Stefano Gatti's Shares His Family's Wartime Story

Stefano Gatti shares the tragic wartime story of his father's cousin, Il Tullio. 

Milan, August 1943.

The city underwent the heaviest bombing of the Second World War.The most dramatic story in my family was that of 'Il Tullio', my father's eighteen-year-old cousin. He was anti-fascist. He maybe confided that fact to someone he considered a trustworthy friend. Or maybe someone heard a snippet of conversation – who knows.

However his views became known, the fascists came and took him away in a military van. Nobody heard anything more about him. Searches were carried out by his parents – they survived the war, the fascism, and, tragically, even their son. Some years later, it was discovered that he had been deported to a concentration camp in Germany. All trace of him has since been lost. Il Tullio is just one of the millions of people who, suddenly and silently, have vanished from the world as we know it.

Some years late his presumed death was declared. Now, in his hometown cemetery, in Galliavola, there is a grave. Which is empty. The picture and name on the tombstone tell of the young man who should have been buried there.

The date of death is missing the month and the day.