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Conselice and the underground press

Between the summer of 1944 and the spring of 1945 over this flat stretch of countryside developed the largest network of underground anti-fascist printed materials of the region as well as a solid group of dispatch riders to disseminate them.

The shelters and hiding places, which were necessary to support such a system, were protected exclusively thanks to the help of the local families, the rooted sense of collective accountability of the inhabitants, as well as by the natural and traditional mutual sympathy of the local communities.

The press and unofficial information were part and parcel of the fight, any activity in this sense was extremely dangerous and strongly opposed by both the Nazi and the fascists. Many people who had joined these activities and were arrested were tortured and killed. In the underground shelters that were set up here and at Villa Serraglio during the last year of the war, the l'Unità newspaper was printed and then dispatched over Romagna and in Ferrara, later the partisan magazines La lotta and Il Garibaldino then the magazines Fronte interno and Terra e Lavoro for the several farmers and day labourers and then Noi Donne, magazine of the female Defence Groups that from Conselice reached out to the whole Romagna area.

Over one hundred thousand flyers were printed every month to inform the local areas about the partisans’ achievements, encouraging the population to support the fight for freedom and not collaborate with the enemy. The printers could count on different types of help: from street traders that supplied paper and ink, to young girls who dispatched the parcels with the printed materials to the different local warehouses.

Mention has to be made of Ines Bedeschi, one of the first women who joined the network who also trained other girls to do the same with the same sense of accountability and teaching them special tricks to fulfil such dangerous tasks.  Thanks to her unique skills she was asked by the Regional Single Command of the Resistance movement to carry out important missions in the Parma area.

The SS arrested her in March 1945, tortured her and, after not disclosing a single word, she was then mowed down and her body thrown in the Po river. She was honoured with the he Gold Medal of Military Valour.

 

Texts by the Historical Institute of Resistance and Contemporary Age of Ravenna and its Province 

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