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Codigoro is liberated a few days before April 25.

On April 22 the Germans before leaving the town take some hostages and town blow up the stone and iron bridge on the Po di Volano to hinder the Allied troops progress.

A van coming from the shipyard of Codigoro and full of soldiers of the Cremona Brigade, assigned to the English troops, is attacked with machine-guns but they strike back making the last diehard Germans flee away. The war is over but during the long months of agony of the dictatorship the prisons of Codigoro are full of anti-fascists and other people suspected to be involved in the Resistance. In spite of their apparently harmless name, recalling pheasants, in the “fasanare”, the local prison, people are brutally tortured. The partisan commander Walter Feggi, knows them far too well. Others do not survive, like Ludovico Ticchioni, student at the “Ariosto” high school in Ferrara and Gino Villa from Migliaro, are deceitfully killed on the main square.

Many partisans are locked up in the “fasanare”, located between the town hall and a nearby building (where today there is the Theatre Café); the cells were overcrowded, from November 27, 1944,  until March 23, 1945 368 people are imprisoned.

The young student Ludovico Ticchioni, born in Mestre (Venezia) on April 16, 1927, is imprisoned in Cell n°2. He joined the Ferrara based 35 Brigade “Bruno Rizzieri” on August 30, 1944, an he remains there until the beginning of December when one night he reaches Ponte Gigliolil, close to Serravalle, to see his mother and his sisters hiding since February 1944 in the Giglioli Count villa. On that occasion the passionate and fervent “Tredicino” – his fight nickname - who had already joined several partisan actions, writes on his diary on December 8, Life as a partisan is hard, very hard, and if I did not have the deep faith that we have it would be impossible to bear! As a 17 year old the first days were like a shock to me… Fortunately I was comforted by my ideas, by the deep love for my homeland that has always been with me…so I was able to get over everything. Ludovico was arrested later in the same month following a betrayal. He spends 49 days in prison during which in spite of interrogations and tortures he does not disclose anything. At the dawn of February 14, 1945, after a deceitful promise of freedom, Ludovico and his mate Gino Villa (“Volpino”) are killed on the square of Codigoro. His mother, Maria Prevedello Ticchioni, goes to the prison to see him, does not find him but she understands everything when she sees in front of the “Impero Café” a dark spot on the ground covered in ashes.

 

The sacrifice of Olga Fabbri

During the German withdrawal the greatest fear is related to the rear-guard and its ablity to kill for retaliation purposes only. This happened for instance in Codigoro where some soldiers of the X Mas find empty prisons: the prisoners were freed by the intervention of Judge Giovanni Zizak. The runaway Germans decide then to take some hostages, including the husband of Olga Fabbri, living along the road to Mezzogoro.

The young mother of two daughters, carrying the youngest on her arm and holding the older by her hand begs for the hostages’ liberation. The answer is brutal: she is mowed down with a burst of machine-gun fire. The little girls survive. During a special memorial celebration at the local theatre, Giancarlo Pajetta gave the oldest daughter Iliana a Medal to honour her mother’s memory. He told her that the story of her mother would be told in an upcoming film: Roma città aperta by Roberto Rossellini, where the character of Pina (played by Anna Magnani) would recall the heroic Olga.

 

Texts by the Institute of Contemporary History of Ferrara

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