Partisan Diary: A Woman's Life in the Italian Resistance
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Ada Gobetti's Partisan Diary is both diary and memoir. From the German entry into Turin on 10 September 1943 to the liberation of the city on 28 April 1945, Gobetti recorded an almost daily account of events, sentiments, and personalities, in a cryptic English only she could understand. Italian senator and philosopher Benedetto Croce encouraged Ada to convert her notes into a book. Published by the Italian publisher Giulio Einaudi in 1956, it won the Premio Prato, an annual prize for a work inspired by the Italian Resistance (Resistenza). From a political and military point of view, the Partisan Diary provides firsthand knowledge of how the partisans in Piedmont fought, what obstacles they encountered, and who joined the struggle against the Nazis and the Fascists. The mountainous terrain and long winters of the Alpine regions (the site of many of their battles) and the ever-present threat of reprisals by German occupiers and their fascist partners exacerbated problems of organization among the various partisan groups. So arduous was their fight, that key military events--Italy's declaration of war on Germany, the fall of Rome, and the Allied landings on D-Day --appear in the diary as remote and almost unrelated incidents. Ada Gobetti writes of the heartbreak of mothers who lost their sons or watched them leave on dangerous missions of sabotage, relating it to worries about her own son Paolo. She reflects on the relationship between anti-fascist thought of the 1920s, in particular the ideas of her husband, Piero Gobetti, and the Italian resistance movement (Resistenza) in which she and her son were participating. While the Resistenza represented a culmination of more than twenty years of anti-fascist activity for Ada, it also helped illuminate the exceptional talents, needs, and rights of Italian women, more than one hundred thousand of whom participated.
at Croce’s house. As a gift, he had brought him his book, La Mignona, which narrates a medieval legend about San Giorio in particular. Why had I not thought of this before? And yet the pole that had been knocked down in front of the old fortress should have made me aware of it. This evening, when I arrived, Paolo was not there. Somewhat anxiously I waited for him on the terrace, under a sky full of incredible stars. He arrived at 8:00 p.m., saying that he had been to the Assietta. I did not
I did not even have the strength to jot down my usual remarks. But the same anguish engraved every detail in my memory, and on my nerves. That is why it is possible for me today, at a distance of more than four years, when I think about those days again, to relive them hour-by-hour. I remember perfectly that, during the morning of 17 November—it was a Wednesday—while leaving for Turin, when I said goodbye to Paolo I felt like I was being physically torn apart. I was able to get control of myself
distrustful. I could not blame them, thinking of the reaction I had the first time they talked to me about such matters. Intelligent and learned women, who had exceptional education and experience, have difficulty understanding the instinctive solidarity of ordinary women, as women and as mothers. Yet I thought that I could foster the idea of liberation among the women, based precisely upon this solidarity and upon this consciousness of their strength and their power, which was just barely
she was a prostitute because she was asking for money. Both Vittorio Foa and Franco Momigliano were Italian Jews, so their situation was especially precarious. 12 Pinella Bianco, Dante Livio Bianco’s wife, was a partisan the I Alpine GL Division. 13 The Nuove was Turin’s main prison from 1870 to 1986. 10 11 112 Pa rtisa n Di a ry Tonight, coming to Meana, I ran into Paolo, who had left Bussoleno, after having accompanied a team to the Cervetto (the Winchester Team), which had parachuted from
incorporation of the division, saving what was important, ceding on the secondary points, and leaving the beloved name of “Stellina” on the formation. The meeting took place at Braida. There is another base, higher up, at the hamlet of Micoletto, and another, even higher up, at Mompantero Vecchio, a short distance from the Colle della Croce di Ferro. I was able to appreciate the organization, which is fundamentally good, quite a bit better than the other day, when I had arrived in passing. Here