Arena civica

Where the first antifascist execution in occupied Milan took place, on 19th December 1943.

In the Arena civica in viale Byron, next to Parco Sempione, the first massacre decided by a fascist court during the nazi occupation of Milan took place on 19th December 1943.

It was decided as a reprisal for the attack of the Patriotic Action Group to the federal commissioner of the Repubblica Sociale Italiana Aldo Resega, who was killed the day before next to his home in via Fratelli Bronzetti.

The same night, an fascist extraordinary court sentenced 8 men detained in San Vittore to death for antifascist activity, despite the fact they did not take part to Resega’s murder: Carmine Capolongo, Fedele Cerini, Giovanni Cervi, Luciano Gaban, Alberto Maddalena, Carlo Mendel, Amedeo Rossin, Giuseppe Ottolenghi.

Today, outside of the Arena, is a marble plate to their memory, while right where the shooting took place is a memorial stone saying “here they have fallen for the cause of freedom on 19th December 1943”.
We don’t have clear and true information about all those sentenced. Giovanni Cervi, engineer and head of the technical office at Caproni di Taliedo, belonged to the brigades «Giustizia e Libertà»; the 22 year-old Giuseppe Ottolenghi was son of the famous socialist Giorgio Ottolenghi; Dr. Carlo Leone Mendel, jewish with German origins, active in the A.R.I., Associazione Radiotecnica Italiana, was in charge of the radio contacts at the time of the first brigades of Resistance.
Carmine Capolongo, Luciano Gaban, Alberto Maddalena, Fedele Cerini and Amedeo Rossin were connected in different ways to the group «Cinque Giornate – San Martino di Vallalta – Varese», managed by lieutenant colonel of the Bersaglieri Carlo Croce. The story of Cerini and Rossin is controversial since they had been already sentenced to death by colonel Croce: Rossin, for his isolated and fearless actions that put the group’s safety at risk; Cerini, for plotting with the fascists in Varese, as well as small thefts.


Massimo Castoldi