: In Gusen my name became a number) told the story of his deportation and was published in 1985 by Aned (English: Italian national association of deportees in Nazi camps) of Sesto San Giovanni and Monza. This book also represents the most detailed and touching testimony of the events that stroke him and all the workers from Monza who were arrested on 12th March. This book is available in most of the libraries of Brianza and everybody should read it to become aware of the real meaning of the word "deportation" and how it heavily stroke Brianza.
Giuseppe Signorelli - Born in Grumello al Monte, Bergamo province, on 26th January 1925, he lived with his parents, his brother Angelo, his sister and another brother in Monza, via Bengasi 4, when he was arrested. He was bachelor and worked as mechanical turner in Falck Concordia Bulloneria. In the night of 12th March he was arrested at home together with Angelo, who refused to flee, by a group of Fascists in civilian clothes who had just arrested Angelo Beretta, one of Signorelli's friends and neighbours. Like other deportees of this group, his false departure report shows the same remark: "German SS", the deportee belonged to them36. In Mauthausen camp he was registered with number 59142 and, even though he was with other workers when he was transferred to Gusen camp on 24th March, Giuseppe Signorelli was later transferred five more times. The first led him to Wien Schwechat without his brother who he met again when the camps of Mauthausen system were freed. In this minor camp he worked as turner for the war production. On 26th June 1944 he was sent to Mödling caves where he stayed for ten months; in this place a subterranean lake had been drained with a huge effort for the manufacture of the first He 162 jet fighter Heinkel. On 7th April Hinterbrühl camp, which concentrated the deportees working in Mödling caves, was left as the Allies were approaching and he was sent to Steyr camp and then to Mauthausen camp again. Deportees reached Mauthasen camp from Hinterbrühl camp after another "death march" of those final days of Nazi Reich; Giuseppe was extremely weakened and worn-out when a SS Alsatian dog escorting the column of deportees, sank its fangs into his ankle, causing him a very serious infection. Giuseppe Signorelli reached the main camp with the help of the other deportees who held him up. When the camp was freed, he was healed and saw his brother who had been taken to hospital. His brother did not recognize Giuseppe due to high fever. They met at home, in Monza, with their parents.
Giovanni Sperandio - Born on 3rd March 1920 in Monza, he lived in via Monti e Tognetti 11 and was bachelor. He worked as deliveryman in Falck Unione Oman. His departure report shows the remark "German SS". He was registered with number 59153 in Mauthausen camp. After he was sent to Gusen camp, he was transferred back to Mauthausen on 26th April 1944 and to Ebensee on 24th July. Sperandio survived to starvation in the Austrian camp and to all abuses of SS and kapos; he came back to Italy on 26th July 1945. However, he was sent to hospital for tuberculosis due to the terrible health conditions of Ebensee camp.
Glauco Vilasco - Born in Monza on 2nd November 1925, he lived in via Buonarroti 99. He worked as mechanical worker in Falck Unione Forgia. In Mauthausen camp he was registered with number 59195. After he was transferred to Gusen camp, on 16th April he was sent to Wien Schwechat and then to Wien Floridsdorf and on 8th April 1945 back to Mauthausen camp. Vilasco died on 24th April 1945: between 21st and 24th April SS executed 472 deportees, among them 84 Italian deportees, as a deterrent against a possible rebellion or due to some orders. This was the massacre where the partisan Grazioso Rigamonti died too. The evidence of this slaughter are four lists showing the names of the deportees who were killed. The list of 24th April contains the names of 128 men and the name of Glauco Vilasco is at row 79.
Angelo Zampieri - Born in Guarda Veneta, Rovigo province, on 26th June 1908, he lived in Monza, via Morelli 2, with his wife Francesca Terenghi and their three children who were 12, 9 and 1 years old when he was arrested. He worked in Breda's section V as foreman worker in Taccona division. Zampieri was the reference point for the factory resistance in this division. During the strike of March 1944, he gave the signal to start the rebellion and block the machineries. In the night of 12th March, when he was arrested, he had enough time to hide the list with the names of the people assisted by "Soccorso Rosso" (Red Aid) under the T-shirt of his little son. He was available to the "German SS" like other deportees from Monza who were arrested during those days. He was registered under number 59204 in Mauthausen camp. He stayed in Gusen camp for a short time, on 16th April he was sent to Wien Floridsdorf and on 2nd September he came back to Mauthausen camp, where he died on 1st November 1944.
Ernesto Caglio - Born in Spino d'Adda, Cremona province, on 12th February 1889, he lived in Monza, via San Gottardo 10, with his wife Adele Valtorta; they had a daughter who was thirty years old when Ernesto Caglio was arrested. He worked as mechanical worker in Breda's section I. He had been Communist since the very beginning and was involved in the underground activities of the factory; Eugenio Mascetti, one of his colleagues and head of Resistance in Brianza, mentions him in his book as one of the leaders of the underground party in Breda's section I. Caglio was arrested at home at night. He was transferred to Mauthausen camp where he was registered under number 58758 and then he was sent to Gusen camp; from here on an unknown date to Wien Schwechat and then to Wien Floridsdorf. Probably exhausted and worn-out due to the hard work, malnutrition and starvation, the fifty-five-year-old deportee was sent to the nursing division of the death camp and, like many other deportees, from here he was transferred to Hartheim Castle where he died on 30th September 1944.
Achille Castoldi - Born in Monza on 28th May 1914, he lived in Monza, via Zucchi 12; he was bachelor. He worked as cutter in Breda's section V. He was arrested at home in daylight. After he arrived at Mauthausen camp (number 58785), like many other deportees, he was transferred to Gusen camp on 24th March. Here he was employed in the groups of deportees in charge of discharging and storing potatoes, as Angelo Signorelli tells us. In Gusen camp, Achille Castoldi died on 22nd April 1945 in block 24 that was turned into a gas chamber by SS in one of the last slaughters due to Nazi cruelty.
Italo Fedeli - Born in Monza on 1st November 1915, he was bachelor and lived in Monza, via San Gottardo 45; he was one of Ernesto Caglio's neighbours and probably they were arrested together. Fedeli worked as mechanical worker in Caproni, the aeronautic factory with its headquarters in Taliedo, in Milan district. He was registered in Mauthausen camp with number 58857, he was transferred to Gusen camp and then to Wien Schwechat. The report about Italo Fedeli drawn by the International Research Service of Arolsen (Italian: S.I.R., Servizio Internazionale Ricerche) declares that he died on 26th June 1944 after an air attack that stroke the camp; Schwechat was one of Wien's districts and its airport was the target of several air attacks and one of the heaviest attack was on 26th June when several deportees died.
Giuseppe Ghedini - Born in Zola Pedrosa, Bologna province, on 13th January 1909, he lived in Monza, via Cortelunga 7, where he lived with his wife, and he was arrested at home at night on 14th March. He worked as specialized repair worker in Breda's section I. The historical archives of the factory in Sesto San Giovanni and his departure report show a remark with the clear aim at disguising his deportation: "Dismissed on 6th May 1944 for his sudden departure for Germany". As we know, on that date Giuseppe Ghedini already was in Mauthausen camp (his number was 58902) and few weeks later he was sent to the sanitatslager of the camp and then to Hartheim Castle where he died on 22nd August 1944.
Giacomo Sala - Born in Agrate Brianza, in Cascina Trivulzina, Omate hamlet, on 16th April 1895, he got married in 1926 to Rosa Tranquilla Mauri and in 1936 to Rosa Ghiachi. They lived in Monza, via Bergamo 7, together with their daughter who was four years old when he was arrested. He worked as trimmer in Breda's section I. He was arrested at home at night. In Mauthausen camp he was registered under number 59116 and some time later he was transferred to Gusen camp. He died in Gusen on 1st February 1945.
Carlo Samiolo - Born in Guarda Veneta, Rovigo province, on 7th March 1895, he lived in Monza, via Volta7, with his wife Giuseppina Bergomi and their six children. He had important duties and tasks in Breda and he was appointed as Human Resources Manager in section V. Samiolo was arrested on 8th March 1944 together with Ezio Margotti and Ivan Massini, who worked as engineers in Breda, as these three men refused to disclose the names of the leaders of the strike and for these reasons they were considered as their accomplices. One of his sons, Gianluigi, has left some words about these events:
My father did not belong to any underground party and was a generic anti-Fascist. The section where my father worked was strongly anti-Fascist; Mr Vezzani, the head of the Accounting Dept and my father's immediate superior, was deported to Mauthausen too. However, the head of the section was Mr Vallerani who was sent to Fossoli and Bolzano camps. My father was in charge of 80 employees approximately and I think that one of them, a man who my father trusted, was a betrayer and was responsible for his arrest.
About Carlo Samiolo's arrest, here are the words by his son Giorgio:
A Saturday afternoon, some people came to see my father Carlo and told him that he should go to Breda. My father left home with one of my cousins. That evening at 9pm we heard a car approaching home, it was so dark, the curfew had sounded, the lights of the car had two white strips and only projected a thread of light. Three people got out of the car and pulled our gate to get in. My mother asked who they were and what they were looking for and they answered they were looking for Samiolo. My mother answered that he had been called by Breda in the afternoon. However, they entered our home, looked around, did not touch anything and went away.
He stayed for one month and a half in San Vittore prison in Milan and on 27th April 1944 he was transferred to Fossoli camp. Giorgio Samiolo remembers that when he went to Fossoli camp:
...in front of the camp, a warning sign showed "Do not stop here, danger of shooting without notice". I incidentally stopped there and suddenly they shot a gunshot toward me; I was lucky enough that the gunshot was not accurate.
On 22nd July his father was in the column of deportees who were transferred to the new "transit camp" of Bolzano; here Carlo Samiolo did not stay for long in this camp: on 5th August he was deported to Mauthausen camp, where he arrived on 7th August and was registered under number 82511. He could not bear the terrible conditions of Gusen camp and died on 22nd April 1945. Franco Orsi, a deportee from Milan, witnessed his death:
I'm so sorry to tell you that our dear fellow prisoner was killed in the night between 21st and 22nd April 1945 in Gusen I camp. He worked in the granite quarries for some months and then he was sent to Steyr and finally in March, due to his physical conditions, to block 24 that collected all disabled deportees. On 21st April, he was sent with other 400 deportees of block 24 to the nursing home in block 31 for a sanitary inspection. Some hydrocyanic acid was injected and all the deportees were gassed. In that night and in the following night more than 7500 deportees died in Gusen and Mauthausen camps.
Antonio Duca - Born in Bariano, Bergamo province, on 23rd February 1914, he lived in Monza starting from 1922. When he was arrested he lived in via Lario 393. He was bachelor and worked as turner for Falck Unione. His entry report to San Vittore prison clearly states the name of Questura's department head who took the group to the prison: Lino Pandolfi. Antonio Duca was registered under number 61625 in Mauthausen camp, but on 28th April he was transferred to Gusen camp. He survived to the starvation of this death camp and on 24th June 1945 he came back to Italy.
Luigi Ferrari - Born in Seriate, Bergamo province, on 15th May 1906, his family consisted of his wife Elisa Carminati and their two children. They lived in San Fruttuoso hamlet, via Marelli. He worked as generic worker in Falck Vittoria in Sesto S. Giovanni. He was deported to Mauthausen camp where he was registered under number 61633. On 7th May 1944 he was transferred to Gusen camp where he died on 12th March 1945.
Alessandro Rovelli - Born in Monza on 13th May 1902, he lived in Monza, via Gaetano Casati 281. He was bachelor and worked as turner in Falck Unione Oman. He was deported to Mauthausen camp, was registered under number 61745 and was transferred to Gusen camp after a short period of time. He worked as slave to dig Gusen II tunnels, one of the sites where the mortality rate of the deportees reached a record high. Alessandro Rovelli too died there on 23rd January 1945.
Augusto Sala - Born in Monza on 20th September 1906, he lived in Monza, via Cenisio 12, with his wife Maria Paleari and their two children. He worked as autogenous welder for Falck Vittoria. His departure report, like for all the other deportees, does not mention any personal datum or reference to any employment bureau, but shows the wording "German SS". In Mauthausen camp he was registered under number 61747 and he was not transferred to the satellite camps around Mauthausen, as he was taken to the satellite camps around Flossenbürg, another death camp. Sala was deported on 4th November and arrived at Zschachwitz on 7th November. Here he was registered under number 35537. From the records available in this camp, it seems that he died on 27th April 1945 in an unknown place between Zschachwitz and Flossenbürg, thus probably during a "death march" from the secondary to the main camp. However, another fact should be noted, as in 1966 Prague Radio broadcast a serial report in Italian about Richard project, the underground factory near Leitmeritz designed by Nazis, that later became Litomerice, as this town returned under the Czechoslovakian control. At the end of every episode, the lists drawn by German SS with the names of the Italian deportees employed in the tunnels were read; one of these lists mention Augusto Sala, number 35537, born on 20th September 1906, and Attilio Tinelli from Lesmo.
Ambrogio Tremolada - Born in Pessano con Bornago on 2nd February 1907, he lived in Monza, via Fossati 9, with his wife Maria Pennati and their son who was eight years old when Ambrogio Tremolada was arrested. He worked as crane operator for Falck Unione Acci. His number in Mauthausen camp was 61766. On 26th April 1944 he was transferred to Gusen camp. He died in Gusen II on 22nd February 1945.
Enrico Arosio - Born in Monza on 13th November 1904, where he lived in via Casati 15. He was bachelor and worked as self-employed in the trade sector. He had grown up in a family with Socialist values and after the Nazi-Fascist occupation, his education pushed him to cooperate with the first groups of his same political ideas who opposed to the new occupation and to the collaborationist regime of the Italian Social Republic (Italian: Repubblica Sociale Italian). He acted as base and his warehouse was used to hide arms and ammunition and gave shelter to the first Antifascists failing to report for military service who were often assisted to reach the groups of partisans on the mountains. Enrico Arosio was arrested during the raid of 2nd March after the declarations of a betrayer who infiltrated the Socialist group of Monza, probably an employee of the German headquarters in Monza who had an affair with a member of the group. Enrico Arosio was at his brother's home when he was arrested and his niece Emma Rosa remembers that moment:
My mother was the first to notice when they (the group of Fascists) arrived at the gate of our home and she told my uncle to flee, but he refused and waited for them in the armchair after promptly taking notes and cards off his pockets. We have never seen him again. My mother and my aunt were imprisoned for 40 days in Monza prison when they took with them their baby twins aiming at moving to pity the guards and meeting my uncle. However, the baby twins were taken home and they were arrested.
Enrico Arosio was taken to Villa Reale and questioned. Then he was taken to Monza prison where he remained till 20th March, when he was registered under number 1732 in San Vittore prison in Milan. His cell was no. 50 in the first wing. On 9th June he was taken to Fossoli camp with the group of deportees coming from Milan prison; here he was registered under number 1527. From this transit camp, Arosio wrote a letter to his family dated 2nd July 1944 since he had not received news from them due to a wrong communication that was delivered to his family and told them that he had been transferred to Mantua. A letter from his family had been returned. These are the words in Arosio's letter:
I have not received news from you and I have written you so many times, why? This silence makes me sad. I asked you to send me some food and some bread – my blue shorts, my glasses, my toilet case, a cheque for five thousand Liras and a rucksack where I can put my things. But I have not received anything, no letter from your side. I do not know what I should think. If I think that you have forgotten me, bad visions cross my head. However, I do not insist.....perhaps you are worried, who knows, by many things. I think of you and I hope you are all healthy as I am. Mrs Levi [?] is here and I'm giving her this letter. If you need more information, please ask to Mrs Passerini and please give my regards to Mr Passerini. I send you a big kiss and kisses to the children. Regards to Mrs Grilli Iolanda and Luisa.
On 6th July his family sent him a parcel, but nobody knows if he received it.
Antonio Gambacorti Passerini - Born in Monza on 14th June 1903, he lived in Monza, in the street that nowadays has its same name and directly leads to the town centre. Antonio Gambacorti Passerini worked as professional accountant, owned and worked in a stationery shop. He was Socialist and his anti-Fascist activity had begun before 8th September 1942. Together with other Socialists, he had established a group whose name was "Fronte di azione antifascista" (English: "Anti-Fascist action group") that printed and distributed a small underground newspaper named Pace e Libertà (English: "Pease and Freedom"). On 8th September he protested near Arengario asking people to give their support to the National Guard, while Gianni Citterio, fallen and gold medallist for his support to Resistance, was haranguing people from the town hall.
That day he exposed his ideas publicly with such strength that then he was totally involved in the rising Resistance movement. In addition, local Socialists and future leaders of Matteotti Brigades will later recognize that he was the leader or Monza Resistance. Siro Riboldi in his book states that:
He was our leader, he allowed actions and decisions only after his wise suggestions ... He insisted on reminding us to keep our mouth shut even during the most terrible questioning.
His son Piero as well, supported Fronte della Gioventù (English: Youth Front) and was active in Resistance. Fascists could only notice his fame.
He was arrested and sent to Monza Villa Reale and to prison. He entered San Vittore prison in Milan on 24th May 1944 and was registered under number 2169. A mixed Jewish man, Gilberto Salmoni, remembers him and how he supported everyone in Milan prison:
I remember Passerini well. In San Vittore, he came to see us on the last floor of the Jewish wing. Our cells were open and we could walk in the corridors. Passerini was part of the Committee of National Liberation of the prison. I remember he was always smiling and in a good mood. He encouraged us and brought us something to eat. My sister was pregnant and he gave her some milk and some rice.
On 9th June he was sent to Fossoli camp: Enea Fergnani in his book Un uomo, tre numeri. San Vittore, Fossoli, Mauthausen, seizes the moment when he arrived with the group of political deportees from San Vittore prison:
Some news spread in the camp making the deportees from Milan prison to feel happy and sad at the same time. The last convoy arrived at the camp carried deportees from San Vittore. Many famous names were mentioned: Passerini, Don Liggieri, Piraccini, Bracchetti, De Bartoli... They were closed in a hut, but we could see them through the windows. I ran toward my friends. I jumped on some bricks and I could see the group of new deportees inside the hut. I did not know many of them. I saw Mr Passerini and I called him: "Why are you there? Weren't you released?", I asked. "Yes, I was. But like many others, I was arrested again some days later. They call it temporary release". "Yes, I know. Some days of freedom to shadow you and to follow you. The usual method of this black police. Be careful: here in Fossoli camp, you will have to mistrust some people. Some deportees want to go back home, but without escaping. Can you understand what I mean?".
The night before the slaughter, the group of deportees chosen to be shot was isolated in a hut and was discussing how they could escape from this fate. Passerini, who had always been against violence and extreme decisions, was one of those who tried to calm down the group:
I tried to persuade Passerini and all the others that we had to rebel and try to escape or to die fighting at least. Unfortunately, Passerini calmed everyone down trying to convince us that nobody would have been shot.
Ernesto Messa - Born in Monza on 28th August 1894, he lived in Monza, worked as generic worker, was married and his big family consisted of his wife and their four children. He was transferred from Monza to San Vittore prison in Milan on 24th may 1944; in Milan prison he was registered under number 2168. He was one of the group of deportees imprisoned on 9th June in Fossoli camp, where he was registered under number 1589.
Carlo Prina - Born in Monza on 28th June 1897, he lived in Monza, via Zucchi 19. He was married with Elena Mauri and they had three daughters who were 20, 13 and 11 years old when he was arrested. He was employed by Motta factory, considering a document drawn by Oreste Pennati, lawyer andd wanted, who related one of his dialogues with Davide Guarenti during the excited raid of 2nd March, who told him that "Prina has already been arrested from Motta factory".
Carlo Prina was one of the most active partisan in recruiting young boys who failed to report for military service and to send them to the partisan groups on the mountains. After he was arrested by the Italian National Republican Guard of Monza and imprisoned in Monza, he was sent to San Vittore prison in Milan on 20th March where he was registered under number 1734; he was imprisoned in cell no. 10 of wing no. 1. His departure report for voluntary workers for Germany states the date of 2nd March 1944, like Guarenti's, and confirms the day when he was arrested and the wording "German SS" clarifies he was available to German SS together with its enclosure. It is a copy of a certificate, that was probably delivered to his family, as it ends with the notice: "this document can be used to obtain the allowance". The text states that:
This document certifies that the above-mentioned Italian, born in Monza on 28/6/1897, living in via Zucchi 19, has been arrested on 2/3/44 and currently is in Germany.
On 9th June he was transferred to Fossoli camp. Here he was registered under number 1609 and was sent to hut no. 18 and in July to hut no. 16A. Only a short letter from Carlo Prina to his wife and dated 11th July is available, the day before he was killed. It is clear that Prina, like other deportees, did not believe what others and the interpreter of the camp stated, that they would have been shot:
My darling, my beloved children, it is 7pm and from the roll I have become aware that I am leaving tomorrow early in the morning; we do not know where we are going! I hope that God will help me! Please pray for me! I kiss you all and I always think of you.
A declaration from his daughters gives us further information about the last moments of this anti-Fascist who was almost definitely in the second group of executed deportees. At the end of July Colonel Panceri's wife, one of the executed deportees, showed a piece of cloth to their mother that she had found stuck on the barbed wire around the firing ground in Cibeno. Panceri's wife and Captain Kulczicky's wife were in Fossoli on the day of the slaughter and they were the first to reach the area of the mass grave, right after Germans had left. Mrs Prina recognized that torn cloth as part of his husband's clothes. Carlo Prina took part to the scuffles against the German guards and tried to escape, but the German soldiers shot him and drag him to the mass grave with the others.
Antonio Arosio - Born in Monza on 29th September 1910, he lived in Monza, via Scotto 2 with his wife Delfina Cazzaniga and their 7-year-old son; the prison records state he was a mechanic. He was arrested in Milan on 31st May 1944 and accused of "aggravated fraud and attempted extortion" and on 1st June he entered San Vittore prison in Milan. On 1st July he already was in Germany and worked for Bayer BKK IG Farben in Leverkusen where he remained till 12th October 1944. On 20th October he arrived at Flossenbürg camp, where he was registered under number 29291 and classified as Zivilarbeiter, that means civilian worker. Therefore, Arosio was possibly sent to Germany as forced worker when Italian prisons were emptied to provide Germany with manpower and that he was later deported to Flossenbürg for specific or for disciplinary reasons. In Flossenbürg he was registered as politisch deporteee. On 22nd November he was transferred to Leitmeritz camp where he died on 18th January 1945.
Giorgio Montesini - Born in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 12 March 1910, he lived in Monza, via Spalto Isolino. He was registered under number 31 in the registry of the German wing of San Vittore prison and accused of taking part to the "black market". This registry contains the names of the deportees imprisoned from 3rd March till 21st April 1945 registered under numbers from 1 to 2716. Considering that Montesini's number was low, probably he was imprisoned in March 1944. He was transferred to Bolzano camp on 22nd November and here he was registered as architect and deported to Mauthausen camp on 14th December, where he arrived on 19th of the same month.
He was classified as schutz and registered under number 114040. He survived and was freed from Mauthausen camp on 5th May 1945.
Aglieri Angelo - Born in Monza on 25th December 1914, he was arrested in Milan on 25th May 1914. He worked as journalist for Corriere della Sera. He was deported to Bolzano camp on 5th September 1944 and died on 24th December 1944 in Flossenbürg camp.
Belli Stefano - Born in Monza on 6th January 1922, he lived in Sesto San Giovanni (Milan). He worked as repair worker for Falck Concordia. He was arrested on 28th March 1944 at home after the strike of March 1944. He was deported to Mauthausen camp on 5th April 1944 and he died in Gusen camp on 5th May 1945.
Biraghi Emilio - Born in Monza on 18th November 1895, he worked as pastry cook. He arrived at Dachau camp on 23rd November 1943 and on 11th March 1944 he was transferred to Flossenbürg camp. He died in Gusen camp on 12th December 1944.
Calcinati Ferdinando - Born in Monza on 5th May 1926, he worked as turner for Breda Fucine. He was arrested in Delebio (Sondrio) on 2nd July 1944 after joining the partisan groups in Valtellina. He was deported from Milan on 17th August 1944. He was deported from Bolzano camp to Flossenbürg on 5th September 1944 and then transferred to Kottern satellite camp. He was freed from Dachau camp on 29th April 1945.
Cerizza Carlo Giuseppe - Born in Monza on 19th September 1920, he worked as turner for Breda Aeronautica. He was arrested in Genoa on 25th July 1944 and deported from Milan on 17th August 1944. On 5th September 1944 he was deported from Bolzano camp to Flossenbürg. He was freed from Dachau camp.
Colombo Gerolamo - Born in Monza on 21st September 1912, he lived in Sesto San Giovanni (Milan), was married with Antonia Martinini and had a son. He worked as coating worker for Breda 5. He was arrested on 14th March 1944 after the strikes of that month. He died in Gusen camp on 21st January 1945.
Colombo Mario - Born in Monza on 9th May 1925, he was a partisan. He survived to Monte San Martino battle and hid at home in Baggio hamlet, Milan. He was betrayed by one of his friend, was arrested and deported to Ebensee camp; he died in Ebensee camp on 17th May 1945.
Pozzi Alessandro - Born in Monza on 21st April 1910, he lived in Monza, Via Spalto Isolino. He had already been condemned for his Communist ideas and deported. He was married with Donzelli Rosa and had 2 children. He worked as mechanic for Isotta Fraschini. He belonged to 55th "Roselli" action squad and was arrested in Val Taleggio, near Bergamo. He was tortured in Barzio by Maggiore Gatti and sent to Bergamo. He was registered in San Vittore prison on 28th November 1944, in Bolzano camp on 16th January 1945 and was deported from Bolzano camp to Mauthausen camp on 1st February 1945. He died in Gusen camp on 4th April 1945.
Radaelli Carlo - Born in Monza on 16th March 1923, he worked as toolmaker. He was arrested in June 1944 in Val Taleggio, near Bergamo, and he was a partisan of 55th Rosselli Brigade. On 5th July 1944 he was sent to San Vittore prison in Milan and on 17th August 1944 he was deported from Milan. On 5th September 1944 he was deported from Bolzano to Flossenbürg camp. He died on 21st April 1945 in Stamsried. He is buried in the Italian cemetery in Munich, grave R6-F7-T31.
Rosa Dante - Born in Monza on 11th February 1912, she lived in Sesto San Giovanni (Milan). She was arrested on 14th March 1944 at home after she had taken part to the strikes. She worked as electrician for Pirelli. She died in Mauthausen camp on 26th March 1945.
Rossi Guelfo - Born in Monza on 3rd October 1926, he lived in Monza, via Amati 12. He worked as mechanical worker for Breda 5. He was arrested in Sondrio on 2nd October 1944. He was sent to San Vittore prison in Milan on 11th December 1944. He was deported from Milan on 21st December 1944. On 1st February 1945 he was deported from Bolzano camp to Mauthausen camp. He died in Gusen on 20th April 1945.
Tronci Ermanno - Born in Milan on 20th November 1909, he lived in Monza. He was Tank Corps officer. On 31st July 1944 he was arrested in Milan. He cooperated with Luciano Elmo, a liberal anti-Fascist lawyer, and he was arrested at Elmo's home. He was deported from Milan on 7th September 1944. On 5th October 1944 he was deported from Bolzano to Dachau camp. He died in Muldhof on 1st April 1945.
Alessandro Colombo - Born in Pitigliano, Grosseto province, on 17th December 1875, we have already talked about him as he lived in Monza for a long time, was Jewish and was counted in the census for 1938. Together with his wife Ilda, he moved to Milan after 8th September, as he thought that in Milan nobody knew he was Jewish. On 6th November 1943, he came back home in Monza to collect some personal belongings; one of his neighbours noticed him and reported him to Carabinieri who promptly arrested him, thus before the ordinance of 30th November. He was taken to Monza prison and then to San Vittore prison in Milan. Colombo, together with his wife, was the first Jewish deported from Brianza, since he was part of the first convoy to Auschwitz that left Milan on 6th December 1943. One of the very few survivors of that convoy told that when the group was ready to leave the prison in the morning on that day, the German guards delivered a reassuring speech and told the deportees that they were about to be transferred to Germany to be employed there and that they could bring their suitcases with them. However, the guards also said that it would have been safer for the deportees if they did not try to escape because ten deportees would have been shot for every fugitive. The group of Jewish deportees was loaded on lorries and taken to Stazione Centrale (Milan central railway station). The train arrived at Auschwitz on 11th December 1943, after a terrifying journey as the deportees were pressed one next to the other, with nothing to drink and very little to eat and winter in Eastern Europe was so cold. The deportees were discharged savagely from the convoys, the Jewish deportees from Italy were selected according to their working capabilities and only a definite number of deportees were selected for the requirements of the camp. Alessandro Colombo, the exemplary Italian citizen with lots of recognized merits, was discarded and gassed directly.
Ilda Zamorani - Born in Ferrara on 12th March 1880, she was Alessandro Colombo's wife. This woman refused to go on living without the man who she had spent all his life with. Therefore, she spontaneously handed herself to San Vittore prison, when she became aware that her husband was imprisoned there. She followed him to deportation with the same convoy of 6th December 1943 and she died in the same gas chamber in Auschwitz on 11th December, right after arriving at the camp.
Giorgio Levi - Born in Modena on 28th September 1898, he lived in Monza with his wife and their two children during the census of 1938. He was arrested on 4th December 1943 in Monza and transferred to San Vittore prison in Milan on the same day. On 18th December he was sent to the German section of the prison. He stayed in Fossoli camp for a long time, perhaps because he was married with an Arian woman. Finally, he was deported with other Jewish married to Arians and evacuated from Fossoli camp to be loaded in Verona on the train that arrived at Auschwitz camp on 6th August 1944. Giorgio Levi was selected, but he died after 18th January 1945 during an evacuation march from Auschwitz.
Enzo Namias - Born in Monticelli d'Ongina, Piacenza province, on 3rd August 1902, Italian nationality, he lived in Milan, via Gran Sasso 5, and worked as employee. He was arrested in Monza on 16th April 1944 and imprisoned in San Vittorre, Milan. On 14th May he was sent to Fossoli camp.
He was deported from Fossoli camp on 16th May 1944 and on 23rd May he arrived at Auschwitz together with other 581 Jewish deportees, packed in livestock vans; the convoy took a very long time from Fossoli to Auschwitz. Enzo Namias probably passed the selection, since his death can be traced after 16th October 1944 in an unknown place.
Dorotea Pisetzky - Born in Milan on 1st January 1892, she was married with architect Fausto Dario Luzzati, a disabled Infantry captain who had been awarded a medal for military valour in the First World War. Forty days after their wedding, she was left a widow. Her son Dario was born eight months later, on 23rd June 1919. When the racial laws were enforced, Dario left Italy for France, where he took a degree in agriculture and on 25th December 1942 he joined the Foreign Legion and fought in the "1st Cavalry Regiment of the Foreign Legion, Morocco troops, Fez division". Dorotea Pisetzky lived in Milan, piazza Castello 19 and belonged to the Israeli Community of Milan; she had obtained the discrimination label according to the racial laws. Even though she was 52 year old only, she had had serious health problems for a long time and this is why she lived with her brother Ruggero and had a resident maid who helped and assisted her. When her health conditions worsened, she was admitted to Villa dei Tigli nursing home, in Monza, via Amati 111. Here she was arrested on 5th February 1945 by the SS stationing in Monza and she was imprisoned in San Vittore, Milan and then transferred to Bolzano.
Like Elda Gutenberg, Dorotea Pisetzky was isolated in the punishment cells where she died on 28th March 1945 because of the tortures she underwent. After the end of the war, her body was exhumed and buried in Cimitero Monumentale in Milano in the Israeli section.