Italia / Storia

German reprisals on the Industry Bridge



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The city of Rome survived the German occupation in an atmosphere of terror, deprivation, and cold. People began to raid bakeries and delivery trucks carrying bread for the German military. The reprisal was quick: ten women were shot at the guardrail of the Ponte di ferro (Iron Bridge), also known as Ponte dell’industria (Industry Bridge).

In April 1944, Rome was deeply suffering the consequences of the German occupation. On March 26, 1944 the Luftwaffe Lieutenant General Kurt Mälzer, commandant in Rome, issued an ordinance that reduced the daily bread ration for civilians to 100 grams. The ration of bread was reduced to the minimum and many bakeries had been rounded up to feed the German troops. As of the beginning of April, in many districts in Rome, women protested in front of the bakeries, and especially in front of those suspected of baking the bread for the occupying troops. On 1 April at the Tosti bakery, in the Appio district, the long queue for bread distribution turned popular discontent into a riot. On 6 April, a truck which delivered bread for the barrack of the Republican National Guard (Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana G.N.R.), was assaulted and raided. The assault to the bakeries, which forced the occupying troops to escort the convoys and to oversee the distribution points, was frequent in various districts of Rome. The most tragic episode happened in the morning of 7 April, when a group of women and boys assaulted a bakery in the Ostiense district (forno Tesei), where there was also a stock of bread for the German troops. The reprisal by the SS was very hard. Ten women were taken and shot at the nearby Industry bridge; their bodies were left on the road all day long as a warning to all citizens. Today, at one end of the bridge, a monument commemorates the victims.