1954: The event of the "Ta-pum of the cecchino"
(De Gasperi process)
On the 20th and 27th January 1954 Guareschi publishes on
Candido the photocopies of two letters signed by "De Gasperi":
the first one, typed, is dated 19 January 1944 and invites the English
headquarters of Salerno to give arms to the partisans and to bomb with
airplanes the military targets in the suburbs of Rome, in order to “crush
the last moral resistance" of the population; the second one, completely
handwritten and dated 26 January 1944, informs an unidentified partisan
chief that the reinforcements would have arrived soon and that "from
Salerno" the "finishing stroke" was being waited.
In the first days of February De Gasperi proceeds against
Guareschi. The writer gives to the Court of Milan the two letters that
Enrico De Toma gave him, together with an export opinion in handwriting
that was not taken into consideration by the judicial authority.
On the 15th April he is sentenced to twelve months’
imprisonment for libel. He does not appeal and on the 26th May he enters
San Francesco prison in Parma. He does not ask for mercy or facilitations;
he does not take advantage of pardons. During his imprisonment, the penalty
of the previous sentence is added to him (see Einaudi process).
In 1953, I run into a bigwig and I will spend, in San
Francesco prison in Parma, thirteen months: and, to tell the truth, I
will be treated like the most esteemed professional robbers, thieves,
rapists, murderers, and so on.
Freedom is wherever lives a man that feels free.
December: the Corrierino of the families is published,
and it contains the literary adventures of Guareschi family [main characters:
Giovannino (the author), Margherita (the wife Ennia), the Pasionaria (the
daughter Carlotta), Albertino (the son Alberto)].
I often write about the readers of the Corrierino of
the families: mothers and fathers who recognize themselves and their
children in those accounts.
They tell me that Hamlet is ok, that I am as they imagined
me, but only a bit smaller, that Margherita, often, shows to have more
spirit than me. They ask how Albertino is and they would like to meet
During his imprisonment, Guareschi receives the news about
De Gasperi’s death (9 August 1954, Sella di Valsugana, Trento),
to which he answers with the following words:
I’m here, silent and alone, sitting near the river’s
bank. But I’m not waiting for my enemy’s corpse to pass. I
do not consider anybody to be my enemy. Nobody succeeded in stirring up
my hate! I only wait for the corpse of one year’s lost life to pass.
And if, meanwhile, any other corpse passes, I do not rejoice nor worry.
It does not concern me: only God regulates these matters, and God never
makes mistakes. My heart is clear and light.
Vignetta Guareschi in catene
Vignetta Guareschi entra nel "carcere della Repubblica"
Parma, maggio 1954: Guareschi entra nel Carcere San Francesco
La famiglia Guareschi
Il Corrierino delle Famiglie