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O Roma nobilis 
Orbis et domina 
Cunctarum urbium 

Ancient pilgrim chant 



Copyright, 1945, by 

All rights reserved no part of this book 
may be reproduced in any form without 
permission in writing from the publisher, 
except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief 
passages in connection with a review written 
for inclusion in magazine or newspaper. 

Second Printing. 




To E. C. H. 

I promised to write this diary for you. 
Here it is, with love. 



Late American Ambassador to Spain 

How fortunate that among the very few Americans who re- 
mained in Rome throughout the war there was an alert and 
talented lady who had a literary flair and kept a diary! She 
writes under the pseudonym of Jane Scrivener, but this, as I 
shall presently explain, is the only "pseudo" thing about it. 
It is an eyewitness account, as authentic as it is vivid. 

As background, one may recall that Mussolini and his Fascists, 
in concert with Hitler, had plunged Italy into war against 
France and Great Britain in June, 1940, and against the United 
States in December, 1941. By the spring of 1943 Italy was over- 
whelmed by misfortunes at home and abroad. Axis rout in 
North Africa was being followed by Allied invasion of Sicily, 
while within Italy the masses of the population were suffering 
intensely and Mussolini had become a mere puppet of the Ger- 
mans who already occupied and terrorized the country. 

"Jane Scrivener" was an old friend of my wife and myself, 
and while we were in Spain we received letters from her giving 
us lively impressions of what was transpiring in Rome. She 
described with special vigor the Allied air attack of July 19, 
1943 the efficacious bombing of railway yards and freight 
station, the wrecking of a populous workingman's quarter, the 
ripping up of a cemetery, the demolishing of the famous did 
basilica of St. Lawrence-Outside-the-Walk She conveyed a 
sense of the thrill of horror that immediately ran througfc the 
city, of the increasing tension of the ensuing "hot July days,** 
and of the historic character of the tea-hour session of the Fascist 
Council on July 24th and the King's announcement two days 
later that Mussolini had been dismissed and Marshal Badoglio 


was prime minister. Of the scene on this day, she wrote: "The 
joy of the Italians on being rid of Fascism gives Rome a carnival 
air. Torn fragments of Mussolini's portraits lie like snow on the 
pavements. People laugh and talk in the streets as they have 
not done for years. Perfect strangers greet and congratulate 
one another. 'Now we can say what we like, with no fear of 
spies/ they joyously exclaim. Fascist emblems are hacked from 
public buildings to the accompaniment of cheers and applause. 
The city is covered with posters: 'Ewiva il Re!' 'Evviva Bado- 
glio!* 'Evviva la liberta!' Rome, in her long history, has never 
known quite such a day." 

Forty-five days passed, and on September 8, 1943, Marshal 
Badoglio concluded the armistice with the Allies. But this did 
not mean the delivery of Rome. Quite the opposite. It was the 
Germans and not the Italians who were in effective military 
control of the city, and the Germans had no intention of sur- 
rendering it or treating it as an "open city." Nor were the 
Allies in any position then, or for a long time afterwards, to 
liberate Rome. For months their offensive bogged down many 
miles south. It was not until June 5, 1944, after a lapse of nine 
frightful months, that "Jane Scrivener" saw in Rome the first 
Allied soldiers four American boys in a jeep and knew that 
at long last the Eternal City was free and secure. 

It is the day-to-day events of those nine months from the 
Armistice of September, 1943, to the Allied arrival in June, 
1944, which the diary, now published, records. They were 
months of dreadful suspense, of alternating hope and despair, 
and of steadily increasing misery. Food and fuel grew ever 
scarcer, while refugees and escaped war prisoners overcrowded 
the cold, hungry city. Looting and assassination, and dire Nazi 
reprisals, added to the terror and havoc wrought by Allied 
bombs which missed their military targets. And occasionally, 
amid so much tragedy, the occupying Germans unwittingly 
provided a comic touch. 

All this is depicted in "Jane Scrivener's" diary with imme- 
diacy and spontaneity, and with an excellent eye for both fact 
and form. Appropriately depicted, too, is the role of the Pope 
and the Vatican as Rome's bulwarks during the whole trying 

time. The Vatican found food for the starving. It eased physical 

[* >. 

and spiritual hardships. It guarded treasures of literature and 
art. Pope Pius XII stood forth against the Nazis as, centuries 
earlier, Pope Leo I had stood forth and saved Rome against 
Attila and the Huns. 

For an understanding of the Pope's position vis-a-vis the Nazi 
forces in Rome, and of the diary's frequent references to it, 
one should bear in mind that the Lateran Treaty which the 
Italian Government had concluded with the Holy See on Feb- 
ruary 11, 1929, and which therefore was binding in international 
law, accorded to the Pope certain temporal rights and jurisdiction 
in Rome. Consequently, when the Germans took full and un- 
disguised military possession of the city in 1943, they were 
obliged not only to repress local agents and supporters of the 
Italian Government of Marshal Badoglio, which they could do 
with their armies and police, but also to deal with a Pope against 
whom they hesitated to employ force and yet whom they dis- 
covered to be adamant about his rights. 

By the terms of the Lateran Treaty, that part of Rome which 
comprised the Vatican and St. Peter's the so-called Vatican City 
was an independent sovereign state of the Pope's; and in it, 
throughout the war, resided diplomatic representatives of almost 
all the United Nations as well as of the Axis. But this was not all. 
In addition, the Treaty provided for papal governance, through 
the international usage of "extraterritoriality," of a considerable 
number of properties in Rome and its environs outside of Vatican 
City. These included the basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Paul's- 
Outside-the-Walls, and St. Mary Major, together with all build- 
ings connected with them; the palace of St. Calixtus in Traste- 
vere; the papal summer residence and farms at Castel Gandolfo; 
the Augustinian college of Santa Monica and other buildings on 
the Janiculum; the old Church of St. Michael and its neighboring 
convent; the Jesuit headquarters and house of retreats; the Col- 
lege of the Propaganda; the church and convent of St. Onofrio; 
the Bambin Gesu hospital; the Ukrainian and Rumanian col- 
leges; the palaces of the Chancery and the Datary in the center 
of Rome; that of the Propagation of the Faith in the Piazza di 
Spagna; that of the Holy Office near St. Peter's; the Vicariat in 
the Via della Pigna; and "Raphael's House" in the Via delk 

Besides these "extraterritorial" properties, certain others were 
stipulated in the Lateran Treaty as being free from expropriation 
because owned by the Holy See, although otherwise subject to 
the jurisdiction of the Italian State. These were the buildings 
attached to the basilica of the Twelve Apostles and to the 
churches of St. Andrew and St. Charles; the Gregorian Univer- 
sity; the Biblical, Archaeological, and Oriental Institutes; the 
Russian Seminary; the Lombard College; the two palaces of St. 
Apoilinarius; and the House of Retreats of Saints John and Paul. 

The papal properties, thus scattered all over Rome, made it 
no easier for the Nazis there. Indeed, had it not been for the 
Lateran Treaty and the Vatican's neutrality during the war, 
the German occupation might have been much worse than it 
was both for the anti-Fascist Italians and for the Allies. "Neu- 
trality on the part of the Pope," the author of the diary has 
written, "did not signify any sympathy by him for Fascism or 
Nazism. These totalitarian doctrines already stood condemned, 
(a) by the moral law, which he constantly preached, and (b) 
by such specific papal encyclicals as Non Abbiamo Bisogno and 
I/Lit Brennender Sorge. It has always been the policy of the 
Holy See to observe neutrality towards whatever Power might 
have effective military control of the city of Rome, in order to 
maintain contact with its own representatives abroad and with 
the Catholic hierarchy in all parts of the world. It was only 
because of this neutrality that the Pope was able to carry on 
multitudinous good works for suffering mankind during the 
course of the war, works which ranged from supplying war 
prisoners everywhere, regardless of race or nationality, with ma- 
terial and spiritual help, to providing aid for devastated areas and 
feeding the starving in Rome* (When the Allies entered the 
city, the Holy See was furnishing daily meals for 15,000.) For 
the well-being of Christian peoples, the Holy See has always 
negotiated even with the worst pagan rulers." 

A few final words about "Jane Scrivener" herself. Her pseu- 
donym should not arouse any apprehension. I have known her 
and her family for a goodly number of years. She is an American 
citizen and a cultivated lady, who has engaged in numerous 
educational activities in Europe, especially in France and Italy. 
For many years she has lived in Rome, and I remember weu, 

when I was last there in the spring of 1938 how disgusted 
and ironical she was about* the preparations then being made by 
Mussolini to welcome Hitler on a visit to the capital of Christen- 

She is a staunch American, as the diary amply demonstrates. 
She is also a Catholic religious, and it is this fact which explains 
her remaining in Rome during the war and her having the 
intimate knowledge which she has recorded. She knows her 
Rome thoroughly, and she has had many contacts through the 
religious house where she lived, and likewise through the Vatican 
where she worked on "prisoners* relief/* Every night she would 
write what in the daytime her attentive eyes and ears had learned. 

She began and continued the day-to-day writing in her diary 
without any thought of its ever being published. But the parts 
of it which she put in personal letters to my wife, and managed 
to get through to Spain, so fascinated us that we urged her to 
let the public have access to the whole story. She finally agreed, 
and despatched the manuscript by special courier from Rome to 
Madrid, whence I brought it to the United States, I am delighted 
that it now becomes available to the many who, I feel sure, will 
find it a most interesting and illuminating "inside** story of cru- 
cial war months in Rome. 

Wednesday September 8, 1943 

We have seen and heard many things these days. Here is my 
diary for what it is worth. 

The whole city shuddered with fear of a repetition of the 
bombings of July and August when, at midday today, the siren 
wailed and the boom and thud of distant explosions were heard. 
However, word soon went round that it was Frascati, as the 
attack was clearly visible from the Janiculum. Of course for 
months the Castelli had been overflowing with German troops, 
and sooner or later were bound to be bombed. This, then, was 
it. Flying fortresses poured explosives on all the neighbouring 
townlets: Albano, Marino, Castel Gandolfo, Lanuvio, Genzano, 
Velletri, Ciampino and its airport, but most of all on FrascatL 
It went on for an hour and ten minutes, and at the end of that 
time Frascati lay in ruins. Dear, ancient, crowded, noisy, gay 
little Frascati was wiped out. One thousand of its inhabitants 
lay dead, as against 150 Germans. Was it worth it? Marshal 
Kesselring, the German commander in chief, crawled from under 
the ruins of his quarters unharmed. Yes, they got that house 
too. The Cathedral, the square in front of it, Cardinal of York's 
fountain and the shops surrounding it, the church of Gesu and 
that of St. Roch, several convents, the bank, the Bishop's palace 
and the Salesians' big school at Villa Sora suffered severely. The 
historic villas, Frascati's most aristocratic feature, were nearly 
all damaged. The famous Jesuit College at Villa Mondragone was 
out of the line of the attack, so members of the community there, 
together with the Salesians and the Catnaldolese from Tusculum, 
came down into the town, dug survivors out of the wreckage and 
buried the dead. The buildings around Piazza Roma where the 
railway and tram terminus used to be were swept away, as weH 
as the three hotels, the Roma, the Tusculum, and the Park, 
Desolation and a thick cloud of white dust settled on Frascati, 
as the departing planes were lost in the blue. It is gone, and 


forever, I think; gone with its dark little shops, its grocers and 
bakers, its umbrella mender who also sold mousetraps, its one 
electrician and its solitary watchmaker (who always said "a 
Roma 39 when you wanted anything), its hard- working winter 
population, its patient postmistress, its swarms of school children 
and its crowds of riotous villeggianti in summer. It is all silent 
and dead. There it lies. The wreckage of war. 

At half past seven the news of the armistice broke. The Roman 
radio broadcast Eisenhower's statement and Badoglio's short 
dignified address to the Italian people. Armistice! A sigh of relief 
went up from the crowds around the loud-speakers. Then a 
pause. People looked at each other questioningly Armistice or 
Armageddon? What about the Germans? In country places, such 
as Cori, up in the hills, where there were no Germans, the re- 
joicings knew no bounds; bonfires were lit, and the peasants and 
village folk rioted to their heart's content. But Rome was quiet. 
Martial law was still in force, and by 9.30 the streets were de- 
serted. But there were plenty of celebrations indoors. In more 
than one place the health of the Allies was drunk. The Germans 
in the city lay low that night, distinctly apprehensive; there 
were not many of them, and they awaited orders. 

Thursday September 9th 

One awoke with a stab of anxiety. True, the burden of thirty- 
eight long months of war had been lifted, but what would the 
day bring forth? 

News came in hectic gusts hour by hour. In the papers there 
was a chorus of approval of Badoglio's measures. The German 
radio let loose a flood of invective against the "vile treason of 
the Italians." People overflowing with optimism began to talk 
English freely on the telephone. Yes, it was all over. The Italians 
would have to hold out for just one week and then the Allies 
would be here; they had dropped leaflets to that effect. Every- 
thing was lovely. Suddenly we heard the booming of big guns. 
'The British fleet off Ostia," said friends who had come in to 
discuss the situation. "No, it's the Germans blowing up their 
ammunition dumps because they can't take it away with them." 
But are they? It is strange to be in the heart of these things and 

to know really nothing about them. The radio makes no allusion 
to them. 

In the afternoon it clouded over, and the morning's optimism 
clouded over too. By 3 P.M. shops were shutting uncannily. 
Afraid of looting? But by whom? The Italians aren't going to 
start that, surely? And the Germans? But they say the garrison 
of Rome is strong, and then there's Cadorna with his whole divi- 
sion out at Bracciano. Surely the Germans are well in hand? . . . 

By six, knots of people collected in the streets and word went 
round in horrified whispers that the Germans were marching 
into Rome. "They are at Ponte Milvio." "They're in Piazza San 
Giovanni/' A lot of Italian soldiers hastily put on civilian clothes. 
The Roman barracks were evacuated. Rumour said that Badoglio 
had escaped from Rome and had sent his daughter to Switzer- 
land. Civilians went home and shut the great doors of their 
houses those portoni y the characteristic feature of Italian build- 
ings, which serve them in the office of a wall or as a moat defen- 
sive to a house, and dose their porte-cocheres hermetically. 

10 P.M. The siren: sinister, depressing. Then bombs. So that 
was the German answer to the armistice. Thud. Thud. Thud. On 
Rome. Near the University; near the Vatican City in Via Sisto 
Quinto; near Via Cassia and near the Madonna del Riposo. In 
half an hour it was over, and the silence of the streets was broken 
only by rifle and revolver shots. Rome slept as best it could. 

Friday September 10th 

The 8 o'clock broadcast announced that Badoglio had placed 
General Caviglia in command of the city. He is a man past sev- 
enty, upright, incorruptible, capable and universally admired 
and respected; as a non-Fascist he used to be suggested as the 
only possible substitute for Mussolini in the days when anti- 
Fascism was living underground. One felt confident that, with 
him, all would be well. 

Guns sound in the far distance. Some German soldiers pass 
down Via dei Mille, handcuffed and under guard. So much the 
better. It seems that the Gran&tieri met oocoming Germans out 
near La Cecchignola on the Via Ardeatma. Ve knew that in the 


open country beyond La Cecchignola, there had been a large 
German camp for over a year. 

By 1 1 o'clock it was made known that Caviglia had negotiated 
with the Germans for their withdrawal to a point farther north, 
and that they would, in consequence, not enter Rome. Excellent. 
We should now be free of them without further fighting. Every- 
body was hopeful. One knew that Caviglia would manage them. 
How wise of Badoglio to have appointed him. The firing died 
down in the distance. 

By midday St. Peter's was shut. When, in the memory of man, 
had it been shut in the daytime? Still, of course it was wise. 
If a panic-stricken crowd had rushed into it for protection, 
the situation might well have become complicated. It looked 
very desolate. The same with the Vatican City: Porta Santa 
Anna was hermetically closed. At the Arco delle Campane gate 
a Swiss with businesslike rifle and bayonet, instead of his medie- 
val pike, guarded the entrance; in like manner there was one 
at the closed Portone di Bronzo. Palatine Guards reinforced the 
Swiss, who are not very numerous. The commander of the Noble 
Guard placed six of his men on duty night and day, in turns, 
near the Pope's person, and a number of them moved into resi- 
dence in the Vatican so as to be close at hand, as anything might 
happen in the little Pontifical State. 

At 1 o'clock, the siren again. The siren? Yes, the siren. But 

we thought Bombs seemed to fall close beside us. Then the 

whistle and thud of shells echoed over the city. It was unmis- 
takable: they were using artillery and shelling the heights of 
Rome. Roman artillery answered from the Aventine, the Pal- 
atine, the Caelian, the Janiculum, the Pincian. A German shell 
screeched across Ponte Cavour and crashed into the Palazzo di 
Giustizia. Via Frattina, the Trinita, S. Maria della Pace were also 
hit. On the line of the Tiber, at San Gregorio, on the hills, Italian 
gunners were hard at work. 

By degrees the fighting moved in from the country, down Via 
Ardeatina and Via Laurentina, past Tre Fontane, and neared 
St. Paul's. Machine guns, rifles and hand grenades came into 
play. When the fight was hottest, wounded men were carried 
into Santa Sabina, the great Dominican convent on the Aventine. 

Italian soldiers appeared in disorder, straggling in along the 

Lungotevere, dusty, hungry and bedraggled. But there were 
no officers. The men reported that their officers said: "We have 
no more ammunition. Do what you can for yourselves, boys,** 
and left them. As might have been expected, the Germans had 
used their negotiations with Caviglia as a blind, and instead of 
withdrawing, advanced firing on the Italians. They had also 
obtained possession of the cipher used in giving army orders to 
Italian officers, and a large number of the latter received instruc- 
tions not to fight if they met the Germans; others were directed 
to present themselves at headquarters in mufti. The men were 
ready to fight the oncoming Germans, but they were not led. 
This elimination of officers was characteristic of German meth- 
ods; it was achieved principally by their Fifth Column in Rome. 

The Roman artillerymen, however, knowing nothing of what 
had happened at Cecchignola, replied fiercely for nearly two 
hours when the Germans shelled the city. Armoured cars rushed 
through the streets to meet the enemy, only to be turned back at 
the gates. 

But it was merely outside Porto San Paolo that the treacherous 
orders were obeyed. Inside the city fighting went on practically 
everywhere. The Hotel Continental, near the station, was at- 
tacked by Italian troops and civilians armed with machine guns, 
and defended by Fascists and Germans firing from the windows. 
Observers crowded roofs and terraces. On the narrow gallery 
at the top of the tall bell tower of San Camillo, a slender figure 
was visible outlined against the sky. In his dark cassock, with the 
vivid red cross on his breast, that Camittmo priest stood watch- 
ing, watching, and praying; he seemed the embodiment of a 
guardian spirit mourning over the strife below. 

A ferocious encounter took place near the Ministry of the 
Interior in Via Agostino Depretis, with Fascists and Germans 
inside, Italians attacking from the street. Near the Circus Max- 
imus a platoon of Germans took advantage of the newly con- 
structed tunnel for the underground railway, dived into it and 
emerged at the Colosseum, only to find resolute Italians at the 
other end, awaiting them with hand genades and revolvers. 

It all recalled those lines in Le Cid when the hero is describing 
their battle against the Moors, in the dark: 


Et chacun sevl temoin des grands coups qu'il donnait 
Ne pouvait discerner ou le sort inclinait. 

Certainly the isolated groups engaged in the disorderly struggle 
knew nothing of what was happening to the others. Blood ran 
in the streets near the railway station, particularly in Via Massimo 
d'Azeglio and Via Cavour, as well as in Via Nazionale, Via del 
Tritone, Piazza Venezia and Corso Umberto Primo. Wherever 
Germans were seen they were set upon. Clashes were violent 
in the old Trastevere, home of violence in all ages. "When it had 
subsided somewhat an old Trasteverino stooped over a dead body, 
looked about helplessly, then went across the street and com- 
mandeered a fruit seller's handcart, laboriously placed the corpse 
on it and wheeled it off to the nearest hospital. Many handcarts 
in Rome today were used in a like manner. 

Armoured cars seemed to be everywhere at the same time, 
some manned by Italians, some by Germans, and all of them 
firing. The whole thing was a mixture of riot, civil war, real 
war and anarchy. Shops were shut and doors were closed, but 
that did not prevent looting, particularly along the line of march 
between Porta San Paolo and the Circus Maximus. The Central 
Market was stripped bare. Over in the Testaccio quarter store- 
houses were broken open, and not only did the Germans them- 
selves loot, but they encouraged the bewildered populace to 
follow their example. Some of them took photographs of the 
poor creatures carrying away cheeses and parcels of pasta. Worse 
still, they broke open the wine cellars beneath the Testaccio hill, 
drank all they wanted, and then invited the public to do the 
same. The submerged tenth flocked to the spot with cans, bottles, 
saucepans, anything that would hold liquid, and took full ad- 
vantage of the opportunity. Two Dominican Fathers who 
happened to be passing tried to summon the police by telephone 
but, as might have been expected, no police were forthcoming. 
They had taken cover indoors. The two priests did what they 
could, unaided, to stem the tide of theft and drunkenness; and, 
strange to say, their words were listened to and they went home 

The Germans, at last, in rather straggling formation, marched 
down Via dei Trionfi, past the Arch of Constantine and down 

Via del Impero to Piazza di Venezia, where machine guns had 
been barking all afternoon. Another detachment of them came 
in by Porta San Giovanni, and down Via Merulana. They 
passed beneath the walls of St. John Lateran, making toward 
St. Mary Major's (Santa Maria Maggiore), and I think those 
ancient walls remembered old unhappy far-off things, very like 
those of today: Guiscard's Normans wrecking that neighbour- 
hood in 1084, and Bourbon's Lutheran hordes in 1527, were 
after all, not so very unlike Hitler's Huns riding in on their 
tanks and lorries, driving the defeated Romans before them as 
they went. 

Unconscious of what had really taken place, university stu- 
dents dashed through the streets shouting: "Come on to Piazza 
Colonna, to cheer for our men!" When they got there they 
found themselves looking into the muzzles of machine guns. 
Rome was occupied. 

During the fighting in Piazza S. Maria Maggiore a priest was 
wounded and was carried into the Oriental Institute, which is 
directed by the Jesuits. Rumour went quickly round that "they" 
had shot a Jesuit. 

By six everything was ominously quiet. Shops and houses 
were shut. There was no traffic except an occasional swif dy mov- 
ing German car. People collected in little knots everywhere in 
the streets, dismayed, depressed, wondering almost in whispers 
what would happen next. Some had seen the fighting, some 
had stayed indoors for safety and had seen nothing. Each group 
had for centre one who professed to know what had really 
happened. Here and there the speaker was a bedraggled and 
hungry soldier, telling the tale of betrayal His hearers made 
little comment. What was there to say? They had been tricked, 
and now the city was occupied. A nightmare had come true. 
What would it all mean? Anything was possible. Darkness fell 
and they went home dejectedly. 

About seven o'clock we had news by telephone that an "agree- 
ment" had been made with the Germans, under the terms of 
which they were to remain outside Rome with the exception 
of three places only, which they would occupy. The places T^ese: 
the German Embassy, the Roman bircadcastiag station, and tU 
German telephone plant. They furthermore recognized Rocae 

as an "open city," whatever that might mean. It all sounded 
better, and hope flickered up for a moment. Perhaps they might 
really retreat farther north; there isn't any particularly good 
line of defence near here, and they have already made two in 
the north, one from Ancona to Pistoia and the other on the Po. 
Yes, perhaps they would. 

Again all night long we heard rifle shots in the streets. 

Saturday September llth 

It was like a city of the dead. No shops open. No policemen 
about anywhere. No one going to work. No buses. No trams, 
or rather, the trams, a weird sight, were there motionless and 
empty, standing on their tracks exactly where they were yester- 
day when the siren sounded. Rome had been stunned and did 
not react. The shining exceptions to the general state of apathy 
were the bakers, who, out of sheer public spirit and on their 
own responsibility, opened up and made bread; somewhat late, 
but still by dinner time, there was the usual meagre ration of 
150 grammes of bread for everyone. Those who had no provi- 
sions in reserve went hungry, for the looting of the Central 
Market and the closing of all the shops made food unprocurable 
all that day. 

There were no street-cleaners with their brooms and hoses; 
and pathetic pools of blood lay on the pavement, blackening 
in the hot sunlight. The city was left to its own devices. During 
the morning, however, animosity roused itself and shooting 
began again in the streets. German soldiers who were sniped 
from windows retaliated with machine guns, particularly in Via 
Nazionale, Via del Tritone, again near the Ministry of the In- 
terior and near the Station. Torn awnings, smashed brickwork, 
piles of loose plaster and broken glass testified to the violence 
of the clashes. More looting went on. Most people kept indoors. 
At 1 o'clock the Roman radio, now German-controlled of 
course, broadcast the following: 

Yesterday an armistice was agreed upon by the commanders of the 
German and Italian troops in the Roman area. Since then the behaviour 
of Italian soldiers has been such that the following measures have been 

1 It is forbidden to carry arms. Soldiers bearing them will be arrested 
and disarmed. 

2 Anyone killing a German soldier will be shot. Otherwise the armis- 
tice remains in force. 

So it was an armistice. Or wasn't it? 

In the afternoon two newspapers appeared on single sheets: 
the Giornale d'ltalia and the Avvenire* They carried a proclama- 
tion which repeated the conditions of die "armistice," and 
ordered all soldiers, of whatever rank, to report at their barracks 
within twenty-four hours, bringing their weapons with them and 
all civilians to deliver any firearms in their possession at the 
nearest police station immediately, and reminded them that 
obedience to the military authorities must be prompt and abso- 
lute. Court-martial would follow breaches of these orders. The 
document was signed "General Calvi di Bergolo," and was 
posted everywhere. 

Calvi di Bergolo? Where was Caviglia? Caviglia, on whom 
we had placed our hopes was he done away with already? And 
as for the Germans occupying only those three places in Rome 
the German Embassy, the German telephone central and the 
Italian broadcasting station well, it was just silly, as well as 
treacherous, to say so. The whole city was swarming with them. 
They were going about in armoured cars with machine guns 
pointed significantly at the passers-by, and on foot with revolvers 
and rifles and a swaggering air. There were men from the 
air force, infantrymen, gunners, Afrika Korps, S.S. men and 
railway men too. German engine drivers had been hastily brought 
in because the commanders did not trust the Italian ones. And 
they were right, because nothing could please an Italian mechanic 
better than to drive his locomotive with a load of Germans be- 
hind it straight off the rails. They kept the Italian brakemen, 
however; but these had already made their plans. As soon as 
the Allies should be within striking distance of Rome there 
would no longer be any Italian brakemen on the trains; they 
would have vanished only to reappear when the Allies would 
need their services. It was all nicely organized. 

Calvi di Bergolo is the husband of Princess Yolanda of Savoy, 
eldest daughter of the King of Italy. He is a fine shot, an ex- 
cellent horseman and a good cavalry officer, but a strong pto- 

Nazi. It was obvious that he had been made responsible for 
order in Rome on account of his German sympathies. His picture 
appeared in the papers, three-quarter-face, looking back over 
his shoulder* "To hide his German decoration/* was the general 
verdict. He had an infantry division at his command with which 
to keep order. The Germans had not gone to the length of putting 
their own men on police duty. But whoever might be in com- 
mand or not in command, no police showed themselves today. 
By evening there was another set of placards on the walls. 
The placards were making news. This one was even more arrest- 
ing than Calvi di Bergolo's. It was signed "Feldmaresciallo 
Kesselring," and ran as follows: 

1 The Italian territory under my command is declared to be war 
territory. It is subject throughout to German martial law. 

2 Any crime committed in this territory against German armed forces, 
will be punished according to German martial law. 

3 Those organizing strikes or sabotage, as well as snipers, will be shot 

4 Italian workers who will volunteer for German service will be 
treated according to German principles and will be paid according 
to the German scale of wages. 

5 The Italian Ministers and Justices will remain in office. 

6 Until further orders private correspondence is suspended. All tele- 
phone conversations should be as brief as possible, and they will 
be strictly supervised. 

7 Italian civil authorities and organizations are responsible to me for 
the maintenance of public order. They will prevent all acts of 
sabotage and of passive resistance to German measures, and they 
will co-operate fully with the German organizations. 
The curfew will continue to be at 9.30 P.M. 

So that was that. It was well to know. No letters, incoming 
or outgoing, and they would listen in on our phone calls. No. 5 
meant that no quislings had been put in office yet. But prob- 
ably it wouldn't be long before they were. There was also a 
notice in the papers to the effect that efforts were being made 
to bring food into the city; but the shops stayed shut and the 
Romans stayed hungry. An "agreement" and two proclamations 
in one day gave much food for thought, but none for the body. 

In the preamble to his proclamation Calvi di Bergolo had 

referred to Rome officially as an "open city." Perhaps it would 
keep us from being bombed, and again perhaps it wouldn't. 
How soon might the Allies be here, coming up from Cosenza, 
or making a landing somewhere? Conservative opinion said about 
two weeks. Could we manage to stick it out for all that time? 
There was no alternative. 

We heard that Italian officers had already been arrested by 
the Germans and put in prison or in concentration camps. The 
men had been disarmed and told to go home until further 
orders. Army officers who had been arrested in Rome were 
offered their freedom on parole not to leave the city. It was 
perfectly clear what was afoot. How would it work? Life was 
apparently going to be punctuated with notes of interrogation. 

Sunday September 12th 

The day dawned hot and damp, with a white mist covering 
the city as if to stifle its angry dismay. It was one of those regular 
September mists like a fleecy blanket, above which emerged 
the dome of St. Peter's and the pylons of the broadcasting station 
symbolizing the fusion of old and new above the cloud, to 
bring about a happier future. But for us, the present was just 

Last night Hitler made a wild "proclamation" saying that he 
had the whole of the Italian army in his hands; and that Italy 
would pay dearly for her base betrayal. 

A plane or two drifted lazily across the sky, going nowhere 
in particular it would seem, but merely to show that they were 
there. They were German, of course. 

By midday a few newspapers were on sale. They were interest- 
ing mainly for the blanks in their columns made by last-minute 
censorship. The Popolo di Roma, in the uncensored scraps of an 
editorial, spoke eloquent praise of the men in the street. It said: 

Today, at last, the town authorities are moving. For four days we 
have witnessed an extraordinary phenomenon: that of the Rjonoaa people 
governing themselves, in the old classical sense of the verb **to govern.** 
The feeling of civic responsibility has shown itself in inverse proportion 
to the eminence of the individuals. The more lowly the townsman and 
the more unofficial his character, the more initiative he showed, "We 


refer particularly to the bakers who baked, and the staffs of papers who 
published some news for the bewildered public. We say "some news" 
because its paucity was lamentable. The citizens of Rome have deserved 
well of their country. 

For once, there was truth in what the Popolo di Roma said. 
A new proclamation by Calvi di Bergolo appeared in heavy 
type in a "box" on the front pages of the papers. It ran: 


Romans, as commander of the 

open city of Rome, I hereby confirm my previous proclamation. Be 
calm and confident. The times through which we are passing are both 
serious and painful for all of us, but they might easily become more so, 
should your sense of responsibility and your patriotism waver. The 
authorities are doing all in their power to restore normal conditions in 
the city. I am dealing with the food problem. The public service will 
be regularly resumed. Each one of you should remain at his post and 
do his duty without unjustified anxiety. 

People shrugged their shoulders. His intentions were good. It 
was a gesture. But did it mean anything? Mainly, it seemed to 
mean "Don't shoot the Germans." And that was just what they 
couldn't stop doing. Certainly there was some justification for 
it. In Via Veneto, in front of the Hotel Excelsior, a German 
tried to take a motor cycle away from an Italian soldier. The 
latter resisted, whereupon the German discharged his revolver 
into the petrol tank. The Italian fired at him and several other 
Italian and German soldiers having come up, the fight became 
general. It was stopped only by the arrival of some officers. 
Pedestrians fled down side streets as armoured cars rattled to 
the spot. 

Monday September 1 3th 

There were, if possible, even longer faces in the streets today 
than yesterday. Radio and newspapers proclaimed that Mussolini 
had been freed from prison by Hitler's parachutists. Anyone 
who thought, as the Germans did, that at die name of Mussolini 
Italy would rally again to the Fascist standard, ought to have 

seen those faces. They showed not so much anger or resentment 
as plain disgust. Mussolini and his party were finished forever on 
July 25th, and no amount of galvanizing would raise the Fascist 
corpse to life. The whole thing is cordially hated. Yet there 
was some anxiety as to what violence might be encouraged 
by the Germans on the part of a few tough Fascists who had 
been hiding since July. They were ready to hand as willing in- 

A few shops begin to open here and there; some food is on 
sale but not much. There are no police about. Rome is getting 
used to regulating its own traffic and keeping its own order, at 
least during the daytime. At night it is different. There was 
plenty of shooting in the streets last night, together with ex- 
plosions of hand grenades. 

The Germans are all over the town, and they have begun 
looting in earnest. They stop people in the street and take their 
jewels, rings, chains, watches and money from them at the 
muzzle of a revolver. They are also stealing bicycles and motor 
cars. They simply stop the cyclist or motorist, take the machine 
and leave the owner afoot. There is no redress. Their attitude is: 
"Well, and what are you going to do about it?" They alone are 
armed. It will be death for anyone else to be found with any 
weapons now, as there are orders for them to be given up to the 
authorities. The Germans surpassed themselves when they stopped 
Mgr. Rossignani (formerly secretary of the Pope when he was 
Cardinal Pacelli) and took the motor car he was driving. The 
Pope's physician, Dr. Galeazzi-Lisi, was wounded in the head 
by a German machine gun, when he was on his way to visit his 
patients. Duca Aquarone's magnificent villa was thoroughly 
looted last night; he is the Comptroller of the King's household 
and reputed tQ be one of tike three (together with Grandi and 
Badoglio) who persuaded the King to have Mussolini arrested. 
He escaped with the King. 

As a gesture toward keeping order, an Italian infantry regi- 
ment is camping in the Villa Borghese under the command of 
General Cappdlini, but it seems to be more ornamental than 

G. came in this morning to warn us that a rmaoor is going 
round that 100 English people had been arrested and sent ofi to 

unknown destinations it's ugly if it's true, but one never 
knows. The Germans are masters here, and can do what they 
like. A good many arrests will probably be made. 

People are going back to work, by degrees. The trams and 
buses are running, heavily overloaded possibly by the people 
whose cars and bicycles have been stolen. 

The King and Badoglio are at Palermo, and the latter has 
directed the Italians, by radio, to join actively with the Allies in 
every way possible. 

Yesterday St. Peter's was opened after remaining shut for 
two days. It was a relief for the Romans when they saw the big 
gates of the portico thrown back once more. 

This morning a perfectly new type of khaki uniform appeared 
in the streets. The wearers carried Tommy guns, and wore tropi- 
cal helmets. "The Americans are here!" The news ran through 
the city, and was even telephoned by friends. For the moment 
optimism was uppermost. But the matter was soon explained. 
The P.A.I. (Polizia Africa Italiana, Italian African Police), 
being a fine body of men highly trained and out of a job, had 
been called in to help in the policing of the city. Hope died again. 

Tuesday September 14th 

The days continue to be very hot. After a long spell of 
drought there still seems to be no hope of rain, and this long- 
drawn-out heat makes everything else more trying; it seems 
so unnecessary, in a way. 

Last night the head of one of the great Roman families, 
famous for his charities and his uprightness, was attacked in 
his own palace. The fact that he never joined the Fascist party 
made him the object of their hatred. German soldiers, 1 led by 
a Fascist, broke open the door of his apartment with the butts 
of their rifles and forced their way past the servant who tried 
to stop them. He and his family escaped through another door 
with only a few seconds leeway. In this case the German soldiers 
were genuine, in some others they have been Fascists disguised 
in German uniforms. 

The situation all round is still very obscure. The press is 
gagged; pro-German editors have been appointed for all the 

papers. German commands have been established all over the 
city. They are also beginning to name new "commissioners" 
instead of the Ministers. M., who is on the staff at the Ministry 
for Foreign Affairs, went to his office in Palazzo Chigi as usual 
yesterday, and was met on the staircase by a squad of German 
soldiers who tried to arrest him, saying that the Ministry was 
occupied. He doubled back and escaped by a private staircase. 

General Stahel is in command of the German forces in Rome; 
he is under Kesselring, who commands in "Central and Southern" 
Italy. Rommel commands in the North. Both Stahel's and Kessel- 
ring's signatures come out on the decrees which are continually 
posted on the walls of Rome. Some of these documents are 
printed both in German and in Italian. One wonders why. They 
apply only to Italians, who don't know German and wouldn't 
learn it if they were paid to do so. 

The evening papers carry a statement of Stahel's saying that 
"Requisitions and sequestrations in the city of Rome" not 
"open city" this time "are only permitted on exhibition of a 
written document of authorization, signed by the German Com- 
mand." Perhaps the rank and file overdid their highway robberies. 
The "Command" has, by now, taken practically every motor 
tire in Rome (when they have not taken the cars themselves) 
and all the bicycles they require, for the present. 

Stahel has also issued another proclamation today stating 
that, after the armistice signed by Badoglio followed by the 
usual vituperation of the latter the German armed forces had 
assumed the protection of Italian soil, that "criminal elements" 
had opposed this action of theirs, but that "order being now 
re-established" the Italian authorities under General Calvi di 
Bergolo were henceforward responsible for the surrender of all 
weapons possessed by the people of Rome. "Therefore, after 
midnight on September 1 5th, anyone found in possession of arms 
will be shot." In concluding he remarked that "these disorders" 
had "imperilled innocent lives as well as the food supply of die 
city.*' Would he really cut off all food, if people continued to 
snipe Germans? 

The Jews are in a panic, and trying to leave the city. They 
fear being sent to Germany as hostages. No one is safe. Nothing 
is certain. We might as wefl be back in the Dark Ages, 


And down there ours are edging their way north of Salerno, 
they really be here in a few days? 

Wednesday September Uth 

The town is, on the whole, quieter, and there seems to be some 
hope of food, green vegetables, if nothing else, after a week 
without them. They say that the Germans are getting no sup- 
plies from the Vaterland and so must live on us. That being 
true, the outlook is fairly grim. Certainly they have looted 
enough food shops already, both officially and unofficially. Al- 
though this wholesale theft is in no way amusing, it'has a funny 
side occasionally, or rather, the humourous aspect of it is pro- 
vided by appalling stupidity in their efforts at propaganda. 
Yesterday they were taking photographs. German soldiers on a 
"commandeered" cart were distributing food, also "com- 
mandeered,** to the crowd while a movie man made a reel of the 
scene. Farther on they gave a number of those big round country 
loaves of bread to some poor women, photographed them holding 
the loaves, then took back the bread and sent the women about 
their business. 

Everyone is hiding whatever valuables can be hidden. Some 
bury theirs, others wall them up. When going out in the street 
they leave at home watches and anything else worth stealing. 
Women wear gloves over their rings, and men carry very little 

During the night numbers of the German proclamations on 
the walls were torn down under cover of darkness. As soldiers 
do not want to report at their barracks and civilians don't want 
to go to the police authorities to turn in their arms before mid- 
night, weapons are being dropped about everywhere. A revolver 
and some cartridges turned up in our garden. A good many 
armoured cars are still cruising the streets. 

In spite of the German domination here, neither shops nor 
banks will exchange German currency. Our dentist took care 
of a German with a bad toothache and was paid in marks. He 
went die rounds of the city to get them exchanged, but no one 
would look at them. Having failed everywhere, he won't accept 
marks again, toothache or no toothache. 

The papers today give four columns of their poor single sheets 
to an effusion of Hitler's, the publication of which was "ordered 
by the German High Command of Southern Italy." Der Fuehrer 
spoke from his General Headquarters, and at his customary 
length, on the defection and the vileness of Italy, and on the 
entire course of the war. Among other things he said: 

The loss of Italy has no real importance to us. For months the weight 
of the struggle there has been borne by us ... 

Perhaps he had in mind the way in which the Germans fired on 
the Italians in Sicily when they were being driven back by the 
Allies. He went on: 

The attempt of international plutocracy to weaken German resist- 
ance is childish. . < . Their hopes of bringing about a collapse in 
Germany like that of July 25th in Italy spring from their fundamental 
error concerning my own personal position. . . . The German Gov- 
ernment is more than ever fanatically united. ... I am infinitely 
proud of being the leader of the German people and I thank God for 
every hour He grants me so that I may, by means of my own work, 
bring the greatest struggle in history to a victorious conclusion. The 
measures taken to safeguard German interests in Italy are very severe, 
but they have gone into effect and are now being carried out method- 
ically. . . . The fate decreed for Italy should remind all countries 
that they should stand by their obligations to their allies. To the German 
people, now bearing this trial, Almighty God will, in the end, give the 
laurels of victory as a reward, and with these laurels the preservation 
of its own life. 

The Ministers who were still in office have been removed 
today, and quisling "Commissioners" put in their places. They 
are all pro-German, of course. Nevertheless the son of the 
Commissar at. the Ministero delle Comunicazioni, also pro- 
German, or at least he was sluch, who is an Italian officer, got 
locked up immediately after the armistice and is not out of 
prison yet. Numbers of Italian officers, especially in the neigh- 
bourhood of Rone, got locked up that way, just in case . . . 
The pro-Ally Italian officers have simply disappeared; that is to 
say they have gone into mufti, left their Roman residences and 
live, under assumed names, anywhere except where they would 
be identified. Rome offers plenty of hiding places for them; 


after all, it is a place with a million and a half inhabitants, and 
you can't search every house every day, not even if you are an 
"S.S." or a Gestapo agent. Then they don't often stay in the 
same hideout for long; some of them move every night. 

Thursday September 16th 

Rome is quiet and sullen. The weather is very hot and the 
food situation is bad. Public opinion is pessimistic. The Germans 
are supposed to have mined the gas, water and electric plants, 
and intend blowing them all up before leaving. They apparently 
intend to blow up also several bridges, the Ministries of Foreign 
Affairs, of the Navy, of War and of Home Affairs, as well as 
some of the big hotels. We know what their destructions are like 
before they leave places; their policy is the famous "scorched 
earth," and they are adepts at carrying it out. At the same time 
they are enacting the farce of the "Open City" in all seriousness. 
When planes approach the siren does not sound; cars have ap- 
peared placarded with "Polizia Roma Citta Aperta," and the 
same words are printed on armlets worn by some soldiers and 
by the regular police. 

Optimists are saying that the Germans will be taken by sur- 
prise by the quick arrival of the Allies, and wiU have to leave 
Rome in such haste that they won't have time to blow things up. 
Or else they argue that as the Germans have got everything they 
wanted, that is, practically all the motors, motor tires and petrol 
that Rome has to offer, they will depart northward to hold the 
line of the Po, or perhaps the "Arezzo line" in Tuscany. They 
add, in confirmation of their opinions, that German trucks and 
motorized units have been leaving Rome going northward by 
the Via Flaminia. Of course the pessimists reply: "Oh yes? And 
how many more were coming in from the south by the Via 
Appia as your lot was leaving by the Flaminia?" Numbers of 
stray soldiers are wandering about still. Officers have been told 
that if they reside in Rome they are to go to their houses, give 
their word of honour not to leave the city, and report daily at 
headquarters. Each time they did report, of course they would be 
asked if they would volunteer for the German army, and each 
time they would say "No." In the long run they would 

probably be arrested and sent to a concentration camp, so they 
prefer not to pledge themselves by any word of honour, and 
simply to vanish. 

The "suicide" of Marshal Cavallero was announced this morn- 
ing. A man of 62, of great military ability, he was one of the 
finest officers in the Italian army. He had been in contact with 
Badoglio before the fall of Mussolini on July 25th, and was 
anxious to save Italy from the abyss toward which Fascism was 
driving her. The Germans arrested him after the armistice. The 
official statement says "He was freed from arrest, but unable 
to bear his country's dishonour he put an end to his own life." 
The truth is that the Germans sent for him, and explained that 
they wanted his help in forcibly raising recruits for them, and 
in other jobs of the same type. He knew what was coming, and 
said to his wife, as he left his house to go to the German head- 
quarters: "I don't think that I shall come back from there." 
To the Germans* astonishment he refused their demands. As he 
now knew too much about their intentions and methods, there 
was, for them, only one way out of the difficulty, so they shot 
him then and there. In spite of the fulsome praise in the press 
notice of his "suicide," the truth was known. The German au- 
thorities summoned his wife at once, and with many expressions 
of sympathy showed her the body with the right hand still 
raised as if in the act of firing a revolver. She stood there for a 
moment, then said quietly: "You forget, gentlemen, that my 
husband was left-handed." 

More restrictive measures appeared today. All permits to be 
about after the curfew have been cancelled; they had previously 
been given to priests, doctors, nurses and journalists. Police head- 
quarters are established at the Ministry of War, and no permis- 
sion is given to keep even sporting guns or ammunition. 

The Vatican City is "protected" by German troops, although 
they have made no attempt to occupy it. The idea seems to be 
that they are "protecting" it from the Allies. Two German para- 
troopers slouch in a dispirited manner near the colonnade of St. 
Peter's, carrying Tommy guns. They wear battle dress, that is 
helmets resembling tortoise-shell basins in colour and design, 
and short green-and-brown-streaked camouflage overalls on top 
of their summer uniforms of buff cotton. la bearing and outline 


they suggest penguins. Sometimes they stand in the colonnade 
out of the hot sun, but they never go inside the white line whicl 
marks the boundary of the Vatican City, In fact, whether on oj 
off duty they are forbidden to enter it. Inside the Vatican Cit] 
serious police measures have been taken and the commanders o: 
the Vatican forces are very much on the qui vive. A large num- 
ber of extra Palatine Guards have been taken on, the numbers o: 
Swiss Guards and Gendarmes on duty have been doubled, an< 
ten Noble Guards are on the watch night and day outside th< 
Pope's private apartments. Many of the latter who lived in Ronn 
have taken up their quarters in the Vatican so as to be withii 

Naturally, if the Germans chose to occupy the Vatican Cit] 
by force, the Pontifical guards would be powerless, and thes< 
new measures are taken mainly to prevent any sudden inrush o: 
a mob. It is quite possible that, if panic-stricken by some actioi 
on the part of the Germans, the Romans might surge into th< 
Vatican for protection. The Swiss carry rifles now instead o: 
pikes, but they would never fire on a crowd of that kind; all the] 
could do would be to close the gates and hold them. Extra gate 
have been added where convenient and all the entrances ar 
sedulously watched. Those having business there must presen 
credentials and receive a special pass before they are allowed in 
Fortunately my Vatican Library reader's identity card is accept 
able to the plain-clothes police agent who issues the passes. O 
course spies of every shade and colour could easily make th 
little Vatican City their happy hunting ground unless precaution 
were taken. As a matter of fact the Library is closed, althoug] 
one may keep one's card of admission for future use. There wa 
a good deal too much talking in the Library lobby and courtyard 
and a few spies and "agents provocateurs" did make their way ii 
there under pretence of study. There might have been seriou 
trouble had not both the spies and the imprudent talkers beej 
firmly excluded. 

Even to enter St. Peter's, lay folk have to show some sort o 
identification card; that is to say, when it is open. Sometime 
they shut it altogether. Yesterday a German truck pulled U] 
near the colonnade, having brought food for the paratroop sen 
tinels; a tripod was erected on it, bearing a powerful telescope 

nd through it, all comings and goings at the Vatican City were 
^served. Today the sentinels are not there, bored probably by 
he prosaic happenings they sighted during their vigil. 

Certainly the Germans, whatever their motive may be, are 
rying to make friends with the Vatican. Their Ambassador to 
he Holy See, Baron von Weiszacker, is extremely courteous and 
hows every consideration to the Pope. There has been no looting 
n churches or religious houses, and apologies were made for 
dealing Mgr. Rossignani's car. Probably, when their inevitable 
lebacle comes, they want to have friends at the Vatican to sal- 
vage what may be salvaged. The atmosphere inside the Vatican 
City is one of great peace and calm. I was struck this morning 
by its apparent remoteness from the struggle. It was also very 
pleasant not to see German uniforms about. The Pontifical postal 
facilities are cut off, but the broadcasting station, one of the most 
powerful in Europe, is functioning, and there is no interference 
with it. Shortly before his death Marconi personally supervised 
its installation, and it is of inestimable value at the present 
moment. Motors with the regular "S.C.V." Vatican City license 
plates pass freely in Rome, and all the "extraterritorial" Vatican 
premises there are unmolested. They all have a placard posted 
on their doors bearing the words "Property of the Holy See" 
both in Italian and in German. Cardinals Massimi and Pizzardo 
have left their usual residences and have gone to live in the 
Vatican City, as have some of the Jesuits connected with the radio 
station. It is simpler to do so, and avoids complications. The 
Palatine Guard will take over the policing of the Lateran Palace 
and of the Pontifical property at Castel Gandolfo. Food and 
provisions of all kinds come straight into the Vatican City by 
their own railway line, and thus the authorities can feed their 
own "citizens" and give a helping hand to some of the religious 
houses in Rome. But of course they cannot achieve the impos- 
sible, and, as some people think they do, feed all the convents 
and monasteries in Rome. 

Today Mussolini, from his secret residence in the north of 
Italy, has issued "Orders of the Day," re-establishing Fascism, 
naming it "The Republican Fascist Party," directing all officials 
tx> resume the positions from which they were ousted by die 
Badoglk) government, giving orders to "help the people," to 


punish traitors and, above all, to support the Germans in Italy, 
The wording of these messages is unlike his style, so it looks as 
if he were either dead, or so ill that he is nothing but a figurehead 
useful to the Germans. 

The last placard on the walls today prohibits meetings of 
every kind, under the usual severe penalties. It is signed by 
General Stahel, who, by the way, is a very decent man, an 
Austrian and a Catholic. Perhaps it is part of their policy toward 
the Holy See to have put him here. He is supposed not to see 
eye to eye with Kesselring, who is in command of "Central and 
Southern Italy/' 

This afternoon Mrs. Arthur Strong died in a nursing home in 
Via Mecenate. She was certainly the most learned woman ar- 
chaeologist of our day. She was a C.B.E.; M.A. Cambridge; Life 
Fellow of Girton; LittJD. Dublin; Hon. LL.D., St. Andrews; 
Hon. Litt.D., Manchester; Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries; 
Fellow of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries; Vice-President of 
the Hellenic Society; Hon. Member of the Archaeological So- 
ciety of Athens; Hon. Member of the Archaeological Institute 
of America; Member of the Pontifical Roman Academy; of the 
Societa Italiana di Storia Patria; Foreign Member of the Reale 
Accademia dei Lincei and of the Reale Accademia di S. Luca; 
Member of the Arcadian Academy and of the Accademia dei 
Virtuosi del Panteone. From 1909 until 1925 she was Assistant 
Director of the British School at Rome. From that period until 
the outbreak of the war her flat in Via Balbo was the meeting 
place of intellectuals, students, litterateurs and diplomats of 
every country, drawn to Rome as by a magnet; but particularly 
English and Italian scholars met there. Her masterly work on 
"Roman Sculpture" was followed by other books, treatises and 
articles in English, French and Italian, and she was at work on 
a history of the architectural development of the Vatican Palace 
when death took her. One of her last utterances was: "My book!" 
The loss to British scholarship is irreparable. Her friends were 
consoled by the thought that for the last eight days of her life 
she had been unconscious, and never knew that the Rome she 
loved so well was occupied by the Huns. She was buried accord- 
ing to her wish in the habit of a Dominican Tertiary, and rarely 
have I seen a more fitting framework for a noble face and form 

than those austere folds of black and white. She was buried in 
the Anglo-Saxon plot in the "Veran Field," Campo Verano 
the cemetery where, not quite two thousand years ago, St. 
Lawrence was buried by the Christian matron Lucina. The place 
still shows signs of the devastation wrought by the bombing of 
July 19th, and numbers of coffins are lying about awaiting re- 
interment; fortunately the Anglo-Saxon plot of ground was not 

Friday September 17th 

Our men are fighting their way through at Salerno, and 
there is no sign of a landing in these parts. Well, it's only a 
week since the Battle of Rome and the occupation, and one 
mustn't get impatient. 

Unofficial looting has decreased. Shops and warehouses that 
had anything left in them are being emptied systematically, but 
private soldiers don't rob you in the streets any more. 

Another "Order of the Day" signed by Mussolini appoints 
Renato Ricci commander in chief of the Milizia Volontaria di 
Sicurezza Nazionale, which is to Fascism what the S.S. men are 
to Nazism. Pavolini, one of the Fascist Ministers, says in a foolish 
speech made today that Fascism is coming into its own again. 
Everyone believes that Mussolini is dead and that the whole thing 
is a put-up job. 

Arms and hand grenades are scattered about disconcertingly, 
just where their owners dropped them instead of returning them 
to the military stores. Children pick them up and play ball with 
them, but not for long. They burst, and the players are killed 
or wounded, In the suburbs a cow swallowed a small one that 
was lying in the long grass, and of course the poor animal ex- 

Last night we heard loud detonations in the distance, and 
thought it must mean a landing at Ostia or Pratica di Mare, It 
turned out afterward that someone had placed a bomb under 
the barracks of the Fascist militia and had succeeded in blowing 
them up. 

This is our tenth day without mflk. The Germans have com- 
mandeered the cows in the neightxmrikoexL Some green vegetables 


are coining in, but very few, on account of the lack of transport 

Notices in the press and posters on the walls direct all soldiers 
from the class of 1885 to that of 1905 to report at headquarters. 
But they're all in hiding, and no one turns up. Calvi di Bergolo 
has published orders to hand over all motor cars which have 
not received a special license, and the Germans have begun to 
search garages for them. It is hard to hide them successfully, yet 
some owners have achieved it. 

Saturday September 18th 

Terrific explosions last night. Were they the Littorio airfield? 
The Centocelle one? The Ciampino one? All are quite close to us. 
Or were the Allies bombing one of those endless German columns 
that are always coming and going on the roads near Rome? 
Travel of any sort is definitely unhealthy at present. Of the few 
trains that start, many are either bombed or machine-gunned 
before they arrive. Lorries meet the same fate, however much 
they are camouflaged with grass nets. 

This afternoon there was good news from Salerno. They seem 
to be out of the woods, but, judging from the British radio, it 
was touch-and-go there for a while. Everyone hangs on the 
B.B.C. reports, which are broadcast almost continuously in 
Italian, English, French and other European languages. This in- 
furiates the Germans. Orders are published and penalties threat- 
ened, reports are printed of people fined and imprisoned for 
listening to "enemy broadcasts," but they have no effect what- 
ever. Outside aerials are banned and everything is done to stop 
the listening, short of searching all houses and confiscating every 

Sunday September 19th 

Mussolini spoke on the German-controlled Italian radio last 
night. It did not sound like his voice and it was not his style. 
The Roman populace immediately said: fr 47, morto che parla" 
They all gamble in the public lotteries and buy the book of 
omens which assigns numbers to everything seen or dreamt of. 

Now in that book if a dead man speaks to you in your dream, 
it means that you must gamble on number 47. So they went 
and staked their lire on the fateful number. 

Twenty-three Germans were murdered at Monte Mario last 
night. Resentment against them is growing. "They are starving 
us," say the people, "and they ought to be killed." On account 
of these murders the officials at the German Embassy, where they 
have taken in a large number of extra officers and clerks over 
and above their usual staff, seem to be growing nervous. A 
severe ordinance came out today forbidding anyone to pass along 
the streets which bound the house and garden during curfew 
hours, that is from 9.30 P.M. to 4.30 A.M. Not even persons liv- 
ing in those streets may go in or out. The Embassy occupies what 
is known as the Villa Wolkonsky, a princely house with a won- 
derful garden near St. John Lateran. The neighbourhood is 
policed by German soldiers with guns. 

Monday September 20th 

Kesselring was received by the Pope yesterday ff m forma pri- 
vatissima" They say he is a good Catholic. What passed? Not 
the best of the "best-informed" will ever be able to tell us* 
But there is the fact, and that's enough for twenty hopes and 
fears. Possibly it had something to do with the paragraph which 
appeared afterward in the official Vatican newspaper, the Qsser- 
vatore Romano. It ran as follows: 

Many rumours have been spread regarding conditions in the Vatican 
City and the person of the Holy Father, since the German occupation 
of Rome. As we have already stated, from the afternoon of September 
13th, German soldiers have been posted in Piazza San Pietro, in Italian 
territory, outside the boundaries of the Vatican City. This action was 
preceded by a telephone call from the Italian Command of the City of 
Rome to tie Governor of the Vatican City, who gave notice to the 
authorities. Two Vatican officials were directed to present themselves at 
the time appointed, 4 P.M., at the boundary line of the Vatican City to 
make sure that the territory of the neutral Pontifical State was respected. 
These officials verified the fact that the said boundary line had not been 

The Vatican officials referred to were the commanders of 
Swiss Guard and the Palatine Guard. 


Strong articles appeared in the press against those who "fail 
to collaborate with the German forces," especially by murdering 
them, is implied. 

Forced labour was instituted here today. Men from 23 to 28 
are mobilized "for important work needed by the German Com- 
mand and for provisioning the city of Rome." In other words 
they are to mend roads and bridges for the Germans, dig trenches, 
build fortifications and lay railway tracks for them. They count 
on getting from the city of Rome alone about 6 5 000 young men. 
Those who do not report will be court-martialled. "Volunteers" 
are also asked for among men outside the given age groups. 
They graciously "suspend military service" for those mobilized 
for labour. Boys from 18 to 22 are also called up for military 
service today. So run the placards. 

The sentinels on duty at night in the streets surrounding the 
German Embassy have orders to fire without warning on anyone 
approaching from any direction. Last night one of them, rather 
the worse for drink, saw figures on an adjacent roof, seemingly 
beckoning to each other. Outlined against the sky they pro- 
vided easy targets. He fired, with no result. He fired again. 
Again no result. A platoon rushed to the spot and identified the 
"beckoning" men as the stone figures of Saints which surmount 
the f agade of St. John Lateran. 

Tuesday September 21st 

The German High Command ordains that black market prac- 
titioners shall be punished by death, or by imprisonment for 
lesser offences in thit line. They also order that the portoni of all 
houses must be closed by 8 P.M. They don't want to run the risk 
of people leaping out on them in the dark, and rushing indoors 
for refuge. 

More and more people are hiding, moving their lodgings or 
taking to the hills. It is still warm and mild, and the Allies are 
expected here shortly but suppose they delay? The people in the 
hills will die of hunger and exposure. You are considered a pes- 
simist if you think that the Allies will not be here until the 
middle of October. If only they could make it. ... 


"Wednesday September 22nd 

Our plumber has been here, crying quite openly. His only son, 
a boy of 18, was called up in July and reported for military 
service. He was sent to Cremona with some others from Rome. 
After the armistice, they realized that they would have to fight 
for the Germans, and planned to escape. His mother, receiving 
no news at all, went to Cremona to investigate. There were no 
signs of Antonio, but the people there told her that six boys from 
Rome had tried to get away through a drain that ran underneath 
a cemetery. When the Germans got wind of it, they walled up 
both ends of the drain, with the boys inside. Their only ray of 
hope is that their boy may not have been one of the six. No one 
can tell them. 

There is a persistent rumour that Franco has told the Ger- 
mans that if they do anything to the Pope, he will open Spain 
to the Allies. It doesn't seem likely, but there may be something 
in it. 

Thursday September 23rd 

are burying our valuables, having a nice little garden 
which affords scope for such activities. We buried them darkly 
after supper, aided by a small electric torch until somebody said: 
<c Douse the glim/* for fear of neighbours watching us. They're 
in a tin box, wrapped in oilcloth, so perhaps they won't be 
ruined by the rain when it comes. It was quite Stevensonian and 
romantic, in spite of the sound of German army boots in the 
street outside. 

Mussolini has constituted his Ministry, the names are published 
today. Graziani is Minister for Defence. People are horrified, for 
Graziani is a great soldier, though a butcher by reputation; it 
seems impossible that such a man should have put himself at the 
service of such a gang. Was it just for a handful of silver, or 
on account of his long-standing rivalry with Badogllo? Possibly 
this was his weak spot. His mental powers are supposed to be 
somewhat erratic. Those who defend him say that probably he 
was, like Cavallero, threatened with a revolver and gave in. 
But Cavallero went on refusing and died. 


Friday September 24th 

All men born in 1921, '22, '23, '24 and '25 are called up for 
"labour service," which means that they will either be taken 
to Germany or be put to building and repairing roads and dig- 
ging trenches for the Germans in Italy; they are to present 
themselves at the Labour Office at once. Of course, no one in- 
tends to do so. 

The Germans are also trying desperately to get volunteers for 
their army among Italians, particularly specialized workmen, 
such as mechanics, interpreters, electricians, tailors, shoemakers, 
cooks. They have not yet grasped the fact that everyone is hiding 
from them, although they offer "privileges," good food, lodgmg 
and pay. The posters are ridiculous in their solemn stupidity; 
some are just proclamations, some are coloured drawings; one 
of the latter shows a group of brutalized-looking workers, smil- 
ing helplessly, like tame orangoutangs. The posters come straight 
from Germany, and one recognizes the work of a man who has 
already provided Italy with other equally repulsive drawings, 
especially on the outbreak of war. They are naively meant to 
work up enthusiasm. If the Germans would only look at the 
faces of the Italians when they see these efforts at persuasion . . . 
A long printed proclamation by Kesselring, appearing today, 
points out to all Italian officers that their oath of loyalty to the 
King of Italy is no longer valid, and that, as men of honour, they 
must now join the German forces or take a command in the 
"labour service." No one dares laugh openly at these proclama- 
tions, but under cover of darkness many of them are torn and 
defaced. The other day I walked behind a woman who carried 
a bunch of keys in her hand, and all the way down Via Bon- 
compagni, as far as the Hotel Excelsior, where Germans are 
lodging, she ran those keys across a new set of posters, still wet 
with paste. I expected her arrest every moment, but nothing 

The Fascists are coming forward in the pose of saviours of 
the people, saying that they are "the buffer between the Germans 
and the populace/' They have re-established the headquarters of 
their Roman group, the Fascio Romano, at Palazzo Braschi, where 
they used to be before their fall from power on July 25th. It is 
a very handsome building, erected by Pope Pius VI of the House 

of Braschi, situated on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, near Piazza 
Navona. It now contains offices for "social relief," for enlistments 
and for all Party activities. The black pennons of the Fascists 
have been hung from the balcony, together with the Roman 
standard and the Italian flag, but the latter has been stripped of 
the royal coat of arms in the centre. Some truculent-looking 
youths with black shirts and rifles were lounging in the doorway 
today when I passed there, and the bunting was all hanging down 
disconsolately in the September drizzle. The press says: "The 
old Fascist offices are in full activity, combatants, Party members 
and the Roman people are flocking to them." There was very 
little flocking this morning. 

Saturday September 25th 

Graziani spoke today on the radio, and if people were dis- 
gusted when they heard that he had taken command of the 
Fascist forces, they were nauseated by what he said. The speech 
was one long tirade against Badoglio's person. He called him a 
coward, a liar, a traitor, a deserter, a slave driver, blamed him 
for the Italian reverses in the present war, and referred to Capo- 
retto in the last war. Of the many undignified public speeches 
that have been made since 1939, this was the most undignified. 
After all there are limits to the washing of dirty linen in public. 
Poor Graziani. 

Calvi di Bergolo has been arrested and deported to Germany. 
He refused to give up 3,000 hostages for the labour service whoa 
the Germans ordered him to do so; his wife, Princess Yolanda, 
is with the rest of the women of the royal family in Switzerland. 
General Presti has been appointed to command the police of 
Rome, so the Germans are policing us in all but name. 

The Swedes, the Spaniards and the Swiss are in a slightly diffi- 
cult position at present, as their governments do not recognize 
the Fascist Republic. "Pinocchio's Republic" is its popular 
name. The Swiss Minister could not get his passport in order to 
consult with the authorities at Berne. It is a good thing he is aot 
leaving, for the Swiss are now taking care of the diplomatic 
interests of twenty-five countries. Here in Italy, stranded for- 
eigners owe them an unbounded debt of gratitude. Their effects 


to kelp and to make conditions easier for those who are in trou- 
ble are as unfailing as their courtesy and consideration. When 
the war is over, the merits of these Swiss functionaries should 
be made known throughout the world. 

Sunday September 26th 

Private looting continues mildly; official looting, the regular 
searching of premises, continues steadily. This is what happens 
in the milder way. A party of Germans will go to a restaurant, 
eat and drink heartily, and when the bill is presented will tear 
it up saying: "Badoglio pays for this." 

The Pope has discontinued all public audiences, those long ones 
which lasted from 9.30 A.M. until 1.30 P.M., in the course of 
which people of every kind and degree used to come to get his 
blessing. This is not the moment for crowds to assemble, and 
even if it were desirable there would be no means of doing so as 
the buses are fewer and fewer, and the trams are hopelessly 
crowded. They are indescribable. I have seen people trying to get 
in by the windows. 

Monday September 27th 

Kesselring's decree of today concerns motor vehicles. All those 
who possess them are to bring them to the Macao barracks, if 
not they will be severely punished. It is added that they will be 
paid for according to German valuation. This order includes not 
only private cars, but lorries, taxis, and a given number of 
motor buses. For a city of more than 1,500,000 inhabitants, this 
is going to make things almost impossible. Bicycles cannot be 
bought, and the Germans have already stolen numbers of them. 
The requisitioning of lorries will make the food question more 
acute than ever; supplies are already very low, as it is. 

The Fascists have begun changing the names of streets. 
Piazza Montecitorio (the old Mons Accettorim of the Roman 
Republic) is to be Piazza Ettore Muti, in honor of one of their 
heroes who was killed in a fight with the police. Corso Umberto 
is to be Corso del Popolo, and Corso Vittorio Emanuele is to be 
Corso della Costituente. But no one pays any attention to thesa, 

and the old names cling. The royal coat of arms on the letter boxes 
has been painted out with black. The Fascist Republic is making 
an effort to imitate the doings of July 25th, when their emblems 
were torn down all over Rome, in the first fine careless rapture 
of the people on the fall of Mussolini. It is a very feeble imitation 
indeed, for then it was a joyous riot or popular enthusiasm, now 
it is a half-hearted daubing of black paint here and there on the 
Cross of Savoy. 

More orders have been published, with added emphasis, that 
those called up for labour service MUST present themselves at 
once. So far, out of the 3,000 who should have joined up in the 
city of Rome, 60 have put in an appearance. 

It is reported that Calvi di Bergolo wrote to his wife saying 
that, whatever happened, she might be sure that he would never 
commit suicide. 

Tuesday September 28th 

They're at the Jews. One wondered when it would come. 
Yesterday, the German authorities sent for the Chief Rabbi and 
told him that unless by midday today the Jews delivered one 
million lire and fifty kilogrammes of gold, some of them would 
be deported and others shot. It was a terrible moment, but they 
managed it. At the very last, they appealed to the Pope, who 
helped them to complete the amount. Now that they have paid 
their ransom, the Rabbi ought to destroy his register of Jewish 
residents in Rome. Although the Germans said that on condition 
of this payment they would leave them alone, how can they be 
trusted? The Romans are shocked and depressed; now that this 
sort of Jew-baiting has begun it has come home to them that they 
are really under the heel of the enemy. 

Wednesday September 29th 

The Fascist Republican Government announces that it has 
been functioning as from September 27th, and that it will 
shortly summon a Constituent Assembly to decide cm details 
of its organization. 

Kesselring's proclamation of today is unusually remarkable. 


It is a development of his generalized appeal last Friday, to urge 
Italian officers to join the German army. This one says: 

The enemy has, for the time being, taken possession of Italian soil, 
and he must be driven out. It is imperative to reassemble the disbanded 
Italian troops, in order that they may continue the war in the ranks of 
the German army. . . . Those who enlist will have the same rights 
and therefore the same duties as German officers and soldiers. 

All the Roman papers carried this proclamation. The Italians 
simply loathe the Germans, but the latter do not seem to have 
grasped the fact. German brutality to Italian soldiers when re- 
treating in Russia and in Tunisia will never be forgotten in Italy, 
apart from their resentment on account of the Germans cutting 
down the Roman food supply while themselves living on what 
is left of the fat of the land. 

Thursday September 30th 

Even Graziani saw that Kesselring had overshot die mark, and 
urged him to withdraw his proclamation. So the Roman papers 
published today in heavy type: "Suspension of the proclamation 
regarding enlistment of Italian soldiers. Marshal Graziani, Min- 
ister of National Defence, in agreement with General Stahel, 
German Commander of Rome, announces that the statement of 
the German Command concerning the enlistment of Italian 
soldiers, as published in the Roman press yesterday, is suspended." 
On the other hand, Kesselring indulges in a whole column of 
persuasion for Italian workers to go to Germany, with alluring 
promises of pay and prosperity, and pointing out that "they 
will thus contribute materially to the final victory and to the 
future of a better Europe." Just that. The appeal is reinforced 
by lurid posters of sleek workers with suitcases walking toward 
a horizon bounded by an enormous eagle and a swastika. 

Friday October 1st 

One of our friends has a villa at Grottaf errata. He went out 
to see what was happening there, and found the Germans in 
possession. They told him blithely that they had selected it be- 

cause it was heated, and they would be there for the winter. 
They had stolen most of the things he had left in the house, and 
shot up a good many cupboards which they wanted to open. 
But for the winter? We are already battering at the suburbs of 
Naples and Foggia. Naples is only three hundred kilometres from 
Rome, and an army can advance at the rate of ten kilometres a 
day if all goes well. Must we wait the whole winter? Surely not. 

Saturday October 2nd 

The Germans are taking up the railroad tracks on the lines they 
do not want to use, and are sending them to Germany. 
Naples is taken. Thank GoA 

Sunday October 3rd 

We are constantly asked to suggest possible hiding places for 
men who are trying to escape from military and labour service 
with the Germans. Everybody seems to be hiding. Some of the 
Germans are deserting and trying to hide also; they are mainly 
Austrians. The common soldiers are sick and tired of the war, 
but not the officers. If you get into conversation with the former 
they make no bones about saying that five years of fighting is 
too much of a good thing, and that they want to get back to see 
their families. They are having practically no mail here in Italy, 
and that makes it worse for them. Not all Hitler's toughening 
can desentimentalize them. 

Monday October 4th 

"We are now receiving directions through the press and tie radio 
to accumulate supplies of drinking water, with minute instruc- 
tions how to sterilize and preserve it. The Germans are expected 
to blow up the water supply plant when they leave Rome. If 
they also blow up the electric plant we shall have to grope about 
in the dark and go to bed at dusk, because candles &x unpfocw- 
able and there is no kerosene or petrel; they disappeared long ago. 
There is talk too of a "state of emergency** which will be an- 
nounced by the ringing of the church beds and the sound of 


sirens. During it no one will be allowed out of doors. It would 
probably precede the Germans' withdrawal, and they would be 
enabled to rifle houses, deport men, do whatever they chose, and 
depart without being disturbed by the populace. 

Tuesday October 5th 

Foggia is taken at last. Now we can use those airfields for 
the Balkans. We shall get much less wheat up here, of course, as 
the plains round Foggia were the granary of Italy. It is not a 
pleasant prospect, because the food supplies are quite low enough 

The Fascist Republican Party published a manifesto today 
in which they said that they would punish traitors severely, and 
could have no mercy on those who had made Fascists suffer dur- 
ing the 45 days following July 25th. They are nothing if not 

Wednesday October 6th 

More preparations for the "emergency days." Bakers are to 
supply their clients with enough "biscuit bread" to last three 
days. It is ordinary bread sliced and dried in the oven, and is to 
be kept carefully until the moment comes when it will be ur- 
gently needed. 

This morning the King's bodyguard, those superb six-foot 
Corazzieri, were arrested and taken away, just as, in the same 
way, the Carabinieri were disarmed and removed from their 
barracks in lorries. 

The Queen's ladies-in-waiting and the Roman aristocracy 
generally seem to have aroused the anger of the Germans, or 
rather, that of the Fascists; the Germans probably don't mind so 
much, only of course they have to back the Fascists. Today they 
tried to arrest Princess Colonna. A plain-clothes policeman called 
at the Colonna Palace and told her that she was under arrest and 
must go with him. She asked if she might get her hat and coat 
and left him sitting there, escaping from the palace by another 
door. After some time, Prince Colonna came in casually and 
asked the man what he wanted. When he said he was waiting 

for the Princess, Prince Colonna answered that she was not in 
the palace and he had no idea where she was. In retaliation, he 
has been placed under house arrest. Fortunately it is a big build- 
ing with fine gardens, so he has plenty of room for ranging 

Friday October 8th 
The belated autumn rains have set in, the Tiber is rising, and 

with it, the southern rivers like the Volturno must be rising too. 
The Pope received the German Ambassador to the Holy See 

today. Optimists suggest that it is a good sign. 

Saturday October 9th 

Man-hunting has begun. The Germans placed sentries with 
machine guns on some of the bridges this morning, and cordons 
cutting off some of the streets in the Prati quarter then rounded 
up all the men they found inside the enclosure. They were put 
in lorries and taken away; no one knows whether they were for 
Germany, for work on the roads in Italy, or for prison as hos- 

Sunday October 10th 

Every parish priest in Rome today told his congregation that 
the Pope had summoned them recently and had said that they 
were to urge their parishioners to be calm and self-possessed in 
whatever circumstances they might find themselves; to point 
out that self-control and moderation were needed above all in 
times like these, and to say that he relied on them to take this 
advice to heart and to act upon it. This was necessary because 
word has come through regarding the way the Italians behaved 
when the Germans left Naples, firing on them, and throwing 
boiling water and missiles of every kind down on them from the 
windows. There is even a story that the owner of a flat, finding 
nothing else heavy enough to hand, dropped a piano from the 
second floor. This was the sort of thing that caused such terrible 
reprisals in Naples. 


Yesterday Villa Savoia, the King's private residence, was 
looted, officially and thoroughly. Furniture, paintings, statues, 
carvings, marbles, bronzes, tapestries, silver, bedding, linen, 
private belongings of the royal family, everything went, includ- 
ing the nails in the walls. The Quirinal has not been touched, 
being ranked as "national property." 

Monday October llth 

There is something very obscure about the whole situation 
here. In Piazza Colonna, where the Fascists have reoccupied the 
central building ornamented with the famous portico from Veii, 
there are tanks, machine guns and young Blackshirt swashbuck- 
lers lounging about ostentatiously. 

Having polished off Villa Savoia yesterday, the Germans are 
looting the pawnshops today, taking the wretched little be- 
longings of the poor as well as the more valuable stuff. 

Tuesday October 12th 

The recent landing at Termoli was a splendid achievement. 
If only they can go ahead, take Chieti and Pescara, they can 
come on to Rome by way of Avezzano and Tivoli. It would be 
a pincer movement from the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian. The 
Romans are getting depressed. "But do they know what it is like 
in Rome? "Why don't they hurry up and get here? Why don't 
they land all over the place as well as at Termoli and finish it off 
quickly?" In their anxiety they are like children. We are mis- 
erable and anxious too, but we cling to the sheet-anchor convic- 
tion that the Allies know what they're doing, and that there are 
bigger issues at stake than Rome and us. 

We hear that the Appian Way has been blown up from 
Capua to Velletri. 

Wednesday October 13th 

The German Command is angry. In Torpignattara, one of the 
slum suburbs, where their lorries pass continually, people took to 
throwing little triangular spikes in the road; they are about two 

inches long, and however they fall, there is always one point 
uppermost. The effect on motor tires may be imagined. Several 
unfortunate locksmiths who live in the neighbourhood were 
arrested and the Germans threaten reprisals on the whole quar- 
ter if more of these spikes appear. 

Thursday October 14th 

They're angry again. Telephone wires have been cut, particu- 
larly some that were essential to them. They are not able to 
identify the cutter, so they threaten to punish everyone who 
lives near the spot. 

Friday October ISth 

In the Vatican the Palatine Guard is being considerably en- 
larged. This is necessary, because the other pontifical armed forces 
cannot be increased, and more guards are needed in the Vatican 
City and in all the extraterritorial pontifical property throughout 
Rome and at Castel Gandolfo. There have been sixteen thousand 
applications, for it is a heaven-sent opportunity of escaping from 
Rome into the Vatican City, where there will be no man-hunt- 
ing. But only 2,500 can be accepted. Their uniform was not 
particularly attractive, as it had been unaltered since 1870, with 
a peaked French shako piped with magenta. However they have 
changed all that, and a dashing magenta beret is worn, very wide 
and floppy, caught up with the pontifical cockade of yellow and 
white, and instead of a stiff coat they wear a swirling military 
cloak of dark blue. One does see some of them with civilian 
trousers beneath this glory, but you can't have everything with 
the present shortage of materials. They also carry rifles and am- 

Two thousand Gestapo and S.S. men have arrived to spy on 
the German soldiers in case they are not behaving as Humnler 
would wish, to carry out the dirty work connected with the 
Jews, and to make themselves generally usef ul. So now, we have 
here three groups of German authorities, quite independent of 
one another: first, the German Embassy to the Holy See, headed 
by Baron von Weiszacker; second, the German Military Cora- 


mand under General Stahel; third, the Gestapo and the S.S. men 
exclusively subject to Himmler. A number of the latter are 
lodged at the big Pensione Sta. Caterina in Corso d'ltalia. 

Saturday October 16th 

""Writing on the wall" is showing itself here with a vengeance. 
Overnight hundreds of inscriptions in red paint appeared in 
praise of communism, of Russia and of Stalin. Viva la Russia! 
Viva Stalin! Viva il Communismo! Abasso i Tedeschi! Abasso 
Mussolini! Abasso il Fascismo! with the Hammer and Sickle ac- 
companying them. They were everywhere, in the Trastevere, in 
the shopping quarters, in the expensive residential quarters, and, 
most conspicuous of all, in huge letters on the steep wall of the 
Tiber embankment. The wide sweep of the Trinita steps did 
not escape, for they appeared across Cardinal de Polignac's 
commemorative inscription in the centre of the terrace landing. 
The Fascist police fell over themselves trying to obliterate them, 
and daubs of grey paint hide the lettering, but proclaim loudly 
what is underneath. A policeman rang our bell one day and 
said in a hoarse whisper: "Have you seen what is on your wall?" 
Forgetting about the possibilities of inscription I said "No, 
whatever is it?" Sinking his voice still lower he said, "The Ham- 
mer and Sickle." Together we went out and inspected a small 
Hammer and Sickle in chalk. "Have you any whitewash?" he 
whispered, still in awed tones. When I said no, he quite content- 
edly said that he would get a friend to attend to the matter, and 
went off. Anyway, he didn't blame us; in fact he was rather by 
way of sympathizing with us for having such a terrible thing 
happen to our wall. 

Sunday October 17th 

The S.S. are doing exactly what one expected, and at 4.30 A.M. 
began to round up the Jews in their own houses. The Rabbi did 
not destroy his registers, and they know where every Jew lives. 
And this, after the promise made when they produced that ran- 
som. . . . Some Jews escaped, others were herded into open 
lorries in the rain, and we know nothing about their destination. 

It is a nameless horror. People you know and esteem, brave, kind, 
upright people, just because they have Jewish blood, treated like 
this. Some of them are heroic. They came for the father of a 
family we know. He was out. The Germans said in that case they 
would take his wife. Whereupon the daughter said: "Where my 
mother goes, I go too" and although they did not want her 
particularly, she was taken as well. 

Monday October 18th 

The Leaflet Bogey stalks through Rome. Our Teutonic masters 
have a deadly fear of leaflets, of unkind remarks, of critical 
words. There is simply no end to their childishness in some cases, 
as there is none to their brutality in others. Here is a warning 
published today: 

In the letter boxes of various apartment houses there have been 
found leaflets calculated to spread alarm and to give a bad impression 
of the German authorities. They were slipped in with the knowledge 
and consent of the porters. While we condemn the absolute untruth 
of the statements in these leaflets, we warn porters that under the 
Civilian Mobilization Act they are subject to military law. Should 
such leaflets be distributed again, the porters will be arrested and sent 
to a concentration camp. Private citizens are reminded that if they 
should find any of these leaflets it is their duty to inform the police of 
the Open City of Rome immediately. Those who do not do so will be 
held responsible in the same way as the porters and will be reported 
immediately to the military tribunal." 

Oh, why didn't we get one? We've been cheated of a fine 

Tuesday October 19th 

It is understood that the Pope has asked the German Ambas- 
sador to make an effort to help the Jews. It is difficult for TOG 
Weiszacker, of course, as the S.S. are independent of him. How- 
ever, he did have some measure of success, for we hear that the 
women and children will be released* 


"Wednesday October 20th 

Numbers of shops are boarding up their windows to save the 
glass from German or Fascist exuberance in street fighting, also 
to discourage looting. Others, not content with boarding, are 
bricking up both windows and doors and finishing them off with 
a coat of plaster. It gives the city a sinister look; while the pres- 
ence of the German troops makes everything seem blighted and 
withered. People, too, are rather shabby, and, even when the 
shop windows are not boarded up there is next to nothing in 
them. Here and there some brave trades-people make a gesture, 
as the grocers, who show mainly shoe blacking and bug powder. 
Some jewellers show elaborate ornaments made of tin composi- 
tion, and in the china shops you see bottles and plates made of 
wood. Via Condotti is desolate. No traffic goes down it except 
German cars and lorries; there are no chattering crowds near 
the shops, and no atmosphere of pleasant interest in life. The 
flower sellers on the Trinita steps make an effort to keep going, 
but it is daily harder, as there are no means of getting flowers 
by rail. Then too, prices are soaring. It is the same story as in 
Germany: there is too much paper money combined with a 
shortage of all goods, particularly food. The lira is worth next 
to nothing, six hundred being offered for a pound note, and 
2,000 for a gold sovereign. 

Thursday October 21st 

The presence of Allied prisoners, escaped from their camps 
after the armistice, is worrying the authorities considerably. 
Being active and resourceful they scattered in every direction, 
and have done remarkably well, considering their difficulties. 
Some have returned to the Allied lines, some are hidden in the 
hills and some in the towns. Everywhere they are treated like 
brothers. The peasants feed them, hide them, accompany them on 
their way, accepting no payment and often at the risk of great 
personal danger. One hopes that after the peace these peasants 
will get the recognition they deserve. There are plenty of ex- 
prisoners in Rome, and they are most efficiently taken care of. 
The civvies they wear are fearful and wonderful. I met one in 
Italian reach-me-downs with a fawn plush overcoat. He looked 

much thinner than one would have wished. In spite of his fancy 
dress he had Sandhurst written all over him. He was going about 
Rome quite calmly* 

An agitated official column in the press today reminds every- 
one that those who harbour Allied prisoners will be shot. 

Friday October 22nd 

A report which one can hardly believe says that the regular 
German troops are going and that we shall be left to the tender 
mercies of the S.S. 

If you haven't got brains then hire some. The German failure 
to secure people for the labour service has not daunted them- 
They've had an idea. In the Messaggero a small advertisement 
has appeared in the "Situations Vacant" column: "German civil 
authorities want a specialist for propaganda and publicity, one 
familiar with the psychology of the workingman and who un- 
derstands trade-union conditions. Apply Room 106, Albergo 
Ambasciatori from 9 to 12. Highest references required." 

Saturday October 23rd 

Another brave attempt was made today to get hold of Italian 
officers. On October 25th at the latest they must report at head- 
quarters. After that date they will be court-martialled pro- 
vided they can be caught. "After that date," continues the 
proclamation, "a court-martial will deal with all those persons 
who hide them, feed them or give them any help whatsoever. 
All pensions hitherto paid to members of their families will be 
discontinued immediately." No stone is left unturned in this 
process of trying to discover where they all are. Plenty of people 
know, but won't tell. 

Sunday October 24th 

A perfectly new form of sabotage has been invented by the 
Roman patriots. It is decidedly inconvenient and puts everyooe 
in a bad temper. Small change has disappeared from dreubticm, 
and rumours have been set afloat that the 1000-lire aad 500-lire 


notes are counterfeit and will not be honoured by the Bank of 
Italy, so it is impossible to get them changed. And here the black 
market geniuses turn their usual dishonest penny: they offer you 
900 lire in exchange for your 1000-lire note and 450 lire in ex- 
change for a 500-lire note. The Republican "Government" is 
making a great fuss about it all, and is exhorting the Romans 
to pay no attention to reports, etc., etc. . . . They arrested the 
manager of the local telephone company, because he was found to 
have 133,000 lire in small change, and had ordered his personnel 
not to use it. The arrest was made by Guglielmo Pollastrini, 
himself one of the outstanding Fascist gangsters belonging to the 
Palazzo Braschi group. 

Monday October 25th 
And there was evening and morning one day. Gen. 1,5. 

Tuesday October 2th 

As we are past the 25th, date fixed as the last possible one on 
which Italian officers might report at headquarters, they are now 
allowed an extension of time until the 3 1st. If tragi-comedy has 
never been enacted in Rome before, it is taking place now. 

A comprehensive programme of punishments to be meted out 
to civilians is published today. Here it is, in brief: 

For harbouring or helping escaped prisoners of war; death. 

For making contacts with them: hard labour for life. 

For printing or publishing or circulating news derogatory to the 

prestige of the Axis Forces: penal servitude for life. 
For owning a wireless transmitter: death. 
For instructing wireless operators: hard labour for life. 
For looting in evacuated areas: death. 
For desertion of work, or sabotage: death. 
For not fulfilling labour obligations: death. 
For not acquainting the authorities of change of address: twenty years* 

For taking photographs out of doors: hard labour for life. 

"The above sentences," continues the statement, "will be passed 
by court-martial." So now we know. 

Wednesday October 27th 

A good many of the S.S. have left. It seems that they are 
wanted in Berlin, where civil troubles may break out. 

Some Italian patriots attacked German soldiers; ten of them 
were shot in reprisal. 

Kesselring has been recalled to headquarters to report, and 
Stahel is to be replaced as commander of Rome by General 
Melzer. Stahel was, on the whole, a very decent man who tried 
to do all he could to keep his men under discipline in Rome, 
and disobeyed a number of Hitler's orders for "frightfulness." 
He was said to be a Catholic, but he is really an "Old Catholic," 
a sect founded by Dollinger in the 19th century. He was ex- 
tremely respectful to the Pope. The newcomer may be worse. 

The wireless from London tells us of some Allied progress in 
the South: Campobasso certainly was a valuable conquest. And 
we are moving forward along the Adriatic coast too. When will 
they get to Rome? We can only go on answering our Italian 
friends' desperate questionings with the confident assertion: 
"They know what they are doing." It will be awful if the Ger- 
mans confiscate our wireless sets. They are the one link we have 
with the outside world, the one true source of information. Peo- 
ple in the hotels have had to give their radios to the manager, 
who has them locked up under seals. Here we have one which 
could not be hidden, as it is registered, but we have a smaller 
one which could be concealed if a search were made; it isn't as 
powerful as the other, but it would be better than nothing. I 
suppose those broadcasters know what their news bulletins mean 
to us. One would like to say "thank you"; after the war is over 
we shall. 

Thursday October 28th 

The Germans have confiscated a Vatican truck with a trailer, 
and both sides are upset about it. It was bound for Pescara, full 
of empties, to collect flour and spaghetti, as the Vatican City 
has a right to provision itself independently of Rome* The truck 
had the Vatican license plate and flew the Vatican colours, but it 
was simply held up, the driver ordered to leave it and make his 
way home as best he could. The German Ambassador was sent for 


by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Maglione, who made a strong 
protest. The Ambassador made profound apologies, and there 
the matter rested. The truck was never traced, as von Weiszacker 
has no grip on the military. However, it probably will not hap- 
pen again, as it seems that the Germans are anxious to propitiate 
the Vatican as much as possible; it looks as if they realized that 
when their collapse comes the Pope's would be the only voice 
which could be raised in their favour always supposing he were 
willing to do so. 

Friday October 29th 

The difficulty of hiding patriots and Jews is becoming more 
and more acute. Time goes in seeing people who come streaming 
in for advice or introductions. It is physically impossible to hide 
anyone in this house of ours, but one can help in other ways. 

We might have expected it. The S.S. men tried to search the 
Oriental Institute, the great centre for study of questions con- 
cerning the Eastern Churches, run by the Jesuits. The Rector 
speaks German fluently and forcefully; he met the S.S. group 

"We have come for the Jewish workman in your employ," said 
the leader. 

"He isn't here; he left us months ago." 

"That's all right, we know all that of course, and we're going 
to search your premises just the same," was the rough answer. 

"You're not going to search my premises. Are you aware that 
you are attempting to violate diplomatic immunity, and that this 
is extraterritorial property of the Holy See?" 

At this the officer wilted ever so slightly, and muttered that 
he did not know it was pontifical property. 

"By the way," continued the Rector, "are you under General 
Stahel's orders?" At this he looked a little more embarrassed and 

"Er no, we have our own special command," and withdrew, 

It shows, strangely enough, that the S.S. have some respect for 
pontifical extraterritoriality, for all that they are Himmler's 
private army, 

There is no salt and there are no matches. Such odd things to 
be suddenly lacking. Both salt and sulphur come from Sicily, so 
there you are. They are going to be rationed whatever we shall 
get by that means. For it is one thing to have a ration card, and 
quite another to find the article in the shop where you are en- 
titled to it. Sometimes the "rations" for one month are several 
months in arrears, and occasionally they skip out a month alto- 
gether. Lack of matches is hard for those who cook on gas (and 
most people do at present), because the gas goes on only for a 
brief period three times a day, and that means lighting up three 
times. There is talk of the ration being ninety matches a month 
generally one third of them don't lignt. Smokers, who are 
to be allowed three cigarettes a day, will be allowed a few more 
matches. But of course the black market here comes into its own. 
Salt is to be had at 1 50 lire a kilo its original price being 1 lira 
a kilo. Matches and cigarettes are any price you like to name. 

Saturday October 30th 

A tempting offer is made now by the men of the hills, peasants 
from the Abruzzi, who know the Apennines and are familiar 
with all sorts of mountain by-ways. For 8,000 lire they under- 
take to accompany you to the British lines in Southern Italy, 
seeing to everything on the way, food, lodging and travel. Of 
course you may have to do a good deal of the trip on foot so as to 
dodge the Germans, but, like any serious tourist agency, they 
promise to get you there safe and sound for the price. Sometimes 
they will take you to Terracina by land and then secure a fishing 
smack as far as Naples. A little while ago there was a regular 
service between Terracina and the Neapolitan and Sicilian ports, 
and on the Adriatic side there was one between places like 
Chioggia and Pescara to Bari; unfortunately the Germans dis- 
covered it, and their planes are on the lookout to machine-gun 
the ferry service; so at present it is much more risky than it used 
to be. If you are not inclined for travel, then they will take a 
letter for you to Naples and guarantee to bring back the answer 
for 500 lire really a reasonable charge. In order to encourage 
mutual trust, with no nonsense about payment, when yon give 
the peasant the letter you cut a 500-lire note in two, give htm 


one half and keep the other. When he returns with the answer 
you stick both halves together and hand them to him. So every- 
one is satisfied. 

Sunday October 31st 

R., who is attached to the Swiss Legation here, returning from 
Spain, has just brought us a parcel from a friend in Madrid. He 
said he had three more little parcels for us, but that they were in 
his luggage, which had been stopped at the frontier by the Ger- 
mans. They don't mind who or what they stop at present. Con- 
sidering that the parcels for us contain tea, I doubt if we ever 
see them. Oh, well "pazienza" as they say locally. 

Monday November 1st 

The German authorities are being very, very kind to the 
Romans and have fixed the curfew from midnight until 5 A.M.; 
it was at 11 P.M., and has been as early as 9 P.M. The curfew, 
of course, has nothing to do with the blackout, in spite of the 
original meaning of the word; it simply indicates that everyone 
must be indoors. If you are out during it without a special permit 
you are either shot or arrested, probably the former. The black- 
out varies with the length of the days. Not that the blackout 
seems to matter as much as it used to; they are not anything 
like so particular about it as in the times when if the smallest 
gleam of light showed through a window, voices would be heard 
shouting "Luce! Luce!" until it was extinguished. 

Tuesday November 2nd 

As it is All Souls* Day the public is admitted to the Campo 
Verano, the great cemetery next to St. Lawrence-Outside-the- 
"Walls, where so much damage was done in the first bombing of 
Rome on July 19th. No one had been allowed in since then, 
except two members of each family, because so many of the 
graves had been ripped open. It was one of the best cared-for 
cemeteries in the world, with superb flowers and plants of all 
kinds, kept up by the city authorities. They say that it will take 
ten years to get it back to its original condition. For today they 

erected barriers round the most damaged portions, and it all 
looked very desolate. 

The Hotel Regina in Via Veneto has been requisitioned for the 
use of the Germans. It was quite full, and one can't imagine 
where all the guests have gone. The order was drastic and ad- 
mitted of no delay. 

Wednesday November 3rd 

The Jth Army has not taken Isernia yet. They do seem very 
slow. Perhaps Isernia will really be a turning point, as they say, 
and we shall advance rapidly afterward. Tilings must move 
soon, surely. 

Benedetto Croce, the hoary philosopher, is making himself 
heard loudly in demanding the abdication of the King. This isn't 
the moment for political shifts of that kind, and, after all, Italy 
will never succeed in being one republic. Only a monarchy can 
unite its divers provinces, in spite of all the philosophers and 

Thursday November 4th 

This morning a column of Germans passed down the Corso 
and went northward by the Via Flaminia; they held up the 
traffic for two hours. People stood looking at them in a dazed 
way, not daring to show their real feelings as the tanks and guns 
went by. Their columns are led by an officer in a small touring 
car who stands, holding up a red disc to show the way. The 
German radio made what some people consider to be a significant 
remark today. Speaking of air war in Italy, the broadcaster said: 
"If, in the heat of combat, bombs should fall on the Vatican 
City, we should be accused of wishing to murder the Pope, 
whereas in reality we would be defending Rome." It certainly 
provides matter for thought. 

Friday November 5th 

The Allied air force got that German column that left Rome 
yesterday. It was bound for Chritavecchia, and there was not 
much left when we had finished with it. 


More hotels are being requisitioned by the Germans; they are 
of course taking them among the best and most comfortable, 
such as the Flora, the Excelsior, the Savoia and the Ambasciatori. 
Sometimes they take the whole building, sometimes a pan of it. 
There are German sentinels at the doors. They have their court- 
martial as well as various offices at the Flora. 

A tremendous propaganda effort is now being made regarding 
the art treasures and the archives of Monte Cassino. The Ger- 
mans claim that they have put them in a secret place of safety, 
and that by so doing they are the saviours of civilization, etc., 
etc. Some say Spoleto is the place. They brought most of the 
monks by car and lorry to Rome, where they are lodged at the 
International College of Sant* Anselmo on the Aventine, and 
at the Abbey of St. PaulVOutside-the-Walls. The Abbot and 
six monks have remained at Monte Cassino. 

Saturday November 6th 

They've done it. The Vatican has been bombed. Yesterday 
evening at about ten minutes past eight a plane flew low over the 
Vatican City and dropped four bombs in a more or less diagonal 
line running southeast to northwest. The damage is said to be 
extensive, but one can judge best at first hand; I hope to go 
there myself on Monday. The papers, naturally, publish columns 
of hysterical condemnation of the brutality of the British in 
daring to attack the Pope's own property and to endanger his 
life, not to speak of endangering the art treasures and the Ba- 
silica of St. Peter's. But in spite of all the printer's ink, and all 
the radio propaganda, the people of Rome are already saying 
with conviction fr i Tedeschi" 

Soon after it happened several important German officers 
presented themselves at the Vatican, full of concern, and ready 
to conduct a thorough investigation on the spot. Although the 
press stated that they did so, it was untrue, for their services 
were politely declined and they were not admitted. The strongest 
probability as to the identity of the pilot is that he was Farinacci's 
secretary flying a German plane. Farinacci is the old Fascist 
enemy of the Church, leader of the anti-clericals, and, at the 
present moment, uncrowned King of Cremona and Northern 

Italy. He is acting as Mussolini's representative to the German 
authorities, and they do not mind what he does, provided he 
leaves their military arrangements undisturbed. Everybody 
knows that the Germans have numbers of English bombs in 
reserve for cases exactly like this. It seems fairly clear that they 
wanted to get the radio station, the only means by which the 
Pope can communicate freely with the outside world. But they 
missed it so completely that even the instruments were not 

This morning, from half past ten onward, large groups col- 
lected in Piazza San Pietro beneath the windows of the Pope's 
study, cheering and shouting rf Ewiv* U Papa!" and "II Papa! Il 
Papa!' 9 until at last he appeared at his window and gave them his 
blessing. He did so again at eleven and at half past eleven, as the 
crowd increased in numbers and in enthusiasm. 

In the meantime, Cardinal Canali, President of the Pontifical 
Commission for the Vatican City; Prince Pacelli, Councillor, and 
Commendatore Galeazzi, Director of the Technical Department, 
made a thorough examination of the damaged premises. 

Sunday November 7th 

This morning all the parishes of Rome sent large groups of 
parishioners, each one headed by the parish priest himself , to 
Piazzo San Pietro, as a demonstration of sympathy and affection 
to the Pope. It was a dull rainy morning, but the crowd paid no 
attention to the weather. The Pope, at his accustomed work in 
his study, heard the cheers from the Piazza and told his secretary 
to look out of the window and report. On hearing what numbers 
of people were below he had his study window opened, the one 
which is directly behind his writing table, fifth from the end on 
the third floor of the great block of the Vatican Palace. When he 
was seen, all the umbrellas closed as if by magic and all the faces 
were raised toward him with a roar of cheering. As he held up 
his hand in blessing, a sudden silence fell and the words: "Bene- 
dicat vos omnipotens Deus Pater et Fflius et Spiritus Sanctus** 
were distinctly audible. Then the cheering broke out again. As 
yesterday, so today he came back to the window twice at inter- 
vals of half an hour. 


St, Peter's was open this morning. It had been closed on Satur- 
day so that all the broken glass might be swept up, for the win- 
dows had suffered a good deal from the blast. There was no 
structural damage whatever to the dome or to the walls, contrary 
to a current report. Most glass was broken in the apse and the 
left transept. The great golden window with the dove, symbolic 
of the Holy Ghost, which occupies the centre of Bernini's "glory" 
in the apse, and which is the only stained glass in the entire 
church, was pierced by about twenty splinters, themselves of 
glass, blown in from its own large protecting window in the 
outer wall. The windows in the drum of the cupola whose heavy 
metal frames were strengthened quite recently, were fortunately 
slightly open for ventilation and were not harmed. On the other 
hand, some of the windows of the lantern of the cupola were 
blown in, although they are at a height of 120 metres. 

The walls and dome may be safe, but one other thing has 
suffered severely in St. Peter's, and that is its climate. For the 
first time in histpry it was desperately cold inside the Basilica. 
The building is so vast and the ventilation managed with so 
much skill that it was always pleasantly cool in summer and 
warm in winter in comparison with the air outside. It will take 
some time to recover that Petrine climate, I fear. It was quite 
a shock to feel the cold on entering, not so much physically as 
psychologically. People crowded in this morning to hear the 
Masses which were being said as usual at the various altars. 

Monday November 8th 

The damage in the Vatican City was well worth investigating 
for oneself. Considering what it might have been, it was slight; 
considering the havoc wrought, it is not slight at all. One million 
lire worth of glass has been smashed, not to mention damage to 
dwellings; the destruction in the mosaic studio will take months 
and months to remedy. 

Two of the Palatine Guard on duty on Friday evening saw the 
plane circle low over the Vatican City several times. It was flying 
at about 100 metres when it dropped the bombs. Although no 
public statement has been made everyone is convinced that it 
was a German plane; it was too dark at the time to recognize 

any markings it might have borne. It did not drop cither in- 
cendiary or penetration bombs, but fragmentation bombs. The 
first one fell about thirty metres away from the building where 
Cardinal Canali lives, and fairly close to the city wall. All the 
Cardinal's windows were broken, naturally; his doors and shut- 
ters were blown in, and much damage was done to the interior 
by splinters. The windows in the courtyard of the neighbouring 
Palazzo Sta. Marta were broken, and, in the Palazzo dei Tri- 
bunali, just across the road, a big fragment of a bomb fell in the 
flat occupied by the Brazilian Ambassador* Numbers of diplo- 
mats took up residence in this building as the war became more 
widespread; they are those from China, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, 
Venezuela, Uruguay and Ecuador. 

The second bomb made a direct hit on the roof of the mosaic 
studio, which is half way between the apse of St. Peter's and the 
Vatican railway station. The damage here was very serious. The 
costly steel filing cabinet which was forged in Strasbourg and 
contains thousands of compartments for mosaic cubes of all 
shades was hit and the cubes were scattered; several unfinished 
pieces of work were destroyed; doors, windows and roof were 
smashed, and numbers of paintings damaged. 

The most far-reaching explosion was that of the third bomb, 
which fell behind the Governor's Palace: besides windows, doors 
and shutters being destroyed, plaster fell from all the ceilings 
and inner walls and furniture were broken up. The retaining 
walls were, however, unshaken. The flat occupied by Mgr. Tar- 
dint, Secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Affairs, 
suffered severely, as did also the apartments reserved for visiting 

The fourth bomb fell between the Ethiopian College and the 
radio station, and did no harm except to the reservoir. Windows 
were broken in the Vatican Museums, particularly in the Raphael 
Rooms and the sacristy of the Sistine Chapel. One Palatine Guard 
was wounded, otherwise there were no casualties. 

Numbers of dignitaries called at the Vatican to express their 
sympathy; most of them were genuinely concerned, some were 
merely officious. Among the latter was the well known Gino 
Bardi, Federate di Roma, leader of the Roman Fascists, who came 
from his headquarters at Palazzo Braschi to offer his condolences. 

Tuesday November 9th 

Der Oberbefehlshaber General FeldmarschaU Kesselring has 
issued an impressive list of "Orders for the Protection of the 
German Armed Forces," which runs as follows: 

Information must be given at once to the .German authorities 
(Militaer-Platz, oder Qrtskommandantur all in German) of: 

a The existence of or possession by anyone of arms, ammunition, 
or explosives of any kind. 

b Persons who are planning or who have executed acts of violence 
against members of the German armed forces, or against German 
organizations. Also of persons who have knowledge of the fore- 
going, together with their names and addresses. 

c The presence anywhere of members of enemy forces, and the 
names of those who harbour and assist them. The death penalty 
is established for those who do not give the foregoing informa- 

Moreover: for unlawfully wearing a German uniform or insulting 
or belittling the German armed forces the penalty is imprison- 

Those who do not carry out or who neglect the supervision duties 
assigned to them by the Higher German Command will suffer the death 

Thus one goes to prison for belittling a sensitive German 

Wednesday November 10th 

The telephones of all who reside in the streets nearest the Hotel 
Excelsior have been cut off, because of the German Command 
having quarters at the hotel. It looks as if they were afraid of 

The Vatican has sent a lorry north to get some glass to replace 
their million lire worth broken by the bombs the other day. In 
Rome glass is beginning to be on the black market. 

Three more classes are called up for military service: those 
born in 1923, *24 and '25. They must report between the 15th 
and 30th of this month. That means that three more large groups 
of young men will go into hiding. Feeling against the Germans 
increases daily, and the idea of being forced to fight for them 

drives Italian men desperate. One does not count the infinitesimal 
but noisy neo-Fascist pro-German minority. They are out simply 
for what they can gain for the time being. 

The British have broadcast today that they have now the 
complete report of the whereabouts of all Allied planes last Fri- 
day evening. None of them was near Rome. 

Probably by way of illustrating German "protection" of the 
Vatican, last night the Vatican radio reported the fact that, since 
September, no mail has gone either in or out of Vatican City. It 
is an illuminating comment on the Germans* claim that they are 
facilitating everything for the Vatican authorities. And yet, they 
do clearly hope to propitiate the Pope as much as they can. There 
is no truth in the stories that they want him to leave Rome. Some 
individual Germans may have said so unofficially, but it is not the 
general view. 

The Swiss press has stated that, on account of Friday's air 
attack, the families of the diplomats in the Vatican City had 
been directed to leave and were preparing to do so. The report 
is quite unfounded. No one is thinking of moving. The diplomats 
and their families are somewhat bored by the confinement and 
the limited resources of their place of residence, but would not 
think of leaving it. 

The four reasons suggested by the British commentators for 
the bombing of the Vatican City by the Germans are unconvinc- 
ing. They are: 1 To show the need for German "protection." 
2 To show that it is unsafe for the Pope to remain there and 
thus have him removed elsewhere. 3 To give a pretext for tak- 
ing away the art treasures of the Vatican, in order to put them 
in a safe place. 4 To induce the Pope to issue a protest against 
the bombing so worded as to cause misunderstanding between 
him and the Allies. 

Thursday November llth 

The B.B.C. reports today that the whole quarter of Rome 
round Via Veaeto has been mined by the Germans. If that is 
true, then this house, together with this diary, wiD soar sfcy* 
ward. We are definitely ia the Via Vesoetx) quarter. 

From today onward there are BO mane taxis to be had on any 
pretext whatever. Those wbo still hare bkycles are tacky. 


Well, the Allies liave crossed the Garigliano and have reached 
the German "winter line." Here the Germans are beginning to 
say: "We shall spend a happy Christmas in Rome and a happy 
Easter in Naples." Vedremo: we shall see. 

Friday November 12th 

Our enemy is determined to be comfortable here, anyway. 
Large truckloads of coal are being delivered at the hotels they 
have occupied; they seem to be very particular about heating. 
The rest of us can get no coal, and the weather is beginning to 
have a decided nip in it. In fact, by now, it is already a good 
deal colder indoors than out. These Roman houses with their 
marble or tiled floors, high ceilings and big windows are deadly 
cold when there is no means of heating them. The sun, when it 
is out, warms only the exact spot on which it shines. 

Yesterday, in Via Regina Elena a crowd collected round a 
house from which came a desperate voice shouting: "Help! 
Help! I am an Italian officer!" There was no point in waiting 
until the shooting should begin, so one does not know the end 
of the poignant incident. 

Saturday November 13th 

Comic relief was provided by the London broadcast today. 
They said: "In Rome Italian patriots have occupied the catacombs 
and thence harry German troops." From the beginning everyone 
has known that the catacombs would be useless as hiding places; 
they could be smoked out like a badger's earth. It was thought 
at one time that the Germans would use gas if they considered 
it worth while to investigate the catacombs with it, but no one 
hid in them. And there is no harrying of German troops here. 
It would only lead to the bloodiest of reprisals, and would 
achieve nothing. The Roman patriots are wise enough to wait 
until there is immediate hope of the Allies occupying the city, 
and then they will come out in force, organized and armed. It 
is different in the North, where they are much more numerous 
and the Germans are less concentrated. 


Sunday November 14th 

Interesting information came in today about the escaped 
British prisoners in the hills outside Rome* There is a regular 
service which takes them parcels of clothes, books, food, medi- 
cines, etc., run by friendly Italian officers. Arrangements are 
made for their shelter, and the peasants build huts for them in 
the woods when it is too dangerous for them to stay in the vil- 
lages. In some places each peasant going out for his day's work 
in the fields takes food for two people, enough for himself and 
enough for an Allied ex-prisoner. We know of an old peasant 
woman who always has one of them in her house, in honour of 
her son, who is a prisoner with the British. One enterprising man 
walked all the way from Verona to his own lines at TermolL 
With the colder weather, however, which is corning on rapidly, 
they will have a good deal to suffer. 

People arriving from Frascati tell us that they have not yet 
finished digging corpses out of the ruins after the air attack on 
September 8th. 

Monday November ISth 

The Germans have started arresting Poles in Rome. Possibly 
because the other day their President, speaking in London, re- 
ferred to Polish friendship with all nations, and with "their great 
Eastern neighbour/' Suspicion has, moreover, been brought on 
them by the espionage activities of a Polish lady and her two 
daughters. They were discovered, arrested and sent to the Man- 
tellate, the prison for women, where they had a very hard time. 
Finally influence was brought to bear by some of their friends, 
and they were transferred to another place. One hopes that the 
other Poles will not be locked up on their account. It is a plati- 
tude to say "You never know what Germans will do.** 

Tuesday November 
Crossing Ponte Vittorio this afternoon we saw two superb 
rainbows over Castello Sant'Angelo against a sky of steely g*y; 
symbolic perhaps of tie good fortune that awaits both the idi 
and the 5th armies. 

War correspondence quoted by the B.B.C. says: "It will be a 
tough job to take Cassino, but when we have done so then we 
shall be truly on the road to Rome." Yes, certainly. But first 
catch your hare. The Germans know the value of Cassino. Our 
electrician remarks pessimistically: "They will try to hold the 
Allies down there until they have finished robbing us in these 
parts, and when there is nothing left here to steal, then they 
will withdraw." This appears to be the general opinion in his 

A few Jews have been allowed to return to their homes, largely 
on account of action taken by the Pope. Is it possible to hope 
that the man-hunting is over? 

Wednesday November 17th 

No, it isn't possible to hope for what I wrote yesterday. The 
Germans have caught three thousand men who were hiding in 
caves in the campagna near the Madonna del Devin'Amore at 
Cartel di Leva. They intend to make round-ups whenever they 
can. These people were not Jews; the Germans wanted them for 
their "labour service," 

Thursday November 18th 

It now takes ten days for the news of the death of a Bishop in 
Umbria to reach the Vatican, in spite of what the Germans call 
perfect freedom of communication. This was the case with the 
death of Mgr* Estorre of Nocera Umbria who died at Sassofer- 

Friday November 19th 

Strange statements are made by the Swiss press. They have 
correspondents in Chiasso who apparently cannot verify Roman 
news. L* Ukertt of Fribourg reports that the Governor of the 
Vatican City has caused the following notice to be affixed to the 
three entrances: 

The Governor of the Vatican City by order of Cardinal Luigi 
Maglione, Secretary of State, declares that this place is a way of access 
to the Vatican City, a sovereign, independent and neutral state. In 
consequence it enjoys the right of inviolability. 

Under this notice, in Italian, continues La Uberte, is a Ger- 
man translation of it, and a declaration by General Stahel, the 
commander in Rome, forbidding members of the Wehrmacht 
to enter the City. 

None of this is authentic. The three entrances have no notices 
but at each stand two Swiss Guards, one of whom carries a rifle. 
All who wish to enter have to give full proof of their identity 
and their business before a pass is issued. This pass is examined 
at frequent intervals by officials in uniform and in plain clothes, 
as the bearer goes on his way. The pass must be given up at the 

No German soldiers may cross the white line outside the 
colonnade which marks the Vatican City boundary. There are 
often groups of them assembled at that point, waiting to be 
shown round St. Peter's; they are taken there by priests who have 
special qualifications for the purpose. When the visit is over they 
are punctiliously escorted back to the boundary line by their 
ecclesiastical guide. 

The mistake about the notice was probably made because all 
buildings in Rome which are "extraterritorial," that is, the prop- 
erty of the Holy See and therefore enjoying diplomatic immu- 
nity, bear a placard in Italian and in German: "Property of the 
Holy See. Extraterritorial zone," and they also have one of the 
Palatine Guards on duty at the entrance. Each religious house, 
other than extraterritorial, has been given a document signed by 
both the Vatican and the German authorities to the effect that, 
being such, it is not to be searched; but these documents are not 
displayed. The only building which bears a notice in German 
only, forbidding the Webrmacbt to enter, is the Quirinal Palace. 

Saturday November 20tb 

It is pouring rain. The Sangro and the Gariglkmo are in flood. 
We've had days and days of this, and k looks as if we -would 


have more* One can't blame the Americans in the 5th army, who 
say that the first thing they will do on reaching home is to go to 
the Italian tourist agencies and tear up all the posters that repre- 
sent Italy as the Land of Eternal Spring. The Allies seem stuck 
in front of Cassino. Leros has surrendered. There is that un- 
necessary trouble with the French in the Lebanon. Everyone is 
horribly depressed. "The Allies won't be here before Easter, 
mark my words." "The Germans are planning to retake 
Naples." "Why can't we get a move on?" 

A futile "Constituent Assembly" presided over by II Duce 
was held in the North the other day, although many say that 
Mussolini is dead. 

Yesterday Frau Kesselring was shown round the Vatican 
Museums by the Director, Professor Nogara, It was a great 
compliment to her, as the Museums are closed to the public at 

The Austrian soldiers have been deprived of their revolvers and 
are left with their bayonets only. Numbers of them have deserted 
already and are wandering about in the hills. It appears that a 
large band of them, together with Allied ex-prisoners and Italian 
patriots, under the command of a former German officer, are in 
the hills near Spoleto conducting guerrilla warfare. It may quite 
well be the case, though one has no means of being certain of it. 

Sunday November 21st 

We have begun to take refugees into our house; it is simply 
impossible to refuse. These are Sicilians from near Syracuse, and, 
as they were bombed by the Allies, I suppose we ought to do 
something about it. The food question is the crux. We made a 
strong appeal to the Vatican for help in feeding them, and got 

* sack of flour and a sack of potatoes* The latter are almost a 

Provisions are increasingly hard to get. Nearly everything is 
rationed, but no one could live on the quantities allotted in the 
rationing, and even then, the shops where one has registered un- 
dbr the rationing scheme often do not have the things one has 

* right to. At present we have had only half the pasta (macaroni 
or spaghetti) which was due in October. None of the November 

rations has been available yet, with the exception of bread (ISO 
grammes a day) and a small amount of lard. Very little sugar is 
allowed, half a pound per month per person; and the tenth part 
of a litre of oil. Green vegetables are difficult, if not impossible, 
to find, and there is no question of fruit, fresh or canned. Flour 
and rice are to be had in the black market at terrific prices. Pota- 
toes can be got in the same way, but rarely. Even the black mar- 
ket has hardly any jam; and milk, fresh, condensed or desiccated, 
is next to unobtainable. There is no meat or fish, fresh or pre- 
served, nor eggs, except the latter on the black market. Tea, 
coffee and cocoa just aren't there, unless you are prepared to pay 
a couple of thousand lire a kilo. 

However, we and our refugees manage to get along and to find 
enough for two meals a day (one hesitates to count breakfast as 
a real meal here and in these circumstances), even if they do 
lack some of the dishes we might be having in peace time. We 
have great hopes of the Allies helping with our commissariat 
when they arrive; we hear that in the south they have brought 
plenty of tinned things, which we shall welcome heartily. One 
seems to notice the absence of tea and coffee most of all. The 
substitutes used for coffee are pathetic; the best of them is barley 
roasted and ground. The colour is all right and it is wet, but that 
is about all that can really be said for it, unless it contains a little 
sustenance, as the experts claim. Imitation tea is made of camo- 
mile, lime leaves or blackberry leaves, or else dried orange peel, 
roasted and grated. Like the coffee, when you get it, it is hot 
and wet and very, very unconvincing, particularly when there is 
no milk nor sugar to go with it. 

It stopped raining today, and optimists are foretelling a big 
action somewhere soon. Magtri: would that it might be true. 

Monday November 22nd 

The Turkish Embassy is leaving Rome, This may mean that 
Turkey intends to enter the war, or it may be that they axe 
following the "Government** to die north of Italy. There is a 
great fuss about the departure of the Ministries; and function- 
aries who prefer to await the coming of the Allies in Rome rather 
than follow the precarious fortunes of Mussolini's exalted yes- 


tncn have lost their jobs. Pressure even is brought to bear to in- 
duce them to travel, and much higher salaries are offered to those 
who will consent to go to Verona or Venice or Cremona, wher- 
ever the particular organization happens to have settled. 

The Germans are still fiercely searching houses for hidden 
arms, motor cars and men. 

Tuesday November 23rd 

War, as has frequently been said before, involves all sorts of 
unexpected consequences. In Rome, the steady deterioration of 
buses and trams is one of them. There are no spare parts, rubber is 
lacking for tires, brake linings wear out and stay worn out, more 
vehicles are scrapped, more people try to get on the remaining 
ones, and the strain breaks them down sooner than usual. Yes- 
terday evening there was a horrible accident to the tram that 
passes below the Pincio, beside the outward-sloping piece of the 
old city wall known as Muro Torto. Before reaching Piazza del 
Popolo there is a long slope and a curve, and the track passes 
close to a low brick wall that surrounds Villa Borghese. It was 
dark, and the heavily laden tram had gained such momentum 
that the brakes would not act. It reached the curve at full 
speed, swung off the tracks, crashed Into the wall and collapsed 
on its side among the debris. The wounded passengers lay there 
helpless until another tram came along. 

The Germans are making "scorched earth" of Fregene, cutting 
down the pines and destroying the olives. It is one of the most 
charming seaside places within easy reach of Rome, with famous 
pine woods near the beach. 

Wednesday November 24th 

Yesterday we heard very heavy explosions in the distance, and 
we learned today that it was the Allies bombing out all that was 
left of the big airfield of Ciampino, about fourteen kilometres 
from here, on the way to Frascati. The planes that came over 
looked like dragoa-flies in the sun. It is doubtful if it will be pos- 
ble to use the airfield again, even after several months of re- 
p*iring. The field itself , the hangars, the repair shops, the sheds 

for stores, everything was blown up. The anti-aircraft guns were 
very active, but not the Luftwaffe. 

Thursday November 2Jth 

Our spell of fair weather was deceptive. It is raining in tor- 
rents here, and they say it is worse in the South and on the 

Mussolini and his Council of Ministers met again yesterday, 
somewhere in the North, The papers came out with big head- 
lines about it, which is a consideration, when there is only one 
sheet to the whole paper. Their decisions were published in full. 
The name of the Italian State in future is to be "Italian Social 
Republic,*' and workers' salaries are to be raised by 30 per cent. 
They have, of course, no hope of stemming the tide of inflation 
as they had at the beginning of the war, so as prices rise they raise 
salaries, hoping for the best and prepared to stand from under 
when the crash comes. They have also established a special court 
to try the members of the Grand Council who voted against 
Mussolini on July 25th. It will go hard with the latter if they 
are caught. Some, it seems, have left the country. 

Friday November 26th 

Once more the Jews: all objects of art belonging to them are 
declared to be sequestered by the nation. 

The Pope has received the British Minister, the American rep- 
resentative, and the German Ambassador. In consequence ru- 
mour says that Hitler is trying to negotiate peace. The probability 
is that these audiences are merely routine, or rather war-routine 

A humourous feature of the present situation is the avalanche 
of requests for English lessons. Today alone five sets of people 
have called to ask for information about where they can be had, 
Fortunately we have the addresses of several hard-working teach- 
ers who are delighted to get extra work. Some of the applicants 
say quite frankly: w We want to know tow to welcome die Al- 
lies when they come,** 

Saturday November 27th 

German truck and motor drivers are reckless beyond ail de- 
scription. They killed Renato Cialente, a very popular actor, 
yesterday evening, and the Romans are furious. He was coming 
away from the Teatro Argentina with some friends; they were 
walking quietly down the Corso, not in the road but on the pave- 
ment, when a German lorry dashing along swerved and knocked 
him down, fracturing his skull. Death was instantaneous. The 
city was shocked by his tragic death, and everyone loudly blamed 
the Germans for it. German trucks are the only ones allowed on 
the Corso, so there could be no question of the driver's national- 
ity. One paper raised its voice with no uncertain sound, and 
although censorship is rigid here, its protests were printed. The 
Voce d'ltali* said: 

This unhappy death throws fresh light on the brutal irresponsibility 
of driven who speed recklessly, even during the blackout, without the 
slightest regard for the safety of pedestrians. A recent military ordi- 
nance limited the speed of vehicles, particularly in the more central 
quarters; we do not know if the orders have been withdrawn, but ap- 
parently drivers of motors, and particularly of trucks, care nothing 
about them, judging from the increasing number of street accidents. 
We witness accidents of this type daily because careless drivers, even 
msUtcry omes, disregard pedestrians crossing the streets. Human lives 
seem no longer to be of any account, if the first motor driver who comes 
by, though he be wearing * military uniform, can thus butcher foot 
passengers. Ve beg for energetic action in this matter on the part of 
both civil and military authorities. [The italics are mine.] 

Sunday November 28th 

Ve arc all encouraged by the message General Montgomery 
has sent to his men: "The time has come to drive the Germans 
north of Rome. They have been outfought, and we can now 
go forward," Certainly the time has come. In fact we feel it is 
* trifle overdue. 

Monday November 29th 

The High Command at the Hotel Excelsior is bright and 
dbeerfuL Officers of incredible elegance make their way in and 

out, sentries snap to the salute, and a good time is had by all. 
General Maelzer gave an entertainment on quite a large scale 
there yesterday evening, with the help of Italian actors and 
singers. It was organized by a producer from Berlin, distinguished 
for the management of the "Komiker Kabarett." Elaborate re- 
freshments for all and plenty of flowers for the ladies were 

They're losing men by the hundred in Italy and by the thou- 
sand in Russia, but the Komiker Kabarett must go on. One 
wonders if that sort of revelry by night is inseparable from war. 
Perhaps so. 

Tuesday November 30th 

The neo-Fascists are causing themselves to be despised and 
hated somewhat more than previously by what has just come 
out about the doings at their headquarters in Palazzo Braschi. 
Having got wind of something unusual going on there, the Ger- 
mans, direct and forceful as usual, sent for some members of the 
Italian police, and together they raided the place. The resident 
Fascists were dumbfounded, so was the raiding party. In the cel- 
lars they discovered a number of non-Fascists, men of good 
standing and reputation, in a pitiable condition from imprison- 
ment, starvation and torture. Some details of the torture are too 
revolting for description. Some of the prisoners had died and 
their bodies had been disposed of inside the building. Several, 
who could still move, jumped from the windows when the raid 
began, and were taken to the hospital with broken limbs. Be- 
sides their victims, the Fascists had also concealed quantities of 
gold, silver and jewels which they had "sequestered" by entering 
houses and demanding diem at the point of the revolver. They 
also had, as might have been expected, large supplies of food- 
stuffs, flour, ham, cheese, wiae, oil and other things which are 
severely rationed. 

No mention was made in the press of the immediate arrest of 
the Palazzo Braschi gang, bat in less than twenty-four hours the 
whole of Rome knew about it and feeling ran high. Forty in aH 
were taken off to prison and shipped to the North for trial. The 
ringleaders were the famous 'Tederale dellTJrbe" Gino Bardi, 

who had hastened to present condolences to the Pope on behalf 
of the Roman Fascists when the Vatican was bombed; the two 
Pollastrini, father and son; Carlo Franquinet; Guido Strappa- 
felci; Eros Conti; Mario Caruso; Cesare de Paolis and Sante Mar- 
chetti. The general comment was: "Well, anyway, the Germans 
have done one good deed in arresting those blackguards." 

Wednesday December 1st 

More posters today telling us what not to do. The prohibition 
was published long ago, but as the public paid no attention what- 
ever, they have now put it on the walls. We are informed that we 
MUST NOT listen to broadcasts from countries that are not 
occupied by Germans. This is a new way of expressing it; they 
used to say "enemy countries." Moreover we MUST NOT spread 
anti-German news. They don't specify just what anti-German 
news is; anyway, we mustn't spread it. The penalty is a heavy 
fine and/or imprisonment. 

It is coming out by degrees that the Germans are less and less 
enthusiastic about the Fascists, and that, if they possibly could, 
they would get rid of them altogether. Unfortunately II Duce 
is Der Fuehrer's friend, so they can't. If it were not for that 
"friendship" Fascists would have disappeared some time ago, and 
the Germans would be governing occupied Italy in name as 
well as in deed. 

Thursday December 2nd 

The "Republic" has abolished all titles and honours conferred 
by the "ex-King of Italy," but graciously allows Pontifical titles 
and honours to be recognized and used, in the same way as 
foreign titles are recognized. In all probability there is going to 
be a slight hitch concerning this and various other things before 
long, as the Pontifical Government has not recognized the 
"Italian Social Republic" and the latter is sore about it. 

Friday December 3rd 

We cling to straws here. Everyone is excited and pleased be- 
cause there is a persistent rumour of the Germans 9 withdrawal. 

It originated in the fact that there are lots of Germans in the 
streets, and some of them are asking their way. Because they 
don't know Rome it was concluded that they were passing 
through on their way to the North. Also, they have forced the 
evacuation of Cassino, as if they were going to destroy it before 
leaving. The Cassinese people had no choice and no time. At 
the point of a gun they were told to leave or be shot, so they 
climbed into the German lorries and were taken off. Numbers 
of them arrived in Rome and were dumped in the suburb of Tor 
Pignattara, bewildered, cold, hungry and exhausted. No provi- 
sion had been made for them, so they just stood there. Convents 
came to the rescue and the nuns took the refugees in, at least 
for the time being and until something definite could be ar- 

The nuns here have been magnificent in the midst of bom- 
bardments, evacuations and other tragic circumstances of war. 
With superhuman strength of mind and body, in the teeth of 
chaos they have organized, and in the teeth of famine they have 
fed the hungry and harboured the shelterless. Indeed mute and 
inglorious they have been and are. Individuality is hidden be- 
neath the uniforms they wear; they are not out for medals or 
ribbons or recognition; but if people in the Allied countries 
salute women in uniform, they certainly ought to salute women 
wearing the religious dress, when they get here, at last. The 
salute will have been earned. 

Today the Vatican daily, the Osservatore Romcno, publishes a 
strong protest against the treatment of Jews; it is called forth by 
the new directions issued by the "Republic" to the heads of the 
Provinces, to the effect that all Jews must be sent to concentra- 
tion camps. The order was issued obviously at the instigation of 
the Germans. The Osservafore points out that it is unreasonable, 
unchristian and inhuman. Times are bad enough, it says, with- 
out our creating fresh sources of suffering and anxiety; we arc 
sorely in need of God's help, which we can gain by exercising 
charity toward His creatures, and all of us, nations as wdH as 
individuals, are in need of that today. Let us take care to be just 
and merciful, it concludes, and to pay CHIT own debts so dbat 
God may remit ours with both justice and mercy. 

It was a bold protest, courageously made, The Oss*n*tfor* is 
sold regularly on all the Roman news-stands, and, strange to say, 

it continues to be sold, even after publishing articles as outspoken 
as this. 

Saturday December 4th 

The Roman German-controlled press answered the Qsservatore 
by asserting that Jews were considered foreigners, and as such 
they were potential enemies and therefore might with perfect 
justice be sent to concentration camps. This evening's Osservatore 
replies firmly that no decree issued by any political party can 
change the status of an Italian-born citizen, possessing his na- 
tionality by the existing laws of the land; and that, even if 
enemy aliens were to be sent to concentration camps, the old and 
infirm, women and children, are exempt. The article is both 
judicious and moderate, and ends with the words: "We shall 
continue to place our trust in wisdom and good will, in justice 
and mercy; if these are carried into effect all will be spared fresh 
cause for anxiety, and the end will be equally well attained. From 
good deeds done, good will accrue to all." 

Sunday December 5th 

The Osservatore protests once more, this time on both sides. 
The editor deplores the murder, which took place yesterday, of 
Colonel Gino Gobbi in Florence; he was the Fascist commander 
of the city police. But, as "reprisals," ten anti-Fascists were exe- 
cuted immediately. Condemning this ferocious act of revenge, 
the writer says: "If this method is followed, then the numerical 
increase of reprisals and counter-reprisals will end in mass execu- 
tions of men by the hundred or even by the thousand, and will 
lead to absolute disregard of human life as such." 

Yesterday, for the first time, mention was made in the Roman 
press of the crimes committed at Palazzo BraschL It was stated 
that the police had completed the arrest of "individuals guilty 
of grave indiscipline and of illegal activities, of disturbing 
public order and of bringing discredit on the local Fascist group." 

Monday December 6th 

Our baker's boy arrived this morning with his hand and arm 
bandaged. When asked what had happened he said laconically: 
"A German truck." 

Roads in and out of Rome are carefully guarded by armed 
German sentries, and a list of roads which may be used is pub- 
lished. The larger ones are open day and night; smaller ones only 
in the daytime, and footpaths may not be used at all. They want 
to put a stop to cross-country escapes. 

Tuesday December 7th 

There is nothing really amusing about being robbed, thought 
the Trappists, whose monastery lies between Rome and Albino, 
when the Huns swept off their livestock consisting of a horse, a 
cow and a pig. Being vowed to perpetual silence, they just said 
nothing and carried on as best they could without the animals. 
Twenty-four hours after the theft, in the dawn's early light, 
they saw a strange procession returning to their house: the horse, 
followed by the cow, followed by the pig, all alone, and, like 
their masters, in silence. The Germans are still wondering wist- 
fully what happened to them, being particularly partial to f resh 

Wednesday December 8th 

The news man whose stall is opposite our house is poorer than 
most, having a family of five to support on what he makes or 
doesn't make. This morning when he opened up, he found several 
children in a basket awaiting his arrival, while two adults stood 
guard over them. It turned out that they were relatives of his 
from Cassino, evacuated by the Germans, and like those dropped 
in the road at Torpignattara, stood waiting until some hdp 
should be forthcoming. They had no food, no shelter, no ration 
cards, and very few clothes. The news man simply took them 
into his own overcrowded lodging. We managed to help oat 
with bedding, food and money. On occasions like this the charity 
of the poorest to one another is an example to us all. 


Thursday December 9th 

Rumours grow with the speed and facility of mushrooms. The 
latest one is that the German Command has had no news from 
Hitler for four or five days, and that, if his silence continues 
for two days more, they will take it upon themselves to with- 
draw from their positions here. They have concluded, so says 
the rumour, that Hitler was either caught in the air attack on 
Berlin or has fled. 

Friday December 10th 

Strangely enough the Germans have made good their boast 
about saving the treasures of the Abbey of Montecassino. It is 
difficult to understand their motives, after their wanton destruc- 
tion of the great library at Naples. Anyway, here are the treas- 
ures in countless cases and boxes: archives, manuscripts, books, 
pictures, engravings and illuminated missals. There are about a 
hundred thousand volumes in all, not counting the manuscripts. 
The sight was striking and picturesque when the long line of 
heavily laden lorries came down the Tiber embankment and 
passed beneath the battlemented walls of Castel Sant'Angelo 
and through the gate into the court of the old fortress. German 
officials made a speech or two, somebody answered them on be- 
half of the "Ministry of National Education," and the transfer 
was accomplished. These precious things will all be housed in the 
Vatican Library as soon as it is convenient. It is providential that, 
at the present moment, the Vatican Library should be closed to 
readers. The members of the staff are thus free to deal with these 
incoming books and manuscripts. Moreover, an increasing num- 
ber of Roman princes are giving their family archives to the 
Pope for the Vatican Library, and this makes still more work 
for the staff. The donors follow the example of Don Gelasio 
Caetani who, shortly before his death, presented the vast Caetani 
archives to Pope Pius XI; they now occupy one entire room in 
the Library. It is felt that all these archives will be in safe 
keeping, that they will be classified, catalogued and made avail- 
able for research. No other Library can compare with the Vatican 
Library, and if anything should happen to it in this war the loss 
to civilization would be inexpressible. A movement is on foot at 

present to reproduce all their existing manuscripts on microfilm 
as a precaution against possible destruction. 

Saturday December llth 

There is a new German way of dealing with men who dodge 
the labour service. They will get no ration cards. These cards are 
issued every four months; probably a census will be taken before 
they are due next time, and all who are not working will have 
to starve quietly. On the other hand, so little is available at times 
of what is apportioned by the cards that some say frankly: "Keep 
your card, we don't want it for all that we get to eat by means 
of it we might as well be without," and they are untouched by 
the new penalty. 

Sunday December 1 2th 

The city authorities hope to remedy the food shortage, or so 
they say, not only by obliging all producers to sell their products 
to the general store of food, at the established prices of course, 
but also by forbidding provisions to be brought into Rome with- 
out a special permit. The sentries on the roads leading to the city 
will be responsible for carrying out the new regulation* Indi- 
viduals may bring in three kilogrammes of food for personal 
consumption. This legislation constitutes a well meant effort 
to stop black market transactions. Of course it will have no 
effect on the black market except to send up the prices. 

Monday December 13th 

Today we are faced with another attempted remedy foi 
another increasing difficulty. The remedy is comparable only ta 
King Canute's gesture ordering the waves to recede. So as to 
relieve the violently congested condition of the buses, it is ar- 
ranged now for the bus stops to be five hundred metres farther 
apart than formerly. The authorities point out hopefully that 
this will make people willing to walk all the way, as they would 
have to go so far to get the bus. The answer is simply that they 
won't, and the buses will be as bad as ever or probably worse. 

Tuesday December 14th 

The German Ambassador to the "Republic" has presented his 
credentials personally to II Duce somewhere in the North. He is 
the truculent Dr. Randolph von Rahn, a specialist in "occupa- 
tions'* accompanied by drastic measures. He was very active when 
Paris was occupied, and was Charge d' Affaires here before the 
armistice, when the Ambassador was absent. 

We found it necessary to dig up one of our boxes of buried 
valuables today. It contained money and securities. Setting out 
light-heartedly, we dug. No box. We dug farther around the 
spot. No box. Feverishly we tried to remember if any thief could 
possibly have seen us at the job when we buried the box. Had 
the gardener discovered it accidentally and made off with it? 
We dug on. The ground was rooted up as if by a maddened ter- 
rier. No box. Darkness fell, and we gave it up for the time being. 

Wednesday December 1 5th 

After a sleepless night we went on digging. No box. We gave 
ourselves up to the resignation of despair, but made one more 
try, deeper and yet farther from the spot. The box! And the 
moral of that is, when you bury valuables in time of war, mark 
the spot carefully. 

Food transport is becoming so difficult that the old method 
of using the Tiber for the purpose is being advocated on all sides. 
If only they could organize it properly, the thing would work 
admirably, Barges loaded with produce from Umbria could be 
brought down with the current and return upstream empty. 
There will be a real famine here soon if they don't do something 
of the sort. 

Thursday December 16th 

The Roman Fascists have moved their headquarters to the fine 
building in Via Veneto which used to be the seat of the Ministry 
of Corporations. They have thus shaken the dust of Palazzo 
Braschi, of evil memory, from their feet forever, and to white- 
wash it as far as possible, it is to be turned over to evacuees from 
southern Italy. These are the personal directions given by the 

new Federate, Giuseppe Pizzirani, who succeeded Giao Bardi, ttr 
leading gangster, now under arrest. 

We were talking today of the slow progress of the Allies both 
on the 5th and the 8th army fronts, and someone pointed out 
that in over two thousand years of its history Italy had never 
been invaded from the south, except by Belisarius in the sixth 
century when he overthrew the Gothic kingdom. It is the slow- 
est and most difficult way of conquering the country. And, more- 
over, the Germans are defending their positions with grim deter- 
mination, apparently in order to have something to compensate 
for their debacle in Russia. 

Friday December 17th 

The Montecassino treasures are being moved from Castd Sant' 
Angelo to the Vatican. We saw some of them going this morn- 
ing as we crossed Ponte Vittorio. 

There are so many German cars of every description and so 
many German soldiers going about the streets that it looks as if 
the soldiers marched round and round for propaganda purposes, 
and the drivers of cars were told to show themselves as much 
as possible. Via Sistina is the headquarters of their Transport 
Command, and it is alive with them. Among us it is known as 
Brighter Berlin. Piazza delta Trinita, at the upper end, is blocked 
with their conveyances, from smart stolen cars for the officers to 
trucks for the men. The printed notices there are all in German, 
and there is a German military traffic policeman at the lower 
end, where Via Sistina runs into Via Francesco CrispL 

Saturday December 18th 

Minor repairs to the Vatican radio apparatus on account of 
some slight damage caused during the air raid of November Sth 
have now been completed. The experts in charge there have de- 
cided to set up an emergency station in case of more attacks of 
the same kind. Thus there should always be the possibility of 
communicating with other countries by means of one station 
or the other. 

We have just learned that on Thursday night there was a big 


explosion in the Fascist barracks in Viale Romania, near Piazza 
Ungheria. It was presumably a time bomb, but the Fascists don't 
seem to be able to trace the man who put it there. They always 
say "communists" when these things happen. 

This morning another bomb went off in a little eating house 
in Piazza Risorgimento, where some Germans were having din- 
ner; they were all killed. Two Fascists were murdered yesterday; 
one of them was shot, as he was walking along the street, by a 
cyclist who came up from behind, fired, and was off at full speed. 
This evening, more explosions. At about six o'clock, a time 
bomb which had been placed in the elevator shaft of the Hotel 
Flora went off, killing one German soldier, and one woman, and 
injuring several others. The Flora is being used as headquarters 
by the Germans at present, and Kesselring lodges there when he 
is in Rome. He was there today and escaped as if by miracle, as 
he escaped during the bombing of Frascati; he seems to have a 
charmed life. 

Considerable injury was done to the hotel by the explosion, 
particularly to the heating plant. Hot water oozed from the walls 
and poured from damaged pipes, in all directions. The Germans 
were very particular about having their rooms well warmed in 
this chilly weather, and they wanted hot water. Well, they got it. 
There was tremendous excitement in Via Veneto when it all 
happened. Every passer-by, whether on foot or in a motor, was 
arrested and hustled into one of the ground-floor rooms of the 
hotel. No one was allowed to telephone home to say why they 
were detained, and they were not told how long they might be 
kept there. All were interrogated minutely, and those who were 
considered suspicious were kept all night. One of our friends who 
was there got away at 8.H, because she could talk German. The 
Spanish Ambassadress to the Holy See, who was passing in her 
motor at the time, was stopped and brought into the hotel like 
everybody else. It was some minutes before she was allowed to go. 
Voluble apologies followed, and it was explained that she had 
been led into die hotel for safety. But that was a lie* 


Sunday December 19th 

This morning another time bomb went oflf in the cinema in 
Piazza Barberini and killed a civilian; it naturally caused a panic 
as well. 

Today's papers publish orders from the German Command of 
Rome that the curfew, instead of beginning at 11.30 P.M. and 
ending at 5 A.M., will now begin at 7 P.M. and end at 6 A.M. This 
is the city's punishment for bomb-throwing. We are "confined 
to barracks" after 7 o'clock. That means that the trams will 
start their last trips at 5.30. It dislocates everything, especially 
for the unfortunates who do not eat in their own houses; their 
evenings will be hungry ones indeed. 

There are barricades and sentinels in front of the Flora and 
the Excelsior hotels, and the former is provided with machine 
guns as well. No one may pass on the pavement in front of them. 
Residents in the upper part of Via Veneto, that is between Via 
Ludovisi and Porta Pinciana, are punished worse than most, be- 
cause for them the curfew begins at 5 P.M. 

The work-people explain these murders by saying: "Well, 
what can you expect? The Germans are starving us." 

Monday December 20th 

The press passionately urges all citizens, in the name of w ri- 
sponsabilita e ctvismo" to treat the Germans nicely and not to 
attack them. We hear hand grenades and rifle shots at night 
around the new Fascist headquarters close by in Via Veneto, but 
they are mysterious shots and we never hear either the exact cause 
or the results. Of course it is a strain on the Romans, wrought 
up as they are against the Germans and possessed by political pas- 
sion, not to shoot when a good occasion offers. They do not stop 
to consider that, apart from other things, they will briag down 
on that feUow^tizens far heavier penalties than their action 
would warrant, and that they are doing nothing thereby to win 
the war. 


Tuesday December 21st 

The German Command today forbids the use of bicycles be- 
tween 5 P.M. and 7 A.M. This is a blow for the working men who 
used to cycle to and from their work, that is, those whose ma- 
chines had not been stolen by the Germans. Of course those 
cyclist murders brought this on everybody. 

It is announced that the Pope will broadcast on Christmas 
Eve. What can he say? Everyone wonders. And it is also an- 
nounced that the Midnight Masses which used to be celebrated 
on Christmas Eve wiH be anticipated and said at five o'clock in 
the afternoon. 

Wednesday December 22nd 

Unpleasant news this morning. The patriots and Jews who have 
been sheltered in religious houses all over Rome will probably 
not be safe any more. The Fascists not the Germans this time 
are raiding them. Back in October, when the S.S. men first got 
here, they tried to search the Oriental Institute, but desisted on 
learning it was pontifical property. The "Republican Fascists," on 
the other hand, are quite free from such scruples, and enjoy 
breaking into anything belonging to the Pope because they are 
so very, very sensitive at not having had their "Government" 
recognized by the Vatican. As far as the Vatican is concerned, 
politically the "Republicans" simply aren't there, and it, as it 
were, just looks over their heads when they come up to shake 
hands. They are terribly upset about it, now adopting the atti- 
tude: why-should-x^-recognize-the-Vatican-anyway? coolly 
brushing aside the Lateran Treaty, signed by Mussolini in 1929* 
This, their first venture, was on a fairly large scale, includ- 
ing three neighbouring establishments. The Lombard College, 
founded by Pope Pius XI for Church students from his own 
Province, the Oriental Institute run by the Jesuits, and the Rus- 
sicum, the College for Russian Church students, form one large 
block of pontifical property close to St. Mary Major's. 

There was a spy among the patriots at the Lombard College 
who arranged everything for the entrance of the Fascists. A 
number of the patriots were arrested, though several got away 
by the back stairs. The house was thoroughly searched, and the 
leader of the gang confronted the Rector with a revolver and 
a letter from a girl to whom one of the refugees was engaged. 

"These are nice things to be found in the table drawers of your 
so-called church students," he sneered. 

Some of the patriots are unquestionably imprudent, as in the 
case just mentioned. We heard of another incident in which an 
Italian officer, hiding from the Germans, was taken in by some 
friends of ours at their own great risk. Toward evening his wife 
rang him up to know how he was. Every telephone in the city 
is supervised. One may imagine the result of such indiscretions. 

At the Oriental Institute, the Jesuits had sheltered three Jews. 
The Brother porter faced the Fascists and said: "You have no 
right here, this is pontifical property. Where are your papers?" 

"Here," was the answer, and the Brother found himself look- 
ing into the muzzle of a revolver. During the search one of the 
Jews escaped. The second was suffering from heart disease, and 
collapsed from shock of being discovered. The third was a doctor, 
and although he could have escaped quite easily he would not 
leave the man who had fainted. They were both taken. 

Only three were caught in the Russicum, but it was searched 
like the other two houses. As he was going, the leader of the gang 
turned to the Rector and said: "Why did you hide these men?" 

"For the same reason for which we shall probably be hiding 
you before long," said the Rector. 

As the "Fascist Republic" has no representative at the Vatican, 
the only way in which the latter can protest against this flagrant 
violation of diplomatic immunity is through the German Am- 
bassador. As a matter of fact, the Germans are thoroughly sick 
of the Fascists, and if it were not for the personal friendship 
whatever it may amount to between Hitler and Mussolini, 
they would have got rid of them long ago and ruled without 
them. Just when the Germans are doing their best to conciliate 
the Vatican, the Fascists go and upset everything. There is no 
doubt whatever about this desire on the part of the Germans. 

Thursday December 23rd 

The "Midnight" Masses which were to be said at 5 PO*. to- 
morrow have been cancelled in all the parishes, cm account of 
the curfew and in order not to have crowds collecting in die 

Most of the patriots on the run in Rome hardly enrer spend 

more than a night or two now in the same place. Their wives 
and children also go to live away from home, because otherwise 
they might be taken as hostages. The porters tell enquiring 
Fascist and Gestapo agents that they have gone and they have 
no idea where they are. The way they escape arrest is wonderful, 
under the circumstances. Naturally they all have false papers. 
The police had the happy thought of taking the list of addresses 
of friends hanging near the telephones when they searched the 
houses, but even those were destroyed by the prudent ones. 

Some of the police force are patriots at heart and do a good 
deal to help the others. One of them began his conversation 
with an anti-Fascist's wife by saying significantly: "Your hus- 
band is not here, is he?" "No," said she. "Then that is all," he 
answered, * e l have done my duty," and went. 

An order, published today, is intended to prevent this per- 
petual flitting of patriots or Jews. Here it is: 

1 All changes of domicile in the city of Rome are forbidden, without 
special authorization of the police. 

2 House owners or their responsible agents must make a full list of all 
persons resident in each house, floor by floor, and place it in a con- 
spicuous position in the entrance. 

3 Anyone giving hospitality to persons other than those included in 
the above-mentioned lists will be punished according to German 
military law. 

The census of the population of Rome is to be taken at once. 

Friday December 24th 

At ten o'clock this morning the Pope received the Car- 
dinals of the Curia, who presented their Christmas wishes to 
him. As a rule, in his answering speech he mentions any matters 
of importance which he wishes to make known. Today he made 
a brief review of the damage done to Rome and to the Vatican 
City from the air, and urged his hearers to use all their influence 
in order that the citizens might keep calm and self -controlled in 
whatever trials might await them in the future. 

At a quarter past twelve the Pope made his broadcast to the 
world. Seated at the table in his private study, he spoke clearly 

and distinctly. The Italian stations relayed his speech, so that 
everyone heard it, both inside and outside Italy. The speech was 
dignified and penetrating, on the evils of war and the need for 
peace on the sound basis of Christian principles, and it carried 
conviction in unexpected quarters. But will the conviction be 
acted upon? 

The Germans, out of the kindness of their hearts, are giving 
the Romans a Christmas treat: on the 24th, the 25th and the 
26th, so runs the proclamation, the curfew will begin at 9 P.M., 
instead of at 7 P.M.; in other words, they are allowing the chil- 
dren to stay up for two hours more. Do they expect Rome to 
rejoice wholeheartedly under the present circumstances? 

Saturday December 25th 

that with whims and sects and wan 
Have wasted Christmas Day. 


Sunday December 26th 

The German commander of Rome, General Maelzer, surpassed 
himself yesterday in a propaganda stunt. It happened that late 
on Christmas Eve news came through on the radio that German 
prisoners in England were to have special services and a very 
exceptional dinner on Christmas Day. Accordingly in the morn- 
ing Maelzer sent to the Swiss authorities asking if they could 
arrange for a service and a dinner for 150 British prisoners from 
a camp near Rome, in the course of the day. It was appallingly 
short notice, but the Swiss are never to be outdone as go-getters. 
They opened up the American church in Via Nazionale ami 
had it dusted. As it had been closed for over two years the dust- 
ing was a fairly elaborate process. Next, where could they dis- 
cover a parson? After combing the city they found that the 
only one who could speak English was the minister from the 
"Waldensian church in Piazza Cavour. It was short notice for 
him too, but by three o'clock he had prepared a service for die 
men. They arrived in motor buses and ptkd out at the church, 


to the great excitement of onlookers. Service over, they were 
taken to the Hotel Regina in Via Veneto and given a dinner 
consisting of pasta, Irish stew, potatoes, vegetables and cakes, to- 
gether with a pint of wine and a packet of cigarettes each. 
There was some music, also a Christmas tree in the middle of 
the room; and General Maelzer and staff looked in during the 

Today the columns of the papers are filled with praise of the 
Germans' generosity and magnanimity, their kindness to prison- 
ers and so on. Certainly, 150 of them had the drive, the service 
and the dinner, but in comparison how many thousand Germans 
in England got their special Christmas celebrations? Naturally 
the papers accompanied their photographs of the men arriving 
in the buses, and their descriptions of the event, with the re- 
mark: "The British boasted that they would be in Rome for 
Christmas: well, they have been here." So there! 

Monday December 27th 

Another German was murdered today by a cyclist who got 
away without being caught. 

Somehow, one thinks of agents provocateurs as characters who 
appear in the pages of thrillers, and there only. "We've had a 
real one. He rang the front door bell, and with no further pre- 
amble said that he was helping British prisoners who had escaped 
and could we give him any assistance in his work. We said that 
we knew nothing about them and were not interested. 

Tuesday December 28th 

In consequence of yesterday's murder the use of bicycles in 
the city has been absolutely forbidden at any time. Cyclists will 
be shot at sight. Obviously this will throw a greater strain than 
ever on the already overworked tram service, and will cause 
real hardship to those who depended entirely on that means of 

At about 12 today we heard heavy bombing in the distance. 
Some slum-suburbs of the city were hit, lying as they do near 
the railroads. Pietralata, Via Appia Nuova, Centocelle, the Garba- 

tella and Tor Marancia all suffered; there were a good many 
casualties and some damage to houses. They got the railway in 
several places and the airfield at Centocelle, but nothing can 
ever accustom one to the sadness of civilian casualties. It is 

The 5th army has gained some more heights near Cassino. 
But we aren't advancing much, apparently. Here we are at the 
end of the year, and last September we thought that it was going 
to be all we could do to bear with this German occupation for 
two or three weeks. Will it ever end? 

Wednesday December 29th 

There has been a lot of talk since the raid on the three extra- 
territorial religious houses, and Fascist propaganda has tried to 
whip the matter up into a scandal, professing horror that priests 
should hide "traitors," and so on. But the propaganda fell flat, 
and will probably be killed outright by an article, aimed straight 
at the Fascists, which was published today in the Otttrvatore 
Romano, a courageous paper, if ever there was one. And, as the 
Germans really control everything here, it is significant that no 
dire consequences followed, such as the suppression of the edition 
with the article, or its being torn from the hands of readers in 
the streets, as happened in May, 1940, just before Italy entered 
the war. It looks as if the Germans were not sorry that the 
Fascists should have received this reproof. 

The Osserv afore article is entitled Christian Charity. Here is a 

"With whom does the Church side?" I am often asked this question, 
sad to say, even by those in good faith. I answer that the Church is for 
everyone and she is for no one. She will never consent to be identified 
with any "party." The Pope and the Church do not side with portions 
of the human race. They are for all mankind, and for each indifidual 
man, who, before he is a party member, is a son of God; before he is 
a member of this race or that, is the possessor of an immortal souL 

The Church, therefore, does not require passports, party membership 
cards or any other documents. Then are no police, secret or otherwise, 
surrounding her altars. ... X said that the Church is for no one, tad 
yet for everyone. She is for no one wfaea a group stands for some special 


and exclusive interest; and she is for everyone, that is for all mankind. 

Men who are bound to one special group or party will not under- 
stand what I have just said. They will not understand, for example, 
that anyone (be his opinions utterly divergent) may go to the house of 
a Catholic priest to find hospitality there. They will not understand that 
priests have room even for their enemies, both in their hearts and in 
their dwellings. They may be called weaklings in consequence, and 
efforts may be made to hinder them from acting on these principles. 
But if the right of giving sanctuary is denied to Catholic priests, then 
one of their fundamental rights is denied to them, and, worse still, an 
attempt is thus made to force the Church to de-Christianize herself by 
restricting her charity within the narrow bounds of private interest 
and of hatred. 

A law which aims at preventing the exercise of charity (charity 
being in itself above all human institutions, since it comes directly from 
Goid) is more harmful than centuries of persecution. It is a point on 
which the Christian and the priest can never give way without betray- 
ing the Gospel as well as their own consecration to Christ. 

"And this is no secondary matter: it is the boundary line between 
good and evil*'* 


There was an added sting in this for the Fascists, on account 
of their having adopted the attitude of being champions of the 
Faith because they are anti-communist and anti-Freemason; or 
so they say. 

Thursday December 30th 

Yesterday evening a time bomb went off at the entrance to 
the Penskme Santa Caterina, at the corner of Via Po and Corso 
d'ltalia. As this pension is occupied by the Gestapo, there was 
a great commotion about it. No one was hurt, but some windows 
were broken and some brickwork smashed. It might have been 
much worse of course, as it was only by accident that there was 
no one going in or out at the time. The people in the street were 
stopped, and those in the neighbouring houses were not allowed 
to come out for quite a while. The author of the disturbance was 
not discovered. The Germans are beginning to be a little nervous 
over these time bombs. 


Friday December 31st 

At 1 o'clock this morning planes passed over us, flying low; 
they were probably German ones taking supplies to the Cassino 
front. There was a good deal of machine-gun fire in the neigh- 
bourhood, I think it was near the Pensione Santa Caterina, where 
they are very much on their guard on account of that bomb 
exploding in the doorway. They are taking no risks, and executed 
three men this morning who had attempted to murder some of 

The Fascist efforts to make the best of both worlds would be 
funny if they weren't so violent, and pathetic if they weren't 
so futile. This morning's papers published a Stefani dispatch to 
the effect that Giovanni Roveda, a well known communist, had 
been arrested in a Jesuit establishment, thus once more trying 
to show up priests as people who shelter "traitors," communists 
and the like. The Giornale d'ltalia, however, this evening, ate 
its words and printed: "The Roman Radio Bulletin was inexact 
in broadcasting the news of the arrest of Giovanni Roveda, a 
report which we published word for word. "We have been assured 
since doing so that the arrest did not take place in a Jesuit house." 
Then this afternoon after the great end-of-the-year function 
at the church of the Gesti, the Fascist official who acts as Gov- 
ernor of Rome presented a handsome chalice to the Vicar General 
of the Jesuits. This has been the custom for some years, and the 
"Republicans" made a point of keeping it up, if only as a gesture. 
The Jesuits seem to be bearing the brunt of things at present 
in both rain and shine. 

Saturday January 1, 1944 

May 1944 bring us peace! 

Last night the young barbarians at play had a marvellous 
time. Everyone else was indoors by 9 o'clock on account of the 
curfew, so they gave a big party at the Exoelrior, and a litde 
before midnight, being fairly drunk, they began to shoot up 
the town. Rifles, revolvers, machine guns, anything that would 
make a noise was fired off. All around the Excelsior they kept it 
going until well after midnight, and they did the same in Via 
Nazionale near the Albergo Quirinak. It aeeoas that it is a pretty 

custom of theirs to "Kill the Old Year" in this whimsical manner. 
Under present circumstances it appeared to be rather a waste of 

The papers are full of Hitler's New Year's proclamation. It is 
very long and says nothing new, using as keynote the claim that 
this war is a war for existence, so victory is bound to be theirs. 
Goebbels and Goering followed suit as usual. 

Sunday January 2nd 

A cheery broadcast from London tells us that "the curtain is 
rising on the last act" and that we shall see victory soon. Maybe. 
But the depression in this city is deepening daily. We all had such 
high hopes of being delivered by the New Year. Strategists say: 
"Perhaps at Easter." Three months more of this? We shall be 
dead of starvation long before then. 

Some observers say that there is a gleam of hope today, all 
the same, in the fact that Turkey shows signs of entering the 
war on our side. The Turkish Ambassador in London has gone 
hastily to Ankara, and von Papen saw the Turkish Minister 
for Foreign Affairs immediately after a secret session of Parlia- 
ment. Von Papen is a stormy petrel, but his political ability 
amounts almost to genius. Hitler did well to place him at Ankara, 
for he can manipulate situations, convince hearers and save lost 
causes with untold patience and skill. If he remains at Ankara, 
Turkey will probably not come to our aid. Those who were in 
Washington in 1916 know something of his methods. 

I can't close today's record without adding that Hitler and 
Mussolini sent each other affectionate New Year's greetings by 

Monday January 3rd 

"Nessuno comanda 9 * nobody exercises authority is the 
slogan of those who, at the present moment, would like to make 
a little profit on the side. Sometimes the ensuing disorganization 
is funny, and again sometimes it isn't. When we went off to our 
usual place, beyond St. Peter's, to get a little wine no, nothing 


exciting, just plain Frascati we found that we did not have to 
trouble about going on afterward to the customs office, as we 
always used to, in order to pay duty on what we had bought. 
The cellar to which we have access is hollowed out under the 
Janiculum; it looks like something on the stage and it smells of 
old-fashioned cider and mice. A long line of casks stretches away 
before you and loses itself in the shadows beneath the vault. A 
little old man in overalls presides over the casks, most of them 
empty by now. He is particular about his job, and when he has 
filled your fiaschi you bring your own of course he sits down 
at a rickety table between a pile of planks and a dusty wheel- 
barrow and makes out your bill in purple ink, shaking sand over 
it to dry it. We asked about paying the duty as usual. "You 
don't need to go to the office this time," he said, "ncuuno 
comanda, no one gives orders any more." But we noticed that 
what would have been paid to the customs had gone down in 
that purple ink on our bill. 

War is hard on the wine merchants. One of them said to us: 
"You understand, I am not going to run the risk of having a 
million lire worth of bottled Marsala or Moscato struck by a 
stray bomb on the railway." And that is why there isn't any, 
the Germans having polished off the already existing stocks. 

Tuesday January 4th 

There is quite a lot of firing in the distance today. In fact, 
now it is heard both by day and by night, and at each thud one 
wonders if it couldn't possibly mean that the Allies are landing 
near here. 

Two minor German achievements today. They have given 
permission for tricycles to be used in delivering goods between 
6 A.M. and 5 P.M., and a bicycle with a cumbersome trailer will 
also count as a tricycle. When you come to think of it, it has 
three wheels, so it is a tricycle after all. In their thoroughness 
the Germans are accustomed to split hairs, and we are getting 
used to it. 

Secondly they surrounded and cleared everything from a small 
but well known lingerie and woollen goods shop in Via Tritooe 


called Nido Rosa. A crowd gathered while the contents were be- 
ing loaded onto a lorry, but they did not dare express their 
indignation openly. 

Wednesday January 5th 

More books and art treasures have be,en brought here; they 
are from the Museum and Library of Naples. Many of them had 
been sent to Teano for safe keeping, but when the fighting drew 
too near, they were brought to Rome. About six hundred cases 
were delivered at Palazzo Venezia, where they will be tempo- 
rarily. As soon as time allows some will go to the Sapienza, former 
seat of the University of Rome, and some to the Vatican. 

Fascists have entered another religious house: this time it was 
a Franciscan convent, where they arrested General Caracciolo 
di Feroleto, who commanded an army of thirty divisions before 
September 8th, and as he was one of those who accepted the 
armistice, the Fascists have been trying to find him ever since. 
It is feared that he may have been shot. 

Thursday January 6th 

Feast of the Epiphany. The Palatine Gliard was reviewed this 
morning. There are about two thousand of them, including the 
new recruits. They paraded to the Hall of Benedictions, the 
largest in the Vatican Palace, where they heard Mass celebrated 
by Monsignore Castellani. The commander, Conte Cantuti di 
Castdvetri, and the officers occupied special places near the altar. 
During the sermon the preacher reminded the newcomers of the 
honour conferred on them in being permitted to serve as body- 
guard to the Sovereign Pontiff. After Mass they went to the 
Cortile del Belvedere, where they were reviewed by Monsignore 
Tardini, Secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesi- 
astical Affairs, who is also their chaplain. In his address he wel- 
comed the new recruits and reminded them of the noble tradi- 
tions of loyalty, discipline and fidelity maintained by the 
regiment. The recruits were then sworn in and marched past the 
saluting base. A number of the Vatican diplomats came to look 

on. It was an inspiring sight as well as a historic occasion, because 
from five hundred they have now been increased to two thousand. 

Friday January 7th 

Another clothing shop was entered this morning. It was in 
Via Volturno, which leads from the Ministry of Finance to the 
station. This time the crowd was less indignant against the Ger- 
mans than as against the proprietor who, unfortunately, was a 
Jew and who had held his goods back until prices should rise, 
refusing to sell and pretending that he had not got them. Some- 
one reported him to the Germans and they arrived in force with 
a truck, delighted to punish a Jew and at the same time get hold 
of more stuff. 

There is a sinister sound about the announcement that the trial 
of those who dared to vote against Mussolini at the meeting of 
the Fascist Grand Council on July 24th is to begin tomorrow at 
Verona. The neo-Fascists are out for revenge, the fiercer the 

Saturday January 8th 

Some interesting statistics have come our way. There are at 
present four hundred escaped British prisoners in Rome; they 
are lodged and looked after very thoroughly, and each one 
receives a hundred lire a day. Even now, one cannot or rather 
should not give the names of those who are concerned in this 
splendid organization, which has its office with card indexes of 
the men, its assistants and its collecting agents. There arc afao 
a few escaped British prisoners in the Vatican City. One of them 
is an airman who bailed out in the fields beyond Rome, walked 
toward the city, saw a great dome in an area enclosed by walls, 
concluded that it was St. Peter's, climbed over the wall and 
delightedly reported himself to die British Minister. 

Sunday January 
German civilians have been told to leave. Tbejr are to go oo 
the 16tk Why? Is it poeribie that they expect the Allies to enter 
Rome soon? 

The feverishly fervent Fascists of the Farinacci type have 
asked Mussolini to make an address in his old way to the Italian 
people, to rouse them from torpor and to get their support for 
the "Republic." II Duce has made terrible mistakes, but, for all 
that, he is intelligent. His answer was brief: "Does a dead man 
make an appeal to forty-five million decaying corpses?" He is 
living in a villa on Lake Garda, surrounded by S.S. men. They 
are ostensibly there to do him honour, but also possibly to see 
that he stays where Hitler wants him to stay. He appears some- 
times in the weekly news reels, though it is hard to understand 
why he allows movies to be made of him. He looks a broken 
man, with bent head and dejected bearing, much thinner and 
more lined than he was last summer. The course of events, 
coupled with his illness, has taken heavy toll of his strength. 

Monday January 10th 

The O*rt/*/orr Romano published two articles today in close 
proximity, on the front page, and the significance of each seems 
to be heightened by the other. 

The first article deals with the Nobel Peace Prize, which has 
not been awarded since 1939 and has accumulated considerably, 
amounting now to 618,000 Swedish crowns. Should Sweden 
oppose the award in 1944, the stipulated five years will have 
elapsed without anyone receiving it, and both capital and interest 
will go to the heirs of the Nobel family. Naturally, the Osserva- 
tot makes no mention of what must be in the minds of many, 
that if the prize is given for effort rather than for success, then 
it should most certainly be awarded to Pope Pius XII, for his 
efforts to bring about peace have been and are continuous, exe- 
cuted by his many diplomatic agents in all countries. 

The second article is a strong protest against the Fascist and 
German practice of shooting "hostages" as a punishment for 
murder. Before power politics prevailed hostages were entitled 
to humane treatment and enjoyed diplomatic immunity-; they 
were held by one ride as a guarantee of the good faith of the 
opposing side. Today they are simply a group of defenceless and 
innocent persons executed in retaliation for the murder of one 
individual. International law lays down the inviolability of 

honour, of family rights, of human life, of private property, 
and forbids collective punishment for individual crimes. These 
collective punishments of today in their magnitude and cruelty 
merely add fuel to the flames of vindictiveness, and weight to 
an avalanche of human lives. The article concludes: 

In this land of ours, where Roman law originated and where chivalry 
was at home, some of us are ready to proclaim the utility of crime as a 
punishment for crime, and of butchery for butchery. Those who do 
this are neither genuine Italians nor Christians. 

Tuesday January llth 

A special reward is offered to the first person who reports a 
grounded plane, whether a German or an Allied one. The sum 
advertised is 300 lire. At the present rate of exchange that would 
be about fifteen shillings, or three dollars. They must be expect- 
ing numbers of planes to come down near Rome, if they can put 
the price as low as that. At current black market rates it would 
buy a pound and a half of butter, or two quarts of olive oil. 

Wednesday January 12th 

Ciano is dead. They shot him as a traitor yesterday morning. 
The news came from Verona today. Whatever animosity may 
have been roused by his extremely colourful career, there is 
nothing but sympathy now, for him and for his family; sym- 
pathy coupled with growing indignation at the behaviour of his 
father-in-law and the Fascists. Ciano's wife made every effort 
to persuade her father to spare her husband's life, but Mussolini 
was adamant about it. 

* The papers, after having been silent about the dreary farce 
of the Verona trial, gave the whole thing at great length today. 
De Bono, Marinelli, Pareschi and Gottardi were condemned and 
shot with Ciano. The others who had the strength of mind to 
vote against Mussolini at the meeting of the Fascist Grand Coun- 
cil on July 24th are either in southern Italy or in neutral coun- 
tries. They were condemned to death in their absence. Grand! 
is the most capable of them and could do much for his country 


in the future* Old Marshal DC Bono, aged 78, a soldier who had 
never mixed in politics, kindly, modest and hard-working, was 
o crippled with rheumatism that he had to be carried to the 
place of execution. Two priests were in attendance on the group 
during the night before they were put to death, and they died 
as men should. Feeling is running high against the "Republican" 
Government for this dastardly piece of political revenge. As a 
commentator put it: "Fascism is going out in a welter of in- 

Thursday January 13th 

About noon today a big formation of Allied bombers escorted 
by fighter planes came over Rome, sailed majestically round the 
city, dropped bombs on the Uttorio airport, on the one at Cento- 
celle, on roads leading out of the city, and finally got Guidonia 
near TivdU, the famous experimental centre for plane construc- 
tion; it has an important airfield. We saw them heading for 
Guidonia when they left Rome. The flak went into action, and 
toward the end, some German {Janes went up. There were sev- 
eral dog-fights over Rome and a good many splinters dropped 
in the streets, particularly in the Trionfale quarter, beyond Stu 
Peter's on the left. A few fell in the Vatican City. Quite close 
to us here, in Via Quintino Sella, an empty petrol tin descended 
from the skies, but did no damage. There were some casualties 
near Via Trionfale among the people who were watching the 
planes. It certainly was a fascinating sight. One Allied airman 
met hb enemy coming head on; the German plane was cut in 
two, and the American came down as well. In all, five American 
planes came down, but their crews bailed out safely; on landing 
they were taken prisoners, of course. One American plane fell 
near the Rome-Viterbo railway, ooe on Monte Mario, and the 
others in open country. To thoae who had never seen anyone bail 
out before, the parachutes looked like great white blossoms float- 
ing earthward. 

This evening we were returning from an errand on the other 
ade of ribe Tiber, and it was dKisk before we neared home. We 
were stopped by an Italian sentinel who stood in front of some 
d*ftrional barriers surrounding Via Veneto and the approaches to 

it. In fact, the frontiers of our neighbourhood are closed every 
night. One of our friends said: Tfo* live in Germany." The 
sentinel was surprisingly courteous and when we hesitated as to 
exactly what detour we should make, he waved us on and said 
"Possono passare" "Go through just the same." The P.A.L is 
not only an efficient police corps, but fully half its officers are 
pro-Ally, and will act as an enthusiastic fifth column when the 
Allies get here. 

Friday January 14th 

Somewhere in North Italy the "Council of Ministers'* has met 
and decreed that there is to be a general socialization of industry. 
They don't go so far as to speak of national socialism exactly, 
but they hold out to the workers alluring plans of co-operation 
and joint management. This is hailed by our German-controlled 
press as a glorious and epoch-making innovation. The Roman 
press, by the way, consists practically of German papers written 
in Italian and bearing the former Italian names as camouflage. 
There is always the one shining exception in the Vatican paper, 
Osservatore Romano. 

It is a pity that, with the present shortage of paper, the 
Germans let themselves go with such a profusion of posters. 
Today the famous Todt road-building organization has plastered 
the walls with big placards, bearing, on a black background, 
vituperation of the Allies and an exhortation to join up for 
work. Everything is promised: excellent food, wages, lodging, 
ease of mind for your family because your wages will make for 
their comfort; and work in Italy. This last is significant, showing 
that they know the horror that Italians have of being sent to 
join the rest of the slaves in Germany. So you will have every- 
thing of the best in the best of worlds, if you sign on. Long- 
faced groups stood about listlessly reading these manifestoes, in- 
different to their dbeery persuasiveness. 

Saturday January 1 ?th 

London broadcasts today that die Allies are making ready to 
break through the tn Gusta v" line, which is said to be impregnable. 

Cassino is one of the hinges of this line. It is almost too good to 
be true. Can they really manage to smash these defences? 

Up in North Italy the patriots have already killed one of the 
eight judges who condemned the Grand Council Fascists to 
death: they capsized his motor car. They apparently agreed with 
Macbeth that 'twere well it were done quickly; though nothing 
can ever justify murder. The other seven judges have each 
received a miniature coffin as a sign that they too will meet death 
at the hands of the patriots. 

Sunday January 16th 

The Germans have removed their offices from the Quirinal 
Hotel, the Excelsior and the Flora, and have transferred them to 
the handsome modern building in the Corso dltalia which was 
originally intended for the Fascist Agricultural Federation. 
They have erected more of those white wooden barriers, which 
vaguely suggest a horse show, across the road on both sides at 
some distance from their new headquarters, and they have also 
brought a few armoured cars with machine guns to be pointed 
down the side streets. Thus, still more of our little frontiers are 
dosed at night in this part of town. If they are so thoroughly 
settled in Rome, what truth can there be in this new rumour 
that they are sending no more reinforcements south? 

A howl is now going up from the press because the Allies don't 
teem to consider Rome as an open city, having flown over it, and 
fought over it too, on Thursday. And the worst feature of this 
non-recognition is, of course, that it follows the German declara- 
tion that it is an open city. "But the German Command has said 
that it is an open city, and what more could anyone expect or 
ask for in the way of proof ?" They get quite hysterical with in- 
dignation. And all the time Rome is full to bursting with Ger- 
mans, their arms and ammunition, their tanks, their supply 
dumps and their loaded trains in all the stations. Everybody 
knows it. Rome is their big centre on the way to and from the 
aouthera front. All roads lead to Rome now, with a vengeance. 
And yet they screech and moan about the perfidious enemy who 
will not take their word for it that Rome is a completely open 
city. "But we wd it was!" 

Monday January 17th 

Yesterday, it seems, our airmen got the big viaduct at Orte 
which they had been trying to hit for some time* This will hang 
up the southward-bound traffic for three months at least, as 
Orte is one of the most important railway junctions in central 
Italy, where lines from east and west meet to converge on Rome. 
Pope Pius XII is doing today what Gregory VII did in the 
eleventh century, and Innocent HI and Gregory IX in the thir- 
teenth century to save Rome in time of famine. He is helping 
to feed the city, and for this purpose has got together a fleet of 
heavy trucks with trailers which will scour Umbria, Tuscany 
and the Marches for flour and foodstuffs for the Romans, who 
by this time are pretty hungry. The Vatican colours are con- 
spicuously painted on the sides and bonnets of the trucks, and 
expert drivers have been engaged. In the Cortile della Pigna, in 
the Vatican, enormous garages have been hastily run up to house 
the trucks between trips. The Governatortto of Rome is im- 
mensely relieved at this unexpected help given by the Holy See. 
They have next to no trucks left them by the Germans, and 
next to no petrol for the few they have. The Germans make a 
show of anxiety to help all they can with the food problem, and 
the papers tell of meeting after meeting which they hold in 
conjunction with the local authorities. In the meantime they take 
food coming into the city for themselves. They lie first and steal 

Tuesday January 18th 

There reached Rome today the first copy of a new weekly 
called Crociate Italic* (Italian Crusade). It is published in Cre- 
mona, seat of the "Fascist Social Republic," and its editor is a 
priest who, on account of his connection with it, has been sus- 
pended * divinit by the Bishop of the diocese, Mgr. Giovanni 
Cazzani. The paper represents Farinacci's effort to harness Ca- 
tholics to the neo-Fascist party, and, under the sounding tide of 
a crusade, to rally those who care more for religion than for 
politics, by giving them a political religion. Here are a few ex- 
tracts from a front-page article: 


Fascist teaching closely resembles the ideas of the greatest Catholic 
thinkers [wbcb onc&] and our priests should therefore be full of 
enthusiasm for it; they should induce men of good will to close their 
ranks around the standard of our Republic. This is their plain duty, 
particularly because if it were not for Jews and Freemasons the re- 
sistance of the United Nations would amount practically to nothing. 
... In Germany there are more Catholics than in the whole of Great 
Britain; [to wbtt?]. . . . Petain's and Laval's France is the tradi- 
tional Catholic France . . . What other proofs are needed to convince 
you that this Fascist war is fought in defence of Christian values? 
[Quite * lot, rt*Uy.] 

The futility of the article, like the rest of the paper, is so ob- 
vious as to be almost funny. But amusement wanes on noticing 
the name of the writer: it is familiar to a good many: James 
Barnes. Formerly a British officer, he is now working for Fari- 
nacci. His last book was about Albania and the Abyssinian war, 
and was called Hdf * Ufe Left. The editorial, by Don Tullio 
Calcagni, is of the same tenor. Two other priests who, together 
with the editor, have been suspended by their Bishop sign articles 
urging support of the Republic because the Allies are "hostile to 

Needless to say, no recognizable element of the Catholic 
Church is identified with Fascism or the "Republic." The Bishop 
of Cremona has been placed under house arrest, but this makes 
no difference to either his principles or his actions. He is a per- 
petual thorn in Farinacci's side. The latter has given to his party 
as a watchword: "Down with all priests except the scagnozzr" 
(an old Italian word meaning unkempt priests who wandered 
about celebrating Masses and funerals here and there) . The name 
is used now to denote those few priests who are devoting their 
energies to Fascist propaganda. Some of them write in Farinacci's 
own paper, the Regime Ftscist*, a publication which attacked 
Mgr. Cazzani bitterly for haying celebrated Mass for those who 
had died in the war, and not exclusively for those on the Axis 
ride, Farinacci's attitude, however, is not of merely personal 
vtndttt* against one prelate, he is at war with Catholic Action 
as a whole. An article in his paper beaded fr We Will Not Forget" 
dealt with the declaration issued by the Bishop of Parma, Mgr. 
Evtib CoBi, Director General of Italian Catholic Action, which 

had been read from the pulpit of all parish churches, denying 
the Fascist press report that Catholic Action was alleged to have 
urged its supporters to serve the Fascist Republkan Government 
loyally. In this way, Mgr. Colli dissociated Catholic Action in 
North Italy from Mussolini and his friends. One of the leaden 
wrote in the Awcnire, on this same subject: "Catholic Action 
belongs to no party, it is not political, it is not Socialist, it is not 
Republican, it is not Fascist." 

The launching of the Crociat* Ittlica is definitely a false step 
on the part of the Lombard Fascists, and will do them much more 
harm than good. 

Wednesday January 19th 

The Germans have forbidden all trunk telephone calls from 
Rome; they are increasingly nervous. 

General Gambara, one of the Fascists who followed Graziani, 
has just reviewed the "Italian troops on the southern f ront," com- 
posed of the recruits from the classes of 1924 and 1925. He made 
special mention of the magnificent morale of these men, and 
"their affectionate comradeship with their brave German Aiiie*/* 
Brave allies who left them to die in Africa and in Russia, and 
who are starving them out in Italy! No statement was made as 
to how many of them deserted to the British down there. 

There was a good deal of bombing this morning in the sob* 
urbs near Quadraro and Centocelle* 

Thursday January 20tfa 

The last of Mussolini's megalomaniac plans has vanished into 
air. An advertisement announces that they are selling off 
the building materials on the site of the "E.42," the huge Inter- 
national Exhibition which was to have come off in 1942, to cele- 
brate the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Fascism. It 
had been begun in 1938, and by the summer of 1939 had been 
planned down to die last detail. All that BOW remains is several 
colossal buildings set in a barren wilderness. There k is, and oooe 
so poor to do it reverence. Sir trtttsti. . . 


Friday January 21st 

During the night the Allies made a landing at Anzio, about 
thirty miles from here. It seems too good to be true. We haven't 
many details yet, but we are so delighted that nothing seems to 
matter beyond the fact that they are there, so close to us, at last. 
It is as if a cloud had lifted from the city. People in the streets 
look happier than they have for a long time. 

Saturday January 22nd 

The Germans seem to be apprehensive and somewhat at a loss 
as to what to do next. Many of them have left Rome. Won't they 
all go? Last night I heard the quick swish of cars continuously 
passing along the street. It was dreary to lie awake, but bliss to 
think that the Germans were fleeing. Those passing wheels never 
ceased between 9 P.M. and 6 A.M. There were few armoured cars 
and no tanks; the motors seemed to be official. All the officers in < 
Rome appeared to be clearing out. What joy! 

Sunday January 23rd 

It is only today that the papers speak of our landing, and they 
do so in the vaguest of terms, saying "north of the Garigliano." 
They make no reference to the bitter fighting that is in progress. 
'The landing had been foreseen for a long time." "The enemy 
maintains strict reserve about the action.'* That is all. We have 
heard by the "grapevine** news that the Allies are advancing 
steadily and have taken Aprilia, that they are approaching Lit- 
toria and that they have occupied Carroceto, south of Lanuvio. 
For us, that is enough to go on with. But the Germans are still 
in Rome. 

Monday January 24th 

The fighting appears to centre at present round Littoria on one 
side, and Carroceto on the other. If it is heaviest near Littoria it 
may mean that instead of coming to Rome they intend to join 
the others on the Garigliano, and are working southward to meet 
them. The Germans are putting up a remarkable fight. How did 

they have so many men available all at once for this business? 
Or did they rush them from Cassino? However, surely the Allies 
will take Rome soon. I wonder if they know how, for us, every 
minute makes a difference. 

Tuesday January 25th 

Sabotage goes steadily forward. An explosion just missed 
wrecking parts of the Borghese Palace. The Germans store some 
of their things there, and one of their lorries was drawn up in 
the court. The old porter noticed that someone stole up and 
placed a suspicious-looking parcel on the running board of the 
lorry. Thinking it must be a bomb, he dashed at it, and carried it 
to the largest open space he could find quickly, which was 
another court. Almost as soon as he had dropped it, the thing 
went off, not doing very much harm. The Germans must have 
had something valuable in that lorry, for they gave him a reward 
of 10,000 lire. 

Since the Germans declared Rome to be an "open city'* the 
air-raid alarm has not been sounded, but today it was announced 
that it will be resumed; not five blasts as heretofore, but three, 
and one long one for the "all clear." But, in future, during the 
alarm, buses, trams and vehicles in general will continue to run. 
Previously they were obliged to stop, and the passengers had to 
alight; no one was allowed to walk about in the streets, in fact 
you were generally obliged to go to one of the air-raid shelters 
unless you had already taken cover, Nothing more appalling 
than those shelters can be imagined: most of them were death 
traps, flimsy and ineffectual, and they were full of a more or 
less hysterical crowd. We generally managed to get into a church 
before they closed the doors, if we were caught in an alarm, 
but it needed some managing as the churches always shut at 
those times, for greater safety. 

Wednesday January 26th 

The Allies are still landing men and supplies at Anzio, and have 
enlarged their beachhead considerably, having now about 32 
kilometres of coastline in their possession. The Germans are 
putting up a strong resistance, but that was to be expected. 


Yesterday hand grenades were thrown in a German barracks 
and against some German trucks. As it happened between 5 P.M. 
and 7 P.M., the German Command has now ordered the curfew 
to begin at 5 P.M. This dislocates everything, of course. It means 
that most people must start for home at 4 P.M. if they are out. 
Restaurants, cinemas and shops must close at 3 P.M. The punish- 
ment is a heavy one. 

Thursday January 27th 

Yesterday the Palatine Guard from the Vatican went on duty 
in all the pontifical extraterritorial buildings in Rome. Each place 
has its own squad which lives on the premises. They look very 
businesslike on sentry-go, with their military cloaks and rifles 
with fixed bayonets. 

The Germans are offering a reward of 200,000 lire for infor- 
mation which will enable them to trace the murderers of two 
Fascist women. Regard for human life seems to be fading out 
as time goes by, and we are going back to the Dark Ages, only 
with modern machinery to make our own age darker. 

Friday January 28th 

B. came in to tell us of a quaint adventure with a German. 
B. is connected with the railway and has, accordingly, a pass 
which allows him to be out during the curfew hours. The other 
night he was stopped by a German sentinel, who wanted to find 
out W!K> he was and where he was going. B. speaks no German, 
the sentinel spoke no Italian, so their conversation was conducted 
in English. 

There has been a lot of talk these days about the Germans hav- 
ing urged or rather ordered the Pope to leave the Vatican and 
take up his residence in the tiny principality of Liechtenstein. 
The whole thing is a canard. I do not know if the Germans ever 
suggested it, but I do know that the Pope said to a personage who 
ww begging him to go to a safer place than Rome, if only for 
the time being: "I have told all my Bishops to stay in their dioceses, 
come what may, and shall I, Bishop of Rome, be the first to give 
tie example of flight?" 

Saturday January 29th 

There are great air battles over Anzb and Nettuno. Both bombs 
and heavy artillery can be heard here. In fact we hear them by 
day and by night as well. The Germans boast that we are being 
driven back into the sea, but, somehow, we are still there, and each 
day more strongly settled in. The Germans sank a hospital ship off 
Anzio, one of ours; it was brightly illuminated and dearly 
marked. Its sinking was in keeping with their other activities* 
What can you expect? 

A thrilling escape was made today from San Grcgorio. The 
place is the old Benedictine monastery next to the church of San 
Gregorio on the Coelian, the monastery from which St. Augustine 
set out to convert England in the year 597. After 1870 the Italian 
Government took it from the Camaldolese who were then in pos- 
session and it was put to various uses. The Fascists used it as a 
college for the training of teachers, but since the establishment of 
the "Republic" it has been used as a subsidiary prison for Regina 
Coeli, the State prison; at San Gregorio the political prisoners were 
allowed some measure of comfort, and it is, to say the least, cleaner 
than Regina Coeli. Six of the prisoners, then, got away this morn* 
ing, Among them were the former director of the Stef ani Agency, 
the former editor of the Giornale d* It alia and Count Solaro del 
Borgo, Gentleman-in- Waiting to the King. They made friends 
with two of their guards, bribed them, and effected their depar- 
ture fairly easily. One of the guards escaped with them, the other 
was caught and shot. Both Germans and Fascists were furious 
when they learned of what had happened, and that same evening 
placed the Duchess of Sennoneta under bouse arrest, for no ocher 
apparent reason than that she was a Lady-in- Waiting to the 
Queen. The Duchess, however, had been advised that the matter 
might not end with mere house arrest, and, as Palazzo Sermooeta 
is built on the ruins of the Theatre of Marcdlus and has as many 
windings as a genuine rabbit warren, it was not very difficult 
for her and her maid to make their way out quietly and go into 
hiding. Of course her property was declared "forfeit to the na- 
tion" and seals were placed on the doors, but not before some of 
her things had been stolen by both Germans and Fascists. 

The patriot General Garibddi, who was in hiding in Rome, was 
also arrested today, and news of the murder of the Fascist Secrc- 


tary of Bologna, Eugenio Facchini, has just reached us. Life seems 
to be turning into a series of plots, counter-plots, murders and 

Sunday January 30th 

"Reprisals" was my last word yesterday evening, it is the first 
this morning,. Nine men have been executed for the murder of 

Another Fascist "special court" has been set up to try seven 
Italian generals who helped to bring about the armistice: Robatti, 
Vcrccllino, Caracciolo, Gariboldi, Rosi, Vecchiarelli and Moiszo; 
as also five admirals for the same reason: Campioni, Zanoni, 
Mascherpa, Pavesi and Leonard!. 

More cheering than the above news was the arrival of our six- 
teen evacuees; that is, sixteen over and above our four Sicilians. 
Of the sixteen, three come from the suburb of Tor Pignattara; 
they were bombed out in one of the raids on the railway yards, a 
nice man getting on in years with his two daughters, one studying 
to be a teacher, the other a postal clerk. The thirteen are peasants 
from Lanuvio, relations of a maid we had before the war. Lanuvio 
is close to Carroceto, and in the very thick of the Anzio fighting. 
They have been shelled out rather than bombed out, as their houses 
were damaged mainly by the heavy guns of the battleships off the 
Anzio coast. Their fields and vineyards have been swept by the 
tide of war, and practically nothing remains to them; but in spite 
of all they are admirably patient and cheerful. They are glad to 
find food and shelter and friends, and also a scrap of garden where 
they can smell the earth, see the sun, and do a little digging. 
They had been living in caves since the Allies landed. They 
describe the sea as covered with Allied ships. And oh, how they 
hate the Germans! Their one hope is the arrival of the Allies in 
Rome. It is ours, too. We managed to put them all up by squash- 
ing a little, but they are in luxury here compared with what they 
would undergo in one of those dreadful concentration camps 
to which the GermAis are now taking evacuees by force. The 
Litest to be established is at Cesano near Lake Bracciano, where 
tbey bardy have shelter and hardly enough food to keep them 
alrre. Tbe more ooe sees of the courage and patience of these 

people, the more one realizes that peasants are the backbone of 
a country. 

Monday January 31st 
The Germans today publish their opinion that, by now: 

. . . the greater part of the Roman people are disposed to avoid dis- 
turbing the peace, and they condemn attacks made on members of the 
German armed forces by irresponsible persons in the pay of the enemy. 
Therefore it is ordained that the curfew will be from 6 P.M. to 6 A.M., 
instead of beginning at 5* P.M. 

Nothing really to write home about, for to have to be indoors 
by 6 P.M. is almost as much of a hardship. No matter what hap- 
pens, or who has committed any crime, the guilty person is in- 
variably "bribed by the enemy," 

Tuesday February 1st 

The Pope has ordered his fleet of lorries to bring flour down 
from Umbria not only for the Vatican City but for the whole 
city of Rome. Were it not for this, I think we should come very 
near to starvation. The lorries have just completed their first 
trip, and yesterday delivered 150,000 kilogrammes of flour to 
the bakers throughout the city, 

Yesterday ten patriots were shot here, on a charge of sabotage. 

The Germans are using their customary clumsy camouflage for 

their desperate attempts to secure more labour. This is the way 

they word it in today's papers. One can hear the drip, drip, of 

crocodile tears as they plead: 

While German soldiers are shedding their blood in defence of Italian 
soil, thus protecting it from further devastations which would inevi- 
tably be caused by the advance of the tide of war, the great majority 
of the population of Rome has not yet grasped the seriousness of the 
situation caused by close vicinity to the battle front. It is for this 
reason that measures have now been taken to collect workers who will 
be obliged to labour in the repair of road cooununicatioci*, in order to 
ensure food supplies for Rome, 

They omitted to mention that they are defending the V*ter- 
l*nd on Italian soil, and that their scorched earth policy exceeds 


in devastations all that history has witnessed in the past. One 
need not give details, their methods of destruction are common 
knowledge. They have, for instance, when weary of cutting 
down olive trees, driven their tanks through the orchards; an 
olive tree takes twenty years to mature, and will bear for several 
centuries afterward. As for ensuring food supplies for Rome, 
they want the roads for getting war material down to Cassino 
and the Anzio front. So they are starting man-hunting again, 
openly in the streets of Rome, Yesterday 2,000 men were taken, 
half for Italy and half to be sent to Germany. 

Wednesday February 2nd 

Candlemas Day. The couplet in old Roman dialect runs: ff Alia 
Ctndltlore dclfinverno semo fora" In other words, on February 
2nd, winter is over and the Roman spring has begun. But the 
trouble is that it hasn't begun. It is still as cold as in the preced- 
ing months. Not that the winter has been as hard as some we have 
had. There have been no frozen pipes, no palms killed by frost, 
and the thermometer has gone a degree or two below freezing 
at night and a few degrees above by day. The tramontane wind 
which sweeps down from the snow-clad Sabines has been with 
its about as much as usual. But we have never had a winter during 
which the cold was felt so severely, first on account of the lack 
of fats and sugar in foodstuffs, and secondly because of the 
absence of heating. "With these marble or tiled floors and high 
ceilings the cold penetrates into the house and stays there, and 
no opening of windows and doors on sunny days avails at all 
toward warming it. One needs to dress more warmly indoors 
than out. Everything you touch has an icy feeling about it: the 
table you are working at seems made of marble, cold radiates 
from the pages of your books, you take up a penknife or a pen 
and k feds as if it had been oo ice. Of course, Roman houses 
are cooler in summer than it is out of doors, therefore they are 
cooler m winter, too. You can't have it both ways. Normally, the 
heating goes on about mid-November and stays on until mid- 
March. That is the law for hotels and apartment houses which 
the proprietors must observe. But not this winter. However 
orach ooe piles on coverings indoors, hands and feet are always 

cold. Rich and poor, aristocrats and plebeians alike have had 
chilblains of late, some of them for the first time. There is next 
to no gas for cooking, because the coal supply is non-existent. 
For that we thank the Germans, who promised that they would 
always provide Italy with coal. The Pope has refused all heating 
in his private apartments. In answer to the outcry this decision 
raised he said, "Do as you think fit for yourselves, but in my 
rooms there is to be no heating," and nothing could move him 
from his determination. 

We have a new Questore or Chief of Police for Rome. He is 
Pietro Caruso, another of the original Fascists, dyed in the wool, 
100 per cent out and out, one of those who went in for clubbing 
an adversary in the early days of the movement, when b&ttoit&te 
were in vogue. He is full of zeal in his new office, and burning 
to show the Republic what he can do in support of it* 

Giovanni Roveda is on the tapis again. The press cannot let 
him alone. It is now published that, though he was not captured 
in a Jesuit house, he was taken in the Lombard College, which 
is a seminary for priests. The Germans say he is a communist, 
but he is not. He was a well-known anti-Fascist labour leader 
of northern Italy, and Marshal Badoglio appointed him Vice- 
Commissioner to the Industrial Federation, after the collapse 
of Fascism* 

Speaking of gas. We are informed today that gas will be 
available for an hour and a half in the middle of the day, and 
for half an hour in the evening; at other times it will be turned 
of? at the main. If you cannot do all your cooking from 12 to 
1.30 and from 7.30 to 8 P.M., then so much the worse for you- 
And what about breakfast? Oh, well lots of Italians doo't ever 
take any at the best of times. 

On the Anzk) front the Americans are fighting their way 
into Cisterna (the 'Three Taverns" where Sc Paul stopped on 
his way to Rome) , and the British into Campofeoae. Ejessdkrmg 
has gone there himself to direct operations, and the German 
resistance is stiffening, so it is said. 

Thursday February 3rd 

The Fascist press is making capital today out of the leading 
article by M. Petrov in Izvestia, quoted by the Moscow radio on 
Tuesday, in which a bitter attack is made on the Vatican for its 
supposedly pro-Fascist and pro-Nazi policy. Nearly all the mat- 
ter in the article was avowedly drawn from the "Survey of 
Vatican Foreign Policy" just completed by the Foreign Policy 
Association of America, and reported by Reuter's correspondent 
from Washington. But the learned association bases, for example, 
much of its information about Pius XI on two or three remarks 
of his at the time of the Lateran Treaty and the Abyssinian war, 
which were much publicized in the British and American press, 
neglecting all his utterances in 1932 during his clash with the 
Fascists over Catholic Action. This is typical of their method of 
approach. Were they to study the files of the daily Osservafore 
Romano, the monthly Act* Apostolicac Sedis, official journal of 
the Holy See, and the Encyclicals they would reach a higher level 
of objective investigation. As it is, their survey is, as one critic 
remarked, a sinister kind of nonsense. They prophesy a period 
of unprecedented anti-clericalism in Italy; but it is one of the 
few good features about a generally unhappy internal situation 
in Italy at present, that there is no feeling against the Pope or 
the clergy; and there will not be, unless it can be organized from 
outside. The Italians are an intelligent people, and they have had 
a vivid experience that it is the secular total State, the all-embrac- 
ing party machine and party discipline which is the real enemy, 
destructive of private liberty and well-being. They are quite 
intelligent enough to know that the modern anti-clericals are 
totalitarian, while the old-fashioned liberal anti-clericals play 
into the hands of the modern ones. The Church, vigorous and 
flourishing, is an essential counter-balance to the omnipresent, 
all-embracing modern State. 

This evening's Giorntlt d'ltalit, using the article in a gallant 
attempt to rally Catholics to the Fascist cause, puts the boot on 
the odber leg and points out that "the destruction of the Church 
of Rome obviously forms part of the Russian programme. The 
jfatvsftf article proves that, in case of an Allied victory, which 
would mean a Soviet victory, there would begin for the Church 
a period of persecution and martyrdom, comparable to the 

ancient pagan persecutions.* 9 According to a recent statement 
made by General Carton de Wiart, the Pope is the most popular 
man in Italy. 

Still doing their bit toward propaganda in any form, this 
morning the Germans marched a long column of Allied prisoners 
from the Anzio front through the most crowded parts of Rome, 
up the Corso and along Via delTIrnpero to the Colosseum, where 
they got into the lorries waiting to take them to their concentra- 
tion camp. The crowds would have cheered them if they had 
dared, but a man was arrested for giving one of them a cigarette. 
The prisoners were anything but downhearted in looks and bear- 
ing. They make the V sign to the onlookers, as they go along, 
and the Romans who are unfamiliar with it take it joyfully as 
meaning that the Allies will be here in two weeks. If only . . * ! 
They say that the fighting down there is heavier than it has been 
anywhere since the Allies landed in Italy. The Albino road is 
reported to be blocked. 

General Gariboldi, who helped to bring about the armistice, 
was condemned to death yesterday and shot by the Republi- 

The Pontifical Villa at Castel Gandolfo has been bombed. If 
this is the Allies' doing, it is unjustifiable, because there were no 
Germans there, the Pontifical flag was flying over the whole estate 
and there were numbers of refugees in it, Albano and the other 
Castelli. However, it is not proved that it was the Allies who 
dropped the bombs, one of which fell near the farm, and eleven 
others in the grounds. The wall which encloses the gardens along 
the Galleria di Sotto was partly destroyed. The news was tele- 
phoned in to the Vatican, and the Pope gave orders to tbe statf 
at the Villa to give all possible help to the refugees, and to lie- 
move the herd of Swiss cows from the Villa farm to the Vatican, 
where they can be housed in a building beneath the library. 

Friday February 4th 

Last night the Abbey of St. Paul's-Outride-the-ViUs was 
forcibly entered by Fascist police under the orders of "Dr/* 
Pietro Caruso himself, and until ten o'clock this morning the 
members of tbe community, including die Abbot, were kept 


herded together in one room while the invaders ransacked the 

At about midnight two Fascists disguised as Benedictines ap- 
peared at the door of the Abbey and rang repeatedly. When the 
Brother porter came, they explained that they had been over- 
taken by darkness, and on account of the curfew were afraid of 
being arrested if they tried to regain their dwelling. With great 
kindness the Brother received them and opened the door. This 
was the signal for an armed band of Fascists, who had climbed 
the walls, to rush in past the porter, overcoming and disarming 
the few Palatine Guards on duty in the building. They then 
summoned the Abbot and community, and with curses and in- 
sults said that they had come to arrest the men who were in 
hiding. No consideration was shown to age or infirmity. All the 
monks were summoned from their beds, in the cold, and made to 
await the pleasure of the gangsters for ten long hours. They 
forced doors, smashed furniture, slashed pictures with their 
knives. Outside, in the frosty moonlight, mounted Fascist police 
sat in the saddle, surrounding the monastery as completely as if 
it were a beleaguered fortress, while, in silence, sixty-six dark 
figures of the men who had taken refuge there filed slowly out 
and entered the waiting lorries, with their guards. After they 
had gone, more police staggered toward other lorries, bearing 
loot from the monastery. Others remained behind, guarding the 
community and preventing their moving from the room where 
they were gathered. In the morning, as soon as the Vatican au- 
thorities had been informed of what had happened, they went 
directly to St. Paul's and lodged a protest with the Questore 
Caruso, who was still cm the spot. 

This attack constituted a direct and deliberate violation of 
the extraterritorial rights of the Holy See, as established by 
solemn treaty, When the news filtered through, much indigna- 
tkm was roused in the city. The press has made no mention of it 

Saturday February 5th 

Things ami't going so well for tie Allies on the Anzio front. 
Oar Italian friends are terribly depressed, and say we are being 
driwn back to oar ships. There is even a note of bitterness be- 

ginning to creep into the remarks of the Romans* They had such 
high hopes of being relieved, when the Allies landed so near, and 
they are beginning to wonder how long it will be possible to 
stand all that the German occupation means, principally from 
the point of view of provisions. The spectre of famine is a ter- 
rible thing to contemplate. Here we cannot, of course, know the 
why or wherefore of what is happening, as yet. Of the two sets 
of opinions current, the second seems the wiser, The people who 
hold the first say: "Why didn't they advance on Rome immedi- 
ately? They had the Germans on toast." The others say: "It 
would have been a terrible mistake to come here at once, the Cas- 
telli are full of Germans, there would have been a bloody battle 
in the streets of Rome with casualties to civilians and damage 
to property, and the Allies would have been defeated a catas- 
trophe." The latter are in the minority, as wise people generally 
are. But it must be acknowledged that here, inside the city, we 
have had our hope deferred a long time, and the resulting heart- 
sickness is catching. 

Sunday February 6th 

The press today makes a great feature of the Allies* restrictive 
measures concerning petrol exports to Spain, but is stifl strangely 
silent about the raid on St. Paul's. 

Monday February 7th 

Eesselring has brought large reinforcements down to the 
Anzk> front, and is there himself. They have also brought up 
their heavy artillery and a number of fbra-thrawers. Their long- 
range guns are shelling the Allies from the Alban Hills. Veil, 
anyway, we haven't gone back to our ships, and we have taken 
quite a number of prisoners, among them, for the first time, a 
batch of S-S. 

In the city, the Germans have given leave for all to bring 
food in from outside quite freely. It had been forbidden pre- 
viously, in an attempt to check the activities of die black market. 
It looks like a desperate measure; and I wonder if it will help 

The first reference to die attack on die monastery at St. PsraTi 


was made this morning in the Popolo di Roma, which quoted a 
Stefani despatch as follows: 


Rome, 7th. Agents of the Republican Police have carried out an 
important operation in the College of St. Paul's. Having surrounded the 
building they entered and found there in hiding the Air Force General 
Monti, four army officers, nine Jews, two police officials and forty-eight 
young men who had been called up for military service. All of them 
were arrested. There were also found and recovered 300 lorry tires and 
6,000 litres of petrol. 

Tuesday February 8th 

Last night the Vatican radio broadcast a .sharp protest against 
the action taken at St. Paul's and printed the same in the Tues- 
day Qs*erv*tore: 

The "armed Republican Guard" did not "penetrate into the College 
of St. Paul's" there i$ no such College in Rome but forcibly entered 
the buildings belonging to the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Paul's, thus 
rotating extraterritorial rights guaranteed by solemn treaty. 

It must also be noted that the lorries found there cannot be said to 
bare been "recovered," since they belonged to the place where they were 
found. The same holds good of the supply of 41 tires (not 300), and 
of 400 (not 6,000) litres of petrol. 

After these rectifications of their statements, the public may judge 
for itidf of the want of exactness and of seriousness in all the rest of 
the impudent report, with its ornate headlines and illustrations. More- 
over the report does not deal either objectively or justly with the ques- 
tion of hospitality given to the persons arrested. 

As we wrote on December 29th, the Church is for everyone in the 
icns* that she welcomes all, and she is for no one in the sense that she 
will acknowledge no ostracisms and no hatred. This is what cannot be 
understood by those who are bound to the passions of opposing factions, 
and we wrote at the time, "A law which aims at preventing the exercise 
of charity (charity being in itsdf above all human institutions, since 
it comet directly from God) is more harmful than centuries of perse- 
cution. It is a point on which the Christian and the priest can never give 
wty without betraying the Gospel as wdl as their own consecration to 

Christ. And this is no secondary nutter: it is the boundary line between 
good and evil." Will honest men allow us to maintain this principle? 
They cannot do otherwise if they realize, amid the changeability of 
all things here below, the steadfastness of the chanty to be practised 
by the ministers of God, and amid the vicissitudes of human destiny 
the truth of the old saying hodie mikn, crts tibi, "today me, tomorrow 

Wednesday February 9th 

The local press, anxious to please the Fascists, and possibly also 
the Germans, but more probably the former, has risen in its 
might to attack the QiMrvatore Romano. "The Ontrvaiort cor- 
rects our figures," says the Tribuna y speaking of the numbers of 
tires and litres of petrol, "but for what reason, pray, should one 
give credence to any foreign newspaper, rather than to an Italian 
news agency? Is this paper by any chance infallible? It lost a 
wonderful opportunity of keeping silence when it wrote at length 
on the matter in question." Apparently the shoe pinches. The 
writer continues jauntily: "This paper concludes with the words 
bodie mibi, eras tibil It is quite possible that the future may 
have surprises in store for us. Today, however, the surprises are 
not for us but for our opponents. This is enough. Et de hoc satis." 
Accompanying this effort are two photographs obviously faked 
of General Monti and Lieutenant Mazzola dressed as Benedic- 
tines, their own heads being printed onto the figures of monks. 
The Messaggero reproves the Osservatore for ingratitude, say- 
ing plaintively that, out of respect for the sacred character of 
St. Paul's, it actually printed the Stefani despatch on the front 
page and not in the City News Section. Could respect possibly 
go farther? {Or ineptitude?) It also says that as the Vatican has 
not recognized the "Italian Social Republic," it has nothing to 
complain of; let it recognize the Republic or else address its 
complaints to the King in the South of Italy; thus brushing aside 
the Lateran Treaty with one stroke of its penu Its parting shot 
is that it was "sacrilegious" for lay folk to have taken refuge 
at St. Paul's as they did. The Fascist papers also printed a long 
article from an agency which call* itself the CamtpomJ**** 
Catfolica, though no erne knows exactly why it has taken the 


name, and which states that no immunity is implied in extra- 
territoriality. This argument was demolished by the Osservatore 
in a spirited article published this evening, in which it quotes the 
terms of the Lateran Treaty. 

All this is hard on the Fascist journalists, the contest is such 
an unequal one. They have zeal, and that is about all; whereas 
the men who write the Osservatore have brains, skill and ma- 
turity. The latter do not enter the field of controversy without 
good reason, but when they have done so, they fight to a finish. 
But, again, one marvels that it is still sold on the newsstands and 
allowed to go through the post; Fascists don't snatch it from the 
hands of readers; no edition of it is suppressed. It must be the 
Germans 9 doing, for which they have their reasons. Like most 
people, they have, I daresay, two reasons for doing anything, 
a good reason and the real reason. 

A few Fascists, acting I think, on their own, tried to enter the 
buildings of the Lateran, but the Palatine Guard fired on them, 
and they withdrew in haste, 

Thursday February 10th 

This morning the Metsaggero fires another shot in the combat. 
It is headed, a* well it might be, "Sempre I'Osservatore" ("Al- 
ways the O$srv*/0r*"). The editor moves along the time-hon- 
oured line of argument: "If I say it three times it's true." He 
repeats what he had already said and what had already been 
answered at length, about the "Republic" not being recognized 
by the Holy See; reiterates the number of peuple arrested in the 
monastery; claims that no tires or petrol could have belonged to 
the monks, as they have all been requisitioned by the Govern- 
ment; quotes the Piccolo, which accused the Benedictines of 
possessing machine guns and automatic revolvers, rolls of barbed 
wire and an over-abundant supply of foodstuffs; remarks, "As 
the Q&ervttare reaches all parts of the city and is read by Italians, 
we fed it our duty to speak on behalf of all Italians"; and ends 
with the pious wish, "May God forbid our ever coming to mis- 
trust His priests. 

Tbi crating the Qwnarfor* answers what it calls "a press 
campaign which recalls those of other unhappy times**: "The 

comments and opinions of our contemporaries," it begins, "were 
mostly beside the point, and we do not wish to be drawn into 
controversy, particularly because the matter is clear as crystal." 
The writer then summarizes the points already made, and agrees 
heartily with one of the Fascist papers which had incautiously 
ended an attack by saying that the question of extraterritoriality 
should have been raised beforehand. "Exactly," he says; "it 
should have been raised and considered well by those who were 
contemplating a unilateral act which was both arbitrary and 
violent, and which should never have been committed." 

There is an impression abroad that the Germans are not alto- 
gether pleased about the matter, and that "Dr." Caruso will 
shortly be relieved of his functions on account of too much zeal* 

Yesterday a Canadian plane crashed in the Prenestina quarter, 
near the railroad. It fell on a house, and the three men on board 
were killed. One who tried to come down by parachute was 
found dead, but was still recognizable. He was identified as 
George Dean, R.I 01 971. No civilians were killed, but the house 
was destroyed. 

Friday February llth 

The formidable editor of the Messaggero fired a not very in- 
teresting Parthian shot at the Osservatore this morning, re-stating 
in different words everything that he had already said several 
times. His fireworks are damp by now, and they just petered out. 

Yesterday morning the Pope's Villa at Castel Gandolfo 
bombed again. We have not had many details yet, but they 
the damage and casualties were heavy* The gardens of the VUla 
are extensive, and 1 5,000 people from Albano and the neighbour- 
ing places had taken refuge there. "When the Pdpe got the news, 
he was on his way to the Sistine Chapel for the Requiem Mass for 
Pope Pirn XI, whose anniversary it was, but he stopped and gave 
orders for all possible help to be sent to the VUla. An engineer 
from the Vatican Technical Office, Signer Vied, the manager 
of the Vatican Pharmacy, Fratd Faustino, together with doctor^ 
nurses and a wreckage crew set out immediately m cars and 
lorries loaded with supplies, food, dressings and medicines. 


Saturday February 12th 

The information about Castcl Gandolfo is disquieting, and 
the damage and casualties are worse than we thought. Most 
serious of all was the harm done to the Villa of the College of 
Propaganda Fide, which is also Papal property. It was crowded 
with refugees, and some nuns were in charge of them. They had 
just gone to the large dining hall to distribute milk to the babies 
and their mothers, when the bombs fell and wrecked the 
building completely. About 500 people were killed, and their 
bodies are being laid out in the College church, which remained 
unhurt. Other bombs fell in the gardens, damaging the buildings 
which arc scattered through them. The number of casualties 
there is still uncertain, but it is more than one hundred. The big 
pontifical palace overlooking the lake was damaged by blast but 
not by direct hit. In it were several thousand refugees, as the 
Pope had given orders for it to be thrown open to them. They 
had crowded in, together with what belongings they had been 
able to save. Three and four deep they were, so that only a narrow 
passage was left down the centre of the grand staircase, the Hall 
of the Swiss Guard, the Napoleon Room, the various private 
anterooms, the Throne Room, and the great Consistorial Hall; 
even the pontifical private apartments were utilized, as well as 
the state apartments. The Villa staff did all in its power to pro- 
vide them with food and coverings, and Commendatore Bono- 
fnelli, the Director of the Villa, with his assistants, gave them- 
selves no rest by day or night. Among the refugees were some 
who, coming from a distance, had been evacuated no less than 
four times, driven northward by the tide of war* The members 
of the Palatine Guard also distinguished themselves in rescuing 
the wounded and digging out those buried under the ruins. The 
famous Vatican Observatory in the pontifical palace was not 
destroyed, but many of its delicate instruments suffered seriously. 
There is something very puzzling about the whole thing. We 
know the Allies respect pontifical neutral property very care- 
fully. There were no Germans whatever at any time in the Villa. 
They had no supply or ammunition dumps there. Did they have 
any near the Villa walls? Did the Allied airmen know this? Or 
was it part of the wholesale bombing of the Castelli townlets? 
Shall we ever know? 

Clio 3 

We arc told today that "Since the citizens of Rome, on the 
whole, deplore all disturbances of public order and have loyally 
obeyed the orders issued, a further extension of the curfew hours 
has been made, and it will now begin at 9 P.M. and end at 6 A.M. 
It is expected that the population will do its part in the days to 
come, so that the curfew hours may be made even easier." We 
seem to have behaved ourselves to their satisfaction for a short 

Sunday February 13th 

Last night British planes flew over the city. German planes 
rose to meet them, and there was a duel in the air. One big bomb 
fell in Via Mecenate, not far from the Colosseum, and hit a 
private nursing home, the Clinica Polidori, wrecking a large part 
of it and killing the surgeon who directed it. Strangely enough, 
it was the home where Mrs. Arthur Strong died last September. 
The story goes that the bomb was dropped by a British airman 
whose plane had been hit and who had to get rid of his load in 
a hurry. The surrounding houses were terribly damaged by the 

Most of the broadcasts from London and New York today 
were devoted to the situation in Italy, where the outlook is con- 
siderably brighter. Mr. Churchill announced in Parliament that 
he had received a report from Generals Alexander and Wilson, 
expressing confidence that they will win the battle for Rome. 
Arms, ammunition and supplies as well as men have been landed 
at Anzio, and the former are in excess of the estimate for their 
delivery. General Clark congratulated his men cm their heroic 
efforts and said that the 5th army would soon join hands with 
the 8th "for a victorious march on Rome and the north of Italy." 
Is it really possible that it will come off? After so many disap- 
pointments? One would like to believe it. 

Monday February 14h 

They are still digging out the dead at the Propaganda Villa at 
Castel Gandolfo, and have found 450 by now. What was left 
of the house itself collapsed yesterday. 


The socialization of industry called for by the resolution of 
the Fascist Council of Ministers on January 13th has been imple- 
mented, and the "new social order" is heralded in the press with 
heavy banner headings and an extra allowance of paper, two 
leaves instead of the now customary single leaf. Workers are to 
form part of the administrative and executive councils in fac- 
tories and business organizations. State loans are to be made, 
and all will be for the best in the best of worlds. 

The announcement is made today in a letter from Lisbon by 
the Mttuiggero correspondent that the Allies are "very anxious** 
about the situation at Nettuno. No wonder Italians say that the 
press today is an insult to their intelligence. London broadcasts 
that the situation there is satisfactory and that, since landing, we 
have taken 2,000 prisoners. 

Tuesday February 15th 

The Allied air force is very active round here at night at pres- 
ent. They come over and throw out powerful flares attached to 
parachutes, which stay in the air for a long time and make 
everything beneath them almost as clear as if it were daylight. 
There is great competition to secure the parachutes, as they are 
made of high quality silk. Sometimes they fall in the Tiber. One 
flare fell quite recently on the terrace of Professor Bartolomeo 
Nogara's flat in the main block of the Vatican Palace. The Vat- 
ican firemen came to the spot thinking it was a fire, but the 
light went out of itself, and one of the Noble Guards on duty 
took the parachute "to conduct investigations." We conclude 
that $oon after he was the possessor of a fine sflk shirt. 

The Germans are forcibly evacuating the inhabitants of the 
Castelli towns, and, as Rome is already overcrowded with its 
J00,&00 refugees, they are being taken to a sort of concentration 
camp at Cesano, near Lake Bracciaco. Living conditions in the 
camp are deplorable and the food is quite insufficient, but there is 
no choice for them; a German revolver points the way if they 
try to refuse. At the same time, stringent regulations have been 
ioed against any more evacuees or non-residents entering Rome. 
Oaly registered residents who have permission from the German 
High Command may do so. 

Bombing is coming disquietingly close to u$; it seems to be 
closing in on the city. Yesterday between 7 and 8 P.M. Villa 
Bianca was hit. It is a famous nursing home, mainly for ma- 
ternity cases, and, as happened to the Polidori Home, a portion 
of it was destroyed and the chief surgeon was killed. In the 
opinion of many this bombing of nursing homes has been done 
deliberately by the Germans for propaganda. 

This morning the railway between the Ostian and the Tras- 
tevere stations was hit. Of course there is excellent reason for 
attacking it, as the Roman stations are full of German material; 
250 trucks of it were destroyed. The Ostian station is the newest 
in Rome, having been put up for Hitler's famous visit to the city 
in May, 1?38. 

Wednesday February 16th 

We have just heard that Monte Cassino was attacked from the 
air yesterday, and we hope for more particulars soon. These first 
reports may be exaggerated. If they are true, then the destruc- 
tion of the Abbey will rank as one of the major material tragedies 
of the war. Moreover, it is hard to see what real advantage is to 
be gained from reducing it to ruins, since modern fighting in 
hilly country seems to point to the conclusion that rubble and 
exposed foundations afford excellent protection for machine guns 
and snipers defending the position. Of course, if the Germans 
were deliberately using the Abbey for military purposes in order 
to draw the Allied attack, then their action forms part of their 
propaganda campaign, and also part of a far-sighted plan for 
permanently estranging Italy and the Allies when the war is 
over; for perpetually reminding the Italians of the harm done 
to their most cherished shrines by those whom they welcomed 
so warmly on their landing in Sicily. They hope to generate fear 
and hatred today, and bitter memories for tomorrow. 

Caste! Gandolfo was bombed yesterday, and more damage was 
done to the Papal Villa. 

Again a column of Allied prisoners was inarched through the 
streets cm Monday afternoon; we did not see them, but it appears 
that they wwe cheerful though muddy. The weather b bad at 
present, wt and coR Pbor i eflow*, I hope they ha enoagh to 


cover them. They were photographed near the Colosseum, and 
leaflets reproducing the photograph were thrown about the 
streets by the Germans, with the caption: "They said they would 
come to Rome: here they are!" 

The great archaeologist Monsignor Wilpert is dead. He was one 
of the most learned men that Rome has ever known, and his 
work on the catacombs is comparable only to that of his master 
G. B. de Rossi. Born in 1857 in Silesia, he laboured and died here 
at the Collcgio deH'Anima. His book on Christian sarcophagi is 
of remarkable importance. 

Thursday February 17th 

Fighting in the Anzio sector continues to be severe, and the 
Germans are showing signs of it. Here in the city, instead of 
driving about in spick-and-span stolen cars, re-painted in ir- 
regular streaks of green and brown, they are now seen in bat- 
tered cars with twisted mudguards and splintered glass, the whole 
caked with dirt. Some of their lorries that go through are camou- 
flaged with olive branches, of all things. Olive leaves are only 
a symbol, of course, but it gives one a start to see them hiding 
what they do hide in those shabby lorries. 

Yesterday we were attacked from the air. As before, the rail- 
way yards near the Tiburtina and Prenestina quarters were 
bombed. Porta San Paolo, the wholesale markets near there and 
the neighbourhood of the gasworks were hit, as well as some 
houses in the Trastevere. The Pope was expected to go personally 
to the places which had suffered, but at the last minute he was 
persuaded not to do so and sent his nephew Prince Pacelli, 
together with Marchese Sacchetti and Cavaliere Galeazzi to do 
what they could for the sufferers and the homeless. With the 
Germans occupying Rome, it is much wiser for the Pope to re- 
main within his own territory of the Vatican City. He came out 
in July and August when the city was bombed, but that was 
before the armistice. 

The neighbourhood of the Colosseum was machine-gunned, 
and several persons were wounded. One wonders why there, be- 
came there were no supply dumps nor German barracks near it. 
Vt* it done by someone who only knew the Colosseum as a useful 

landmark? The explosives dropped near Porta San Paolo damaged 
the famous Protestant cemetery, and the graves of Keats and 
Shelley were ripped up. Castel Gandolfo, too, was attacked again 

Corso d 'Italia, where the Germans have their headquarters, 
looks very formidable at present, Not only is it barricaded off 
and guarded by armed sentries, but in the evening they place 
armoured cars near it with their guns pointing down the side 
streets that lead to it. 

Friday February 18th 

All Rome is thickly placarded today with posters showing 
photographs of the ruins of Monte Cassino with monks and 
refugee civilians, and reproductions of handwritten signed state- 
ments by the Abbot and his administrator. This is certainly a 
trump card in the German propaganda game. The few reliable 
details we have been able to gather are the following: On Mon- 
day, February 14th, leaflets were picked up in the Abbey grounds 
warning civilians (of whom there were many from the neigh- 
bouring towns) to leave the monastery as soon as possible. This 
the Germans forbade them to do, and on Tuesday the air attack 
reduced the place to ruins. The Germans had placed machine 
guns near the exits, to prevent the people leaving. Twice the 
Abbot sent emissaries to beg for them to be allowed to pass; one 
was fired upon, the other disappeared, having presumably been 

The Abbot's handwritten declaration ran as follows: "Of* 
request I confirm that no German soldier was or is inside the 
monastery** (Signed) Gregorio Diamare, Bishop Abbot of Monte 
Cassino, February 15th, 1944." 

One concludes from this declaration made by a man incapable 
of deception that the Germans were stationed a short dtsfanre 
away f rom the monastery. 

Tliis afternoon the Abbot reached Rome and later was re- 
ceived by the Pope, to whom he gave a full report of all that had 

M.P., one of our old friends, told os that he was in the Campo 
Verano cemetery when the Tlburana neighbourhood was last 


attacked from the air, and that he and those with him had to 
shelter in graves when the bombs hit the cemetery. It was a 
gruesome experience, and he says that the damage was worse 
than that of July 19th. He happened to be there at that time 
because he was helping members of a commission acting for the 
Allies to secure graves in one special plot for those members of 
the United Nations who might die in Rome during the war. I 
do not think there will be many of them; still, provision must 
be made* As for the German dead, there are thousands of them, 
and the big contractors, the Vaselli, have been given orders to 
build a cemetery on the Flaminian Way a little distance outside 
the city, which will provide space for 30,000 German military 
graves. Our peasant refugees from Lanuvio tell us that some of 
their fellow-Lanuvians said that all about the Nettuno sector 
the German dead were lying in heaps six or seven feet high. And 
that is first-hand evidence. Another friend of theirs who has 
been sent to work for the Germans in that same locality tells us 
that before burial the German dead are stripped of their uni- 
forms, such is their need for clothing for their forces. 

Saturday February 19th 

Two of the Ministers of neutral foreign Powers who have 
remained in Rome had, each one separately, a pleasant afternoon 
recently. They drove down to the British lines near Nettuno 
and had tea with the commanding officer. One may well imagine 
how much they enjoyed it. But once was enough for the Germans, 
who refused to allow them to pass a second time. They must have 
thought it would be bad for morale. It makes one realize how 
near the Allies are. How very pleasant it would be to do as those 
Ministers did. 

Last night at about 9.30 the neighbourhood of Piazza Bologna 
was bombed, and a good deal of damage was done to the neigh- 
bouring streets* The bombs were aimed at the Tiburtina station, 
which was hit repeatedly. 

Sunday February 20 

Every night at present a strange solitary plane flies low ov 
Rome and circles round the Vatican City. Some people a 
nervous lest it should drop explosives, particularly on the Vatica 
as it is believed that it belongs to the Farinacci group of ultr 
Fascists. It is also believed that the same group, rather than tl 
Allies, has b^en responsible for the damage done at Castel Gai 
dolfo. It is very easy to fake the markings on a plane, as far ; 
that goes, and in the dust and confusion few onlookers woul 
be able to spot its make. That odd lonely plane that visits i 
nightly has several amusing names: "the phantom ship/* "d 
solitary one," "il Romanino." You wonder really how it do* 
not crash into some of the bell towers of the churches in tk 
dark. I find it rather companionable on the whole. Its present 
is perhaps more a gesture than anything else, since hundreds o 
Allied planes fly high over the city during the day, while this on 
consoles itself by flying low at night. 

Monday February 21s 

New ration cards are being issued; it is really a matter o 
routine, since we get new cards every four months. But thi 
time the process of issuing and distributing will be complicate* 
by the presence of the 500,000 refugees. The authorities evi- 
dently want to do what they can in the matter, for they hav 
just published the address of a new office (another office tbej 
swarm all over the city already) in Via Girolamo Induno in the 
Trastevere, where those who have not had their March card* 
may apply. 

This process of obtaining ration cards (when they have not 
been delivered to you at your house as they should be), or of 
obtaining extra rations for those doing domestic work, for whom 
very small extra quantities of bread are allowed, or for the sick 
who can sometimes get permission for a little milk, or sugar or 
rice or meat, when there is any, this process is, I think, unique 
in human experience, I speak from first-hand knowledge. There 
is nothing about it we don't know and haven't done, and it beats 
all. You go first to the *TMegatkm* of ytrar disttict~<xirs * 
about twenty minutes from here. There you wait for five or 


ten minutes, and present your certificates and get them stamped. 
Then you proceed, by tram, if necessary, and if you feel strong 
enough to be crushed and battered by a crowd of human beings 
who have forgotten everything except their desire to get to where 
they are going; or, if you have time and your shoes will stand it, 
you walk. Your goal is the Street of the Greater Altar of Her- 
cules, at the bottom of the Circus Maximus. There various of- 
fices concerning food occupy the basement of a building which is 
used partly for the exhibits of the Museo di Roma, partly for 
storing scenery belonging to the Opera House. The basement 
was not meant for its present use, but flimsy wooden partitions 
have been erected, with dozens of little windows in them. Behind 
each window sits a jaded man or woman, seemingly intent only 
on disposing rapidly of those whose heads appear in the narrow 
opening, and who neither know nor care much about the business 
in hand. Their favourite phrase is "Ask at the other window/' 
You* ask at two or three of them, and find that yours is down 
at the end of a long low-ceilinged place with a queue of perhaps 
75 or 100 people in front of it, four abreast, between barriers, 
and pushing only as crowds of that kind can and do push. You 
stand there for say an hour, perhaps two, finally get to the 
window, present your stamped paper, and are told (if it is 
"urgent" and you have paid a fee of ten lire) to return in two 
days. Your heart sinks. Two days? All this to go through again? 
But there is a ray of hope. You say: "Please, what time are there 
fewest people here?" "Eight o'clock." 

Two days later you are there on the stroke of eight, and in the 
end you do get your card. You have earned it* You can now 
stand in a queue at whatever shop sells the things you have 
authorization to buy, you can register for them, and you can 
return there (another queue), periodically, to be told "Deve 
*rriv*rf" "We are expecting it.** And in the end you either get 
your thing or you do not. More often not. But without the 
papers and ration cards you could not get them even theoretically. 
Sometimes the authorities have a happy thought and change the 
location of the various offices you must apply to for certain 
things, chicken feed for instance. Once we went over to a re- 
mote spot in the Trastevere, there to be passed on to an office 
in Corso Vittorio Emanuele near the Stadium of Domitian, there 

to be passed on to an office in Via della Pigna near the Pantheon, 
there to be sent back to the Street of the Greater Altar of Her- 
cules. The places have a fine classical flavour about them, any- 
way. Organization is not their best thing here. But their patience 
is marvellous: not at the time, but when it is all over. Sometimes 
when they have been through all this they just sigh and say 
"Pazienza" or shrug and say "Mah!" a most meaningful mono- 
syllable conveying a tolerant outlook on a difficult situation. 
They have learned the secret of co-operating with the inevitable, 
if not that of efficiency. 

Tuesday February 22nd 

News of the day is published with unconscious humour: "The 
Ministry for the Production of War Material has been sup- 
pressed/ 5 There being no raw material available, except that 
which goes to German-controlled factories, the Ministry fades 
out. f 'E/ le combat cessa faute de combattantt" 

They are hard put to get soldiers to defend the Germans and 
to fight their rearguard actions for them. It is declared today that 
all those called up for military service who do not present them- 
selves at the "Republican" headquarters will be shot as deserters. 

Wednesday February 23rd 

Kesselring is re-grouping his forces for a renewed and heavy 
attack on the Allies in the Anzio sector. And then what? 
The Civilta Cattolica has just published an Italian tranda 

of the "Social Code" issued by the International Union of Social 
Studies of Malines, in which the social teaching of the Church 
regarding family life, professional interests, economics and inter- 
national relations is developed in the light of Catholic thought. 
It needs courage to bring out works of this sort today, when 
difficulties of every kind bristle in a publisher's padb. 

Yesterday the Pope received a portion of the Roman clergy, 
that is to say all the parish priests, together with die Lenten 
preachers of the various churches and the Church stodcnts from 
the Roman Seminary. He spoke o the topic of the Lenten icr- 
mons, and concluded with a strong appeal for dbe safety of 


Rome, referring to the fact that Athens and Cairo had been 
spared by the belligerents and pointing out that Rome had even 
stronger reasons in its favour. As the Pope's utterances on these 
occasions have a public character, his words were in reality a 
direct appeal to both sides to spare the Vatican City and the 
whole city of Rome. 

A very heavy German self-propelled gun was driven slowly 
through the streets today, whether to impress us all or for con- 
venience it is hard to say. It was a startling sight, with its cater- 
pillar wheels slithering on the smooth pavement; it made a noise 
that drowned all other noises around it. This is another illustra- 
tion of how Rome is treated as an "open city." The Germans 
seem to think that all they have to do is to say it is an open city 
and then rage because it is not formally recognized as such by 
the Allies. 

Thursday February 24th 

Today the people who had not received their food cards began 
to assemble in Via Girolamo Induno, where, as I noted on Mon- 
day, the office for supplying missing cards had been established. 
They began and they went on assembling, tired and hungry and 
anxious. They invaded the corridors, the offices, the street itself 
in a struggling mass, so big that they blocked the street and held 
up the traffic in Viale del Re, the neighbouring thoroughfare, 
The police did not appear, there was no attempt to regulate mat- 
ters, and in the end two people were killed. There was an indig- 
nant outcry about it, and tomorrow they will have barriers and 
police to control things a little better. We thank Providence that 
our cards were safely brought to us at the right time. 

To persuade workingmen to join the labour service of the Ger- 
mans, they are being offered extra food. Anyone who enlists in 
it this month will get two pounds of sugar, over and above the 
monthly ration of one pound. But of course the latter ration is 
largely theoretical because it has not been forthcoming this 
month. The extra two pounds will be issued with great eclat, 
to encourage others. 


Friday February 2 Jth 

It is strangely cold for this time of year; just when the wanner 
weather coming sooner would have been doubly welcome. 

The mushroom growth of thieves which always springs up un- 
der conditions like ours is coming along vigorously. Dressed in 
Fascist or German uniforms, they appear with a forged warrant 
to search. The papers publish urgent appeals begging house- 
holders to telephone to the police when this happens, promising 
that they will come immediately. Of course it is hard on the 
Germans and the "Republicans" to have all this competition in 
the stealing business. 

Placards on the walls gain in quantity though steadily losing 
in size and intelligence. Pictures of starving children deported 
to Russia are supposed to convince passers-by that that is what 
will happen to their children if the Allies win the war, and induce 
them to rush to enlist in the Republican forces. There is another 
quite amusing one, though it is got up in the style of the 1 890'*, 
and is small and badly printed. There are four oblong medallions 
on it of Cavour, Mazzini, Crispi and Mussolini as statesmen who 
made the greatness of Italy. Well, the other three, perhaps, but 
Mussolini. . . . And he looks extra repulsive there in civilian 
clothes, with a wing collar and a four-in-hand tie. 

L.L. came in this afternoon to say good-bye, as she is going 
to Milan. What she told us would be past belief unless it were 
not being done by the Germans, and is on a par with what they 
have done elsewhere. L. had been with her brother, who speaks 
German admirably, to try to obtain the release of an unfortunate 
man who had been arrested by the German S.S. and taken to Via 
Tasso. That is just the name of a street, over in the direction of 
Santa Croce, but today "Via Tasso" stands for all the horrors of 
systematic torture. Officially, it is the Gestapo temporary prison 
located in that street, in reality it is a place whence very few 
return and when they do so they are often broken men. Those 
who do not return are either ix>rtured to death or shot. Names 
of accomplices and confederates arc forced from Ac victims un- 
less they have superhuman endurance. VKen they die their fami- 
lies are often not told, for mental cruelty as weB as physical tf 
brought to a fine art by the Germans* The man whom L and her 
brother were trying to rescue had been ill-treated immediately 


on arrival, for another friend who went there said that the 
prisoner had no teeth and that when he entered the hall where 
they question prisoners there were teeth scattered about on the 
floor. The worst of the S.S. in Via Tasso is a huge man known as 
"the giant." His methods are those practised at Dachau and at 
other famous German concentration camps. He is so cruel that 
even the other S.S. men on duty can't stand it and sometimes 
shout to him to stop tormenting his victim. A young officer at 
the door, who receives enquirers, is horribly polite and smiling, 
pretends to look up names in his book, then sends distraught 
wives and mothers off on wild-goose chases to places such as the 
political department of the Roman prison of Regina Coeli, or 
San Gregorio, when all the time the man they are seeking is 
either there helpless in a cell, or has been shot. The few who are 
released are forced to swear secrecy about everything that has 
passed. The officer in command is called Wolff. His name will 
probably figure prominently on the lists of criminals brought to 
trial in the local post-war courts. He will need an efficient body- 
guard before execution, as otherwise he would be torn in pieces 
by the Roman people. 

Saturday February 26th 

Heavy artillery duels at Anzio, which we hear in the city, 
come from Kesselring's latest attempt to drive us into the sea. 
They say that the Grenadier Guards, have distinguished them- 
selves greatly in holding our positions down there. 

Sunday February 27th 

Memories of the Battle of Cannae, of Hannibal threatening 
Rome, of the centuries which from the Capitol look down on 
the Eternal City, of Garibaldi, of everything in short which 
lends itself to an appeal to join up, blaze from the walls in 
every part of Rome. The joining up means, of course, to fight 
for the Germans and to act as their rear-guard when they with- 
draw. Also to build roads, defence works and gun emplacements 
for them. In vain the posters explain that the labour service 
is intended to mend roads that will bring food into the city, 

that the workers will get good food and pay and free lodging. 
There is no doubt whatever in any man's mind that their labour 
will go to build German pillboxes and strong points, so they 
do not put in an appearance. A magazine article written about 
Czech passive resistance some time ago was entitled 'The In- 
digestible Czechs/ 9 and I am beginning to think that one might 
also write about "The Indigestible Romans." But these posters! 
Stupid and repulsive as they are, they appear everywhere with 
new sketches and captions, new text and new insults to the 
intelligence of the Italians. They are readily defaced, of course, 
but still, scraps do remain. On our wall there is still a fragment 
of the first poster of all that appeared, in May, 1940, just 
before Italy entered the war. It was not illustrated, but the 
text explained how England had virtually lost the war, that 
the fleet was no good and that she was on the point of being 
driven out of the Mediterranean, I hope it will still be there 
when the Allies enter Rome, a tiny detail in the setting, but a 
dramatic one. 

Monday February 23th 

We are to have new stamps. Well, not exactly new, but over- 
printed. Neat little Fascist badges have been printed in red or 
black, according to the colour of the stamp, across Victor 
Emmanuel's face; and the Republican Fascist Government k 
thus revenged on the Monarchy. After a given date DO other 
stamp may be used; letters bearing the old ones will be de~ 
stroyed. But there is a slight hitch, because no post offices have 
the new ones for sale. 

Tuesday February 2?th 

We are informed that "tie food situation is being seriously 
examined" by both the German and the Italian city authorities. 
So we are supposed to say to ourselves, with childlike confidence, 
"All is well." 

I am sure the Germans think that when they say: "Be cheer- 
ful," everyone cheers up; when they say: "Hate die ABBes," 
everyone starts hating immediately; when they say: "We are 


your affectionate comrades," everyone wants to go out and 
shake hands with all the Fritzes and Hermans they see. Their 
mentality is past belief. You know it, of course, in theory and 
from having read about It, but you have to be up against it in 
the round to really grasp it. Just think here is another new set 
of posters today, designed to arouse admiration for Mussolini. 

The "pasta" ration which should have been issued in January 
is to be issued in March. Italians depend on their "pasta" more 
than they do on bread, or at least as much. So, when monthly 
rations have been confiscated by the Germans or the Fascists 
they are just wiped out for a given month; the process is a 
simple one, but spells starvation. The soap ration is even more 
wiped out than other things. We are supposed to have one small 
piece, weighing 100 grammes, every second month. It is now the 
end of February, and the October-November bit is not avail- 
able yet. 

Wednesday March 1st 

Yesterday afternoon Nello was arrested. He is one of our 
refugee peasants from Lanuvio, a fine, well-set-up intelligent 
young fellow, with a wife and a baby two and a half years old. 
He was stopped as he was getting into a tram and taken to the 
police station. He managed to get a phone message to us to tell 
his wife to go down to him with some food, as they give nothing 
to eat there. His wife was distracted with fear that he would 
be taken to Germany, and she rushed off to him. She was not 
permitted to speak to him, but was told the food would be 
given him, and that under cover of the curfew he would be 
taken with a number of others to the 81st Infantry barracks 
in Viale Giulio Cesare. He had done nothing wrong, he had 
finished his military service and was a fanner. But Hitler had 
said if they didn't come to do his work for him willingly, then 
they must be forced into it. Besides, Mussolini had signed a 
"convention** in the name of the Fascist Republican Govern- 
ment, that one million and a half Italian workers would be 
sent to Germany. If persuasion was of no avail, then violence 
would be used. As in this case. 

Today the man's wife took him his food, but she was not 

allowed to speak to him; he could only make signs to her from 
a barred window high above the street. Other women were 
at the door, too, with parcels for their husbands and brothers. 
There is no means of knowing what Nello's destination will be. 

The military "classes" of 1922, '23, '24 and '2* are warned 
that, having been called up, if they do not report before March 
8th, they will be shot as deserters. But no one reports. 

More persuasion as well as violence is being used for this 
labour service. Moving appeals continue to appear in the press 
and on the walls: "Italy begs her sons, in this tragic hour of 
her history, to fight or to work." . . . "If they volunteer they 
will have good food and good pay." . . . "They will be em- 
ployed in their own trades." . . . "Work is dignified and helps 
society; it is essential to the nation. If you refuse to work you 
are both guilty and mistaken, you have no civic feeling, you 
do not understand your own interests. . . ." And from their 
hiding places men smile sadly, knowing the truth only too well. 
Some Italians say, regarding this and all the other German 
propaganda: "They have insulted us by occupying our country, 
but they need not insult our intelligence by thinking that we 
can be affected by what they print." Again, the posters: "Many 
have joined the labour service already; others, forgetting their 
duty as men, as citizens, as fathers, have not yet done so. Our 
well paid work will help your family; don't let them starve 
for another day." Starving into submission is, of course, part 
of the Nazi programme. "There are large quantities of food 
waiting to be unloaded. Join the labour service." Large quanti- 
ties to be taken by the Germans there may be but for Rome, 
none. "The Todt Service is a bulwark against exploitation." 
Just what exploitation? "Volunteers for labour in Germany are ' 
welcomed at headquarters in Via Esquilino." And if they don't 
volunteer, then they will be arrested and forced to go. 

Thursday March 2nd 

Last night, at about 8 o'clock, six bombs wtare dropped near 
Porta Cavaleggeii close to the Vatican City by an aircraft 
flying low. The ej^teiritarial Colleges of Propaganda Fide 
and of the Augustinian Fathers west hit, while two other bomb* 


exploded near the Palace of the Holy Office. Considerable 
damage was done by splinters, even inside the Vatican City, 
where the Cortile San Damaso, Piazza Santa Marta and the 
railway station suffered. It is very curious. Is all this bombing 
near the Vatican done by "Nazifascist" planes? 

Today is the fifth anniversary of the Pope's election, and 
it finds him hard at work for the alleviation of the pain and 
sorrow brought about by war, and for the establishment of 
peace on a solid basis of Christian principles. 

He has sent a squad of men from the Vatican Library to Fras- 
cati to dig out from beneath the ruins of the Bishop's Palace 
the famous library, or what remains of it, collected by Cardinal 
York, the last of the Stuarts (by right of descent, Henry IX 
of England), who was Bishop of Frascati in the 18th century. 

There was a horrible occurrence today in front of the barracks 
where Nello is confined. Several thousand men, who have been 
rounded up, were also there, and some of their wives came to 
bring them food. One of the wives (an expectant mother) 
begged the German sentry for permission to go in. He did not 
like her persistent tone, and did not understand Italian, so he 
answered by shooting her. Some men who were there, infuriated, 
shouted "murderer" at the sentry, whereupon the Fascist police 
attacked them. The civilians, who were secretly armed, fired 
on the Fascists, killing five of them. There were some casualties 
among the onlookers, and some arrests were made. The Romans 
are in an exceedingly angry mood about it, but what can they 
do? After the dead body was carried away, the people laid 
flowers cm the blood-stained pavement where she had fallen. 
Nello's wife was present when all this happened. She will not 
be allowed to see him tomorrow, even from the second story 

Friday March 3rd 
The whole sky is full of the roar of motors, the bang of 

"flak" and the thunder of an occasional bomb. Something big is 

happening. Can it be another landing? 

The Allies have had a bad time at Anzio lately, but today 

we bear of dbe recovery of 1 500 metres of ground lost during 


the heavy German attack on our lines. They hare now failed 
three times to drive us into the sea. 

The local press publishes a wonderful article by Goebbels, 
in which he says that, far from hindering German war produc- 
tion, the Allies' attacks on factories speed it up and increase 
the output, because they oblige them now to locate the factories 
in such secret places that they could never be found, and $o f 
of course, work would go on in future without the slightest 
interruption. This really is a true summary of the speech, al- 
though it sounds like a parody of his utterances. 

Saturday March 4th 

The bombing we heard in the distance yesterday morning 
worked havoc in and around the railway yards; there was a 
lot of damage to civilian dwellings, and many casualties. The 
Allies were making for the German supply dumps, and got 
them, but in so doing they wrecked part of the neighbouring 

Rome has a belt of minor railway stations, used in peace time 
almost entirely for goods, therefore excellently suited for the 
transport and storage of war material. The railway enters Rome 
from the north, and the first railway yard is at the Stazione 
Tiburtina. Just behind it is the new and populous quarter 
around Piazza Bologna, while back of Piazza Bologna are more 
fashionable streets leading to Via Nomentana. Two kilometre* 
farther on, the Stazione San Lorenzo is reached, around which 
are situated many civilian dwellings in the districts of Porta 
Maggbre, the Roman University and the Campo Veraoo ceme- 
tery. The next one, less important, is the Stazione Tmculaaa, 
but around it cluster the new cheap suburbs beyond St. John 
Lateran, and those skirting Via Casilina, composed of blocks 
of nine- and ten-story flats. Turning eastward, the railway 
skirts the walls of ROOK and reaches the Staziooe Ostknae, 
surrounded by the Roman General Market (roughly the 
equivalent of Covtaat Garden or Fulton Market), die slums of 
the Garbatdla, the Testacdo, the streets leading to St. ftwdV 
Outside-the-lPalk The last of the sorting yards is at the Staxttoe 
TrastCTere, dk*e to the Tnwterrere quarter and Mootercrdc, 


the latter tremendously built up of late years. This gives one 
an idea of the shape of the Roman railway and of what parts 
of the city must inevitably be hit when the goods stations are 
bombed. Of course the latter were full of war material. In spite 
of impassioned protests that Rome is an "open city," German 
military stores and ammunition are constantly passing through 
on the way to the southern front. Everybody knows that the 
"open city" claim is just a lie, although German troops were 
never marched along the streets in formation, and as a rule tanks 
and guns passed through at night. That was all. 

Yesterday the Ostiense district suffered terribly, particularly 
as two ammunition trains were struck, and blew up, causing 
extensive damage. The church of San Benedetto was demolished, 
as was also a factory where 250 workmen were buried in the 

The foregoing places are a good distance from us, so we have 
been spared, but the electric light, gas and water supplies have 
been temporarily cut off on account of the raid. 

Sunday March 5th 

Nello returned from his labour prison this morning. Numbers 
of his companions were sent north, but he managed to slip back 
to the end of the line whenever the others were detailed off 
for their destinations. Finally he was sent with a group bound 
for the Ostiense district to clear away the rubble lying in the 
streets after Friday's air raid. Armed German and Fascist sol- 
diers stood guard over them, but he managed to scale a wall, 
creep under some damaged railway coaches and emerge safely 
into the street. When he arrived here, his family's joy was touch- 
ing. Water was heated for him, and a meal prepared, and he 
was made thoroughly comfortable before he sat down to tell 
his story. The treatment in the barracks was inhuman. The men 
lay on the bare floor at night, with no coverings. Once in 
twenty-four hours some watery soup was given them; if they 
had no bowl or can for it, they had to take it in the hollow 
of their hands, joined to form a cup. There was no water, and 
Nello paid fifty lire for a fi*sco of it one day. When the time 

came for departure the men were lined up and counted off 
like cattle. 

The German authorities have settled that we are to have no 
gas at all in future. Of course the fact is not made public. It is 
said on the radio and in the papers that "owing to damage 
from enemy bombs it will be impossible to supply gas for some 
time to come/* But that is not true; and there is enough coal 
to manufacture it, Most of the Romans are thus left with 
nothing but charcoal stoves for their cooking, except the richer 
ones who have electricity. And charcoal is unobtainable except 
on the black market, at twenty lire a kilo. 

Monday March 6th 

The Fascist Police Commissioner of Quadraro, one of the 
suburbs, was murdered yesterday, and a reward of 200,000 lire 
has been offered for information regarding the murderer. There 
may be severe reprisals against the local patriots, who are under 
suspicion. From a private source we have heard the text of 
the Fascist Minister's instructions to journalists today: ''Write 
touching articles on the death of the Commissioner of Quadraro.** 
It snowed this morning for the first time this winter. Think 
of the poor with no means of heating food or drink. . . . 

Goering has been here for a conference with Kesseking, 
collecting statistics and information. The latter is in favour of 
a withdrawal from this part of Italy. He says that this is a 
dangerous salient in the German line and that it wastes transport. 
He has had 50,000 men killed and wounded in the Anzio sector, 
and he is getting nervous. Goering, I believe, is the bearer of a 
message from Hitler: "Hold on at all costs** as in Russia! 

Tuesday March 7th 

Planes came over in great numbers this morning and dropped 
heavy bombs oo the Ostiense railway yards, The Testactib and 
parts of the Trasterere were considerably damaged, as wdD as 
the GarbateHa quarter; the church of St. Jerome was demolished. 
Most of the light and water has been cot off again on account 
of this raid. The desperation of the hombed^ou* families is 


pitiable. Nothing has been organized in advance for them, and 
their numbers are overwhelming. They are wandering about, 
trying to find a roof somehow, somewhere. 

During this raid the Luftwaffe offered no opposition to our 
planes; the anti-aircraft guns fired intermittently. 

The new salt ration has been fixed at 200 grammes 6 l / 2 
ounces a month. But shall we get it? We are still awaiting the 
October soap. 

Wednesday March 8th 

This morning a time bomb went off in a lorry loaded with 
petrol which was standing near the church of SS. John and 
Paul. There was a deafening explosion, followed by billows of 
flame and smoke. The loss of the petrol was serious for the 
Germans, hard-pressed for fuel of every sort. Half an hour 
after the explosion, ten prisoners were taken from the Regina 
Coeli prison and shot as a penalty for "acts of violence*" It is 
probable that not one of those men knew anything about the 
time bomb. 

People who are desperate for lack of coal have begun to cut 
down trees, and carry off wooden palings and park benches 
at night, to use as firewood. It must be fairly easy, judging from 
the amount that has disappeared. 

Thursday March 9th 

Increasing numbers of British prisoners who have escaped are 
hiding in the city. They, and those who organize for them, are 
gaining experience and becoming really clever in adopting various 
expedients. A British officer who speaks both German and Italian 
well, was going about disguised as a priest in a long black 
cassock. The other day he was crossing Piazza San Pietro, when 
a German soldier came up and asked him how to get to St. 
Peter's. Whereupon our Englishman said he would show him 
the way, and not only did he take Jerry into the basilica, but 
spent the morning showing him its beauties. The German was 
delighted, and thanked him profusely for the pleasant morn- 
ing they had spent together. 

Friday March 10th 

Between 11 and 12 this morning, waves of heavy bombers 
passed over the city, and attacked the railway yards again. 
Great damage was again done to the districts near the railway 
yards, and again there were numbers of casualties. We could 
see the bombs falling, and all the time one wondered if the 
attack would approach the vicinity of this house. Hospitals 
are full of people injured in the raids. 

The general outlook is not very rosy today. The weather is 
so bad that air and land activities are at a standstill. The Finns 
are refusing Russian peace terms, and there is a miners' strike in 
Great Britain. 

One of us wanted some sewing cotton today and succeeded 
in getting it in the end, from a barrow in the street for twenty 
lire. None of the shops have any left. If you want a piece of 
work done by a dressmaker now, you must provide the thread, 
and it is the same with shoes. 

Saturday March llth 

Tomorrow, anniversary of his coronation, the Pope has ar- 
ranged that there shall be none of the usual solemn services of 
thanksgiving but instead he will grant audience to all the 
refugees in Rome, as well as to the Romans, and, because no 
other place could contain such numbers, he will hold it in Piazza 
San Pietro. Many refugees had begged to be received in "public*' 
audiences such 'as the Pope was accustomed to hold for large 
groups at least once a Week; but war conditions, transport 
difficulties and other problems led him to suspend these group 
audiences temporarily. Therefore all those who wish to see him, 
hear him speak, and receive his blessing are bidden to gather 
in front of St. Peter's tomorrow. It is a gracious gesture on the 
part of His Holiness, and inspired by his extraordinary sympathy 
with the sufferings and difficulties of others. It is rare to find, w 
one in his position, such sensitive insight combined with the 
statesmanlike qualities which he possesses. His long experience 
in a diplomatic career developed the latter to a remarkable degree. 
There was a heavy air raid this monufig in the suburb*; we 


don't know where, as yet. This house seemed to slip and slide 
under one's feet, such was the vibration* 

Sunday March 12th 

We have only heard just now that, on Friday, someone threw 
hand grenades at a procession of Fascists coming from some sort 
of meeting. That will probably mean more hostages shot in 

The great "audience" in Piazza San Pietro took place this 
afternoon, in spite of threatening clouds and cold wind. It 
rained in the morning, but cleared a little at about three o'clock, 
though the sky was still dark and overcast. The weather reflected 
the feelings of the Romans. They were saddened by the inevi- 
table consequences of air raids, by the German oppression, by 
their disappointment at the Allies not having reached the city 
to free it, by anxiety for their dear ones in hiding or taken by 
the Germans, most of them hungry and some of them homeless; 
not to mention the refugees, all of them homeless and many of 
them hopeless. A rumour had been current that the Holy Father 
would make some important announcement during his speech, 
possibly of the withdrawal of the Germans. Obviously it was 
a childish idea, born of desperate desire to be rid of them; but 
desperate people cling to straws, and even the most impossible 
rumours always find someone to put faith in them. It was notice- 
able, however, that no Germans were present among the crowd. 
A sentry placed near the bridge over the Tiber turned them 
back, if, even individually, they tried to join the people bound 
for the Piazza. Even they had realized something of the temper 
of the Romans, and mistrusted it. I think that one or two eluded 
the sentries and were seen among the crowd; but they came to 
no harm. 

On the way to St. Peter's we noticed a strange thing we had 
never heard before. It was the steady sound of footsteps, along 
the streets and on the bridges, the feet of a multitude converging 
on one spot. Perhaps because there was hardly any talk and 
laughter such as one generally hears on these occasions. Certainly 
it was a remarkable sound, giving the impression that all the 
inhabitants of a city were moving toward some goal. Wlien we 

reached the Piazza there must have been about 200,000 people 
there. It's capacity is 300,000, and it was undoubtedly two- 
thirds full. It was truly a democratic crowd too. A cross-section 
of people we noticed illustrates this. Near us were: our coal 
dealer; the Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature of a German- 
occupied country; a Roman Duke, collateral descendant of the 
family of Pope Boniface VIII (who died in 1303); as well as 
refugees from all parts of Italy, beggars, workingmcn and 

When the Pope appeared on the balcony in the centre of the 
fagade of St. Peter's, with none of the usual ceremonial, accom- 
panied only by a secretary and one Noble Guard, his white 
cassock stood out in sharp contrast to the grey stone of the 
basilica behind him and the grey sky above. He spoke of the 
sufferings of many of his listeners, of his work for peace, of 
courage, of prayer, of penance, of trust in God, of right be- 
haviour, of perseverence in well-doing, of faith, of hope, of 
charity; and concluded with a prayer for the help of Almighty 
God for His sorely tried people. 

During the Pope's discourse be was interrupted several times 
by thunders of applause, and, at the end, after he had given his 
blessing to the silent multitude, cheering broke out again and 
again, As the throng was dispersing shouts were heard of "Down 
with the Germans," and communist manifestoes were thrown 
about. The excitement was some distance away from us, but 
we got away as soon as we could, fearing a panic. The noise 
quieted down for a time, but began again among a press of 
people in the narrow street leading to Ponte Vittorio Emanude. 
"Down with the Germans!" "Give us bread!" they called out* 
Presently we heard revolver shots, and people began to ran. 
We stepped aside under the shelter of Cartel Sant'Angefe and 
waited while frightened men and women ran past like leaves in 
the wind. But nothing further happened, and we reached home 
safely. The leaflets that were thrown about ran as follows: 

To the Roman people, women, youths! The city is attacked from the 
air because the Germans do not respect tt as an ope* city. 
To prevent the destruction of -Roe* and save the fives of tfaomanA 
of men, women and children, the Germtmt mmtf t* drh** o*/. 


Catholics, Democrats, Socialists, Communists, Antifascists, we must 

*U *mtt to save the city! 



Monday March 13th 

Only today have we learnt of the heavy damage done by the 
air raid on Saturday. A big column of German tanks and lorries 
was caught outside Rome on Via Tiburtina and wiped out, but 
the neighbourhood of Piazza Bologna was also bombed and a 
number of houses were destroyed, Two American planes were 
brought down by anti-aircraft fire. 

Yesterday, to commemorate the occasion, the Pope caused 
50,000 hot meals to be provided for the poor of Rome. They 
were served in various soup kitchens and convents. 

The "Ides of March" recur today, and the usual laurel wreath 
has been laid at the feet of the statue of Julius Caesar in Via 
dellTxnpero. One wonders what he thinks of the military sagacity 
of the Fascists, or of the Germans, for that matter. He saw Hitler 
go by in triumph along this road in 1938. What else will he see 
before the whole dreary business is over for Italy? 

The British Government has indeed taken drastic measures 
in cutting off all traffic with Ireland as from today. Does that 
mean that the invasion of Europe may be due at any moment? 

Tuesday March 14th 

This morning we had the most terrible air raid that we have 
had since they began on July 19th. It took place between 11.30 
and 12.30; waves of heavy bombers came over and dropped tons 
of explosives on and around the Tiburtina, Prenestino and San 
Lorenzo stations. All of these are clearance points for war 
material: weapons, ammunition, petrol and oil bound for the 
Anzio front in trains or stored in sheds near them. The stations, 
goods yards, railway tracks and vans were completely wrecked, 
bat the damage to civilian dwellings and the casualties were 
appalling. Bombs fell in streets where queues were lined up for 

water from emergency pipe lines, and limply wiped out entire 
groups. One woman was beheaded by the blast; the body of 
another was blown onto a telegraph wire where it hung until, 
the confusion having subsided, firemen came with ladders and 
removed it. One of our friends, M.C, who is a qualified Red 
Cross nurse, told us a little of what she had seen and done when 
it happened. Her story ran as follows: 

I was walking down Via Nomentana when suddenly planes came 
over and dropped bombs a hundred yards up the street. I rather woodcr 
how I wasn't hit. When the explosion was over I went back to tec if 
I could help. The first thing I saw was a round blackened object, 
which turned out to be a woman's head, cut clean off the body. The 
neck was burnt and there was hardly any blood. The people funding 
about began to bring in wounded, mostly senseless; luckily we were 
just opposite a clinic where I knew the head nurse. [This was the 
former "Anglo-American Nursing Home" taken over by the Italian 
authorities on the outbreak of war.] I went in, and when she saw me 
she said: "O Mary! come and help for heaven's sake!" So I put on a 
doctor's white coat and started in. Every window in the {dace wa* 
broken and the dead and wounded were all over the floor, so wherever 
I trod I either crushed glass or slithered in gore. 

I began by trying to do what I could for a child of four, but 
found he was already dead, so I turned my attention to a man whom 
two nuns were trying most ineffectually to quieten, while a third tied 
a rubber tube round his arm. It was a horrible wound, bet no blood 
was coming from it; the man's lips were bloodless too and he seemed 
quite mad. I suppose anybody would be after such a shock. Struggling, 
we carried him to the ambulance which had turned up. 

All this time people were running in every direction, others were 
dying, and women were having hysterics and screaming. Wt unearthed 
various other people and got them off, then Y.M., who was with me, 
and I were called by some men to see if a girl in a near-by boos* was 
still alive. We cUmbed over wreckage, and found * child with * frac- 
tured skull, unconscious, but still alive. She was too berry to lift *s 
she was, 90 I collected a blanket and put her into that, only to find 
that the wretched thing tore in every direction at the first strain. How- 
ever, finally, we got her downstairs and into one of those motor cycle 
things with a trailer. I climbed on in front, that is to say, I stood on 
a piece of iron and held on with ooe hand, while with the other I tried 
to steady die girl's head. Then began the roost awful drive I ever had. 
We went at breakneck speed oner erery obstacle, quite regardless of 


the traffic, and eventually brought up outside the Istituto Regina Elena, 
where I knew the only hope of saving the child was Professor Mario. 
He was operating, unfortunately, and by the time he was able to come 
and look at her, she was dead, but he assured me that she would have 
died in any case. 

When we got back to the scene of destruction, we found that another 
alarm was in progress, and that all the patients at the clinic had to be 
brought downstairs by hand, as the lift was broken. Some job. How- 
ever, we got it done in the end, and Y. and I were free to go home. 
Ve both owned, later, that we felt queer for several days after. 

It was during this raid that the famous editor of the Giornale 
d 'Italia, Virginio Gayda, was killed instantly when a direct hit 
was made on his house; and his next-door neighbour, a well 
known doctor, Professore Gaifami, suffered in the same way. 
There was practically nothing left of either house. 

By evening a stream of people were to be seen, with suitcases 
and bags, going from Via Nomentana to other parts of Rome 
seeking lodgings. Everyone is really alarmed by now, as today's 
attack struck many houses which were nowhere near a goods 
station or the railway tracks. 

Wednesday March 15th 

As a consequence of yesterday's bombing the Blue Nuns* 
hospital next to S. Stefano Rotondo is without gas, electricity 
or water. They have had to build an emergency fireplace in the 
garden and do their cooking there. It is almost impossible to 
imagine nursing being carried on under more trying conditions. 

At Anzio the situation is more or less stationary. Our men 
find explosives placed inside corpses on the battlefield, so when 
they go to bury them, they are met with a new and revolting 
development of the booby trap. 

The news from Vesuvius is bad; it seems strange that such a 
serious eruption should coincide with a war, which already pro- 
vides enough trouble for mankind without help from natural 
phenomena. The Fascist journalists carefully give their informa- 
tion about the eruption a Lisbon date line. 

Porches and steps of basilicas are crowded with refugees at 
present, who dunk that they will be safe from air attacks there, 

Thursday March 16th 

We hear that the attack on the town of Cassino has begun 
in earnest, and that Allied bombs have reduced it to a mere heap 
of rubble. Perhaps this means the beginning of an Allied advance 
on Rome. The fighting down there is bitter, according to reports 
we have received. 

B.R. has been arrested. This is a terrible blow to us, because 
he was one of the foremost in giving help of all kinds to Allied 
prisoners of war who are hiding in and around Rome. Being 
a member of a religious congregation, he could get about easily. 
He took supplies and money to our men, arranged for their lodg- 
ings, changed them when necessary, and acted as go-between 
on countless occasions. No one will ever know how much he 
achieved. He is British, but speaks Italian like a native. If only 
they don't torture him, now that they have him . , . and if 
only he did not have any notes or addresses on him at the 
time. * 

Poverty and want are more openly manifest here daily, and 
the number of beggars is appalling. In any crowded street one 
meets them almost every few yards, some with children, some 
without; some old and helpless, and some of them perfectly 
able-bodied. They appear to get a good deal of money from 
passers-by, for Italians (when they are not Nazifascists) are 
wonderfully kind-hearted. One gives away whatever is potsible 
in the way of clothes, which the beggars scon to need more than 
money, but there is a limit to that, as to most things. We hare 
even taken down curtains and portiires throughout this home 
to make garments for them. As for shoes, there is no leather, 
so they have to manage with wooden sandals. One impoverished 
gentlewoman who comes here sometimes told us that, as there 
is no food provided where she i$ staying, Ac has to do her own 
cooking over what ought to be a spirit lamp; but there is no 
spirit here any more, even if die had money to boy it, which 
she hasn't, so Ac cooks with car<Iboard, when she can get it. 
We were able to grre her a supply of oW boxes we lad fcotrded, 
which wffi keep her going for *yae time. 


Friday March 17th 

During an air alarm this morning, at about 7.30, a shell from 
an anti-aircraft gun fell in the Vatican City close to the offices 
of the Osservatore Romano, causing a good deal of damage and 
wounding two workmen seriously. Was that shell aimed con- 
sciously at the Vatican City? It is not improbable. 

The Vatican is in mourning today for two deaths which 
occurred last Friday among the personnel of the lorry trains 
that are sent out to collect food for the city of Rome. These 
lorries have been placed by the Holy Father at the disposal of 
the city organizations for the transport of food. On Friday, 
the fleet of heavy vehicles with full loads, was returning from 
Umbria, and in the neighbourhood of Narni was joined by a 
number of German military trucks which placed themselves in 
front of and behind the Vatican ones. The column was spotted by 
Allied planes and attacked; the German vehicles were destroyed 
for the most part and two of those belonging to the Vatican; 
the drivers of the latter were killed as well as a priest who ac- 
companied the expedition. Of course the German stratagem 
had been to seek immunity by driving ahead of and behind the 
trucks bearing the pontifical colours. 

B.R. is all right, thank God. We have heard the details. They 
are from the best possible source: the Good Shepherd nuns on 
whose grounds (on Via Aurelia, about half an hour's walk 
beyond St. Peter's) the whole thing took place. This is their 
account of it: 

B.R. rang our gate bell about 7.30 A.M.; he was in a great hurry and 
asked to pass through our garden, because he had some American and 
British prisoners (four in all), in a little outhouse on the property 
adjoining ours. He said he was very tired, and after procuring better 
lodging for these prisoners he was going to "vanish"; all the more so 
because the day before he had been warned by a friend that the authori- 
ties were looking for him. I accompanied him, and met the prisoners 
who were waiting for him just on the other side of the wire fence. 
There were three of them (one was a slight red-haired boy only twenty 
years old), accompanied by two Italian patriots who were taking care 
of them. The fourth prisoner was ill and was indoors. After saying 
good morning to them I left B.R. and went up to the house. It was a 

very chilly day and we all felt so sorry for the prisoners. Rev. Mother 
said perhaps they would like a hot cup of coffee and milk. I went to 
ask B.R. if he would like us to prepare it, but they had all gone inside 
the room (formerly a chicken coop or the like), and- a black cloth 
curtain was hung in the doorway. 

Not being able to attract anyone's attention, I turned around to 
go back to the house, and was startled to see a German with his rifle 
and bayonet slung over his shoulder only a few yards away from me 
but on the other side of the fence. We simply glanced at each other 
and went in opposite directions. My companion and I were frightened 
and longed to warn B.R. and his companions. We walked about the 
garden for a few minutes and discovered a whole group of Germans 
waiting near the house next door, which, until last July, had been used 
by a Fascist girls* association. Someone had probably betrayed the pris- 
oners, because until that time the Germans had never searched the 
property. A moment later we heard shouting and pistol shots evidently 
a signal for help coming from the direction where B.R. and the 
prisoners were hiding. All the Germans ran to the rescue. Not being 
able to help in any way we went into the house, and from an upstairs 
window saw the sad procession pass beyond the fence: two Italians, 
the four prisoners and B.R., with no hat nor coat, in single file and 
holding up their hands. They were led and followed by Germans with 
their rifles pointed at them. The sick prisoner was not able to keep 
his hands up, and the soldiers continually struck him with the butt 
ends of their rifles. 

They were all put in a lorry and taken to the nearest military police 
station. On the way they were not very closely watched, and B.R. 
managed to eat the pages of his notebook which, although the informa- 
tion was in cipher, would have been compromising for himself and 
for others. He had swallowed them all by the time the destination was 
reached. He told the German commander that he did not know the 
men, and was passing when they called out; he made painfully stupid 
answers to all their questions and gave his Christian name, and the 
Italian pronunciation of his family name, and was able to convince 
the officer that he had nothing at all to do with the prisoners and was 
released. The strangest part of the story is that the Fascists had already 
tried to trap him, by sending a message that his help was needed 
urgently at a certain address. To that invitation he did not respond. 
Of course, the officer who interviewed him had no idea that he was 
already wanted by the Gestapo. 

The two Italian boys who were helping the British prisoners (Vittorio 


and Carlo Casadei) , whose family live on the farm behind our property, 
were taken that day to Regina Coeli, and were eventually among the 
320 victims shot afterward on Via Ardeatina. 

B.R. has hidden himself effectually now, and we hope he will stay 
hidden until the Allies arrive. 

And when will that be? 

Saturday March 18th 

This afternoon at 3 o'clock there was another heavy air raid 
on the city. The bombs were presumably aimed at the "Macao" 
or "Castro Pretorio" barracks, where the Germans have large 
ammunition and petrol dumps. They were uncomfortably near 
us, but, thank God, our house was not damaged. About sixty 
people in a tram near Piazza Bologna were killed; at the big 
hospital known as the Policlinico several wings were demolished; 
the Hungarian Legation in Via dei Villini was hit, and the blast 
killed the young wife of a French diplomat, recently married. 
She was only one of many, but her case was particularly heart- 
breaking. Via Antonio Musa, Via Nomentana, Piazza Galeno, 
Viale Principessa Margherita were all struck by bombs. Much 
damage was also caused in the suburb of Centocelle. A house in 
Via Messina, near Porta Pia, quite close to us, was hit; it was 
over two kilometres distant from the stations. That is the nearest 
we have come to being in the line of attack. 

The Romans are beginning to be panicky as well as depressed. 
There is nothing organized in advance here in case of raids, 
everything is chaotic. 

Sunday March 19th 

There is such a shortage of fuel that it has been decided to 
cut down the trees at Castel Fusano and Castel Porziano, two 
royal estates near Ostia, the latter being the King's shooting 
preserve. Of course it fills the Republicans with delight to de- 
stroy anything belonging to the House of Savoy. 

Yesterday the crowd of refugees around St. Peter's and in the 
colonnade was greater than ever; they feel particularly safe in 
the colonnade, so they camp there for the day, only going home 

at night. I saw several cows being led across the square; they 
looked quite at home, except for the fact that there was no 
pasture for them there. Herds of "refugee" cows are being 
sheltered in the oddest places, in caves under the Janiculum, in 
private gardens, in former garages, any place where they can be 
saved from German rapacity. 

The posters are becoming less informative and more inspira- 
tional; that is to say, there are fewer lengthy printed exhortations 
and more pictures, the latest being one of the Statue of Liberty 
in New York harbour rising from a sea of flames and gore. 
The scornful air of utter weariness and disdain with which the 
poster men wield their paste brushes when they slap the sheets 
on the walls is worth watching. One opposite our house yesterday 
morning was fascinatingly eloquent with his brush. 

The rumour that the Germans intend withdrawing from this 
sector gains credence daily; and since it was confirmed confi- 
dentially by a neutral diplomat, we are beginning to believe it 
ourselves. They say that an agreement has been reached which 
will be published on the 25th. Even the Giornale d'ltatia 
cryptically hinted at it. It is also said that the Germans are 
maddened by the naval artillery at Anzio, which gives them no 
respite, and they are driven to adopt some measures which will 
save their men. 

Monday March 20th 

Someone gave us today's world news in headlines: "Red 
Avalanche Sweeps on Toward Rumania," "Finland Fights On," 
"Ireland Isolated," "Cassino Bombed Off Map," "Moscow 
Backs Badoglio," "Allies Behind Jap Lines." Certainly "enough 
for twenty hopes and fears"; we have full sets of both at present. 

Tuesday March 21st 

And now Hungary. Another unfortunate country occupied. 
Jew-baiting and man-hunting will follow. We can sympathize. 
Poor Hungarians! 

The press announces elaborate commemorative celebrations 
to take place on March 23rd, Thursday, as it will be the 25th 


anniversary of the first Fascist meeting at Piazza San Sepolcro 
in Milan; in other words, the birth of Fascism. It may be as 
well to keep indoors while the celebration is going on. Patriots 
are increasing in numbers and in determination, and there might 
be a clash. 

The funeral of Giuseppe Tufariello, a Blackshirt who was 
murdered after another minor celebration, two days ago, took 
place this morning. 

The manager of the Roman Tram and Bus Company has 
issued a report explaining why there are so few vehicles at the 
disposal of the citizens. He says they have been damaged by air 
raids, but it is well known that the Germans have taken them 
for military purposes. Here are his figures: Out of 713 trams, 
434 remain, and out of 661 buses, only 128 are available for 
service. Therefore, allowing for some damage in air raids, the 
Germans have taken about 200 trams and 500 buses from the 

Wednesday March 22nd 

Two remarkable little items appeared today in the press. No. 1 
occurred toward the end of a long and vehement article by the 
ultra-Nazifascist editor of the Messaggero, Bruno Spampanato. 
The article itself maintained that the recent Allied air raids 
were mere terror raids, for the purpose of killing civilians, de- 
stroying churches and hospitals, etc., etc.; that there were no 
German military targets in the neighbourhood; that Rome was 
an "open city/* etc., etc. It ended thus: "But, in order that the 
enemy may bear the full responsibility of the harm he is doing, 
the German Command will, in the coming days, scrupulously 
withdraw from Rome anything that might furnish a pretext for 
air raids and will avoid still more carefully the transit of troops 
through the Eternal City." The italics are mine. If the military 
targets weren't there, how can he withdraw them "still more 
scrupulously"? If troops did not go through, how can he stop 
their passing through the city? Bruno goes on waxing almost 
sentimental: "This will be one more proof of true brotherhood 
given to Italians by their allies, that, while their troops are 
fighting heroically on our southern front, their military leaders 

are anxiously giving their attention to safeguarding the Capital 
and its citizens/' 

Item No. 2 was even more thrilling. Carefully dated "Lisbon," 
an article in this evening's Giornale d'ltalia, discussing the mili- 
tary situation as a whole, contained the following: "There are 
certain indications that with the coming of fine weather Kessel- 
ring is increasingly conscious of the difficulty of bringing up 
supplies for nineteen divisions by lorry and by rail along roads 
continually pounded by the R.A.F. It is therefore possible that 
this consideration alone may induce him to abandon the stubborn 
defence of the Gustav Line and begin withdrawal combats 
\_combattimenti di ritirata] similar to those he led after he failed 
to drive the enemy forces into the sea at Salerno." We are all 
'delighted about this; but is it true? 

Thursday March 23rd 

It was wise not to have gone out of the house today. Friends 
dropped in this evening and told us of serious occurrences in 
Via Rasella, and of minor ones in Via Nazionale and other 
streets. Via Rasella was the worst of all. It is a narrow street 
running from Via delli Quattro Fontane, opposite the big gate 
of the Barberini Palace, parallel to Via degli Avignonesi and Via 
del Tritone, down to Via del Traforo. It slopes steeply and is not 
very much frequented. At half past three this afternoon, while 
a detachment of German troops was passing down Via Rasella, 
a time bomb which had been concealed in a dustman's cart 
exploded. Twenty-six Germans were killed and about twenty 
wounded; eight of them so seriously that they died shortly 
afterward. Pandemonium followed. Until 9 P.M. German sol- 
diers, S.S. men and Fascists with tanks and machine guns, con- 
tinued shooting wildly at the windows and roofs of houses not 
only in Via Rasella, but in the neighbouring streets also, All the 
inhabitants of Via Rasella as well as those who happened to be 
passing at the time were arrested, hustled into lorries and taken 
to what is now called "the slaughter house" at Via Tasso, the 
Gestapo prison and place of torture. 

No one knows what the consequences of this will be, nor what 
horrible reprisals will follow. 


Friday March 24th 

Another turn of the screw by the Germans. With explana- 
tions how it is absolutely necessary on account of the numbers 
of refugees in the city, how a more even distribution of avail- 
able supplies will thus be made, and that it is just for the time 
being, the already meagre ration of bread, 150 grammes, as 
from Saturday, the 25th, will be reduced to 100 grammes per 
head, per day. It will now consist of one small roll weighing 
about 3^2 ounces. Apart from the weight, the ingredients of 
the bread are fearful and wonderful. It was analyzed by a friend 
interested in the chemistry of food, and she found that in it 
were: 1, elm tree pith; 2, a little rye; 3, dried chick peas; 4, 
maize flour; 5, mulberry leaves. Of course the ingredients change 
from time to time. At present I should say that they are much 
the same, with the addition of a small quantity of sawdust and 
perhaps a pinch or two of ashes, but I am not an analyst and 
cannot be sure. 

This evening the Qsservatore Romano appealed to all Romans 
to refrain from acts of violence in this most serious period of 
the war; acts, it says, which would only provoke severe reprisals, 
giving rise to an infinite series of painful episodes. It concludes 
by begging the clergy and all those who can influence the people 
to persuade them to be strong, patient and self -controlled, for 
their own sakes and for that of their city. 

The writer of this short appeal (published on the front page 
in italics) must already know something of the consequences 
of yesterday's occurrences in Via Rasella. Perhaps we shall know 

Saturday March 25th 

Yes, we do know not only something but a great deal about 
the consequences of what happened in Via Rasella. Comment is 
superfluous. The story is a terrible one. No allusion has been 
made to it in the German-controlled press, but we have had all 
the facts from a trustworthy source. 

At 2 o'clock yesterday the Gernians went to the prison of 
Regina Coeli, and called a long list of prisoners from the "third 
wing"; that is, the political wards. Some had been there for 

months, some for a few days; their only crime was that of being 
anti-Fascists. "With their hands tied behind their backs they were 
taken by lorry to some caves on the Via Ardeatina known as 
the Caves of Domitilla, as they are near the catacomb of that 
name. The Germans surrounded them with machine guns and 
tanks, and when at 3 o'clock the lorries drove up, the men in 
them were forced to alight and enter the caves. Once inside 
they were made to stand in groups of ten, and were machine- 
gunned. They were killed like cattle, with no priest present to 
help them at the end, no opportunity of communicating with 
their families. The bodies were piled in a long mound in the 
cave, and a mine was exploded at the entrance so that there 
could be no access to it. A priest and a few peasants, hidden in 
a neighbouring cottage which the Germans omitted to search, 
witnessed the proceedings. 

Today's papers publish a communique from the German High 
Command which runs: 

On the afternoon of March 23rd, criminal elements committed acts 
of violence by means of bombs against a German column passing 
through Via Rasella. In . consequence, thirty-two members of the Ger- 
man police were killed and a number of them wounded. 

This brutally violent act was committed by communists of Ba- 
doglio's party. Investigations are being made as to the crime being caused 
by Anglo-American influence. 

The German High Command is determined to crush the activities 
of these villainous bandits. No one will be allowed to sabotage the re- 
newed Italo-German co-operation. The Command has ordered that, 
for every German who was murdered, ten of Badoglio's communists 
shall be shot. This order has aready been executed. 

A shiver of horror ran through those who read this cold- 
blooded communique. 

Sunday March 26th 

The tragedy on Via Ardeatina was played to its end yesterday, 
we learn from the same source. At six o'clock in the morning, 
more lorries arrived with prisoners, not from Regina Coeli, but 


from the Gestapo headquarters in Via Tasso. Some of them had 
already undergone torture. They were forced into the cave by 
another entrance, machine-gunned in the same way as the others, 
and their bodies were placed in piles in the same order as the 
others. The long mound of corpses was then covered with some 
adhesive chemical substance resembling pitch, so that the re- 
mains could never be separated or identified. Earth was thrown 
on top of the whole, and the remaining entrances to the cave 
dynamited as before. The statement published by the German 
Command was untrue. Instead of 320 victims, they had executed 
many more, some say 500. Before leaving the caves, the officer 
in charge ordered the Fascists present to arrange for domestic 
refuse to be dumped in front of the entrances, already blocked 
up by earth and rubble. This done, the guards were removed, 
the guns were unmounted, and the day's work was at an end. 
Rome was beginning to suffer what Prague and "Warsaw had 
witnessed: wholesale reprisals in cold blood. 

Monday March 27th 

Every day there are air raids in the distant suburbs and we can 
hear the explosions clearly; but no bombs have been dropped 
on the city itself for over a week. The rumour about the Germans 
having agreed to withdraw to a point twenty kilometres beyond 
Rome so that there may be no more attacks from the air is re- 
peated by everyone, high and low, wise and foolish, diplomats, 
market women, journalists, bus drivers, priests, shop girls. They 
are going, they say. Oh, yes, there is no doubt about it. Just a 
few would remain to police the city. And what might that 
mean? Well, they didn't know. Then there was the companion 
rumour in circulation to the effect that the Pope had arranged 
everything with the Germans; he would take charge of the 
wounded; Rome would be a "hospital city" only; it would be 
policed by an international corps, composed of neutrals: Swiss, 
Spaniards, Portuguese, Swedes, even Turks I think were included. 
Anyway, it would be the solution of all difficulties. The Pope 
had ordered 20,000, or was it 60,000 armlets for the piebald 
collection of police to wear, and it would all be made public 

within a day or so. The armlets would have "Vatican" printed on 

Tuesday March 28th 

The truth about the victims shot after the Via Rasella trouble 
is known by now throughout the city, and the people, grief- 
stricken and indignant, have removed the refuse heaps from the 
blocked-up entrances and replaced them with flowers of all sorts; 
the most expensive ones are laid there side by side with the poorest 
wild flowers. The Germans have refused to give the list of those 
whom they shot, and the families of prisoners in Via Tasso and 
Regina Coeli are tormented with grief to which is added sus- 
pense. This form of mental torture is practised extensively by the 
Germans, and only by indirect means have families sometimes 
come to learn of the execution or the death in prison of their 

It is chilly and rainy; the Allies have had to fall back at Cas- 
sino, and we're all feeling depressed. 

Wednesday March 29th 

The German Command has published a "declaration" stating 
once more that Rome is an "open city," and that they have 
taken a great deal of trouble to make it so; this, solely for the 
sake of the inhabitants. They (the inhabitants) are to remember 
that, apart from attacks from the enemy, the well-being of the 
city is in their hands, and if communists in the pay of the enemy 
endeavour to attack German soldiers again, the Command "will 
take what measures it deems necessary." That means that if 
anything happens again resembling the occurrences in Via Rasella 
the reprisals will be still more ferocious. The Command has also 
appealed privately to the Fascist journalists to urge Romans to 
"collaborate" more with the Germans. 

Thursday March. 30th 

There is a sort of vague, dissatisfied, ominous feeling in the 
air. Some German cars and lorries have gone, and a good many 


soldiers with them, but barriers are still up around the German 
offices, and they are guarded by sentinels with machine guns, 
as before. Those who have gone outside the city have not gone 
far, and can pounce in on us whenever they wish to do so, of 
course. The S.S. and the Gestapo are here as before. 

There is a whole crop of fresh rumours explaining why the 
so-called agreement to evacuate Rome did not come off: the 
Germans told the Allies (through the Vatican) that they would 
evacuate, but must keep control of the Tiburtina goods (freight) 
station. Next, they had asked for immunity for Berlin, and would 
grant the same to London; next well, they were all equally 
childish, and propagated by childish persons. 

The masses are angry about the bread ration reduction, and 
appear ripe for some sort of food riot. There is no bread at all 
in Albano and Grottaf errata; in the latter town the Germans 
will not let flour come through, because the men there refused 
to work for them. But the men prefer starvation to slave labour. 
This steady lack of "collaboration" on the part of the Romans 
and the inhabitants of the Castelli has angered the Germans. 
Certainly, the passive resistance has been wonderful. 

The Gestapo arrested a girl who lives close to us, the other 
day, because she was "indiscreet" on the telephone. There is a 
body of JOO operators employed at the central telephone building, 
listening to conversations and reporting them. 

There are constant air attacks outside the city on German 
columns bound for the front, but still none inside Rome. We 
hear a good deal of shooting at night in this neighbourhood. 

Friday March 31st 

Further consequences of the reprisals after the bomb attack 
in Via Rasella are the strengthening and extension of the under- 
ground front. The whole thing is better organized than before, 
more papers and leaflets are circulated, warnings are conveyed 
with greater speed, and arms are being collected more efficiently. 
The patriots meet in places like Piazza di Spagna, or the Pincio 
or Piazza del Popolo, in twos and threes, and convey orders to 
the members of the different groups. They have also gained 
confidence since the establishment of the Anzio front, and in 

some cases members of the police force are inclined to wink at 
their activities in the hope that when the Allies take Rome their 
fate may be less hard than it would be otherwise. 

As women have played an important part in helping Allied 
prisoners of war who are in hiding here > so they are of untold 
help to the patriots. Bundles of papers are taken to their destina- 
tions under the cushions of perambulators or hidden in market 
bags beneath lettuces and cabbages. 

The U.S.L (Union of Italian Students) unites most of the 
University students for patriotic purposes, and organizes them 
with remarkable skill. "We must be prepared to face all risks in 
the struggle against Nazif ascists today, as we shall be prepared 
to work for the reconstruction of Italy afterward" so runs their 
manifesto. A number of them have been arrested by the Gestapo, 
but a far greater number are still at large and are most active. 

In order to persuade more Romans and refugees to go to 
North Italy, where German power will remain paramount for 
a longer time than in Rome, the Republican Government is now 
offering free transport in lorries for all who wish to travel in that 
direction. The pretext is that they are food lorries, which must 
go to their destinations empty. Quite a number of refugees have 
accepted the offer. They are promised good food and opportuni- 
ties for work "in the north." 

The Giornale d'ltalia and the Messaggero are almost hysterical 
with annoyance at the weekly edition of the Vatican paper, 
which, in giving a general account of world conditions, men- 
tioned, under the heading "Italy," that Badoglio has succeeded 
in improving food conditions in the south, in reorganizing travel, 
in clearing out undesirable officials and in restoring liberty of the 
press. The fact that "Italy" is considered to be those portions of 
the peninsula which are no longer occupied by the Germans is 
held to show "stratospherical ignorance," and that no recogni- 
tion should be made of the "Italian Social Republic" is an unpar- 
donable crime committed by a paper which "appears in a small 
State which is enclosed in die Capital of the Republic." Nothing 
touches the "Republicans" on the raw so much as not being 
recognized as the sole legitimate government of Italy. 

One of the hastily enlisted Blackshirt battalions, called pom- 
pously Battaglione della Morte, was sent into action recently on 


the Anzio front. Most of the soldiers in it were under twenty 
years of age. When they reached the front lines, ten of them were 
killed by mistake, and the rest surrendered without firing a shot. 
The same kind of thing occurred when the first of the "re- 
constituted" Italian air squadrons was sent into action. They 
went up from an Italian airfield and promptly came down be- 
hind the Allied lines. In future they will have German observers 
on board, and more German officers among the troops. 

Saturday April 1st 

Two more Fascists have been murdered in the suburb of Quad- 
raro; the Blackshirts are making themselves hated increasingly 
as the days go by. They are also beginning to be nervous, which 
makes them more inclined to violence. 

There is a great deal of propaganda in the press about the 
elimination of black market centres; but of course these raids on 
the black market are faked, as the Germans and Republicans are 
back of the smaller profiteers. Yesterday there was an elaborate 
mise-en-scene with plain-clothes police and Republican guards 
for the suppression of the buying and selling that was going on 
in Via Tor di Nona. 

A little while ago one of our friends sent her majordomo to 
buy some meat in a Trastevere black market centre. Having ob- 
tained it, he was on his way home, when a plain-clothes man 
approached him and asked if he had got any meat. He stopped 
and made no answer, knowing that he had been caught red- 
handed. The- detective, however, seeing he was frightened, said 
reassuringly: "It's all right, I only wished to know if it had 
come, I'm getting some myself. " The meat cost about 200 lire 
per kilo. 

The Fascists are establishing soup kitchens in various parts of 
the city to try to stave off food riots, but the quality of the stuff 
they distribute is so bad that the poor say they would rather go 
hungry than try to live on it. The soup kitchens run by the 
Vatican, and by the Circolo di San Pietro under Vatican auspices, 
are much better managed, but the numbers of the poor and of 
penniless refugees increase daily, and it is well-nigh impossible 
to cope with diem all. 

One sees "Bread! Bread! Bread! Death to the people who 
are starving us!" scrawled on the walls. In one place I saw: 
"Remember the crimes of Fascism!" "Crimes" had been hastily 
rubbed out and "merits" written faintly in its place. 

Sunday April 2nd 

Tonight we begin summer time, single, not double, and put 
our clocks ahead one hour. 

The strength and impenetrability of the "Atlantic Wall" is 
apparently such, and its importance so vital, that a whole extra 
sheet of paper has been granted to the press in order to write 
articles about it. They are meant to revive the drooping morale 
of Axis satellites and the Italian Republicans. The patriots say: 
"Wait and see." 

Two more of the Fascist police were murdered yesterday. There 
will be some fierce reprisals soon, in all probability. 

Monday April 3rd 

Neutral newspaper correspondents in Rome have been taken 
on a little tour by the Germans around and outside the city, in 
order that they may write to their papers and say that Rome is 
absolutely an "open city" in the fullest sense of the term. I won- 
der what they will write. One knows beforehand what the satel- 
lite ones will say, but the Swiss, the Swedes and the Spaniards ? 

The curfew is newly fixed for tomorrow, to begin at 8.30 P.M. 
and to end at 6 A.M. 

There is a well defined pause in activities on both the Cassino 
and the Anzio fronts. Some people say that the Germans are 
running out of ammunition and that we know it and are wait- 
ing purposely. 

The negotiations that are being carried on at present regarding 
the sale of wolfram to Germany by Spain and Portugal are of 
the deepest interest to us here; one feels that they can only end 
by those countries recognizing the justice of the Allies* claims. 


Tuesday April 4th 

The authorities published today the total number of casualties 
caused in Rome by air raids between July 19, 1943, and March 
20, 1944. They amount to 5,000 killed and 11,000 wounded. 
We have had no more since the last-named date, and can hear 
bombs exploding in the distance only. There is an impression that 
the Allies have decided not to drop them within the city limits. 

Civilian motor cars, even if they have licenses, are now for- 
bidden to use the great highways leading to Rome, the Appia, 
Tuscolana, Casilina, Tiburtina, Salaria, Cassia and Aurelia; they 
are all reserved for German military purposes. 

Yesterday a young priest, Don Giuseppe Morosini, was exe- 
cuted by the Fascists for having given help of every kind, ma- 
terial as well as spiritual, to a group of patriots. He was betrayed 
to the Gestapo, imprisoned and condemned to death, as it was 
discovered that there were arms and a transmitter radio set 
among the things he had collected for the young men who were 
in hiding. The Pope's efforts to obtain a reprieve from the 
Germans were unavailing, and the execution was fixed for April 
3rd. He died like a saint and a hero. Having asked as a favour 
to be allowed to celebrate Mass on the morning of his execution, 
permission was granted to him, and Monsignore Traglia, Vice- 
gerent of Rome, was present at it. The latter protested against 
the priest being handcuffed on entering the motor van that was 
to take them to the place of execution. On the way Father 
Morosini asked Monsignore Traglia to thank the Pope for his 
efforts on his behalf and to say that he offered his life for him. 
Before being blindfolded he kissed his crucifix, blessed the pla- 
toon of soldiers who were to shoot him, and publicly forgave the 
man who had betrayed him. Possibly because the executioners 
were overcome by his quiet heroism, he was not killed by their 
volley, and fell to the ground, wounded but conscious. He begged 
for the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, which was administered 
at once by Monsignore Traglia, after which the commanding 
officer shot him at the base of the skull with a revolver. 

Once when he was being questioned during his imprisonment 
Father Morosini was asked: "What would you do if you were 
given yotfr freedom?" "I should continue to do what I had been 
doing," was the calm reply. 

Wednesday April 5th 

The food situation is growing worse daily. At the Littorio 
hospital, where we know one of the patients, the sick are not only 
not given the kind of food which their various illnesses require, 
but they are not given enough to keep them alive. Two women 
who were brought there, suffering from shock after an air raid, 
died after a few days simply from hunger. 

The Fascist troops who are sent to the Anzio front, now go 
there wearing German uniforms, such is the shortage of material, 
A friend of ours who is co-operating with the Vatican authori- 
ties in their efforts to bring foodstuffs into the city says that 
more Germans have been murdered; the Command has hushed 
the matter up, but is punishing the citizens by preventing food 
coming into Rome. The statement is quite credible. 

Thursday April 6th 

There is so much writing on the walls of the city that a decree 
has been issued to the effect that the owner or custodian of each 
house is responsible for whatever communist, partisan or "sub- 
versive** inscriptions appear on its walls; if he does not cancel 
them immediately he will be severely punished. Obviously the 
police had to give it up as a bad job; they could no longer cope 
with the spate of hostile remarks scrawled nightly all over the 

Today is Maundy Thursday, a lovely spring day, and greater 
crowds than usual are visiting the different churches. They are 
praying for peace and for the cessation of incidents such as the 
one which took place at the Nazzareno College this morning. All 
the staff and pupils were present at Mass in the College chapel. 
During the ceremony a sermon was preached which concluded 
with an exhortation to pray for the peace and the safety of Italy. 
When it was over, a young man who was seated near the door 
and who was not a pupil of the College, called out: "Let us now 
say a T)e Profundis' for the 320 men murdered by the Germans!" 
Immediately a Fascist member of the staff, Professor Lattanzi, 
gripped him by the arm and hustled him off to a classroom where 
he locked him up, and, after questioning him, reported him to the 
German authorities. As soon as Lattanzi was gone the boys 


rushed to the classroom and forced the door open so that the 
prisoner might escape. They made a note of Lattanzi's name, 
for future reference, and when the Allies arrive, his lot will not 
be an enviable one. 

However, the matter did not end there, for the Gestapo ar- 
rested a number of the boys in their own homes and took them 
to Via Tasso to be interrogated. 

Good Friday April 7th 

We have had bad news today. One of the foremost helpers 
of the hidden British prisoners here has been caught and was 
tortured, and a certain amount of information has leaked out. 
All the men in concealment must change their lodgings, and at 
once. How is it going to be possible to get it done at such short 

The miracle has been achieved, thanks to the united efforts 
of the group; the lodgings were changed, and none of the British 
were caught. When all this is over, one hopes that recognition will 
be made of the devoted service that Italian patriots and others 
have been giving to our men. 

There is a new sign in German at the top of the roadway in 
Via Veneto: "Only Generals pass this way." It gives quite a tone 
to the street. 

From the Vatican we have heard statistics about the number 
of men rounded up in the Castelli by the Germans for their 
forced labour organizations. They total 8,000. 

The Pope has sent 7,000 loaves of bread to the concentration 
camp at Cesena, near Lake Bracciano, for the refugees whom the 
Germans have forcibly evacuated. It is one of the worst in Italy; 
the people there are housed in wretched army huts, with no 
blankets, no sanitation and next to no food. Numbers of them 
have died of hunger and exposure. The Pope has saved many of 
their lives by sending food to the camp. 

Easter Sunday April 9th 

There is a rumour that the Allies have landed at Civitavecchia; 
but it is not to be taken seriously. 

This morning, in Corso d'ltalia, in front of the building the 
Germans use for their offices and which is elaborately barricaded 
off, they gave a brilliant band concert in honour of Easter Day. 
A large crowd collected to listen to them; there is no doubt 
whatever that they are born musicians. If only they would stick 
to music instead of making war! 

Monday April 10th 

The press has given us a good scolding today for "giving credit 
to rumours malignantly spread by agents of the enemy" but 
does not say what they are, which would have been much more 
interesting. It ends by pointing out how futile it is to attempt 
"to sow discord between us and our chivalrous allies who are 
defending our land with legendary valour." Those who do not 
collaborate with these "allies" deserve to be "treated as slaves 
exiled from their country and outside the pale of civilization." 
And, it points out, the kind Germans have done so much to make 
everything pleasant for the Romans "if painful incidents have 
occurred, necessitating prompt measures in retaliation, this 
should not give rise to alarmist tales as to the future intentions 
of the Germans." 

Well, well, you never know. 

Even if there is a war, aggravated by German occupation, the 
Romans will stick to their time-honoured customs. Among these 
is the "scampagnata" or day in the country juori porta, outside 
the gates on Easter Monday. As no one is allowed to go outside 
the city at present, they have taken what few provisions they 
could scrape together and have had their day out, by picnicking 
all over the Forum and the Palatine, and in various parks. It was 
better than nothing; and tradition must be upheld. 

Tuesday Aprfl llth 

One of our peasants returned today from Lanuvio, where he 
managed to go to look at his property. He was horror-struck at 
what he had heard about the Germans who, on Easter Sunday, 
surrounded the parish church at Galloro, and took all the men 
off to labour for them; but worse still, they killed all the men in 


a village in the Abruzzi. It seems that in this village the peasants 
had been kind to escaped British prisoners, and to patriots, giving 
them food and shelter. The Germans simply surrounded it, 
rounded up the men, placed them with their backs to the church 
wall, and there, in front of their women folk, whom they ob- 
liged to be present, shot them. Virginio was almost crying when 
he told us of this horror. 

Someone came in today, wanting to borrow an English gram- 
mar from us. It seems that, such is the demand, every English 
grammar in Rome has been bought up by those who wish to be 
really proficient in the language when the Allies arrive. Most of 
the French grammars have also been sold out, but there are piles 
of German textbooks available for anyone who wants them. But 
no one does. 

The supply of salt appears to be exhausted, and the monthly 
ration is to be reduced to 150 grammes per head provided we 
get even that much. Cooking without salt is a novel experience. 

Wednesday April 12th 

The personally conducted tour made by the neutral press 
correspondents on April 3rd is beginning to bear fruit. The 
Easier Nacbricbten says that German military supplies are now 
transported along narrow country roads which make a wide 
detour around Rome, thus using much more fuel than if they 
took the broad ones which lead through the city; and this is very- 
satisfactory for the German press censors. But the Swede un- 
grateful Swede! How could he stoop so low? spoiled the game 
and spilled the beans. He told the truth, the whole truth and 
nothing but the truth, and said that Rome was not an open 
city, that there were quantities of military supply depots in it, 
and that military traffic went through it. He also produced some 
photographs in support of his statements. 

The wrath of the German and Fascist authorities knows no 
bounds. They say he is a liar. They have forbidden all tours for 
press correspondents, and no one .may use a camera in future. 
But all that changes nothing. The fat is irremediably in the fire. 


Thursday April 13th 

Marshal Kesselring has visited the Pope again; afterward he 
paid a visit to the Cardinal Secretary of State. When Kesselring 
had gone "the Cardinal remarked smilingly to a friend of ours: 
"There will be good news for us next week/* We conclude that 
it means they will withdraw from this part of Italy on account 
of the difficulty of transport. The hope that has subsided so many 
times flares up again. But one does not believe these hopeful 
statements so easily as before; we find that we are developing a 
sort of protective covering of incredulity. 

The increase in robberies is alarming at present. Not official 
robberies by the Germans, but ordinary ones, carried out by 
thieves, sometimes masked, at other times disguised in Fascist 
uniforms. Lawlessness is in the air, police protection is weak, and 
thieving, as always, is an easy way of accumulating riches. It has 
reached such a degree that the following notice was found af- 
fixed to a tobacconist's shop recently: "Gentlemen who are 
thinking of robbing this shop are warned that the cigarettes, 
matches and other goods are stored elsewhere during the night. 
Will they therefore kindly refrain from damaging the shutters/' 

Looting "officially," the Germans collected a large number 
of bales of cloth, which they stored in a shop almost opposite 
our house. A day or two ago they emptied all the pieces of mate- 
rial into lorries and drove off. During the process sentries stood 
on guard at the door, in case of thieves, I suppose. 

This morning we took a turn in Villa Borghese to. see the 
spring. It has really come at last, and the blessed warmth is pene- 
trating into our unheated houses, thawing everything, and mak- 
ing one forget the months of desperate struggle against the cold. 
The weather is perfect; mild yet fresh. In a few weeks we shall 
be perspiring and trying to shut out the heat and glare. It won't 
matter though, if the Allies are here. It seems almost as if noth- 
ing would matter if only we could get rid of the Germans. 

' Close to the entrance of Villa Borghese were two sinister look- 
ing German armoured cars with guns, ready to rake the ap- 
proaches to the gardens if required. Nevertheless their shadow 
could not dim the glory of the surroundings, nor change the 
delicate beauty of young leaves and grass. The colour of the 
budding trees was Uke a delicate melody: golden-green, silver- 


green, blue-green, olive-green, mauve-green and pinkish-green 
harmonized against a background of thin weeping willows and 
solid ilexes. The buds themselves seemed deliberately fantastic in 
shape and texture; they were feathery, knobby, vertical, hori- 
zontal, stiffly conventionalized or recklessly baroque. Judas trees, 
Japanese cherry, wistaria, hawthorn, almond and peach trees 
made a foreground of colour against a background of lawns and 
shrubs. The Giardino del Lago, the loveliest spot of all, was 
closed and guarded. Inside there were piles of sacks, and lorries 
standing under the trees. The Germans are using it for storing 
food. Of course the loss of the Ukraine has told heavily on them, 
and in consequence on us, for they do not intend to suffer so long 
as they can live on occupied regions. 

Friday April 14th 

We heard heavy anti-aircraft gunfire this morning, and at 
intervals the sirens sounded an alarm. The latter have become 
matter for jokes among the Romans. Sometimes they sound after 
the planes have passed, sometimes beforehand, and sometimes 
when there are no planes at all. Either the officer in command 
is temperamental or there is no particular person to give orders. 
Most probably there is no one. "Nessuno comanda." It is all part 
of the chaos. 

Saturday April 15th 

Our group is doing what it can for Alf and Charlie. They 
are very special, as they are in a hospital which, fortunately, is 
not a military one. Alf is from the East End of London and 
Charlie is Scotch, a window cleaner in private life. They belong 
to the Barsetshire and Loamshire, and were wounded at Anzio. 
The Germans took one of our positions, so immediately afterward 
we bombed it to bits. Alf and Charlie did not get away with 
the others, and were badly hurt. A hit at the top of the spinal 
column paralyzed Alf's arms; Charlie lost an eye and received a 
bad abdominal wound. The Germans picked them up, together 
with two of theirs, and put them in an ambulance. During the 

ride they were robbed of everything except their boots and 
Charlie's underclothes, which were too bloodsoaked to be of use. 
On the way to the military hospital the ambulance broke down, 
so they were hastily taken to the nearest one for civilians let us 
call it the Benito. They were put to bed in a small ward with 
four beds in it. The German authorities immediately sent quanti- 
ties of food, coffee, eggs, bread, butter and milk for theirs, but 
nothing for the British soldiers. They probably meant them to 
die of hunger. However, one of the nuns on the hospital staff 
wangled food for them, and pulled them through the most 
critical period. The Chief Surgeon was kindness itself, giving 
them every possible remedy he could devise, and promising that 
he would manage that they should not be transferred to a military 
hospital, which would mean a concentration camp when they had 
recovered. One of our group heard of the two men's plight from 
the spirited nun who had helped them through the first days; 
she got to work, and now the men are fed regularly. Someone 
makes bread for them, another produces eggs, a third gets rice 
puddings, and between them all a little tea has been found. 
Charlie longs for potatoes and gravy, which are very hard to 
procure. Alf isn't used to dilatory ways; he is only twenty, and 
moreover fears bombs. He was in a fury the other day and said 
to the leading member of our group: "I say, Miss, I ain't kid din' 
I'm not goin' to that electric treatment any more, thev kep' 
me waitin' two hours. I might of 'ad a bomb on me down there!" 
There is a sentry on duty outside the little ward and a big sign 
"No admittance," but the most valiant member of the organiza- 
tion, who speaks Italian like a native, simply says "May I pass," 
and walks in. That is all there is to it. That, and courage on her 
part. She is trying to get medicines for them, as there are none in 
the hospital. The Germans have taken all there are, except those 
to be found in a few chemists' shops. They have also taken the 
surgical instruments from the hospitals, including the only 
electric lancet there was in the city, at the Celio hospital. 

There must be a big meeting on at the Excelsior Hotel today. 
When we passed it on our way to Piazza di Spagna there were 
double the usual number of sentries around it, and when we tried 
to go down Via Sistina, where the German Transport Head- 
quarters are, a sentinel at the end of the street barred the way 


saying, "You cannot pass here today/' with a slight emphasis on 
the "today/' 

Farther on we met one of the most ardent patriots we know, 
and he told us that there would be a big attack in a few days. 
He seemed very cheerful. 

Another friend brought news of an arrangement made through 
the Vatican by which the Allies will grant the Germans three 
days' armistice in which to withdraw to their Livorno-Rimini 
line. In theory that may be magnificent, but it is not war; and 
we do not believe it. War isn't a game of hide-and-seek, it is 
destruction of the enemy. Another British prisoner whom we 
had the pleasure of seeing is an officer of high rank, and he also 
laughed at the idea of such a truce. "Find the enemy and destroy 
him," he said; "that is war." 

There is a significant line or two at the end of an announce- 
ment in today's papers of a football match to be played tomor- 
row for the benefit of destitute refugees: "In consequence of 
orders issued by the German Command, German soldiers will not 
be admitted to the Stadium for the football match." It makes 
one realize how nervous they are in presence of simmering 
popular resentment. 

Sunday April 16th 

Mass was celebrated this morning at St. Mary Major's for the 
repose of the souls of all those who had been killed in Rome, 
by air raids or other means, including execution by the Germans. 
Afterward, in the square in front of the basilica, someone dis- 
tributed "subversive" leaflets; a Blackshirt soldier interfered and 
was killed; some promiscuous shooting followed. No Germans 
were killed, so perhaps there will not be such fierce reprisals 
as one fears. Tension increases daily, as the patriots become more 
hopeful and the Germans make themselves more hated. 

That rumour regarding the withdrawal of the Germans will 
not die. Today we hear that it is absolutely true, that negotia- 
tions are in progress, and that they are about to abandon the 
southern front. "The news will be made public officially on the 
25th." Will it? Our expectations are not as resilient as they 
used to be. 

Monday April 17th 

The horrors at Via Tasso continue steadily. Among the boys 
taken by the Germans after the incident at the Nazzareno Col- 
lege on April 6th was young Morelli. His parents were in despair 
about him, and tried in vain to have him released. He has just 
been freed and brought back to them, but in a condition border- 
ing on insanity. He cannot speak, and shrinks away from any- 
one who approaches him, no matter how gently. He does not 
recognize his mother and father, and shrinks even from them. 
One hardly dares to imagine their feelings. They have taken him 
to the best specialists, who hold out some faint hope of curing 
him, though they fear that the brain has been injured perma- 
nently. Among the more old-fashioned instruments of torture 
at Via Tasso are some modern ones, among which is a thing called 
the "electric helmet." When I learnt of its existence I hadn't the 
courage to hear more details; the name was enough. 

The weather is overcast and sultry today, and to the distant 
rumble of the storm is joined the rumble of heavy artillery; it 
sounds like naval guns off the coast. It is one of those ominous 
days when you feel that anything might happen. 

Last night, German soldiers in a house near us which they have 
occupied for some time past held a sing-song, which lasted until 
after midnight. It was followed by the departure of numbers 
of cars and lorries, all of which were noisily cranked up before 
starting. Someone said it was a sign they were leaving. Honestly, 
I don't want to bear any more that they are going; I just want to 
see them go, that is all. Of course it doesn't do to be rude when 
people start telling you this, it is the wish that is father to the 
thought and all that but why do they raise their own hopes 
this way? Rome means much too much to Hitler for him ever to 
allow his troops to withdraw. They will have to be forced out 
by the Allies, at the point of the sword. However 

Giovanni Gentile, the foremost "philosopher of Fascism** and 
President of the "Italian Academy'* founded by Mussolini in 
1926, was murdered yesterday in Florence, by cyclists who fired 
revolver shots at him while he was driving in his motor car. 
There have also been one or two minor Fascists murdered in 
Rome within the last few days. Murder is a ghastly business, and 
violence breeds violence, Onlookers are helpless. The whole thing 


is a tragedy. Giovanni Gentile, of course, is an outstanding 
figure in the Fascist world, and came nearer to providing it with 
a philosophy than any other writer, though, naturally, he failed 
in the attempt. The papers have been filled with articles on Gen- 
tile and with indignant comments on the manner of his death; 
the best of all was the column which appeared in the Osservatore 
Romano, protesting against the rising tide of violence and mur- 
der which threatens to drown all Christian sentiments in the 
hearts of men. "Men kill each other thus," it said, "because they 
have killed the thought of God in their hearts," and concludes: 
"Without God, without Jesus Christ, without charity, how dare 
we dream of peace aijd of redemptive justice, if peace with God 
is not observed but repudiated daily more and more, and if 
justice is reduced to the blind impulse of revenge?" 

Some German soldiers have also been murdered in the suburbs, 
and the men who killed them escaped; for that reason the S.S. 
arrested all the men of the district and sent them to the forced 
labour service. "The people of Rome" are held responsible for 
these things by the Germans and are warned that if they continue 
worse punishments will follow. We do not know if any of the 
men arrested were shot as hostages or not. There is no information 

Tuesday April 18th 

One widespread rumour has been roundlv denied today, and 
that is a comfort. It concerned the Sistine Chapel, where a time 
bomb was supposed to have been placed recently. The Osservatore 
says today that the rumour is absolutely unfounded, and that no 
bomb has been found in the Sistine. 

The Blackshirts are suspicious of us in this house. They did not 
come here directly but went to the doorkeeper of the next house, 
who happens to be most friendly. They asked who we were and 
what we did, and if he had noticed anything peculiar about us. 
He answered that we were quiet people, we did no harm, and 
that in the evenings we bolted our doors early and went to bed. 
This seemed to satisfy them, for they did not return. Many of 
the Roman doorkeepers are simply spies in the pay of the Nazi- 
fascists, continually informing on the occupants of the house. 

Wednesday April 19th 

Spies have been busy about the daughters of the Duchess of 
Cesaro, who were arrested in their own house with no warning 
this afternoon, together with their fiances. They have been 
taken to Regina Coeli, and one of the young men has been told 
that he will be shot. They are accused of being patriots, which is 
true. They have made no attempt to deny it, but refuse to give 
evidence against other patriots. They may therefore be tortured. 
A friend came in to warn us that "communists will be out 
tonight" and that the Germans were standing to arms through- 
out the city. Well, there is the curfew; we should not be out any- 
way; and if there is shooting in this neighbourhood it won't be 
anything unusual. I don't suppose there will be a battle in our 

Thursday April 20th 

We had a remarkably peaceful night. "Not a drum was heard, 
not a funeral note." The "communists" must have thought bet- 
ter of it, and gone to bed. 

The Germans have begun to use the Vatican colours on their 
lorries and vans along the roads leading to Rome, thus laying 
the real Vatican motors open to attack. One or two have been 
machine-gunned lately on account of this new form of treach- 

Everything is relatively quiet on our Italian fronts. The 
Germans expect the new offensive any day, and say it is the calm 
before the storm. 

More statistics have been published: civilian dwellings in 
Rome destroyed or very seriously damaged by air raids amount 
to 2,437. 

Friday April 21st 

Today is the "birthday of Rome," the day on which the city 
is supposed to have been founded by Romulus, 753 B.C. In the 
heyday of Fascism large-scale celebrations were held, but today 
they have soft-pedalled "manifestations of public enthusiasm" 
and are not attempting anything beyond a few speeches. Italian 


correspondents at the front speak of heavy reinforcements being 
brought up by the Allies, both at Cassino and Anzio. 

"We heard a girl in a tram today sobbing out the story of 
her father and her two brothers, who were arrested by the Ger- 
mans for forced labour while they were engaged in their own 
regular work in a printing establishment. "They told us that 
those who had regular work would be left in peace," she la- 
mented. She is all alone now, and has no idea where her men 
folk are. 

The parish priest of Lanuvio said Mass at St. John Lateran 
yesterday for those of his flock who had fled to Rome. They 
never tire of telling us about his heroism; how he alone remained 
in the village, combining the functions of pastor, mayor, chemist, 
doctor and agricultural expert. 

Saturday April 22nd 

Beppino went on his bicycle into the country yesterday to try 
to find some food for his family; he went all the way to Fara 
Sabina but found that, even in that remote place, the peasants 
will not sell flour for money: they want salt and shoes in ex- 
change. In fact money has very little buying power at present. 
Regarding prices in general the following table is illuminating: 

1934 (May) 1944 (May) 

Bread per kg 0.56 Lire 120 Lire 

Pasta 2.20 200 

Meat 7.00 260 

Cheese 8.00 500 

Shoes (men) 25.00 2000 

Hire of room p. day 10.00 100 

Though not exhaustive, this gives some idea of the economic 
situation here. 

Sunday April 23rd 
The Pope's Villa at Castel Gandolfo has been bombed again; 

can it be German planes? Or Fascist? 

We had several alarms this morning and heard heavy explo- 


sions; it seems that the Allied Air Force caught a large German 
column on the Via Appia and that their petrol lorries blew up. 
Prelates who are received in audience by the Pope now bring 
gifts heretofore unknown. This morning the Bishop of Osimo 
presented His Holiness with 24,000 kilogrammes of provisions 
for the city. 

Monday April 24th 

Private directions issued from the Ministry of Popular Culture 
to the press at present include the following: "When dealing 
with the battle for Sebastopol, do not use the expression 'fortress* 
in speaking of the town, because its fortifications were destroyed 
by the Germans during the attacks they made for its conquest." 
Again: "Do not refer to our brave allies as *Tedesch but as 

Regarding some unfortunate photographs of Mussolini which 
had appeared: "No photographs of II Duce are to be published 
without express authorization from this Ministry." There is a 
blank in this morning's Messaggero. Was it one of those inoppor- 
tune photographs? 

Tuesday April 2 5th 

Rumours of strikes to take place on the first of May are 
persistent, but it is quite possible that they are only German 
propaganda, meant to frighten the public and arouse "anti- 
communist'* feeling. Anyone who is opposed to the Nazifascist 
regime at present is called a "communist," and they are getting 
every ounce of value out of the bolshevik bogey; when they have 
nothing else to say, and the military situation is discouraging 
for the Germans, they start in on bolshevism. 

Wednesday April 26th 

News of a meeting between Hitler and Mussolini on the 22nd 
and 23rd of this month has just been released. As usual on these 
occasions "The political, military and economic conditions of 
Italy and Germany were discussed in detail," and "H Duce ex- 


pressed the determination of the Fascist Republican Government, 
as sole representative of Italy, to intensify its war effort as one 
of the Tripartite Powers." The usual chorus of Plenipotentiaries, 
Ambassadors, Marshals and Under-Secretaries "took part in the 
discussions." One wonders what they really said, besides the ob- 
vious statement: "the game is up." 

Three thousand boxes of matches intended for the black mar- 
ket have been sequestrated with a flourish. Yes, we have come to 

The beggars are going beyond all limits. At first one was sorry 
for them, but now they are becoming almost rebellious. Today 
one of them insisted on our giving her more than we had given, 
and when we refused put her finger on the electric button of our 
doorbell and kept it there. The whole household rushed to the 
spot. Was no one answering it? The noise was unbearable! What 
had happened? And still she went on ringing. We were helpless, 
unless we were to carry her bodily into the street. We said we 
would call the police. "I'll slap him if he comes," was the answer. 
The incident was troublesome, but it had a funny side to it. 

Thursday April 27th 

It is generally understood that the Fascists put a stop to the 
plan of having Rome policed by an international force under 
the Pope's authority. We also hear that "something big" will 
probably happen this week, i.e., before Wednesday, May 3rd. 
Beyond that, all is quiet here today and going on as usual: the 
weather is perfect, the bees are overeating themselves among the 
wistaria blossoms in our garden, and bombs are falling rhythmi- 
cally in the distance. Every night caravans of lorries leave the 
C.I.T. offices in Piazza Esedra, loaded with people bound for the 
mysterious "north of Italy." A lorry carrying petrol accompanies 
the caravan, which otherwise would not find enough on the way. 

Friday April 28th 

The bees may have been having their breakfast among the 
flowers yesterday, but the people, having less and less to eat for 
breakfast, dinner and supper, staged bread riots in the Testacqio 

quarter as well as near Piazza Fiume quite close to us. The cry 
was raised; "The brutes are starving us!" meaning, of course, 
the Germans. Several bakeries were broken into and looted. 

The Tribuna this evening publishes a long article on the 
pontifical food ships, giving their exact number, stating that 
they were hired in Genoa, that they are small coasting vessels, 
and that they would probably be able to navigate the Tiber for 
a certain distance. It even gives the names of two of the ships. 
What it omits, however, is the fact that, as they did some time 
ago, the Germans refuse to let them through unless they them- 
selves take 70 per cent of the cargo. 

Saturday April 29th 

Everyone is beginning to say that the invasion of the Con- 
tinent will take place in June. That seems to be the most sensible 
rumour we have heard. My own guess is that it will happen be- 
fore June 10th, though I have no great faith in anyone's pro- 
phetic powers, 

N.L. came in today with her sister, who had fled from her 
country place where S.S. men had threatened to shoot both her 
and her husband. The reason of the threat was that they had 
helped British and American prisoners, that an American flag 
was found concealed in their house, and that some letters, writ- 
ten in English, did not express very complimentary opinions of 
the Germans. They escaped by miracle, and it will be easier for 
them to hide in Rome than in the country. 

What would the Germans say if they searched this house, 
discovered this diary (which is even less complimentary to them 
than the last time that fear of its being found crossed my mind) 
and found the flags, both American and British, which we have 
put away? They are fine big flags, too. 

German women in Rome have had orders to leave the city 
today; a significant detail, if nothing else. They say that the 
Gestapo is going also; is it possible? 

M.P. tells us that he has seen a contract signed by a big 
Italian cement company for work on cement fortifications under 
the direction of the Todt Organization on the La Spezia-Rimini 

Line, which must be finished by May 15th. Another sign of 

Sunday April 30th 

Much publicity is being given to the small amount of extra 
food which has been allotted to "workers," that is to say, to the 
men who are working for the Germans or the Fascists. Between 
May 3rd and May 30th, they will be allowed to buy one small 
tin of meat, one-fif th of a quart of oil, one pound of sugar and 
seven ounces of cheese. The headings of these regulations do their 
best, announcing in heavy type: "Extraordinary distribution of 
provisions to workers/' 

Today's confidential instructions to the press bid journalists 
not to omit articles on General Mazeler completing his first six 
months as commander of Rome on May 1st. "The German Am- 
bassador has it particularly at heart." 

Monday May JLst 

Sure enough, here are the little lyrics congratulating Rome 
on having been under the command of General Maelzer for 
twenty-four weeks. They appear, obediently enough, in all the 
papers. Maelzer, the man who is starving the city, who ordered 
the execution of the 320 hostages in the Ardeatine Cave, who 
encourages the black market in order to get a rake-off for himself, 
the typical Junker; he receives bouquets thrown in such profu- 
sion that it is hard to choose the sweetest. Here, however, is one 
among many: 

The sympathetic understanding shown by General Maelzer for all 
the delicate problems of Rome during his six months in command of 
the city has thrown into relief his outstanding military and organizing 
powers to which his brilliant and courageous military career bears wit- 
ness. To these inborn qualities he adds a lively affection for our country. 
For this reason his decisions concerning Rome, prompted by a ready 
intelligence, have made General Maelzer, our comrade and our ally, 
an outstanding figure in the city and one who is surrounded by esteem 
and affection. 

Nobody could have done more, could they, in obedience to 
that Minister's orders? 

From what we have been hearing on the wireless about the 
bombing of Berlin, one wonders if there is anything at all left 
of it by this time. 

Tuesday May 2nd 

The much-dreaded strikes came to nothing yesterday. Some 
of the printers at the Messaggero building did not go to work, 
but they were quickly arrested and sent off to forced labour. 
Vatican lorries have again been attacked from the air, and 
damaged seriously. Of course if German army trucks continue to 
attach themselves to the Vatican columns, bombs must be ex- 
pected to fall on them. 

Wednesday May 3rd 

The class of 1914 has also been called up for military service. 
Hitler's Generals have probably been complaining that Italy is 
not furnishing enough cannon fodder. 

A number of young men belonging to the Catholic Radio Cen- 
tre have been arrested and taken to Via Tasso, because they were 
supposed to be carrying on "patriot" activities. 

Thursday May 4th 

A time bomb was found concealed in the big building in Corso 
d'ltalia where the German offices are. It was removed before it 
exploded, but the display of armed force on every side of the 
building is truly impressive. Machine guns are trained on the side 
streets which lead to Corso dltalia, and there are sentinels every- 

H/W., aged 18, and not accustomed to be held up when she 
is in a hurry, was on her way to our house a little while ago, and 
passed a German sentry guarding a roadway that no one was 
supposed to cross. She started calmly to take a short cut across 
the road. The sentry shouted: "Halt!" Foolishly she began to 

run, when a bullet whistled past her ear. She won't take that 
short cut again. 

Friday May 5th 

The Germans have arrested another priest who was helping 
patriots. He had already been caught once and released after- 
ward. This time when he saw he was followed he made for St. 
Mary Major's, thinking he would be safe there. On the way in 
the policeman who was pursuing him grabbed at him, whereupon 
the priest knocked him down, and there was a scuffle during 
which the former freed himself and entered the basilica. The 
S.S. then entered it, and their officer telephoned to the Vatican 
for permission to surround St. Mary Major's and its various exits. 
This could not be refused, under the circumstances, and the 
arrest was made. The prisoner was taken to Via Tasso. 

Saturday May 6th 

are very pleased to learn that the outstanding questions 
between the Allies and Spain have been successfully settled. 

The Vatican authorities apparently have reason to fear thieves 
or is it Germans? They are doubling the guards in the Vatican 
Museums, and are placing some on duty there even at night. You 
never know, of course. 

The Allied Air Force is working such havoc among the Ger- 
man columns and supply dumps along the roads leading to Rome 
that not a day passes without the sound of explosions; furious 
paragraphs appear in the press about "brutal attacks on road 
traffic." The Fascists seem to have forgotten the days of the Battle 
of Britain, when they requested of Hitler "to be allowed the 
honour of sharing in the attack on England." 

Anyone passing near Piazza di Siena, in the Villa Borghese, 
these evenings at about seven o'clock, will see groups of dejected 
men and women waiting under the trees near a line of vans, 
lorries and motor char-a-bancs. One of us asked a man with a 
suitcase if he were going north. "Ask at the office," he answered, 
with a jerk of his head in that direction. Some distance away the 
same question was asked of a woman: "The policeman will tell 

you," she said dully. Were they part of the forced labour service, 
sworn to secrecy? It was all uncanny and depressing. We were 
afraid of being shadowed if we asked the question a third time, 
so we were left guessing. 

Sunday May 7th 

Every day we expect the invasion. Every day we listen to vic- 
tory talk on the wireless. Every day we notice growing tension 
around us, and ill-concealed hopes of the speedy arrival of the 
Allies. When will they come? 

Monday May 8th 

Food shops now shut at once when they get a message to say 
that there is a possibility of their being looted. Our grocer did 
it the other day; not that he has anything particular to sell in 
the shop, but he feared the place being wrecked. 

The curfew is extended for our benefit. It will begin as from 
today at 9 P.M. and end at 5 A.M.; so, on these soft May evenings 
Romans may actually stay out until nine o'clock, or eight o'clock 
"by the sun." We have to be thankful for very small mercies in 
times like these. 

German soldiers and officers are swarming into Rome again; 
they seem more numerous than ever. No one knows why. 

A real event took place today: we each had our monthly ration 
of 3 1 /2 ounces of meat for dinner. It looked and tasted like 
donkey meat, but it may really have been something better. 

Tuesday May 9th 

Our cat ate a rat. No, this is not turning into a kindergarten 
textbook. He was just making history. The point is that he is, 
like most cats who live in houses (and Heaven help those who 
live in the streets or among the ruins, as they do in Rome), 
thoroughly spoiled. He is lordly, lazy and proud. He will only 
eat a mouse if it is young and tender. In the way of other eat- 
ables, what we get, he shares. Today, however, his whole being 
rose up against a diet of macaroni, dried peas and rice, cooked 


in water with no cheese, no butter, no gravy, no milk. With grim 
determination he withdrew to the cellar, killed and ate a big 
rat all except the tail, which we think he is going to appeal to 
the cook to make into soup for him. The historical fact that he 
was underlining is that the food conditions are bad in Rome at 

Wednesday May 10th 

A funeral took place today, with such crowds attending it 
that they almost blocked the traffic in the neighbourhood of the 
Campo Verano. It was that of a woman who was shot while 
standing in a bread queue, and who made what were called "sedi- 
tious remarks." Poor thing, she was only complaining of hunger, 
most probably. 

Ridiculously small details can be held as seditious today. In 
a tram two women were talking about their husbands. One said: 
"Mine is in the Royal Navy/* At this a Fascist called out and said: 
"In the Royal Navy?" "Oh, well, does a word matter so much?" 
asked the woman. "Very much indeed," said the Fascist, and 
took her name and address and full particulars concerning her. 
I only hope she gave him false ones. 

Thursday May llth 

The lull on the Anzio and Cassino fronts must mean something 
these days. Of course military secrets have to be kept, but every- 
one is agreed that something great will happen in a few days. 
The patriots are becoming still more active. A Fascist soldier 
was killed yesterday in a street near Villa Borghese, but the 
murderer got away. The Germans have offered a large reward for 
information regarding him. 

Friday May 12th 

Well, it has begun. It is happening. It seems too good to be 
true, but there is the wireless report of a powerful Allied offen- 
sive against the Gustav Line. If only it does not end, as so many 
of the other actions undertaken against the Germans during these 

months have ended, in "patrol activities." One mustn't be pessi- 
mistic, but, as I pointed out some time ago, our expectations have 
inevitably lost some of their elasticity. 

Saturday May 13th 

Considering that the British radio broadcast the news every 
ten minutes yesterday of the great offensive having begun, I 
think that one may safely believe it. The Italian press and radio 
are very quiet about it. 

Sunday May 14th 
The offensive has put new life into us, and new hope into the 

Italians. The Allies are "progressing slowly," but as long as they 

do progress, all is well. 

The Fascists are starting a private collection to pay for weapons 

for their army. The appeal has a pathetic sound about it. They 

have nothing, no arms, no clothes, no boots, no supplies. 

Monday May Uth 

News of our progress against the Gustav Line continues. 
In all the Roman churches people are praying for peace with 
renewed hope. They know that the first step toward it will be 
the defeat of the Germans. The transfer of the 8th Army from 
the east to the west of Italy was a gigantic achievement to have 
accomplished with such speed and secrecy. 

Tuesday May 16th 

The papers publish a photograph of Marshal Graziani in con- 
versation with a recruit to the Republican army. He looks old, 
haggard, and worn. No wonder. He has soldierlike qualities, and 
must realize that defeat cannot be far off. The press is beginning 
to refer to "elastic defence," meaning that the Germans are on 
the run. 

Late news says that we have made a breach in the Gustav Line. 


Wednesday May 17th 
Our progress continues to be satisfactory, says the B.B.C.; 

heights have been taken and a bridge-head established across the 


News in the Italian papers informs us that Graziani has been 

to the front; and tram fares in Rome have been doubled. Also 

that the Russians have been "driven back by the Germans/* 

Thursday May 18th 

Better and better: we have broken the Gustav Line. 
Confidential instructions to the press today direct "front line 

correspondents not to speak of the existence of a line of defence 

named after Adolf Hitler." 

There is a terrible scarcity of paper at present, but a brave 

new periodical is coming out called "Roma Repubblicana" It is 

calculated to help "morale/* 

Friday May 19th 

Wonderful news of Allied successes against the Hitler Line. 
"Manoeuvred defence" is praised in the Fascist papers as a 

splendid military achievement. 

People in Rome can talk of nothing else than the offensive, 

and are already settling dates for the arrival of the Allies as 

they have so often done in the past. 

Saturday May 20th 
Cassino is taken! 

Sunday May 21st 

According to the B.B.C. "we are sweeping victoriously on." 
Gaeta is extraordinarily important and we have taken it. All 

other news items or impressions seem insignificant beside what 

we are hearing about the offensive. 


Monday May 22nd 

This morning we went to the solemn Requiem in St. Peter's 
for the late Cardinal O'Connell, Archbishop of Boston. The 
right transept was draped in black and gold, and provided a fine 
setting for the catafalque and the altar. Perosi himself conducted 
the Papal choir, which executed some of his own compositions. 
Harold Tittmann, diplomatic Charge d'Affaires of the United 
States, received the Cardinals* condolences at the end of the 
ceremony. All the English-speaking people in Rome appeared to 
be present, everyone knew everyone else. Was it perhaps a remote 
prelude to victory, this coming together of citizens of the United 

On the way out of the basilica we stopped by the little Chapel 
of the Relics, inside whose sealed door lay the incorrupt remains 
of Pope Pius X, deceased thirty years ago, and whose body had 
been disinterred for examination as part of the Process of Canon- 
ization. They will be buried again shortly "in forma privatis- 
sima." Odd little bunches of flowers had been fastened to the 
bronze work of the chapel door, just as they used to be laid on his 
tomb in the crypt. 

When we neared the vestibule we were joined by three British 
prisoners of war who had taken refuge in the Vatican City. 
They wanted to talk English to someone, they said. Two of them 
were naval men who escaped from their prison camp disguised in 
Italian uniforms, and made their way to St. Peter's. A pontifical 
policeman who tried to put them out got a vigorous punch in the 
jaw whereupon he summoned other policemen to help him, and 
our two were being carried out bodily, when the Secretary of the 
British Legation to the Holy See arrived and took them under 
his protection. One of the onlookers, with great presence of 
mind, had rushed off to tell him what was happening, and he 
got there in time. The third was the famous aviator of whom 
we had all heard, who, after bailing out, climbed over the wall 
of the Vatican City and reported to the British Minister. We 
had a few moments' talk so much to say, and so little time to 
say it in but as soon as the British are here the three are coming 
around to see us. In the meantime they are safe, unless of course, 
the Germans raid the Vatican City. I cannot bring myself to 
think that they will do it. 


People who greeted us were in high spirits and making 
guesses as to exactly what day the Allies would reach Rome. 
With Fondi, Terracina and Pico in our hands, there is good 
reason for hope. Only one man croaked: "The Germans have 
brought down large reinforcements to meet the Allies, I hear 
them passing our place at night we're going to have trouble/' 
I wonder. Have they enough reserves? A Cassandra who resides 
in the Vatican City prophesied doom and devastation; the Ger- 
mans would inevitably enter, take off the hundreds of people 
who were in hiding there, and make a clean sweep of all the 
others. Well, they haven't done it yet, and we can only live 
from day to day, now. 

The enemy obviously realizes that he is on the point of being 
beaten, and is showing signs of it here. Within the last few days 
they have renewed the intensive search for Jews; S.S. men arrived 
at the house of a Swedish Jewess, married to an Italian, and said: 
"Tomorrow we shall come for you." The Swedish Minister could 
do nothing. Another, merely of Jewish descent, came to us this 
afternoon begging to be told where to hide; happily we were able 
to find a place for her. In the course of these months of German 
occupation, persecution of Jews followed a course parallel to the 
persecution in Germany. Brutally rounded up without warning, 
men, women and children were deported wholesale, many of 
them to unknown destinations, such as Poland; numbers were 
killed outright, and others were left to starve. The following few 
statistics are trustworthy. Of the 10,000 Jews who remained in 
Rome after the Fascist "Racial Laws" were passed, about 6,000 
were victims of Nazi brutality. Among these, roughly 1,000 are 
known to have been killed, that is, either executed or left to die 
of hunger and want. Of the remaining 5,000 there is no trace 
at present. How many of these will return when the war is over? 
It is a terrible question to ask, for the answer may be a terrible 
one. But more terrible still is the responsibility weighing on the 
authors and instigators of this appalling "race war." No one will 
ever know, except a few Vatican authorities, how many Jews 
enjoyed the personal protection of the Pope in their darkest days. 
Food, lodging, clothing and occupation were found for them in 
the Vatican itself, by special directions of the Sovereign Pontiff. 
Warm and generous sympathy went out to them from Catholics 

throughout the city, regardless of race or creed, often at great 
personal risk. 

Via Tasso is not enough for the Nazi spies, and they have 
opened another torture house for extracting information from 
patriots. It is managed by their satellites, the Italian "S.S." men. 
It was known as Pensione Jaccarino before they took it over, 
and has retained its name. They have plain-clothes detectives 
strolling about near the entrance, and if any passers-by look up at 
the window, or stop to listen to strange sounds, they are arrested 
and taken inside, as possible accomplices. The Nazifascists' one 
idea is to catch all patriots and put them to death; they have 
failed to find most of the Roman ones, so their best chance is to 
torture the few they have in order to get evidence against others. 
This new place in Via Romagna is fitted up with the same hideous 
instruments as the one in Via Tasso; pincers for pulling out teeth 
and fingernails, whips, rods, and means of heating knives red hot. 
Some of our friends who live near there and hear the screams 
and groans, particularly at night, say that it is diabolical. One of 
them has received word that no one in his flat, which is close to 
Pensione Jaccarino, must go up on the roof terrace of the house, 
and that the shutters must always be kept closed. The S.S. are 
so very frightened of a stray shot coming their wayl It seems 
impossible to be writing all this in cold blood, as if it were just 
a matter of course, but then it is a matter of course; it would be 
incredible if we were not right up against it. And one is so utterly 
helpless! There is no rescue possible for those unfortunate pa- 
triots. Hanging will be but a poor punishment for their torturers 
when the day of reckoning comes at last. 

Four more refugees have arrived, begging to be sheltered. We 
can't refuse. I wonder where and how they will shake down. 
Poor frightened things. They were forcibly evacuated from 
Lanuvio by armed Germans and locked up in a big building on 
the outskirts of Rome, preparatory to being transferred to a 
concentration camp in the country. They managed to escape 
from their prison, where they were guarded by Fascists with 
guns and whips. They are horrified, not only at the cruelty but 
that any Italian should behave so. They expect it from the Ger- 
mans, but not from their own. 


Tuesday May 23rd 

We hear that Kesselring has called up all his available reserves, 
both from the Adriatic sector and from Nettuno, to try to hold 
us back on the coast and in the Liri Valley. So the man who said 
it, at St. Peter's yesterday, was right after all. Yet I don't think 
that they can really hold up our offensive. Rome is tense. The 
Romans are in high spirits, but they dread what the Germans 
may do before they go. Rome Radio (Fascist-controlled) has 
warned the inhabitants to store up all the water they can, mean- 
ing that the mains will probably be dynamited, as well as the 
electric plant. The panic that is beginning to show itself recalls 
the panic last September when Rome was occupied. Anxiety to 
conceal young men who are wanted by the Fascists for the army 
or for forced labour, and desire to protect their families, in case 
of reprisals, is increased by the knowledge that tomorrow at mid- 
night the time "graciously granted by II Duce to defaulters 
from military service" expires. For weeks press and radio have 
never ceased to advise, order, coax, beg, encourage and direct 
defaulters to come and be forgiven, to join the ranks of the 
Republican army, assuring them that they would suffer no 
penalty for delay until midnight on May 25th. After that they 
would be searched out, arrested and shot in the back as deserters. 
Yesterday, perhaps to show that they were in earnest, the Ger- 
mans held a man-hunt in Via Nazionale, cutting off a certain 
portion of it, and rounding up all the men within the area. All 
this adds to the tension here. 

Peasants coming in from the Castelli say that there are placards 
in Frascati forbidding any food except green vegetables to be 
taken to Rome. They tell us that the Fascists want to starve Rome 
deliberately, because there has been so little response on the part 
of the Romans to their appeal to join them, as also great reluc- 
tance to follow the "Republican Government" to the northern 
provinces; they are continually representing those places as 
centres of peace and plenty, where food is cheap and pay is high. 
Refugees crowd in to Rome, and we are approaching starvation 
point more rapidly every day; the Nazifascists encourage the 
black market and get a handsome profit on the side; yet no one 
joins their army, and no one goes north. Their only recruits 
consist of weedy boys who would do anything for an extra fifty 

lire or so, and who strut about in black shirts carrying rifles and 
revolvers. P. was looking at one of them the other day, fascinated 
by his stupid face and arrogant pose; the youth approached him 
with rifle cocked: "Look at me like that," he threatened, "and 
I'll shoot you. Fm armed." P. turned his back and strolled off. 

Speaking of black market goods: at present rice costs $175 
a sack, if you can find it, and can afford it; butter is $4 a pound, 
and oil $10 a quart again if you have the money, which you 
probably haven't. 

Guidonia, the famous secret "air city" near Tivoli, apple of 
Mussolini's eye and boast of the Fascist regime, whence Balbo 
and his men set out for their transatlantic flight to Chicago 
Guidonia today is nothing but a heap of rubble. The Germans 
spent a whole morning blowing it up, with its storehouses, repair 
shops and airfields. And that is another significant event. 

Wednesday May 24th 

A perfectly new Allied offensive has been launched against 
the German positions south of Anzio. It ought to end in a 
regular break-through, and one can foresee the junction of the 
two armies. It comes as a complete surprise to the Germans. 

The B.B.C. is now broadcasting official instructions to mem- 
bers of the Underground Front in Europe. They are very de- 
tailed, and among the psychological information which we can 
furnish for the Allies are descriptions of the expressions of Ger- 
man officers. Now that is a little difficult for us, here. Every 
important one who goes by has exactly the same kind of ex- 
pression. It must be taught in their military colleges, and is a 
strange combination of fierce determination and complete mis- 
trust. It is not a pleasing sight. 

Word has gone round that Parioli, the high, new, fashionable 
quarter, is to be evacuated because the Germans will pass 
through it when they retreat. They do not want to be fired at 
from windows as when they left Naples. There is also a rumour 
that the same will happen to those who live in Via Salaria and 
Via Flaminia, so masses of people are again looking for temporary 
lodgings. Really, what with refugees from outside the city, and 
people hiding from the Germans, and now this set wanting to 


change their residences, life is becoming altogether too com- 
plicated. And there is still that undercurrent of panic. 

Thursday May 25th 

Explosions and the sound of artillery reach us fitfully by night 
and by day at present. 

Events small and great are bringing with them a steady 
crescendo of activities for us, as well as a crescendo of mixed 
feelings. Late yesterday evening more refugees came, having 
escaped from that concentration camp, like the others. Then this 
morning, still more, fleeing from the renewed bombing at 
Frascati men, women and children. Our total is at present 36. 
One gets to know the refugee face so well, they are all alike: 
drawn and anxious, with a strange dingy pallor. They are touch- 
ingly grateful to be housed and fed. Among them are six young 
men of military age. What if the Germans raid us? Our peasant 
guests have brought two horses of theirs to save them from the 
Germans, "Picchietto" and "Biscotto"; they are tethered in a 
shady corner of the garden. All these refugees have a special 
claim on us, so it is not like receiving complete strangers; they 
are mainly relatives of maids we had before the war. 

Later came news of the Allies' spectacular successes in the Liri 
Valley, of our tanks thundering through the Adolf Hitler Line, 
and of the junction of our forces from Anzio with those coming 
northward from Gaeta. People dropped in, bubbling over with 
optimism, and wanting to know from us exactly when the Allies 
would reach Rome. A tale was current that the Allies had thrown 
down leaflets directing Romans to get in supplies for five days. 
We did not meet anyone who had seen them; and even if they had, 
where could one get extra provisions? We are hardly able to get 
enough for one day at a time. 

The Germans have just blown up the Ciampino airfield. Wild 
conjectures are being made as to what they can and will do when 
they withdraw. Then, apprehension is increasing as to what will 
take place after midnight tonight, when the time expires for men 
of military age to report themselves. Fascist agents have busily 
spread rumours that every house in Rome will be systematically 

searched for these young men, as well as for older anti-Fascists 
and Jews. 

What can one possibly say to comfort panic-stricken relatives 
of the hidden men? c Tm certain they will be all right" sounds 
feeble enough, but if said with conviction it seems to reassure 
them somewhat. 

And all the time the Allies are nearing Rome: joy at their 
approach is balanced by dread of German savagery. By evening 
it was said that the Allies had taken Albano, Velletri and Lanu- 
vio, but the report is not confirmed. 

As I write it is getting on for midnight, and the streets are 
strangely quiet; there is no sound but "halt!" occasionally 
shouted at a passing vehicle, followed by the screech of brakes. 
A German plane is flying low over the city. 

This evening the Osservatore Romano fearlessly published a 
protest against this threatened shooting of patriots and others in 
hiding. In brief, it ran as follows: 

Tonight the time fixed for all those who have military obligations 
expires. From articles in the press and from rumours that have been 
spread, we are led to fear a renewal of civil strife. Patience will give 
way to violence, and a fresh stage on the road to Calvary will open for 
our tormented country. 

Everything is said and done today in the name of Italy, of her 
prestige, of her defence, of her destiny. But we believe that all these 
things are never in such peril as when they are defended by means of 
civil war, and we are convinced that never was civil war more fatal 
both morally and politically than the one which is now raging here, in 
presence of armed foreigners encamped on our soil. 

During the present world war immense burdens have accumulated 
on the consciences of individuals and of groups, but, at least, let not 
this further responsibility be added to them, at this particular juncture 
and in the midst of grief, destruction, of mass exodus, of poverty and 
of hunger; at this time, when we should put aside wrongs and rancour, 
as well as temptations to revenge, and be moved only by the strong 
impetus of charity to help each other in the name of pity and of peace. 

God forgives much in return for kindness to our fellow-men. Let 
today's kindness, in this most painful situation of our country, be the 
cessation of that violence which arouses answering violence. Let us not 
do unto others that which we would not have done unto us. This, let 

it be remembered, is the condition of God's pardon; it is the only good 
omen for that of men. 

Headings in the Fascist papers read: "After midnight punish- 
ment will be relentless/' And as if to exemplify their relentless 
character. Fascist courts have already passed sentence of death 
on the four admirals whose trial began some weeks ago. Today 
two of them were executed as traitors: Admiral Campioni, who 
commanded the Italian forces in the Aegean and who loyally 
accepted the armistice, and Admiral Mascherpa, who was at Leros, 
acting under the former, and who also obeyed Badoglio's orders. 
Admiral Priamo and Admiral Pavesi, who commanded respec- 
tively in Sicily and Pantelleria, were condemned in their ab- 
sence. There is something particularly revolting in these judicial 
murders; the Republicans, like rats in a corner, are as savage 
as the Germans, if not more so, for their days are evil and their 
time is short. 

Midnight. Nothing is happening in this neighbourhood, at 
any rate. Not a creature is stirring. No one has been knocked up. 
There is a queer silence over everything, like the silence of death. 

Friday May 26th 

were out early this morning for Mass at Sant'Ignazio. 
The streets were deserted, and Rome seemed paralyzed. In one 
part of Via del Tritone a queue had gathered, mainly of women. 
They were very noisy, and looked angry. There was not a single 
German to be seen either when we went or when we returned, 
except one in a car, who seemed in a great hurry. Is it possible that 
they have left in the night? We saw one man, obviously in dis- 
guise, probably an Italian patriot. He was dressed as a Dominican; 
nearly everything about him was correct, except his cloak which 
was much too short, and he wore the hood pulled down over 
his face. Dominicans in Rome wear hats, not hoods. A woman 
who was passing turned to look at him curiously. 

There is news of heavy fighting in and around Cisterna, where 

we are advancing from house to house, it seems. Our refugees 

who are swarming all over the place by now, and are thoroughly 

at home, tell us that the Allies are at Albano but that can't be 


true. At 2 o'clock this morning there was a terrific explosion 
which woke the whole of Rome. The Germans were probably 
blowing up some building, or perhaps one of their own ammuni- 
tion dumps. Allied bombers hit an aqueduct somewhere near 
here yesterday, and the water is cut off in this neighbourhood. 

We have been hearing bombs, ack-ack guns, heavy shells and 
unidentified explosions all day. It is strange how accustomed 
one grows to these sounds, and, after all, the only thing to do 
is to carry on with one's customary occupations. Poor Tivoli, 
where the Germans had large stores of ammunition, was terribly 
knocked about this morning in an air raid; 1,000 civilians were 
killed and half the population was wounded. A great deal of 
damage was done to houses and churches, and they say that the 
Villa d'Este was struck also. Rocca di Papa was shelled from the 
sea, and Frascati was bombed once more. 

We have housed a few more refugees since this morning, and 
our total has now reached forty-one. I think we shall have to 
stop at that number. Some we cook for, and some do their own 
cooking. As a result there is a charcoal stove going in the tool- 
house, and another primitive fireplace made of bricks up on our 
terrace among the nasturtiums and oleanders. 

We have advised the young men of military age who are among 
them, in case the house should be searched, to jump over the 
wall which separates us from the garden next door, and, without 
saying anything to the porter, to hide behind some automobiles 
(also concealed) back of a conservatory. 

The local papers lashed themselves into a fury over yester- 
day's article in the Osservatore Romano. Bruno Spampanato, the 
truculent editor of the Messaggero, simply called the writer of the 
article all the names he could think of for the space of two 
columns; it was like an angry child making faces at an adversary, 
and about as conclusive. He tried to be very, very impudent and 
bold. This valiant Bruno now sleeps at the Hotel Flora, where the 
Germans will protect him from the patriots if necessary; he is 
afraid to go home, yet he is so brave on paper. Poor Bruno. 

The Anzio wireless has begun giving information about spies 
and informers who are working for the Germans. It broadcasts 
their names, addresses and personal characteristics. Listeners-in 
are delighted, and it is the regular thing to come to the radio 


armed with pencil and paper, so as to have your own list of spies. 
The individuals are furious, but what can they do about it? 
The patriots of the Underground Front in Rome are so much 
cleverer than the Nazif ascists, that their information is accurate 
to an uncanny degree. 

Saturday May 27th 

Two of the informers mentioned yesterday by the Anzio wire- 
less are the porter of a house which we know, and his wife. They 
have specialized in reporting the whereabouts of Jews. This morn- 
ing they are sitting in their lodge shedding tears; and well they 

Hope rises as the Allies progress. We have waited for over 
eight months, but now every added hour seems interminable. 
They are at Velletri today, but it looks as if they would not 
come straight to Rome, preferring to cut the Via Casilina at 
Valmontone, as they have already cut the Via Appia. In that 
case perhaps the Germans will retreat eastwards, and not through 
Rome. G.C., who is at the Grand Hotel, says that a German 
diplomat who is staying there has begun to do his packing. 
Fascist journalists and officials are leaving in numbers, prudently, 
while the going is good. 

Yesterday the Germans blew up the Littorio airfield, and the 
neighbouring bridge over the Tiber. The former is an excellent 
one, and used to be the civilian airport of Rome; it is about two 
kilometres out on Via Salaria. 

The threatened search for patriots, from house to house, is not 
taking place, after all. And for an excellent reason. No one would 
undertake it. The job was declined in turn by the P.A.I. Italian 
police who had served in Africa and who have been working 
with and for the Germans (though a number of them are pa- 
triots) ; by the plain-clothes police belonging to the Questura, 
Caruso's men; by the Metropolitan City traffic-police, who have 
carried rifles of late; by the blackshirt S.S., and finally by the 
Germans themselves. And they all refused for the same reason. 
An old and obvious human reason. They were afraid. Popular 
feeling is running high, the patriots are armed and have plenty 
of ammunition, and a popular rising might easily follow police 

action of that sort. No one wanted to put a match to that par- 
ticular powder barrel, above all with the Allies thundering, as it 
were, at the gates of the city. So the terrible threat formulated 
for "after midnight on May 25th" has come to nothing, like so 
many other Fascist undertakings. 

Sunday May 28th (Whitsunday) 

The Allies' progress is eminently satisfactory, though we are 
still bracing ourselves for the horrors of retreating German 
hordes. Kesselring has brought down more reinforcements and 
is trying to hold Valmontone at all costs, so as to give his 80,000 
men from the Cassino front time to withdraw. The renowned 
Hermann Goering Division is in action, and is giving the Allies 
less trouble than most; it has been filled up with boys of 17 and 
18 to replace earlier losses. 

Last night there was a steady stream of German tanks, guns 
and lorries passing through the city northward bound. The can- 
nonade from the Castelli goes on as constantly as ever, and report 
says that the Allies are at Lanuvio. Planes flew over during the 
night, probably carrying German officers getting out of tight 

One of our refugees, who walked to the Castelli to see how 
things were going, reported a delightful conversation overheard 
between a German soldier and a Blackshirt, speculating as to 
what would happen when the Allies arrived. "Me," said Jerry, 
"I do this" and he held up his hands; "you," pointing an imag- 
inary gun at the Republican's chest, "poum, poum, finish!" Our 
Frascati refugees say that the Germans are leaving there, taking 
their wounded with them. The state of these latter can better be 
imagined than described. The boys said that blood was dripping 
from, the floor of the ambulances. Large numbers of Italian 
wounded have come into Rome from the Anzio sector, where the 
much advertised Barbarigo Battalion was placed in the front 
line by its German masters. From the propaganda photographs 
in the press and on posters, it seemed to be composed of little 
boys of 16 and 17. 

It is pleasantly warm, and spring is at its height; this is proved 
by the pretty green grass growing in the streets which are paved 


with stone blocks; there is next to no motor traffic except that 
of the Germans, and they always take the asphalted streets. 
Somehow "grass growing in the streets of Rome" has a four- 
teenth-century sound about it. 

On account of damage to the aqueducts, emergency pipes have 
been rigged up at intervals in the streets, and the people go to 
get their own water from them in pails and bottles. The queues 
that gather are of a very different temper from those of last 
March. Then they were mournful, dispirited, almost without 
hope or energy; now a cheerful buzz emanates from them, in 
fact the drawing of water becomes almost a social occasion. The 
leitmotif of the buzz is: "The Germans are on the run it won't 
be long before the Allies are here! 5 * Our refugees show their 
appreciation of our hospitality by carrying water for us, keeping 
all our tubs filled. Among them Michele, who insists on taking a 
twenty-minute walk twice a day to get what he considers to be 
really good drinking water for us from Via dei Lucchesi. He goes 
off with three fiaschi in a black oilskin bag and returns with the 
regularity of a clock. Water, by the way, is heavy. 

Cesare, another of our refugees, has to start early tomorrow 
morning to get more fodder for the horses. It is dangerous for 
him, but the grass in our garden, which we offered him, would 
only last them a day or so. The curfew ends at 5 o'clock, so he 
will start then. 

Monday May 29th 

Cesare got back safely at about 8.30 though outside Rome, 
near the new Cinema City, three German lorries approached his 
cart, and he had a narrow escape from the machine guns of 
Allied planes which power-dived and destroyed the lorries. Our 
planes don't miss much on the roads at present. Cesare took 
cover in a ditch, and came to no harm. The horses, Picchietto and 
Biscotto, seem pleased with the fresh hay he brought them. 

As the Germans have taken all the machinery from the Roman 
broadcasting station, Radio Roma will be heard no more for the 
present. Obviously, they don't want patriots or the Allies to be 
able to issue directions conveniently. If only they don't confiscate 
our own radios! That would be a real tragedy. The B.B.C. tells 
us this morning that the Allies are advancing all along the line, 

and are only twenty kilometres from Rome. If they get here 
soon, then the harvest can be saved. The wheat is magnificent 
this year, but it must be harvested not later than June 10th. 
Until then it will be a little too green to be burnt by the Ger- 

Partly for propaganda, partly to prevent food riots, and partly 
because the people are starving, General Maelzer, commander of 
Rome, has ordered rice, flour and bread to be distributed free in 
the poorer parts of the city, where the people are in an ugly mood. 
For instance, no German dares to go alone in the Trastevere. 
That district, the Garbatella and the Testaccio were the ones 
chosen. The lorry carrying the food was accompanied by a 
crowd of Italian and German journalists and camera men, and 
the papers published columns of praise of General Maelzer's gen- 
erosity. They did not mention the fact that he is one of the 
"black market kings" into whose pockets pass large sums gained 
in illicit traffic in food and tobacco. 

The sounds of war continue to echo around us day and night, 
but unusually continuous pounding of guns in the Alban Hills 
began to be heard about midday. 

The electric current for such buses and trams as remain to us 
was cut off this morning, so one has to walk or not go at all. 
It is really better for everyone to stay indoors, especially men. 
Leone, one of our men from Lanuvio, was arrested in the street 
today and taken off to the police station to be enrolled in the 
forced labour service. It seems that Mussolini has promised 
Hitler one million five hundred thousand labourers. They told 
Leone that tomorrow he would be taken to the barracks where 
Nello was in March, and then given further orders. Happily, 
someone from the Vatican called here this afternoon, and prom- 
ised to arrange for Leone to be freed. These individual arrests are 
certainly disquieting. M/s porter, a quiet, harmless man, was 
arrested recently by the Fascists, for no apparent reason, taken 
to the German torture house in Via Tasso, and was kept there for 
four days and nights in a dark cell, without food. After that he 
was suddenly released, without explanation. His hair turned quite 
white while he was there. 

The Hotel de la Ville in Via Sistina (called "Brighter Berlin") , 
which was the GHQ for German transport, is empty today; 
but in spite of that the tempo of life seems a little slower. The 


wireless assures us that the Allies are making progress, but we 
were hoping for something short, sharp and decisive, perhaps 
even spectacular. Kesselring is hanging on at Valmontone, and 
the Allies have not cut the Casilina at that point, yet. We have 
secured a number of strong positions, but not those that will 
be decisive for Rome. Oh, well! 

Some time ago the Germans forbade the use of bicycles within 
the city limits, but permitted tricycles for the delivery of goods. 
Today a peremptory order is issued to the effect that: "The Com- 
mander of the Police of the Open City of Rome [the little farce 
of the Open City is still kept up industriously] decrees that it is 
forbidden to ride bicycles camouflaged as tricycles or having, 
motorettes or electric batteries attached to them." Ingenious little 
third wheels had been added to many bicycles after the fashion 
of trailers. The Germans are apparently fearful of other cyclist 

Orders have been issued to proprietors of houses and gardens 
to report wells, artesian or otherwise, which may exist on their 
property. The authorities are getting ready for a serious water 
shortage. I hope we shan't be reduced to using the Tiber water. 
Are the Germans really going to wreck all the mains? That is 
the question we ask ourselves all day and every day. 

The Vatican has tightened up facilities for admission within its 
precincts. Even to enter St. Peter's, various documents have to 
be shown. One gets accustomed to earring a sort of dossier about; 
a mere identity card is not sufficient. 

This evening's Osservatore Romano protests against last Tues- 
day's bombing of the Benedictine Monastery of Santa Scolastica 
at Subiaco. The great Renaissance cloister was destroyed, the 
rest of the monastery was rendered uninhabitable, and a student 
and a workman were killed. It resembles Monte Cassino on a 
smaller scale, and the kindest thing one can say is that the bomb- 
ing must have been done by mistake. Unlike Monte Cassino, it 
was not even a useful observation post. There were no German 
supply dumps near it, and it had been used as a hospital since 
last April. It is completely isolated, on the slopes above the 
Aniene River, and is older even than Monte Cassino, having been 
one of St. Benedict's first foundations. 


Tuesday May 30th 

The Battle of the Castelli is raging out in the hills, and Ger- 
man heavy artillery is pounding our approaches to Rome but 
not preventing our advance, on the whole. We have taken Arce 
in' the Liri Valley, but not Valmontone as yet. 

They say that the Germans in the city have held an evacuation 
rehearsal, and that they can withdraw inside of one hour. Ex- 
cellent, if it is true. We are anxiously waiting for that hour to 

Leone has returned from his prison barracks, and the welcome 
he got from the rest of our peasant colony was impressive; from 
the noise they made, someone said they thought the Allies had 
arrived. We asked him if he had slept at all. He said, "No, I stood 
all night, the floor was so dirty.'* 

Everyone says that all the public services have been mined. 
This evening's papers carry cheery paragraphs reassuring the 
citizens of Rome, telling them not to be anxious about the water 
supply, because, should it be necessary, the authorities are pre- 
pared to utilize existing machinery for filtering the water of the 
Tiber. But, is the machinery there? No. Can the Tiber be filtered? 
Doubtful. Could anyone drink it? No. 

Wednesday May 31st 

The steady thud of artillery stopped at midday. Have we 
knocked them out? At 7.30 A.M. we heard the screech of a power 
dive repeated several times, and the rattle of machine guns quite 
near. A German officer told E.G. that, when the Allies finally 
broke through at Valmontone, they had orders to make straight 
for Genoa as best they could; individually, if necessary. The 
enemy is keeping up appearances in the city, at any rate, though 
numbers of them have left. All the luggage of the officers at the 
big hotels in Via Veneto was taken off yesterday, but sentinels 
still stand at the doors, and policemen prevent pedestrians from 
passing on the pavement next to the hotels. 

A fresh rumour optimistic, this time says insistently that 
the Pope has promised the Germans that, if they do no damage 
to the city as they withdraw, he will make himself responsible 
fof all their wounded whom they might leave behind; reports 


as to the number of the wounded vary between 20,000 and 40,- 

This morning the Republican (i.e. Fascist, i.e. Blackshirt, i.e. 
neo-Fascist or Nazifascist different names for the same thing) 
Government shot Alberto Coppola, head of the Pharmacy Supply 
Organization. He was found guilty of having sold at black mar- 
ket prices thirty-five sacks of sugar, entrusted to him for distri- 
bution to chemists for making up prescriptions. For once they 
appear to have acted justly; but was Coppola really the guilty 
one? The greatest black-market profiteers are the Germans. Gen- 
eral Maelzer, in command of the city, and who likes' to be 
thought of as "King of Rome," has wonderful devices for making 
money twice over. He will accumulate, for example, a large store 
of tobacco which his agent will dispose of at a high price to 
minor Italian black-market dealers. A few days later, the Ger- 
man S.S. are sent to raid the latter and confiscate their stocks, 
because they are "held illegally"; so they return to good General 

We are immensely cheered by the news, broadcast from Anzio, 
that the Allies are bringing to Rome foodstuffs of every kind, 
except oil and flour. If they bring tinned lard, we can do with- 
out oil; and, after all, we have had so little bread and "pasta" of 
late, we can wait a few weeks more for flour, particularly if there 
are other things to supplement them. 

The Pope has been trying to arrange for food ships to come to 
Rome from Spain and Portugal, and the provisions he has pur- 
chased are ready at the ports; but, according to the Roman press, 
"final formalities have yet to be concluded." One of those "for- 
malities" is the German refusal to let the ships come up the Tiber, 
unless they themselves are given 70 per cent of the cargo. Of 
course, the Holy Father cannot agree to such terms, anxious 
as he is to feed the starving city. That condition, obviously, does 
not appear in the press, but everyone knows about it. 

Lack of food has had an alarmingly slimming effect on every- 
one in Rome, not only on the poor, but on the man-in-the-street 
and on one's friends. It gives one a heartache to see it. No longer 
is it complimentary to allude to loss of weight; on the contrary, 
the subject is tactfully avoided. 


Thursday June 1st 

The Allies have taken Frosinone and Sora, both of them im- 
portant places, but the line from Valmontone to the sea is still 
unbroken. A B.B.C. commentator says breezily "Rome, of course, 
is a prize, but how much better for General Alexander to sur- 
round Kesselring and settle his hash before entering the city." 
Oh yes? Is it? We are not strategists, armchair or otherwise, but 
we have practical knowledge of the urgent need of liberating 
Rome. In spite of the above comment, and of the fact that Val- 
montone still holds out, everyone here talks as if it were only 
a matter of days or even hours before the Fifth Army arrives. 
I have just had a request from an Italian for the words of 
"Tipperary"; as they put it in commercial letters, "I shall comply 
with pleasure." 

There is a strange little paragraph in this evening's papers to 
the effect that yesterday evening a chimney fire took place at 
38 Via Romagna, in a house owned by Signor Carlo Jaccarino, 
and that a good deal of damage was done to the building. That, 
of course, is the famous Pensione Jaccarino, the torture house 
used by the Italian S.S. battalion. Jaccarino himself was de 
nounced two evenings ago by Radio Anzio, in its list of spies 
and informers. Do they want an excuse for leaving the place? 
Are the rats deserting the sinking ship? The S.S. are distinctly 
nervous. Anything more alien to the Italian character than an 
S.S. organization can hardly be imagined, and yet some of them 
have copied their German masters even in that. And the Germans 
despise them utterly. The leader of the Fascist group belonging 
to the Ostiense district was murdered yesterday. 

Friday June 2nd 

Guns booming nearer than ever, day and night. The Allies 
have taken Velletri, Lariano, Ferentino, Veroli and Sgurgola, but 
not Valmontone, the big key position. "We must be patient. 

This morning the Pope received the Cardinals, who presented 
their good wishes in honour of his name day. The Sacred College 
is much diminished in numbers, and it is expected that soon 
after the war is over, he will hold a Consistory for the appoint- 
ment of many new ones. It was arranged that his reply to the 


Cardinals should be broadcast. He spoke of his hopes of a lasting 
peace, based on Christian principles, of mercy to the vanquished, 
of his anxiety that the city of Rome should be spared the horrors 
of war, and of his efforts to provide food for the Romans. He 
also pointed out that Rome had received more refugees than any 
other city in Italy. 

The Pope's concluding remarks about the numbers of refugees 
in Rome are borne out by statistics. Last summer the population 
of Rome amounted to 1,500,000; at present it is 2,000,000. No 
wonder there is a food shortage; apart from what the Germans 
have done toward starving the city. 

It is said that last night the Pope sent for the German Ambas- 
sador, and kept him from 11 P.M. until 1 A.M., talking about 
the possibilities of not defending Rome, once the Allies had 
broken through their line in the Castelli, and of not destroying 
the city as they withdrew. It is understood that the Pope was in 
a large measure successful. 

The Fascist Ministry which controls the press issues confiden- 
tial directions to the editors from time to time. My source of 
information is also confidential, but absolutely reliable. Yester- 
day instructions were sent out as follows: "Journalists are re- 
quested to write at length on the forthcoming . musical season, 
which is opening with the Comic Opera Company at the Quirino 
Theatre." It was just as well not to tread on dangerous ground 
when the Allies were so near Rome. 

Saturday June 3rd 

Always those guns. Always nearer. Planes are fighting over the 
city and the sound of anti-aircraft guns alternates with that of 
machine guns. The Germans have placed heavy artillery in the 
southern suburbs and are preparing to make a stand, so it looks 
as if they might try to hold the city. In that case, as the Allied 
Command stated today on the radio, "the necessary military 
measures will be taken to eject them." 

Valmontone is taken at last! The Allies are pouring into the 
plain that surrounds Rome like water through a dyke. We know 
from the B.B.C. that in England and in America they are fairly 
worried about us here in Rome today. Of course anything may 

happen. We realize that. Yet, apart from the sound of guns, 
Rome is as quiet as on any other June day, in any year. Quieter, 
in fact, because there are fewer men in the streets. Women are 
going about in their summer frocks (carefully "turned" and re- 
made since last year) , groups are drawing water from the emer- 
gency fountains, and beggars continue begging and getting their 
lira from every passer-by. Rome is not looking her best, with 
her closed shops, dirty pavements and shortage of water, but the 
weather is exquisite and her churches and monuments are un- 
changed, while Father Tiber goes on his way through the city as 
he did two thousand years ago. 

Although many Germans left yesterday, at present the hotels 
near the Station are crowded with them. They must be those. who 
have come in from the Castelli on their way north. All last night 
heavy vehicles, tajiks and lorries rumbled northward through 
the streets, Via Cassia, Via Salaria, and Via Flaminia being still 
open for them. Yesterday, near here in Piazza Fiume, Germans 
systematically emptied a hardware shop, packing all the goods 
very carefully in a covered truck, so as to travel without shifting 
and to take the smallest space possible. 

There are very few newspapers, and no news in them, but 
people struggle for them just the same. The confidential in- 
structions to the editors for today's issues ran: "While the battle 
for Rome is in progress, please emphasize the fact that, whatever 
may happen, we are not unprepared, and, since the tragic situa- 
tion which came about last September, we have foreseen all 
eventualities, even the most painful ones." Having sent out this 
message, Alfred Cucco, "Minister of Popular Culture," bolted. 
But not soon enough; for the patriots awaited him, and got him. 
And that is all for today. The throbbing of guns in the hills 
has stopped. One feels the silence, as when the engines of a ship 
stop suddenly in the night. 

Are you imitating the small boy who whistled when going 
down a dark alley when you want to repeat to yourself and to 
others that it will be all right? That the Germans will cease upon 
the midnight without pain, will run northward, will fade out 
of Rome silently, will fold their tents like the Arabs, or however 
else the poets would express it? Yes, I think it is a comfort to do 
so, or even to write it. Here goes, again: I do not think that the 


Germans will make Rome a battlefield. (But the fighting is very 
close tonight,) 

Sunday June 4th 

This has been a day of such stirring experiences that they will 
perhaps "break through language and escape" before they can 
be written down. They are joint experiences, put together when 
we pooled our impressions and information; so much happened 
in so many directions. We had been suddenly deprived of the 
telephone (cut off ) ; of newspapers (not out) ; of the radio 
(electric current cut off); of trams and buses (for the same 
reason) ; but the grapevine information service began function- 
ing with incredible efficiency, and it soon became clear that the 
famous elastic defence had begun in Rome; the Germans were 
quietly on the run. When the Romans had grasped the situation, 
unobtrusively and ironically they began to stroll about the 
streets mainly used for German traffic. They made no remarks, 
but looked on with Olympian serenity. This attitude may have 
been helped by the shower of leaflets from General Alexander 
which had fallen in the early morning on some parts of the 
city. They ran as follows: 

Special Message to the Citizens of Rome. 

The Allied Armies are nearing Rome. The liberation of the city will 
take place soon. The citizens of Rome must stand shoulder to shoulder 
to protect the city from destruction and to defeat our common enemies: 
the Germans and the Fascists. 

These directions come to you, Romans, from General Alexander's 
Headquarters and from Marshal Badoglio. They are given in your inter- 
ests as well as in those of the Allies. 

Do everything in your power to prevent the destruction of the city. 

Prevent the explosion of mines which may have been placed under 
bridges and Government buildings, under the Ministries and other 
important edifices. 

Protect the central telephone and telegraph plants, the broadcasting 
stations and other lines of communication. 

For your own use safeguard the public services: gas houses, aque- 
ducts and electric power stations. 

Protect the railways, goods stations and all public transport services 
such as trams and buses. 

Hide your food reserves. 

Note carefully the location of enemy mines and war material and 
inform the Allied patrols of their positions. 

Remove barriers and obstructions from the streets. 

Leave free passage everywhere for military vehicles. 

It is vital for the Allies that the troops should pass through Rome 
without hindrance or loss of time, in order to complete the destruction 
of the German army which is retreating northwards. 

Citizens of Rome, this is not the time for demonstrations. Obey these 
directions and go on with your regular work. Rome is yours! Your job 
is to save the city, ours is to destroy the enemy. 


So, with admirable restraint, the Romans looked on, spec- 
tators of the reverse of what they had seen in September: the 
boot was on the other leg, the wheel had gone full circle, and 
the defeated Huns were escaping in disorder. Along Corso 
Umberto, Via del Babuino, Via di Ripetta, Corso d'ltalia and 
above all on Via Flaminia crowds stood on the pavements, sat on 
the steps of churches or in the doorways of palaces or at the tables 
of the few cafes that were still open. The Germans went on, 
wild-eyed, unshaven, unkempt, on foot, in stolen cars, in horse- 
drawn vehicles, everji in carts belonging to the street cleaning 
department. There was no attempt at military formation. Some 
of them dragged small ambulances with wounded in them. They 
went, some with revolvers in their hands, some with rifles cocked. 
On Corso Umberto when one of them stumbled his rifle went 
off and caused a panic among the crowd; for a moment there 
was some indiscriminate shooting. Whereas last September they 
came with machine guns trained on the Romans, it was a dif- 
ferent matter now. They were frightened. They had a clear idea 
of the strength of the underground movement, the power of 
the armed patriots and their determination to take action when 
and if necessary. Most of the "Republicans" had fled the day 
before, but in the German rout were to be seen handsome motor- 
cars with Fascist dignitaries looking anything but dignified in 
their anxiety to get away. Some Blackshirt soldiers, members of 


the pitiable Barbarigo and Nettuno Divisions, were desperately 
waving to occupants of German motor cars, begging for a lift. 
The latter, true to their custom, as in Russia and in Africa, had 
no pity on the men whom they had used as tools while despising 
them, and passed on, unheeding. The crowd showed a good deal 
of self-control in not lynching these remnants of the Fascist 
gangs. Two of them, who tried to climb up on a gun carriage in 
Piazza del Popolo, were kicked off by German parachute men. 
Near Porta San Paolo, at about midday, there was a panic among 
the Germans rushing in from the Castelli, when an Allied plane 
swooped down and attacked them, and they ran wildly toward 
the Colosseum, seeking cover. The detachments going north 
along Via Aurelia were watched by Allied reconnaissance planes, 
and when they were well beyond the city limits, other planes 
dived at them with machine guns. 

At 5.30 this morning, when the regular traffic police reported 
for duty, they were curtly told to remove the Fascist rods-and- 
axe badge from their collars and to replace it with the five- 
pointed star of Italy, "by Badoglio's orders." That was one of the 
earliest thrills of the day. People whispered to each other "Hanno 
rimesso le stellette" "They've put back the little stars." Even 
the ultra-Fascist P.A.I. police had changed them, too. 

German sentinels with machine guns and tanks guarded all 
the city bridges until dusk. 

At about eleven o'clock in the morning there was such an ex- 
plosion that the houses near us, including our own, seemed to rise 
slightly, curtsey and sit down again, a very queer feeling. It was 
the Germans blowing up the Macao barracks (sometimes called 
the Castro Pretorio) where they had large stores of petrol and 
explosives. There were three heavy detonations, and householders 
in the vicinity trembled lest, at this last moment, they too should 
be involved in ruin. 

A current report ran that the Germans had promised the Pope 
that they would not destroy anything in Rome if he would be 
personally responsible for the welfare of the wounded whom 
they might leave behind; another was to the effect that General 
Bencivenga, Commander in Chief of the underground forces of 
the district of Rome, appointed by Badoglio, had given Kesselring 
to understand that if his men were to blow up the Roman water- 

works not one of his wounded would be given so much as a drop 
of water afterward. Whatever truth there may have been in 
these rumours, certainly the Germans destroyed all they could 
in their hasty flight. 

Worse than the destruction of the Macao barracks was the 
blowing up of the Fiat works in Viale Manzoni, which covered a 
whole city block and which comprised the largest repair shops 
in Rome for armoured cars and tanks. When this was done several ' 
civilian dwellings were wrecked and their owners buried beneath 
the ruins. The EIAR Roman broadcasting centre in Via Mondello 
was only partly destroyed, owing to the skill of Filippo Blasucci, 
a patriot engineer who removed the detonators from mines. In 
the Campo Verano cemetery, already damaged by Allied bombs, 
and over which the Germans had held up horrified hands and 
shed torrents of crocodile tears, they blew up six large plots 
where they had stored ammunition, causing some casualties 
among civilians who happened to be there at the time. The Ti- 
burtina, the Prenestina and the San Lorenzo railway yards were 
destroyed, together with surrounding buildings. The telephone 
plant was blown up at the Ministero delle Comunicazioni, and 
in Piazza Regina Margherita they set fire to a lorry loaded with 
ammunition which exploded and wrecked neighbouring houses. 
At the railway station in Via Marsala numbers of small buildings 
were set on fire and railway carriages destroyed. 

Only lack of time and the skill and courage of patriots pre- 
vented the destruction of many public buildings, bridges and 
waterworks. Ponte Tazio, a wide modern bridge which spans the 
Aniene at Via Nomentana and leads to Monte Sacro, would have 
been completely demolished if patriots had not removed the 
detonators from five out of the six mines placed beneath it. 
The reservoir near Santa Croce was completely destroyed. The 
Roman telephone installation in Palazzo Viminale was saved 
through quick action on the part of a group of patriot sappers 
who neutralized 212 pounds of nitroglycerine located in the 
cellars, sufficient to wreck the whole neighbourhood. On hearing 
distant explosions, it was difficult to know if they were land 
mines or big guns. The roads leading to Rome which were 
bordered with trees had all been mined with an ingenuity worthy 
of a better cause. At the root of each tree the explosive had been 


so placed that the trunk would fall directly across the road and 
constitute a most efficient barrier. The electric wiring which 
connected the caps of these mines was somewhat complicated; 
the Germans did not reckon on the speedy retreat forced on 
them. There was no time to cope with the electric connection, 
and the roads remained open for the Allies. 

At half past twelve someone came in and announced breath- 
lessly: "The British are at Porta Maggiore!" No one believed it. 
It was much too good to be true. It was like something in a 
. dream. So we waited. Yet the signs we had seen in our own neigh- 
bourhood pointed to coming events. All morning the Germans 
from a "command" of theirs had been giving yes, actually 
giving away tins of food, bags of flour, sausages and blankets. 
"When they had gone small boys swarmed over the house and 
carried off a few chairs that had remained. At Piazza Siena in the 
Borghese Gardens Germans had been selling sacks of flour for 
1,000 lire, we heard. In Via San Basilio a barricade had been hur- 
riedly constructed of furniture, odd red plush armchairs, tables, 
stools, and chests of drawers topped by rough planks, in front of 
a second-rate hotel where Germans had lodged. Perhaps it was the 
work of retreating Fascists; one could not tell. 

The next good news to be spread abroad was that the S.S. tor- 
ture houses in Via Tasso and Via Romagna and at the political 
wing of Regina Coeli had been broken open and their occupants 
set free; while Caruso and Koch, the most cruel Blackshirt 
bosses (the former being the leader of the raid on St. Paul's) , had 
been arrested and locked up for trial. 

By five o'clock in the afternoon the streets were almost empty 
of Germans; a few were still going along Corso d'ltalia, making 
for Via Flaminia. Everyone knew that the patriot police force, 
organized and ready for action, had been summoned for 9 
o'clock. A strange order was vaguely circulated that the curfew 
was fixed for 6 o'clock, and all must remain indoors after that 
time. No one paid the slightest attention to it. One of the few 
P.A.I. police still to be seen told us that it had been ordered, but 
his tone lacked conviction. Someone told us an incredible tale 
that, owing to the Pope's intervention, the Allies would not enter 
the city until midnight, to give the Germans a chance to retire. 

What is much more likely, in fact universally held as true, is that 
owing to the Pope's efforts the Germans did not make a stand 
in the streets of Rome and reduce it to the condition of Cassino. 
At least it was owing to the Pope that such was the decision made 
by Kesselring, but of course the German flight was hastened 
when the Allies broke through their defences in the Alban Hills 
and spread like a torrent in the plain surrounding Rome. So it 
came about that as the last Germans were fleeing from the city, 
the Allied patrols were entering, cautiously at first, swiftly and 
confidently afterward. 

Dusk fell, and with it our vicinity grew quiet; but at ten 
o'clock voices were heard, and footsteps in the street. "Viva 
Savoia! viva gli Alleati!" The men of the underground front 
were rallying in force. Armed, disciplined and wearing badges 
with the Italian colours, they were everywhere, ready to round 
up the straggling Germans and Fascists and to keep order if 

From one of our windows we looked down on Rome. The 
electric light which had been cut off was turned on abruptly, and 
uncurtained windows flashed out brightly like a signal of libera- 
tion to come. Then, as if on the stage, all was dark once more; 
except for the moonlight shining through a veil of mist. Sud- 
denly, from the direction of Porta Pia, came a burst of wild 
cheering. The Allies had entered Rome. The sound of cheering 
followed the line of Via Venti Settembre as far as Piazza Venezia. 
After that the whole town came to life. There was talk and 
laughter in all the streets, even in the narrowest ones; there 
was cheering and the sound of clapping everywhere. 

Later, we heard about what others had seen. How, near the 
Island in the Tiber, American tanks had stolen in like shadows, 
their crews peering into the dark, apprehensive of booby traps 
and German snipers; how they were taken for Germans at first, 
and how, when at last they were recognized, the welcome they 
got nearly overcame them. 

Fifth Army men arrived in Piazza Risorgimento while Ger- 
man stragglers still occupied the heights of Monte Mario. Some 
came in along Via Ardeatina and entered at Porta San Paolo; 
from Via Casilina and Via Prenestina they came through Porta 


Maggiore; from the Appian Way by Porta San Giovanni, as the 
Huns came in September. Finally from Via Appia Antica they 
entered through Porta San Sebastiano. 

In several places there were skirmishes with the belated German 
rear-guard. Machine guns rattled in Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore 
and near the Colosseum at about 9 o'clock. The column that 
came through Porta Pia, and whose welcome we heard, went 
straight on through the city in pursuit of the enemy, and did 
not even stop for food or rest. There was fighting on some of 
the bridges. At about 1 1 P.M. some Americans fell at Ponte Sub- 
licio, and on Ponte Margherita German dead lay all night. 

Wherever the troops entered they were cheered, applauded 
and showered with blossoms. A rain of roses fell on men, guns, 
tanks and jeeps. An exuberant Italian rushed forward, took an 
embarrassed American infantryman in his arms, kissed him on 
both cheeks and returned home with the bridge of his nose 
severely cut by the rim of his hero's helmet. 

Monday June 5th 

The tumult and the shouting died at about 1 A.M., and we 
scattered from our observation post. 

My own first sight of the Allies was dramatic in its simplicity. 
Opening a window at about 6 o'clock, I saw one little jeep with 
four American soldiers in it, making its way slowly and sound- 
lessly along the street. No one else was about. The thing looked 
so solitary, yet so significant in the cool stillness of dawn. I had 
it all to myself for a few seconds. It was so small, yet so secure; 
a vignette on a page of history; a full stop at the end of a 
chapter of oppression and fear. 

After breakfast two of us went out on business. Approaching 
Via Veneto was like stepping from a sullen world of pain, fear, 
suspicion, concealment and misery into a brave, gay world of 
high achievement, courage, confidence and chivalry. British and 
American flags floated in the wind, in the brilliant setting of 
that wide thoroughfare alive with Allied soldiers. Two long 
lines of American infantry were marching up either side of the 
roadway, toward Porta Pinciana. They were dusty, battle-worn 
and unshaven^ but they smiled and waved in response to the 

greetings of the crowd. They had roses in the muzzles o their 
rifles, and miniature Italian flags which had been thrown to 
them; they had roses stuck in the camouflage nets of their hel- 
mets, and in their shirts. One has read of these things in books, 
and accepted them as fiction, never dreaming of witnessing them 
as we did today. In between the lines of infantry were jeeps, radio 
cars, ammunition carriers, staff cars and every military vehicle 
imaginable. They came irregularly, sometimes two or more to- 
gether, causing a traffic block when they had to turn round. 
And every car was sprinkled with roses. It looked as if all the 
pink ramblers in Rome had been requisitioned for the occasion. 
(Later in the day we gave a big bunch of them to a friend who 
wanted something to throw to the Allied troops.) Whenever a 
car passed the crowd on the pavement clapped. When a plane 
came over, flying low, seemingly out of sheer joie de vivre, they 
clapped too; and in between they laughed and talked and con- 
gratulated each other. * 

The population of Rome seemed double what it had been; 
men who had been hiding for months patriots, Italian soldiers, 
Allied prisoners of war who had escaped from their prison camps, 
young men of military age and persecuted Jews were out and 
about. Bicycles appeared from their hiding places as if by magic. 
Rome had not seen such animation and laughter since the be- 
ginning of the war. Yet, today in all this joyful effervescence, 
this relief, this reaction from the horrors of Nazifascism, there 
was an amazing absence of the rowdy element which so easily 
predominates on like occasions, as for example on Armistice Day, 
at the end of the last war. 

When we returned we hoisted our own flags on our house, 
amid the applause of enthusiastic passers-by. People we knew 
and people we didn't know came in to say they were proud of the 
Allies and to shake hands and to talk English, and even when 
they couldn't they talked something they called English, just 
the same. At the same moment, 10 A.M., Colonel John Pollock 
hoisted the Union Jack on the Capitol. 

Like occurrences were taking place all over Rome on a larger 
scale. The Scots piped themselves down Via Nazionale to Piazza 
Venezia, where they gave a concert, amid howls of enthusiasm. 
Italians who had never seen kilts before admired "the charming 


little skirts" they wore. The French paraded along Via delPlm- 
pero to shouts of "Vive la France!" British units came up Via 
Ludovisi in triumph. American soldiers hoisted a big Italian flag 
on the balcony of Palazzo Venezia, the famous balcony whence 
the Duce used to harangue the assembled multitudes (summoned 
by postcards to a "spontaneous demonstration of loyalty"). 
Down the Corso men of the Fifth Army passed all day to the 
sound of ceaseless cheering. In reply they tossed American candy 
to sugar-starved children, and cigarettes to men accustomed to 
a desperately meagre ration of tobacco. 

A camp was established in Villa Borghese, and army cooks got 
down to the job of preparing meals for the troops. The situation 
was summed up by our greengrocer's wife (she had had neither 
greens nor groceries to sell for weeks) : "There's nothing to eat, 
but at least we can breathe!" 

Unanimously the thoughts of the Romans went out to the 
Pope; heliad played a large part in saving their city; he had pro- 
tected them from the terror of battle in their streets; they would 
thank him. At 7 A.M. and again at 10 o'clock exultant crowds 
went to Piazza San Pietro calling out for him. Both times he ap- 
peared at his study window, acknowledged their greetings and 
blessed them. A plane circled low at the same moment and 
dropped flowers. 

However, these two visits were not enough. A monster meet- 
ing was organized for the evening. As there were still no tele- 
phones, no trams nor any of the normal means of communica- 
tion, in the early afternoon runners spread the news from house 
to house, and carts and lorries frothing over with boys and bunt- ' 
ing and carrying placards: "Come to St. Peter's at six o'clock to 
thank the Pope" drove through the town in every direction. 

By 5 o'clock, from all parts of the town, masses of people 
were converging on St. Peter's. As they went, they shouted and 
waved their welcome to Fifth Army tanks and lorries entering 
the city. Piazza San Pietro was already full when we arrived. 
The afternoon sun slanted across the roof of the Basilica, spilling 
torrents of golden light on the sea of colour below. With the flags 
and banners, it looked like a herbaceous border in full bloom. 
Soldiers in battle dress provided an olive-drab background for 
the whole. 

A roar of acclamation rose when, after the great bell had 
pealed and the ceremonial drapery had been flung over the 
parapet of the central balcony, the slender white-clad figure of 
the Pope appeared. Presently he raised his hand for silence, and 
spoke. Every phrase of his was punctuated with thunders of 
applause, and each time he waited patiently for it to subside 
before continuing. It was one of the shortest public discourses 
he ever made, and in its utter simplicity went straight to the 
hearts of his hearers. He said that, whereas yesterday Rome was 
still fearful for the fate of her children, today she rejoiced, with 
renewed faith and hope, in their safety. Therefore, while render- 
ing the most profound homage and grateful thanks to God for 
this great benefit; while thanking Our Lady for once more show- 
ing herself to be in truth the "Salvation of the Roman people," 
and Saints Peter and Paul for protecting the city once watered 
by their blood, he begged all to show themselves worthy of the 
grace received, by ordering their lives in conformity to the 
standards demanded by the seriousness of the times. Especially 
would he ask them to put away all feelings of anger and revenge, 
and to cultivate instead the spirit of brotherly love, of modera- 
tion, and of practical compassion for the poor and the suifering. 
"Lift up your hearts!" he concluded, "and let your answer be: 
'We have lifted them up to the Lord!' " He then gave the 
Apostolic Blessing to the kneeling crowd which continued to 
acclaim him long after he had left the balcony. 

When the gathering broke up it seemed as if the whole Fifth 
Army had mingled informally with the whole of the Roman 
population. Leaving the Piazza was a slow business. One had the 
impression of moving along, up to the waist in jeeps, driven so 
quietly and with such careful skill among the multitude that 
they troubled one no more than perambulators. They were 
friendly little conveyances, and in them were friendly soldiers. 
Farther on, beyond the limits of the Piazza were military trucks 
and arms carriers. In the absence of trams, buses and taxis, every- 
one went home on foot. For many it was a matter of five or six 
miles there and back, not to mention the standing in the Piazza. 
But apparently no one minded. Quite the contrary. They didn't 
mind anything. Fascism was gone; Nazism was gone; and the 
horror of war had passed from Rome. 


Italy is on the eve of a new era. She has suffered in the 
crucible of pain and humiliation. She will put her affairs in order 
and begin life afresh. May her future leaders remember the words 
of David, spoken long ago: 

"Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who 
build it."