Emilia Marinelli Valori, born in Sansepolcro on 5th July 1902 and known as “mum Emilia”, fought against ideologies fostering hatred towards the others, refusing to recognize human beings as “friends” or “enemies”. After racial laws were promulgated in Italy in 1938, she used the tobacco warehouse she managed with her family in a Venetian village, Meolo, as a shelter for Jews and other people persecuted. Risking her own life, she managed to save many people - especially mothers and their children - from deportation and extermination, being resolute and calm whenever the SS knocked on her door for a search.
Support given by “Mum Emilia” to persecuted people was not only material but also spiritual and moral, as she managed to restore trust in others even in their darkest moments. Her secret rescue activity, aimed at giving hospitality and assistance to those in danger, was linked to that of supporting partisans, including her son Leo.
On 11th December 2009, President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano awarded the gold medal for Civil Merit in memory of Emilia Marinelli Valori. Valori is the protagonist of the essay titled Un albero per una vita, published by Rizzoli in 2001, in which her son, Giancarlo Elia Valori, tells about terrible years of Nazi occupation in Italy.
Reported by Emilio Barbarani
Gardens that honour Emilia Marinelli Valori
Emilia Marinelli Valori is honoured in the Garden of Marina di Campo - Secondary school of Marina di Campo.