Headquarter of the political office of the Brigata Nera “Aldo Resega” and the “Gruppo David”, a special espionage and counter-espionage service run by Tommaso David.
Villa Hike, in via Ravizza 51, was the headquarter of the political investigative office of the Brigata nera Aldo Resega, which was in charge of anti-partisan espionage. Here is where 24 agents, 6 men and 18 women (according to the information service of the Clnai – Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale Alta Italia), operated under the command of Tommaso David, aka prof. D’Amato, aka Dr. De Santis, 70 years old, former lieutenant colonel of the militia and former squadrista.
He managed an organization known as «Gruppo David» or «Gruppo S. A. Sabotatori e Attentatori»,
acting on behalf of the German information services (more specifically the Abwehr I, «kommando 190» or «kommando kora», the same name of its commander). Its job was to recruit and train spies to be sent behind the lines, in the Allies-occupied territory, to carry out espionage and counter-espionage operations. The organization was established near Piazza Colonna in Rome but, after the liberation of the city, it moved to Milan, initially to the barracks in via Vincenzo Monti and later to Villa Hike, in via Ravizza 51, where it also served as a dormitory for the agents.
It also included the «Gruppo speciale A», made up exclusively of female agents. Among the main duties assigned by Tommaso David, there mainly was espionage of the partisans, carried out by male and female agents together with the GNR (Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana) and the Legione «Ettore Muti».
Other duties included collecting left-wing party propaganda in the liberated territory, mainly carried out by female agents; ascertaining moral and material conditions of Italian troops fighting alongside the allies; verifying whether or not there was any illegal fascist movement in Rome and whether the civilian population was in favor or not of Mussolini’s return. Those assigned with espionage missions in the Allies-occupied territory were trained in the Scuola per Informatori di Milano, located in Viale Monza.
The missions carried out on behalf of the organization of espionage of the Abwehr I in Milan were different: the agents would collect propaganda (antifascist papers, newspapers, posters); they would report on the political and economic situation in the liberated territory, on the mood of the population, on the aims of post-war antifascist parties; they would observe marks on the vehicles, investigate on the type and number of planes present in the various department of the allies; they would ascertain the exact location of headquarters and location of stationing troops.
As for the collection of information, once entered in the liberated territory, the agents would attend public venues and engage in conversations with allied military personnel as well as Italian civilians.
Before going on mission, the spies would receive their code name and code word – the word “Ghero”, indicating the affiliation to a department, followed by a number – a white tissue with a secret message written in invisible ink, a fake ID, an aluminum partisan badge of the CLN (Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale). With regards to their wages, they would receive 5000 liras as a recruitment bonus, 12,000 liras per month and 20,000 liras at the time of their departure. Moral gratifications were: a commendation from German authorities and the Iron Cross, second class; from the Italian ones, the silver medal of honor and the “honor” of being received by Mussolini himself.