Florence, Il Marzocco Boutique ... A part of my London childhood was spent in a house from where one spring morning in 1912 a young woman walked down the steps to catch the boat train for Southampton and the Titanic. Today, en route to Pisa, I find myself in a 19th century Florentine palazzo - Viale Fratelli Rosselli 78. Here, before the Second World War, lived a Jewish family, Dante and Irma Guetta, and their five children. With the Armistice of Cassibile, September 1943, and Germany's subsequent takeover of Italy, the Guettas went into hiding in rural Umbria, carrying false papers. On 27 March 1944, escaping encircling German troops intent on "hitting the partisans and those who helped them", the two eldest boys – Alberto, born in 1922, and Pierluigi, three years later – along with a friend, Piero Viterbo – made for the woods in Villamagna, Bagno a Ripoli. Here they were captured and taken to Gubbio, Perugia. Then let go. “But as they were walking along a lane they were killed [in the back] with a burst of machine guns and abandoned there” ... "on a radiant spring morning, unaware of ambush, you fell, like cut ears of corn". Following the Liberation, the three were buried together in the Jewish cemetery outside Florence's city walls.
Firenze, 9 June 2023
Jewish Cemetry, Via di Caciolle 13, Florence