Partisan Manfredi Azzarita, killed in Ardeatine Falls

Among the 335 martyrs of the War Ardeatine, cold killed as a retaliation by the Nazi command as a retaliation for the partisan attack on Via Rasella in Rome, it was also a Venetian. He was not just any victim: Manfredi Azzarita was supplement captain of the Cavalry Corps during World War II, to take part in the invasion of Yugoslavia, and had decided to stay on which side of history after the ceasefire of 8 September 1943, to enter the secret military front and establish an effective communication system between the partisan forces.
But in his life he should not have been in the military; eldest of the five children of Leonardo, journalist of Apulian origin, and Luigia De Prà, Manfredi Azzarita was born on July 19, 1912 in Venice, and after his childhood in his first school in the city, he first moved to Rome and then to the United States to complete his studies. He graduated in political science in La Sapienza, Rome, in 1932. Two years later, at the age of twenty-four, he did military service in the cavalry, to reach the rank of second lieutenant, but after his dismissal he accepted. the management of the Secretariat of the Society of Industrial Technicians Aquila; in March 1940 yes he married Teresa Bariletti. A few months later, the outbreak of World War II dramatically changed his life.

Called back into service, Azzarita participated in Operations in the Balkans and was then transferred to Rome – due to his qualities – in the General Staff of the Army. After the hectic days of the fall of the fascist regime, he was appointed security officer by English General Adrian Carton de Wiart, liberated by Pietro Badoglio in view of the start of preliminary negotiations with the Anglo-Americans. After September 8, the Azzarita became one of the most active soldiers among the animators of the Roman resistance, cooperating with the secret military front; he established contacts between the command of the American Fifth Army and organized a clandestine network of connection and coordination of the anti-fascist forces.
The Nazi occupation of Rome has made his activity increasingly dangerous: after an information crash with the tortured a prisoner, was reached and arrested at his residence in Piazza Cavour on 18 March 1944 by a handful of SS men, and was transferred to the notorious prison via Tasso. Three of his comrades were shot almost immediately; five days of torture and torture were reserved for him to extract useful information from him to know the identification of his cell by the informants and to know the names and refugee places of the partisans operating in Rome. But Azzarita did not speak.
On 23 March 1944, in Rome, via Rasella, 33 soldiers of the German occupying force belonging to the III Battalion Police Regiment Bolzano were killed with a bomb of a partisan formation in the capital in front of their barracks. The repression of the Nazi command was immediate: the murder of ten Italians for every German who died in the Gappist operation. The diligent commander in charge of the practice, Erik Priebke, put five more names on the death list. Azzarita was led around War Ardeatine and murdered along with the other prisoners.
In the years that followed, it was also reported that the SS had posted posters inviting the partisans to surrender in order to prevent the massacre. But this was never true: Ardeatine retaliation was carried out quickly and secretly; only the next day, March 25, a statement from the official Stefani agency announced that the German command had ordered that ten communist-Badoglian criminals be killed for every German. And with lapidary precision he concluded: This order has already been carried out.
Manfredi Azzarita rests in sarcophagus number 87 of the Fosse Ardeatine shrine. Following these facts, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Military Valor. The motivation for this recognition, fully reported, was sculpted in Venice at its birthplace in Cannaregio, in 1548 in Corte Correr.


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