212-The North Rome Railway during the war in Soriano nel Cimino
Pole hit by the bullets of a plane during a strafing in Civita Castellana, the structure is still visible today
The North Rome Railway during the war in Soriano nel Cimino
of Gianfranco Lelmi
To understand what happened in Soriano nel Cimino during the World War lI, the elaborates of the Library Soriano nel Cimino mentioned below, are a major source of news that make us well understand with harsh reality, what was going on and the type of life that the population led during these tragic times.
The North Rome Railway (La Ferrovia Roma Nord), perhaps not many people know this, saved the inhabitants of Rome from hunger. Interrupted the FF.SS railway (State Railway) that from Rome, yet, now,reaches Orte, the Rome connection, Civita Castellana, Viterbo had been one of the few means of "communication" between the capital and the countries of Tuscia. As reported, "it became a real means of illegal food market."
The railway line of the North Rome, near Soriano, had and has a tunnel that crosses the country. When in more critical period of the war, precisely in 1944, the railroad was interrupted for a short time, this particularly safe natural shelter, was little used by its inhabitants, who continued to use during the alarms, small and unhealthy shelters, about twenty as reported, located, in most, in the center of the country.
A curiosity concerning Soriano, regard the train station. During the war, on July 6, 1940, the municipality decided to change the name of the avenue of the station by Italo Balbo.
On 2 February 1944, it is said that a certain Nicola Chiodo, to feed his family had gone to Saint Angelo by some pastors, along the railway. Undocumented, stopped by Republicans, he was released because he had a pass with which showed who worked for the Germans at the airfield of Viterbo
February 3, 1944, along the railway between Soriano and Viterbo, at 18 two people carrying cans of gasoline, were surprised by a German sergeant, who summoned them to follow him to the command of Villa Surrina. Without weapons the two malmenavano assailed and beated him and then fled. Later the two were identified for Centofanti Angel of Nicholas and Luniddi Sesto. They were arrested since confessed.
Also in 1944, the railway Civita Castellana Viterbo was mined near Fabrica di Roma, as the partisan Settimio David told.
On 18 February 1944 Mr. Capolazza Emilio, denounced by unknown, that was shattered the glass of the front door of the station Soriano nel Cimino and that of the distribution of tickets for a total value of L. 250. The Head Station was unable to identify those responsibles, as the influx of travelers who filled the waiting room.
The territory crossed by the railway was often the scene of furious aerial combat. As the newspapers report, on March 13 of 1944 there was a duel between American and German planes in the town of Pian di Rosciano that ended with the shooting down of an aircraft piloted by American rider George A. Mudrich, then buried in the local cemetery .
In March of 1944, it is told that Octavian Ciuffi of Vignanello, fled along the tracks of the Roma Nord railway, because it sought to have hosted three German deserters.
Already on April 8, 1944 took place the first grim warning signs of what would happen on June 5 of that year in Soriano nel Cimino. In fact large American aircrafts dropped bombs near the Fornacchia which caused considerable damage to the railway.
As it is better explained by other witnesses, planes of the allied forces, had dropped some explosive bombs small caliber (clips) with the aim of destroying the bridges of Selva di Grosso and Fornacchia. The explosions were so powerful that they destroyed the windows of the houses on the outskirts of Soriano.
Always near the railway, with the aim of hitting the villas requisitioned by the Germans, seating of the garrison command offices or buildings used as barracks, as Villa Valente, lawn Cesarini, Villa Trua, allied fighter-bombers plunged low releasing explosive devises, not always reaching the goal. He also attempted to destroy a generator and its telephone control unit in locations Cacchiara, without success. Power lines and a villa near the Capuchins were targeted by Allied planes. Some houses near Saint Lucia, were inhabited by people who left the big population centers.
In an old farmhouse near the railroad as a result of a bombing, a splinter completely through a house with serious consequences to the furnishings.
Other significant episodes recounted by witnesses, concerning the aerial duel that occurred at 10 am near Saint Lucia, where passes and was passing the railway Roma Nord. An Allied plane chasing a German aircraft shooting some machine guns. Chased was shot down and the German pilot managed to bail out, reaching the soil healthy and sound, even if he had lost one ear and a finger. It was customary for the law of war, not strafe the parachutist. Witnesses rushed at the accident site, as well as browse, also take possession of silk parachute that then constituted a patrimony. The pilot shot down, wounded, taken care of, could return to his membership department.
Although the sirens sounded to signal the danger of approaching aircraft, witnesses say that much of the population avoided to run in shelters because it considered that the objectives were Terni, Orte and its railway.
Some even talk of a cargo of munitions train that was blown up, probably it was the state railway that passes through Orte.
The most serious event occurred on June 5, 1944 in Soriano nel Cimino. At 19.20 hours of flying fortresses of the Allied troops began the terrible bombing that took about 188 deaths. The witness accounts are so many, there were cases of bombs that reached to the ground, not exploded. People frightened by the first bombs, took refuge in the railway tunnel, in view of the fact that the line in those days, it turned off. The next day, Soriano began to understand the utility to protect themselves from bombs, using the gallery of the Ferrovia Roma Nord. As they told it was full of people who had preferred to abandon the precarious and unhealthy shelters in the country. A worker, like so many in the country, working in the Roma Nord railway, tell that tired of the continual alarms, considering them useless, remained at home.
During the bombing of 5 June 1944, a stone hit him on his stomach causing him terrible agony lasted three days. In fact most of the people believed that the main target of the allies were railroad points of Orte and Terni, in short, were military targets.
Soriano nel Cimino, protected by the mountain side, with an important military detachment, was not considered by the inhabitants of strategic interest. The Germans on the run to avoid being affected by aviation, abandoned highways, along secondary roads. This attracted the attention of the allies, and to cut off the retreat of the enemy, began to hit him on the side streets.
As told by some witnesses, June 5, 1944, Allied bombers that day were more numerous than usual, did not follow the usual route south, the north, but several directions. Groups of bombs fell before on Canepina, then the American twin-engine, two rudders on the tail, began to hit Soriano.
Some inhabitants of Soriano tell who had taken refuge in a house located near the Selva, near the railway Roma Nord. In the night the railways lines were crossed by a myriad of German soldiers who walked their way to the north. This continued presence of troops in retreat made the stay of refugees, a nightmare. Sometimes episodes rich in humanity are recounted, that war often makes us forget.
Near the railway two Germans asked to a villager if he had any food. Responding negatively, the soldiers asked him if he had children, the positive response, they gave him some things.
Soriano was devoid of any external connection, railroad, post, telegraph, radio did not work, there was no electricity. The railroad was a privileged way communication, it was traveled constantly on foot since the streets were deemed unsafe.
On June 8, 1944, when the German retreat was taking place, near San'Eutizio, Vallerano near the railroad, in the night there was a fierce duel of artillery.
Near d Sant'Eutizio, near the railroad, they were saved by the population two American airmen who had parachuted after an aerial duel.
On June 8, 1944 began to operate the stations of Soriano nel Cimino, Vitorchiano, Bagnaia.
Among the many anecdotes it is told that during the war, the propaganda, the newspapers of various political currents, were transported by suitcases through the railway Roma Nord, in Soriano nel Cimino, Viterbo. The Republicans had set up checkpoints in the various stations to crack down on the black market, carrying out constant searches.
NOT FORGET June 5, 1944 - June 5, 1994
SORIANO NEL Cimino: Fascism, anti-fascism, RESISTANCE April 1995
NOT FORGET 5 June 1944 - in June 5, 2004
We thank the Municipal Library of Soriano nel Cimino and in particular the manager, Prof. Gabriella Evangelistella