A few days ago Matteo Renzi, the Mayor of Florence, called me. He had been asked to commemorate a great massacre committed on July 4th, 1944 in Castelnuovo dei Sabbioni, a small village in Valdarno near Florence. At that time it was known for its major coal mine – an important element for heating and transportortation.
“Roberto, I have learned that among the 85 martyrs, killed by the German SS and the fascists, was Giorgio Cavalli, your father. I have decided to attend and would be proud to be with you on this solemn occasion!” “Thank you Matteo, I will certainly be there along with my children…”
My father, almost unknown to me, has always been in the corner of my heart!
How would my life have been if I had had a father?
Surely I would have studied and would have graduated!
I’m writing a book about my life… I wish to propose to you how it commences… it is called “MY ADVENTURE”
…There is a knock on the door… a muffled sound interrupts our lunch on a beautiful summer’s day.
My father leaves the table to open the door… his eyes stop smiling… something very bad is going to happen.
My mother is in the kitchen and rushes to be close to my father. Three German soldiers are screaming in an incomprehensible language!
They take my father’s arm and make a sign for him to follow them. My father pauses a moment… looks into my eyes… holds out his hand to me and says “Stay close to Mom and Lietta!”
I look at him as he goes away. He disappears from sight just around the front door.
My father was working in the mines… he was a surveyor… he was studying every night to become a doctor.
Then comes the morning of July 4th. The wind carries away the noises down in the valley. The little town plunges into an absolute silence.
The women, half hidden behind shutters, are witnessing a scene that composes itself little by little in the square. Small groups of men, young and old, are being shoved… dragged… by three or four young Germans armed with machine guns.
Dribs and drabs like extras in a movie, they find themselves in a crowd that slowly grows to about eighty people. They look at one another. They are ordered to regroup near the rock wall…
The machine guns open fire… crazily!
Their bodies fall, piling one on top of another…
Their poor bodies are then sprinkled with gasoline and set on fire!
I have often thought that my father’s last thought was of me!
I HATE WAR… I HATE WEAPONS … I HATE THOSE WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT THE AMBITION OF ONE CAN CAUSE THE DESTRUCTION OF MANY!
I LOVE YOU