Little family of Monte Sole

Little family of Monte Sole, photo essay by Paolo Bona

In 1944 at Monte Sole, on the Bologna’s Appennino mountains, Casetta and Podella were 2 farms producing cereals, fruits and grapes, surrounded by a huge area of wood and chestnut trees. Casetta was one of the Italian partisans Red Star mountain headquarter, and the family living at Podella was supporting them on the Resistance against the German Nazi occupation and the Italian fascists.
Today the 2 houses after being restructured by monks, home their community, Little Family of Annunziata, since 1984. The community was founded by father Giuseppe Dossetti, a former partisan fighter, a signatory of the Italian Constitution written after the II World War on 1947, a politician leader of the Christian Democratic party since 1952, and finally became a priest on 1959.

In this area under the Marzabotto municipality, situated on the Appennini mountains between Bologna and Florence, the German Nazi special forces SS, with the help of Italian fascists, accomplished one of the biggest slaughter against the local civil population of the Second World War, killing “only” in 6 days, between September 29th and October 05th 1944, 770 people, including 250 children. At the Casaglia cemetery were killed by machine guns and hand grenades 195 people between them 50 children. People who first found shelter on the Casaglia’s church was forced by the German soldiers to walk until the cemetery in a modern Jesus Christ via Crucis, sooner the priest Ubaldo Marchioni was shot dead on the altar.

At Cerpiano, a tiny hamlet with a large three-storey building also home of a nursery-school, on September 29, 1944, the German troops gathered about 50 people, mostly women and children, in the oratory and slaughtered them with hand grenades: on September 30, after 24 hours of agony, to make sure they were all dead, they head fired wounded survivors.
Adolf Hitler said “We must be cruel, we must be with quiet consciousness. We must destroy technically, scientifically” those words are impressed on a stone of the entrance wall at the Casaglia cemetery.
Today here only lives the Little Family of Annunziata, as a presence of prayer, reflection and silence. (Paolo Bona)

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