Italy / Biography
Cesira Pardini was the eldest daughter of a family of nine children. On the day of the Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre, she was captured together with her mother and sisters. Although wounded, Cesira managed to find a hiding place for her younger sisters, saving their lives.
Cesira Pardini was the first daughter of a large family made up of nine. She had six sisters: Maria, Licia, Lilia, Siria, Adele and Anna and two brothers: Vinicio and Vittorio. The Pardini family lived in a village called Coletti. Like fellow villagers, the Pardinis had hosted several displaced persons. On the morning of 12 August 1944, when the Nazi soldiers were sighted, Cesira helped her mother secure their home as they feared the Nazis would set fire to the houses, steal food and goods and round up the men. Then she went away to help a fellow villager hide a cow and an ox. She noticed the fire blazing from the church square and returned home. Cesira was captured by the Nazis and brought to her house were a group of about 35 had been gathered. There she stood with her sisters Maria, Lilia, Adele and Anna who was just a baby and was in the arms of her mother Bruna. Then the Nazis opened fire and hit everyone present. Cesira’s mother was hit in the head and died. Cesira fell under her mother and managed to open a cellar door. Although wounded she grabbed her sisters and saved them. She knew they had to run if she wanted to survive. Cesira, grabbed her baby sister Anna in her uninjured arm and led her sisters to the nearby wood. The Nazis saw them and opened fire but did not hit the sisters as they made their escape.
After the shooting stopped and the village became quiet again, Cesira returned to her house. Everyone there was dead except for a one child called Paolo who was covered by dead bodies. Cesira managed to free him from the bodies. She then returned to her sisters and realized how seriously two of them, Anna and Maria, were injured. Both girls would die in the Valdicastello hospital several days later. At the time of her death Anna was just over one month old.
After the massacre, Cesira got married. She lived with her husband and son in Sant'Anna. Then, like many, she emigrated. On 17 May 2012, Cesira's heroic gesture was recognized with the awarding of the Medaglia d’oro al valor civile.