Grazie al web, rintracciata piastrina di un alpino abruzzese caduto sul fronte russo. E’ in animo una sezione ecomuseale dedicata alle guerre del XX secolo, in collaborazione con i volontari del Servizio Civile Nazionale.

letto 4290 voltepubblicato il 08/11/2017 - 08:57 nel blog di Giovanni Pizzocchia

 

"Dal Don è tornata solo la piastrina...” (a seguire English version) 

Grazie al web, dopo aver fatto il giro Russia-Pennsylvania-Abruzzo,per iniziativa di un collezionista italo americano, è stata  rintracciata la piastrina di un alpino di Castelvecchio Subequo (AQ), caduto sul fronte russo. E’ in animo una sezione ecomuseale dedicata alle guerre del XX secolo, in collaborazione con il volontariato del Servizio Civile Nazionale e gli istituti scolastici della Comunità Montana Sirentina.

di Giovanni Pizzocchia, Comunità Montana Sirentina. (Con rassegna stampa in progress, linkata a piè pagina)

"I più non ritornano..." (E. Corti).

“La storia è maestra di vita, ma ha negli uomini dei pessimi studenti” (W. Churchill).

 Amelio Pizzocchia, caporal maggiore di Castelvecchio Subequo (AQ), matricola 6462, del Battaglione L’Aquila, quello dal motto dannunziano “D’Aquila Penne Ugne di Leonessa”, IX Reggimento Alpini, divisione Julia, aveva appena compiuto 21 anni il 7 dicembre del 1942; aveva alle spalle già il fronte greco-albanese e, nella pausa di licenza prima di partire per il fronte russo, il 9 aprile 1942 aveva appena sposato la diciottenne Eternina, la quale drammaticamente non lo avrebbe più rivisto. Un contadino come tanti nelle guerre mondiali, passati dalla zappa al moschetto per combattere contro altri contadini di  stati diversi.

Non c’era nulla da festeggiare a ridosso di quel sanguinoso Natale di guerra sul fronte russo, nella steppa lungo il fiume Don. Un immaginario doloroso immortalato da Bepi De’ Marzi nel brano: “L’ultima notte”. Poi dal 21 gennaio del 1943, dal combattimento di Popowka, durante la ritirata e per sfondare la sacca in cui erano intrappolati dall’Armata rossa, il giovane alpino abruzzese venne considerato scomparso e morto presunto, fino all’atto definitivo, da parte della Commissione Interministeriale della Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, per gli atti di morte per eventi bellici con verbale  n. 15873, nella seduta del 16/01/1985.

Non è stato il solo a perdere la giovane vita in quelle drammatiche circostanze. Erano tre le divisioni raggruppate del 4º Corpo d'Armata alpino, fra nuove leve e reduci del fronte greco-albanese, agli ordini del generale Nasci: la Cuneense (generale Battisti), la Tridentina (generale Reverberi) e la Julia (generale Ricagno), che sommavano circa 55.000 uomini (1),  tutte in forza all'ARMIR agli ordini del generale Italo Gariboldi. Erano partiti insieme nell’estate del ’42 con altre divisioni italiane (Cosseria Ravenna, Sforzesca).  Tutto ciò nel mentre era già in corso dal 1941 l’Operazione della Germania nazista “Barbarossa”, contro l’Unione Sovietica, venendo meno al patto di non belligeranza Molotov-Ribbentrop del 1939 fra le due superpotenze. Un fronte lungo 1600 km dal Mar Caspio al Mar Nero, che coinvolse in totale 229 mila italiani, fra fanteria ed altri corpi militari, prima come CSIR (Corpo di Spedizione in Russia - generale Messe, divisioni Pasubio, Torino e Celere…) e poi come ARMIR (Armata Militare in Russia - generale Gariboldi). Per un totale complessivo con le forze dell’Asse di oltre 4,5 milioni di uomini, soprattutto tedeschi.

All’inizio la destinazione delle nuove divisioni alpine doveva essere il Caucaso, coerentemente ai mezzi ed alle armi in dotazione, invece, per via dell’andamento degli eventi bellici con i contrattacchi sovietici,  furono mandati in pianura, nella steppa, a presidiare la sponda del fiume Don, con  equipaggiamenti, mezzi ed armi tecnicamente inadeguati, come gli stessi ufficiali, delusi, apertamente criticarono. Unità lentissime con molti muli, pesanti, inadatte a qualsiasi manovra offensiva e difensiva veloce in pianura. "Il fatto che tre divisioni specializzatissime e in certo senso preziose fossero state dirottate dalla loro naturale destinazione ed avviate a combattere sulla pianura del Don, sicuro teatro di lotta tra formazioni corazzate, era già un brutto segno" (1) .

  Dovevano essere pronti ad intervenire dalle retrovie, a compensare le falle della prima linea con altre divisioni italiane,  tedesche, ungheresi e anche romene, già impegnate sul fronte di Stalingrado. Un contributo italiano, come ebbe a dire Montanelli, insignificante sulle sorti dell’operazione Barbarossa.  Del resto non era un mistero una certa diffidenza dei tedeschi nei confronti del regio esercito italiano agli ordini del duce. Anche Mario Rigoni Stern, grande testimone di quel fronte, autore  de "Il sergente nella neve", così ebbe ad esprimersi:  « I russi erano dalla parte della ragione, e combattevano convinti di difendere la loro terra, la loro casa, le loro famiglie. I tedeschi d'altra parte erano convinti di combattere per il grande Reich. Noi non si combatteva né per Mussolini, né per il Re, si cercava di salvare la nostra vita. »

Purtroppo, complice la neve del generale inverno a – 40 gradi, l’Armata rossa - rifornita dagli alleati americani, martellante a suon di “katyusha” e carri armati, i quali potevano agevolmente attraversare il congelato Don - non solo respinse il fronte di Stalingrado ma venne in controffensiva e accerchiò, in una sacca a tenaglia da nord e da sud,  il nemico. Il 16 dicembre ’42, prima con l’operazione “Piccolo Saturno” e poi dal 12/1/1943 con l’offensiva “Ostrogorsk-Rossosc”, i russi costrinsero alla sanguinosa ritirata l’ARMIR. Una ritirata che fu ordinata anche con ritardo ai poveri alpini, affamati e a rischio di morte per congelamento. Per poter sopravvivere dovevano eroicamente sfondare gli sbarramenti russi, subendo continue perdite;  non a caso la Julia venne definita “divisione miracolo” (2). Resta memorabile l’ultimo sanguinoso sfondamento, combattuto il 26/1/1943, che costò circa 6 mila morti, immortalato nello struggente canto di Bepi de Marzi:“Le voci di Nikolajewka

 ().(Nikolajevka oggi si chiama Livenka).

“Delle centomila gavette di ghiaccio”,  volendo focalizzare le cifre solo sulle tre divisioni alpine summenzionate, con cui il povero Amelio era partito, che contavano circa 55 mila uomini, circa 43.580 restarono lì morti o prigionieri (1). Ovvero solo il 20 per cento, a piedi,  fra feriti sulle slitte, malati, denutriti, stremati, riuscì a raggiungere la linea tedesca alla fine di febbraio, dopo quasi mille chilometri. L’unico conforto fu quell’espressione di pietà “talianski karasciò” (italiani buoni), da parte delle popolazioni, soprattutto ragazze ucraine, alle quali si deve la sopravvivenza di molti alpini, grazie all’offerta di cibo e riparo nelle isbe.

Da tale scenario, in cui, da come si legge nella letteratura dei sopravvissuti a quell’inferno di ghiaccio, i corpi degli alpini e dei muli saltavano in aria a brandelli, simili a papaveri rossi; oppure schiacciati dai cingoli dei carri armati corazzati T34 con caduti per i quali non c’era modo né tempo per una sepoltura, del compianto Amelio non si è avuta più nessuna traccia.

Tempo fa Gaston BinnerBini (da celibe Bini) di origini italiane, nato in Argentina ed ora in Pennsylvania, appassionato studioso delle guerre mondiali, in particolare del fronte russo, collezionista-fotografo e consulente di pubblicazioni con il suo blog - memore di caduti della sua famiglia di origine, nel ricercare testimonianze belliche, ha intercettato dei cimeli degli alpini, in vendita su ebay da parte di russi che li avevano ritrovati, sepolti nel terreno. Li ha acquistati e fra questi cimeli ha notato la piastrina del povero Amelio. La spedizione postale di partenza dalla Russia, recapitata a Binnerbini, porta proprio il timbro da Rossocch, uno dei paesi nella pianura del Don, dove gli alpini avevano una sede di comando durante il presidio,  prima della ritirata ed è localizzato a 12 km a sud di Popowka (3), dove Amelio ha perso la vita, secondo la ricostruzione della Commissione Interministeriale. Il tutto, dunque,  torna coerentemente.

Il bravo Gaston, studioso ma contrario alle guerre, come ci tiene a sottolineare, ha, sempre grazie al web, effettuato ulteriori ricerche, studiando profili per individuare eventuali parenti a cui affidare la piastrina e, tramite facebook, ha contattato lo scrivente, dallo stesso cognome di Amelio, perché figlio del caporale alpino Tullio Pizzocchia, classe 1914, reduce dai fronti greco-albanese e russo, commilitone e cugino del compianto alpino subequano, di cui spesso ne aveva raccontato la sciagura. La piastrina quindi, dopo essere andata  negli USA, è giunta finalmente allo scrivente, che ha coinvolto le Istituzioni locali e i vari parenti a cui la temporalità non ha concesso di averne memoria diretta.

Il ritorno della piastrina identificativa di una gloriosa “penna nera”, figlio della Valle Subequana, morto in un’allucinante guerra, suscita molta emozione. Amelio apparteneva ad una famiglia di dieci figli, oggi non ci sono eredi diretti ma solo vari nipoti.  A Castelvecchio Subequo  il 27 dicembre, in coincidenza con i 70 anni dalla promulgazione della Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana, entrata in vigore il primo gennaio 1948, viene organizzata una cerimonia con intervento dei parenti, delle istituzioni civili e militari,  in onore del povero giovane contadino-alpino

Per dare un senso compiuto si dovrà realizzare ora  una sezione museale, nell’ambito della Comunità Montana Sirentina con i propri comuni – Ecomuseo d’Abruzzo, raccogliendo con l’aiuto della cittadinanza vari cimeli e foto, riferiti al secolo scorso e con i suoi conflitti mondiali, fino alla Liberazione. Perché come recita il drammaturgo Marco Paolini: “il fronte è una storia di famiglia e non c’è cognome italiano che non sia stato coinvolto”. La mostra-museo servirà a testimoniare e a narrare il vissuto della comunità locale, così come qualche episodio, per esempio del periodo dell’occupazione nazista, è stato già riportato nella pubblicazione: “E si divisero il pane che non c’era”, a cura del Liceo Scientifico di Sulmona.  L’iniziativa  potrebbe rientrare fra i progetti dei volontari del Servizio Civile Nazionale, essendo  la Comunità Montana Sirentina con i propri comuni enti accreditati, in sinergia con  le istituzioni scolastiche. La finalità potrà avere così anche una valenza di pedagogia sociale, di cui oggi c’è molto bisogno, per evitare quel rischio temuto da W. Churchill: “La storia è maestra di vita, ma ha negli uomini dei pessimi studenti”.

Così le nuove  generazioni, più consapevoli della brutalità della guerra, potranno desiderare sempre più un mondo di Pace.

"L’umanità deve porre fine alla guerra, o la guerra porrà fine all’umanità".  (John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Discorso all’ONU, 1961)

Italia in guerra: tragedia sul Don: 

(1) E. Corradi, "La Ritirata di Russia", Longanesi & C. 1965.

(2)  Di Michele, “Io, prigioniero in Russia”, pag. 60, MEF, Firenze, 2009.

(3) G: Bedeschi, "Centomila gavette di ghiaccio", pag 270, Mursia&C., Milano, 1963.

Rassegna stampa:

-6715">https://tempoliberatosite.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/memorie-di-ghiaccio/-6715

 

 

English version by Ivan Pizzocchia

Thanks to the web,  the plate of an Abruzzese alpine fallen on the Russian front was found.  

Soon there will be a section dedicated to the wars of the twentieth century, in collaboration with the volunteers of the Italian National Civil Service.

"Only the plate is back from the Don .…"

From the Don river (Russia) only a plate has been returned. Thanks to the web, after having toured Russia-Pennsylvania-Abruzzo, the plate of an alpine of Castelvecchio Subequo (AQ) was found, fallen on the Russian front, as an idea of ecomuseum section dedicated to the wars of the twentieth century.

It was made in collaboration with the voluntary service of the National Civil Service and schools of the Sirentina Mountain Community.

by Giovanni Pizzocchia,  of SirentinaMountain Community. (With press review linked to the footer), translated by Ivan Pizzocchia and Briana Allen (native English speaker)

"The most do not return ..." (E. Corti).

"History is a teacher of life, but it has very bad students" (W. Churchill).

Amelio Pizzocchia turned 21 years old on December 7 of 1942, senior caporal of Castelvecchio Subequo (AQ), matriculation number 6462, of the L'Aquila Battalion, the one from the D'Annunzio "L'Aquila Penne Ugne di Leonessa", IX Alpine Regiment, Julia division.

 On April 9, 1942 after he endured the Greek-Albanian front he took a break before leaving for the Russian front, and he married his eighteen-year-old wife, Eternina, who would dramatically never see him again.

He was a peasant like many in the world war, passed from the hoe to the musket to fight against other farmers from different states.

There was nothing to celebrate behind the bloody Christmas of war on the Russian front, in the steppe along the river Don.

A painful imaginary immortalized by Bepi De 'Marzi in the song: "L'ultima notte" “the last night” 

Then from January 21, 1943, from the fight of Popovka, during the retreat and to break through the bag in which they were trapped by the Red Army, the young Abruzzese alpine was considered disappeared and presumed dead, until the final act, by the Italian Interministerial Commission of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers officially declared his  death from war events with report no. 15873, in the session on January 16th, 1985. He was not the only one to lose his young life in those dramatic circumstances.

There were three grouped divisions of the 4th Alpine Corps, including new recruits and veterans of the Greek-Albanian front, under the orders of General Nasci: Cuneense (General Battisti), Tridentina (General Reverberi) and Julia (General Ricagno) , which amounted to about 55,000 men (1), all in force to the ARMIR under the orders of General Italo Gariboldi.

They left together in the summer of 1942 with other Italian divisions (Cosseria Ravenna, Sforzesca). All of these events happened while in 1941, the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact was not repected between the two superpowers the Operation of Nazi Germany "Barbarossa", against the Soviet Union, . A 1600 km long front from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, which involved a total of 229 thousand Italians, including infantry and other military bodies as CSIR (Shipping Corps in Russia - General Messe, Pasubio, Turin and Celere divisions ...) and then as ARMIR (Military Army in Russia - General Gariboldi).

 In the Axis forces was a total of 4.5 million men, mainly Germans.

In the beginning the destination of the new Alpine divisions was to be the Caucasus, coherently with the means and weapons supplied. However, due to the progress of the war events with the Soviet counterattacks, they were sent to the plains, in the steppe, to guard the bank of the river Don, with equipment, means and weapons that were technically inadequate. The same officers, were disappointed and openly criticized this inadequacy. Furthermore, there were slow units with many mules, that were heavy and unsuitable for any offensive and fast defensive maneuvers in the plains. " It was already a bad sign that three highly specialized precious divisions had been diverted from their natural destination and started to fight on the Don theater, where a struggle between armored formations was sure" (1).

They had to be ready to intervene from the back, to compensate the flaws of the first line with other Italian, German, Hungarian and even Romanian divisions, already working on the front of Stalingrad.

 The Italian contribution, as Montanelli had to say, was insignificant on the fate of the Barbarossa operation. After all, it was not a mystery that the Germans were suspicious of the royal Italian army under the orders of the Duce. Even Mario Rigoni Stern, a great witness of that front, author of "The sergeant in the snow", had this to say: «The Russians were on the side of reason, and they fought convinced to defend their land, their home, their families . The Germans on the other hand were convinced to fight for the great Reich. We did not fight either for Mussolini or for the King, we tried to save our lives. »

Unfortunately, thanks to the snow of the “general winter” at -40 celsius degrees,  the American allies supplied the Red Army with "katyusha" and tanks, which could easily cross the frozen Don - the Red Army not only repelled the front of Stalingrad but they came in counter-offensive and surrounded the enemy in a pincer-bag from the north and south. On December 16th, '42, first with the operation "Little Saturn" and then on January 12th ,‘43 with the offensive "Ostrogorsk-Rossosc", the Russians forced the bloody retreat the ARMIR. A retreat that was also ordered with delay for the poor Alpine, hungry and at risk of death by freezing. In order to survive they had to heroically break through the Russian barrages, suffering continuous losses.

It is no coincidence that Julia was called "miracle division" (2). The last bloody breakthrough, fought on January 26th of 1943, which cost about 6 thousand deaths, immortalized in the poignant song of Bepi de Marzi: "The Voices of Nikolajewka" remains memorable

 ().(Nikolajevka today is called Livenka).

"Of the one hundred thousand ice pans",  if we want to focus on the mentioned above three Alpine divisions, with which the poor Amelio had passed away, they numbered in total about 55 thousand men, about 43,580 remained there dead or prisoners (1). That is, only 20 percent of them, on foot, wounded on sledges, sick, malnourished, exhausted, managed to reach the German line at the end of February, after almost a thousand kilometers.

The only consolation was that expression of piety "talianski karasciò" (good Italians), from the populations, especially Ukrainian girls, to whom we owe the survival of many alpine, thanks to the supply of food and shelter.

From this scenario,  as we read in the literature of the survivors of that hell of ice, the bodies of the alpine and mules fell in shreds, like red poppies; or crushed by the tracks of armored tanks T34 with fallen for whom there was no way or time for a funeral,  there was no longer any Amelio’s trace.

Some time ago Gaston Binnerbini (as celibate his surname is Bini) of Italian origins, born in Argentina and now in Pennsylvania, a keen scholar of world wars, especially the Russian front, collector-photographer and consultant of publications with his blog 

Mindful of the war deaths in his family of origin, in  search for war testimonies, he intercepted the relics of the Alpine troops, sold on ebay by Russians. He bought them and among the memorabilia he noticed the plate of poor Amelio. The postal shipment from Russia, delivered to Binnerbini, brings on top the stamp from Rossocch, one of the villages in the Don plain, where the Alpini had a command post during the garrison, before the retreat and is located 12 km south. of Popowka (3), where Amelio lost his life, according to the reconstruction of the Interministerial Commission. The whole, therefore, returns consistently.

The great Gaston, scholar to war but against it, as he wants to underline. Thanks to the web, he carried out further research, studying profiles to identify any relatives of whom to entrust the plate and, through facebook, contacted  the writer, because he had the same surname as Amelio. The alpine captain Tullio Pizzocchia is the father of the writer, who was born in 1914, back from the Greek-Albanian and Russian fronts, fellow soldier and cousin of the  subequan alpine, of whom he often told of the disaster.

The plate then, after going to the USA, finally arrived to the writer, who involved the local institutions and the various relatives to whom the temporality did not allow to have direct memory.

The return of the identification plate of a glorious "black pen", son of Valle Subequana, who died in a hallucinating war, provokes a lot of emotion. Amelio belonged to a family of ten children, today there are no direct heirs but only various nephews. At Castelvecchio Subequo on December 27th, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution of the Italian Republic, entered into force on January 1st 1948, a ceremony was organized with the intervention of relatives, civil and military institutions, in honor of the poor young farmer -alpino

In order to make complete sense, a museum section will have to be built in the framework of the Sirentina Mountain Community with its communes - Ecomuseum of Abruzzo, collecting various relics and photos with the help of the citizens, referring to the last century and its world conflicts, up to Liberation. Because as the dramatist Marco Paolini says: "the front is a family story and there is no Italian surname that has not been involved". The exhibition-museum will serve to testify and narrate the experience of the local community, as well as some episodes, for example of the period of Nazi occupation, has already been reported in the publication: "And they shared the bread that did not exist, Italian name “si divisero il pane che non c’era”, to care of the Liceo Scientifico of Sulmona. The initiative could be part of the projects of the volunteers of the Italian National Civil Service, as the Mountain Community of Sirentina with its accredited municipalities, in synergy with the educational institutions. In this way, finality can also have a value in social pedagogy, of which there is much need today, to avoid the risk feared by W. Churchill: "History is a teacher of life, but it has bad students in men".

 

Thus the new generations, more aware of the brutality of war, will increasingly desire a world of Peace.

"Humanity must end the war, or war will put an end to humanity". (John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Speech at the UN, 1961)

 

(1) E. Corradi, "The Retreat of Russia", Longanesi & C. 1965.

(2) Di Michele, "I, a prisoner in Russia", pag. 60, MEF, Florence, 2009.

(3) G: Bedeschi, "One hundred thousand gavette di ghiaccio", pag 270, Mursia & C., Milan, 1963.

 

 

 

 

2 commenti

Giovanni Pizzocchia

Giovanni Pizzocchia14/01/2018 - 17:42 (aggiornato 14/01/2018 - 17:42)

COMUNICATO STAMPA

Si è svolta a Castelvecchio Subequo la cerimonia a seguito del recupero della piastrina dell’alpino Amelio Pizzocchia, morto nel fronte russo.
“Una comunità senza memoria rischia di essere una comunità senza futuro”.

Come già in amplius contestualizzato e preannunciato dallo scrivente nel sito degli Innovatori della Pubblica Amministrazione and in English version translated by Ivan Pizzocchia:
, con link rassegna in progress e video conferenza stampa a cura di Onda Tv Sulmona (), il 27 dicembre scorso, in coincidenza con i 70 anni dalla promulgazione della Costituzione italiana, si è svolta a Castelvecchio Subequo (AQ) la cerimonia di commemorazione in onore dei Caduti, in occasione del recupero della piastrina militare del caporal maggiore Amelio Pizzocchia, nato a Castelvecchio Subequo il 7 dicembre del 1921. Il compianto alpino era stato dichiarato deceduto durante la ritirata nel fronte russo a Popowka il 21 gennaio del 1943, senza il ritrovamento delle spoglie.
Numerose le presenze ad onorare: gli ufficiali e gli alpini del Battaglione L’Aquila, a cui la compianta penna nera apparteneva, le varie sezioni delle Associazione Alpini della provincia, dai Bersaglieri ai Granatieri di Sardegna, ognuno con i propri gagliardetti, che hanno sfilato nei cortei di trasferimento previsti nella manifestazione. A garanzia dell’eccellente riuscita della commemorazione è stata la mediazione del capitano Francesco Acconcia, originario di Castelvecchio Subequo, anch’egli in forza al Battaglione dal motto “D’Aquila Penne Ugne di Leonessa” di dannunziana memoria.
L’evento, all’insegna della pace, ha avuto due momenti: uno nei pressi del monumento ai Caduti, con l’alzabandiera, la deposizione della corona, benedetta dal cappellano don Claudio Recchiuti e la preghiera dell’Alpino, formulata dal tenente colonnello Pietro Piccirilli, che ha coordinato l’intera cerimonia; l’altro momento presso la sala Centro di Aggregazione Padre Pio, dove ci sono stati i vari interventi, del sindaco Salutari Pietro, del presidente regionale ANA Pietro D’Alfonso, del presidente della locale sezione ANA Francesco Padovani, dello scrittore e giornalista, studioso del fronte russo, ing. Maurilio Di Giangregorio, già con trascorso da ufficiale degli alpini, e dello scrivente che ha ripercorso il come, dalla Russia alla Pennsylvania, la piastrina sia tornata nel paese di Amelio, grazie allo studioso collezionista italoamericano Gaston Binnerbini che l’ha affidata allo scrivente. La slide di chiusura della presentazione, quale messaggio pubblico, ha riportato la frase di J. F. Kennedy nel discorso che fece all’ONU nel 1961: "L’umanità deve porre fine alla guerra, o la guerra porrà fine all’umanità". I lavori sono stati moderati dalla giovanissima e promettente Miriana Teresa Fazi, laureanda presso l’università di Trento.
La piastrina, dignitosamente incorniciata, è stata affidata alla signora Nina, quale rappresentante fra i vari nipoti intervenuti, oltre a Gianni Pizzocchia , Antonetta e Mirella Esposito, affinché la prenda in cura, nella prospettiva di renderla disponibile appena verrà istituita la mostra museo ad hoc, in sinergia fra i cittadini, i comuni e la Comunità Montana Sirentina, già etichettata “Ecomuseo d’Abruzzo”.
In un ciclo ormai secolare di emorragia di abitanti dai centri montani abruzzesi, c’è un ritorno dopo oltre 70 anni: quello di una piastrina militare di un ventunenne, che aveva lasciato la zappa per il moschetto e mandato a morire nella steppa russa, lontano dai suoi affetti, dalla sua terra. Nella licenza fra il fronte greco-albanese e quello russo, nell’aprile del 1943 si era anche sposato…
Tali commemorazioni per le comunità locali, soprattutto dei piccoli paesi, rivestono particolare importanza, affinché le storie dei tanti Amelio non cadano nell’oblio, ma se ne conservi la memoria, poiché “una comunità senza memoria rischia di essere una comunità senza futuro”.

Giovanni Pizzocchia – Comunità Montana Sirentina – Secinaro

Giovanni Pizzocchia

Giovanni Pizzocchia07/01/2018 - 21:17 (aggiornato 07/01/2018 - 21:17)

English version by Ivan Pizzocchia

Thanks to the web,  the plate of an Abruzzese alpine fallen on the Russian front was found.  

Soon there will be a section dedicated to the wars of the twentieth century, in collaboration with the volunteers of the Italian National Civil Service.

 

"Only the plate is back from the Don .…"

 

From the Don river (Russia) only a plate has been returned. Thanks to the web, after having toured Russia-Pennsylvania-Abruzzo, the plate of an alpine of Castelvecchio Subequo (AQ) was found, fallen on the Russian front, as an idea of ecomuseum section dedicated to the wars of the twentieth century.

It was made in collaboration with the voluntary service of the National Civil Service and schools of the Sirentina Mountain Community.

 

by Giovanni Pizzocchia,  of SirentinaMountain Community. (With press review linked to the footer), translated by Ivan Pizzocchia and Briana Allen (native English speaker)

 

"The most do not return ..." (E. Corti).

"History is a teacher of life, but it has very bad students" (W. Churchill).

Amelio Pizzocchia turned 21 years old on December 7 of 1942, senior caporal of Castelvecchio Subequo (AQ), matriculation number 6462, of the L'Aquila Battalion, the one from the D'Annunzio "L'Aquila Penne Ugne di Leonessa", IX Alpine Regiment, Julia division.

 On April 9, 1942 after he endured the Greek-Albanian front he took a break before leaving for the Russian front, and he married his eighteen-year-old wife, Eternina, who would dramatically never see him again.

He was a peasant like many in the world war, passed from the hoe to the musket to fight against other farmers from different states.

There was nothing to celebrate behind the bloody Christmas of war on the Russian front, in the steppe along the river Don.

A painful imaginary immortalized by Bepi De 'Marzi in the song: "L'ultima notte" “the last night” 

Then from January 21, 1943, from the fight of Popovka, during the retreat and to break through the bag in which they were trapped by the Red Army, the young Abruzzese alpine was considered disappeared and presumed dead, until the final act, by the Italian Interministerial Commission of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers officially declared his  death from war events with report no. 15873, in the session on January 16th, 1985. He was not the only one to lose his young life in those dramatic circumstances.

There were three grouped divisions of the 4th Alpine Corps, including new recruits and veterans of the Greek-Albanian front, under the orders of General Nasci: Cuneense (General Battisti), Tridentina (General Reverberi) and Julia (General Ricagno) , which amounted to about 55,000 men (1), all in force to the ARMIR under the orders of General Italo Gariboldi.

They left together in the summer of 1942 with other Italian divisions (Cosseria Ravenna, Sforzesca). All of these events happened while in 1941, the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact was not repected between the two superpowers the Operation of Nazi Germany "Barbarossa", against the Soviet Union, . A 1600 km long front from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, which involved a total of 229 thousand Italians, including infantry and other military bodies as CSIR (Shipping Corps in Russia - General Messe, Pasubio, Turin and Celere divisions ...) and then as ARMIR (Military Army in Russia - General Gariboldi).

 In the Axis forces was a total of 4.5 million men, mainly Germans.

In the beginning the destination of the new Alpine divisions was to be the Caucasus, coherently with the means and weapons supplied. However, due to the progress of the war events with the Soviet counterattacks, they were sent to the plains, in the steppe, to guard the bank of the river Don, with equipment, means and weapons that were technically inadequate. The same officers, were disappointed and openly criticized this inadequacy. Furthermore, there were slow units with many mules, that were heavy and unsuitable for any offensive and fast defensive maneuvers in the plains. " It was already a bad sign that three highly specialized precious divisions had been diverted from their natural destination and started to fight on the Don theater, where a struggle between armored formations was sure" (1).

They had to be ready to intervene from the back, to compensate the flaws of the first line with other Italian, German, Hungarian and even Romanian divisions, already working on the front of Stalingrad.

 The Italian contribution, as Montanelli had to say, was insignificant on the fate of the Barbarossa operation. After all, it was not a mystery that the Germans were suspicious of the royal Italian army under the orders of the Duce. Even Mario Rigoni Stern, a great witness of that front, author of "The sergeant in the snow", had this to say: «The Russians were on the side of reason, and they fought convinced to defend their land, their home, their families . The Germans on the other hand were convinced to fight for the great Reich. We did not fight either for Mussolini or for the King, we tried to save our lives. »

Unfortunately, thanks to the snow of the “general winter” at -40 celsius degrees,  the American allies supplied the Red Army with "katyusha" and tanks, which could easily cross the frozen Don - the Red Army not only repelled the front of Stalingrad but they came in counter-offensive and surrounded the enemy in a pincer-bag from the north and south. On December 16th, '42, first with the operation "Little Saturn" and then on January 12th ,‘43 with the offensive "Ostrogorsk-Rossosc", the Russians forced the bloody retreat the ARMIR. A retreat that was also ordered with delay for the poor Alpine, hungry and at risk of death by freezing. In order to survive they had to heroically break through the Russian barrages, suffering continuous losses.

 

It is no coincidence that Julia was called "miracle division" (2). The last bloody breakthrough, fought on January 26th of 1943, which cost about 6 thousand deaths, immortalized in the poignant song of Bepi de Marzi: "The Voices of Nikolajewka" remains memorable

 

 ().(Nikolajevka today is called Livenka).

 

"Of the one hundred thousand ice pans" , if we want to focus on the mentioned above three Alpine divisions, with which the poor Amelio had passed away, they numbered in total about 55 thousand men, about 43,580 remained there dead or prisoners (1). That is, only 20 percent of them, on foot, wounded on sledges, sick, malnourished, exhausted, managed to reach the German line at the end of February, after almost a thousand kilometers.

The only consolation was that expression of piety "talianski karasciò" (good Italians), from the populations, especially Ukrainian girls, to whom we owe the survival of many alpine, thanks to the supply of food and shelter.

 

From this scenario,  as we read in the literature of the survivors of that hell of ice, the bodies of the alpine and mules fell in shreds, like red poppies; or crushed by the tracks of armored tanks T34 with fallen for whom there was no way or time for a funeral,  there was no longer any Amelio’s trace.

 

Some time ago Gaston Binnerbini (as celibate his surname is Bini) of Italian origins, born in Argentina and now in Pennsylvania, a keen scholar of world wars, especially the Russian front, collector-photographer and consultant of publications with his blog 

Mindful of the war deaths in his family of origin, in  search for war testimonies, he intercepted the relics of the Alpine troops, sold on ebay by Russians. He bought them and among the memorabilia he noticed the plate of poor Amelio. The postal shipment from Russia, delivered to Binnerbini, brings on top the stamp from Rossocch, one of the villages in the Don plain, where the Alpini had a command post during the garrison, before the retreat and is located 12 km south. of Popowka (3), where Amelio lost his life, according to the reconstruction of the Interministerial Commission. The whole, therefore, returns consistently.

 

The great Gaston, scholar to war but against it, as he wants to underline. Thanks to the web, he carried out further research, studying profiles to identify any relatives of whom to entrust the plate and, through facebook, contacted  the writer, because he had the same surname as Amelio. The alpine captain Tullio Pizzocchia is the father of the writer, who was born in 1914, back from the Greek-Albanian and Russian fronts, fellow soldier and cousin of the  subequan alpine, of whom he often told of the disaster.

The plate then, after going to the USA, finally arrived to the writer, who involved the local institutions and the various relatives to whom the temporality did not allow to have direct memory.

 

The return of the identification plate of a glorious "black pen", son of Valle Subequana, who died in a hallucinating war, provokes a lot of emotion. Amelio belonged to a family of ten children, today there are no direct heirs but only various nephews. At Castelvecchio Subequo on December 27th, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution of the Italian Republic, entered into force on January 1st 1948, a ceremony was organized with the intervention of relatives, civil and military institutions, in honor of the poor young farmer -alpino

 

In order to make complete sense, a museum section will have to be built in the framework of the Sirentina Mountain Community with its communes - Ecomuseum of Abruzzo, collecting various relics and photos with the help of the citizens, referring to the last century and its world conflicts, up to Liberation. Because as the dramatist Marco Paolini says: "the front is a family story and there is no Italian surname that has not been involved". The exhibition-museum will serve to testify and narrate the experience of the local community, as well as some episodes, for example of the period of Nazi occupation, has already been reported in the publication: "And they shared the bread that did not exist, Italian name “si divisero il pane che non c’era”, to care of the Liceo Scientifico of Sulmona. The initiative could be part of the projects of the volunteers of the Italian National Civil Service, as the Mountain Community of Sirentina with its accredited municipalities, in synergy with the educational institutions. In this way, finality can also have a value in social pedagogy, of which there is much need today, to avoid the risk feared by W. Churchill: "History is a teacher of life, but it has bad students in men".

 

Thus the new generations, more aware of the brutality of war, will increasingly desire a world of Peace.

"Humanity must end the war, or war will put an end to humanity". (John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Speech at the UN, 1961)

 

(1) E. Corradi, "The Retreat of Russia", Longanesi & C. 1965.

 

(2) Di Michele, "I, a prisoner in Russia", pag. 60, MEF, Florence, 2009.

 

(3) G: Bedeschi, "One hundred thousand gavette di ghiaccio", pag 270, Mursia & C., Milan, 1963