Piera Pattoni, the relay that evaded the partisan leader from the hospital in Busto Arsizio. “So he brought Resistance to schools”


When captured, Piera Pattani he is not even twenty years old. A spy fixes it. He sees it as he distributes leaflets in locker rooms of the factory textile Giulini and Ratti, to Legnano, in Milanese. He puts them in the pockets of his clothes, with all possible discretion: it is written that one has been organized strike. She is captured together with two other partisans. Everyone thinks that the Nazi fascists will send them in Germany, but is not so. “The factory owner, who was in favor of anti-fascism, most likely intervened. He managed to save all three. In addition, the Liberation it was not far. The idea that the war was going to end after years was beginning to circulate, “he says Primo Minelli, president ofAnpi di Legnano. Indeed Piera Pattani he said it, during an interview with Labor Room: “The people made the Resistance, we did it in many: we partisans, but also priests and nuns, pharmacists and doctors and sometimes even masters”. And sometimes even the bosses. She has not never stopped of to be a partisan. Not even when, before the health emergency explodes, he told high school students his memories of that period. Piera died in recent days at 93 years old, after contracting the coronavirus.

Worker at Giulini e Ratti, of an anti-fascist family, enters the ranks of the Resistance at 16 years old. Does the partisan relay for the Brigade 182 Garibaldi-Mauro Venegoni. This and the 181-Giovanni Novara Brigade count about 1200 people. “Piera went in course XXII March in Milan, where there was an underground printing shop, to collect copies of newspapers. Then he distributed them to the factories of Legnano and the upper Milanese area. She was a great connoisseur of the area and for this reason she had all the confidence of brigade leaders, “says Minelli.

For her first task, she is given precise instructions: take the tram and get off in piazza Cinque Giornate, then go directly to Corso XXII Marzo. Above all: don’t talk to anyone. “She was not very young never been to Milan before: he could not recognize the square where he had to go down, but only to remain faithful to the indications received he asked for nothing to nobody – Minelli remembers – He went around on the tram for hours, until he decided to ask what Piazza Cinque Giornate was “.

He was returning to Legnano by train. He deposited the packages on one wagon and went to sit in another, to avoid being discovered. He only recovered them when he got off. “He never loved microphones, but he often told of those times, if someone asked him. He also remembered the smallest details of the events “.

He remembered, for example, the January 5, 1944. There Franco Tosi factory organize one general strike which also takes place thanks to his contribution as partisan relay. In the morning, as can be read on the Anpi di Legnano website, the workers occupy the management offices. In the afternoon, two SS trucks arrive, while some fascist departments check the entrances. They target union representatives and those suspected of being anti-fascist. They arrest sixty. In all eight are sent Mauthausen, where they arrive in March, passing first through the transit camp of Fossoli, in the province of Modena. Piera Pattani knew them all. When they take them away, she is hidden among the crowd of workers. Cross the gaze of one of them: they both understand that they will never see each other again.

In June of the same year there is the battle of Cascina Mazzafame, symbolic place of the Leganese resistance. The partisan leader Samuele Turconi he is injured and taken to the nearby hospital in Busto Arsizio. Here a shooting awaits him. However, a doctor will try to take time to allow his companions to free him. Piera Pattani, reads in the interview given to the Camera del Lavoro in 2013, is offered voluntary and reaches the hospital by bike. She says she has arrived to greet her boyfriend: she hugs Turconi and manages to tell him that the next day, at five o’clock, they would free him. The guards attack her, slamming her against the wall. “But the plan worked. Piera said that perhaps the sisters of the hospital had been them accomplices. He said that they had added something to the wine or coffee of the fascists in charge of surveillance, because the next day fainted”, Adds Minelli. Maybe a sleeping pill. “The Venegoni brothers took Turconi away on the bicycle’s rod”.

On April 25, 1945 the Liberation it’s a party involving the town in a huge parade. Piera is there, together with her companions. “In the following years it was celebrated as partisan fighter. His role was very important: he was always the vice of the partisan leaders, who changed so as not to be recognized ”.

After the war, he continued to work in the Giulini e Ratti factory and continued his union commitment, holding roles within the CGIL. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Liberation, the Ministry of Defense awarded her the diploma of partisan. On November 5, 2013 the municipality of Legnano awarded it the civic merit. This is the motivation: “For the courage is altruism demonstrated during the partisan struggle, when, despite his young age, he did not hesitate to endanger his life to save others and for having always supported the values ​​of freedom and of democracy“.

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