This is the war

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This is a translation of the Italian story Questa è la guerra”

 by Giovanna C. - 71 years, Italy


In April ‘44, I was attending the first year at primary school. I lived with my parents and grandparents in Villanova, a hamlet near Bologna. Nowadays, Villanova is at Bologna’s periphery, but at that time it was a small village of about 10 houses and Bologna seemed far away to us. It was at the time of World War II, but we were quite untroubled. Daddy had not been called to the arms because he worked in a explosives’ factory; my grandfather was a bricklayer. Bologna had been heavily bombed and all the people who could do it, already had taken refuge in the country side. Also my family was giving hospitality to other 2 families of evacuees, as we called those who ran away from the town.Although I try, I can’t remember how so many persons could live all together in this small house: we were 3 families, 13 persons in total. The 7th of April of that year was the Holy Friday. I bear in mind a sunny day, I was playing in the courtyard, while mum was ironing. Then we heard the unmistakable noise of air raids. It’s a terrifying, unmistakable roar that fills all the sky. We were all in the courtyard, looking at the sky, and when we realised that aircrafts were going in the same direction where we were, we went to take shelter in the house. My grandfather, who built the house, recommended, in the case of danger, to go to the basement where iron beam ceiling was more strong.The aircrafts’ rhomb became louder and louder, then there was a sharp hoot. I don’t remember anything else, the explosion of the bomb hitting the house made me lose consciousness for a little while. I remember that I found myself trapped in the rubble, unable to move, with the mouth full of sand. We could hear a few bomb explosions, I don’t know how long we stayed there. Then rescuers arrived, the neighbours, firemen, my grandfather who had been called by someone. Finally I saw again the sunlight: I clearly remember the rough cloth of the fireman on my cheek when he picked me up. Mum and I have been taken to the hospital, I was perfectly safe. Afterwards I found out what happened with the others - 5 of them died: my grandmother, a lady with her child of 9 months, another lady and her 18 year old daughter.This is the war.

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