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Giancarlo Puecher 1923 - 1943

a life for the homeland

Giancarlo Puecher

Giancarlo Puecher

Tale reported by Giuseppe Deiana

Giancarlo Puecher, born in Milan in 1923, due to the Anglo-American shellings on the town that also hit his home in downtown Broletto road, was forced to evacuate with his family and go to their villa in Lambrugo in Brianza, without though losing touch with the metropolis. Immediately after the armistice of 8 September, he created the first partisan unit of Brianza called “gruppo autonomo di Ponte Lambro” and involved in it a dozen friends, including the “resistant parish priest” of Ponte Lambro, father Giovanni Strada, and alpine Franco Fucci, a veteran from the Greek campaign.

Twenty-year old Giancarlo Puecher did not opt for rebellion out of ideological-political reasons, but rather for ethical-civic reasons, ripened thanks to his family education and his hanging out with some prominent antifascist personalities, in particular reference to lawyer Luigi Meda and Servite friar David Maria Turoldo. His total dedication to the cause of patriotism and liberation from Nazi-fascism was fully expressed by his “moral will” of September 1943, written when he formed the Ponte Lambro group: in it the young man, interrupting his university studies, also formally vowed to struggle against the fascist oppression and the Nazi occupation in sight of an ethical and political renewal. “All I did was done for the sake of our homeland. Dulce e decorum est pro patria mori”.

In the two months of his partisan struggle, Puecher opted for what historians call as unarmed or civil resistance, thus the one carried out without taking up arms, recurring to violence or underground armed struggle, unlike the partisans on the mountains or the Armed Partisan Groups (Italian acronym: GAP). Instead, he struggle to achieve some key goals: the protection of the “disbanded” soldiers,the aid to the allied prisoners and the persecuted through food and clothes delivery and the support to their escape to Switzerland, the supply of weapons and petrol, the sabotage of the communication and fortification facilities controlled by the Germans and fascists, the propaganda against the fascist and Nazi power, including Nazi collaborators, without physically eliminating them unlike in the “Gappist” operations.

However, the circumstances of the killing of lower fascist cadres in the town of Erba caused Fucci to be wounded and Puecher to be arrested. The chief of the Como Province, Franco Scassellati, retaliated by imposing the establishment of a makeshift martial court that would justify the shooting of a group of opposition members who were then jailed. The only one to be convicted was Puecher because of his strong influence. His assigned counsel, lawyer Beltramini, despite all efforts could not save him because of the obsessive murderous intent against Puecher of Scassellati’s and of the executioner of his orders, the President of the military court Biagio Sallusti. The young boy’s death nonetheless saved his comrades’ lives, who were sentenced to jail terms only.

Such a tragic end was made worse by the arrest of Giancarlo’s father some months later. His father was the liberal notary Giorgio Puecher who was deported to Mauthausen, where he would die of hardship on 7 May 1945, after an extremely harsh detention in Milan’s jail. He is remembered as an incarnation of the moral dimension of Resistance, without though succeeding in saving his own life from the dehumanization and destruction caused by the lager system.

In the aftermath of war Giancarlo Puecher was posthumously recognized his right to justice through legal and civil rehabilitation, the conviction of the culprits of his shooting, the bestowment of the Golden medal to his memory and the “honoris causa” graduation from the University of Milan. This was a greatly significant recognition of this young man who, selflessly, set the example in the name of loffie principles: he helped many persecuted survive and he gave a substantial contribution to the end of the Italian Nazi-fascist system, within the European framework.

Gariwo thanks Giuseppe Deiana for the precious material he put at the disposal of our Editorial Staff

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