The Pini Massacre and the Liberation of Maranello

April 1945 was a busy month: the last bombings with civilian deaths, the Pini massacre in retaliation and, ultimately, the Liberation.

In early April 1945, three Germans were walking on a road near Torre Maina. It was less than a month before the liberation of Maranello, but nobody knew it at the time. They also did not know why these three Germans were venturing into an area known as controlled by partisans: were they deserters or just unaware? Too late to know. The partisans opened fire, killing two and injuring the third.

On 11 April came the retaliation. A group of Germans began to search every house in the district, even the church of Torre Maina where Don Orlandi was holding a doctrine lesson. They were about to shoot him, but the faithful stood in front of him acting as a shield and the priest was spared. Three young relatives who lived in the plot of land named Ripalta were not so lucky. They became the target of the retaliation: Giuseppe Pini (31), his namesake Giuseppe Pini (20) and Onelio Pini (24). The tragedy became known as the Pini Massacre, the last shooting of its kind to take place in Maranello.

Even the bombings were felt up until the end of the war. Just before the Liberation, the Consorzio Agrario in Via Claudia was destroyed since it was occupied by the Germans as a storehouse of weapons and ammunition. The next target was the brickyard owned by Giacomo Prandini Bartolini, used by the German as an administration centre. However, only civilian casualties were counted: no German was hit, and the banknotes deposited in the brickyard would fly in the sky for hours, driven by backlash.

Eleven days after the Pini Massacre, on 22 April 1945, Allied troops finally entered Maranello and liberated the city. They were Americans, South Africans, and Brazilians: exotic faces in the eyes of the people, who threw candy, chewing gum and cigarettes from the tanks and posed for photographs with the celebrating citizens of Maranello. One of the tanks broke down at the corner of Via Trebbo and Via Claudia. The motionless tank immediately became a plaything for children, so much so that some, climbing on top, unintentionally fired a shell against the bell tower of the church of San Biagio. Fortunately, there was no damage: it would be the last mortar round that the city was forced to hear.

The following day, the new city council took office in Maranello, formed by representatives of the National Liberation Committee. Among its ranks were people who held both Socialist and Communist philosophies, and there were apolitical technical experts in agriculture and trade to revive the city. A new day had started: this time, the war was really over.

 

 

Bibliography

Silvano Soragni, “Maranello, dal Feudo Calcagnini… alla Scuderia Ferrari”, Artioli Editore, 2004