A tale from Genoa

On April 23-25, 1945 Italian partisans engaged German forces under Major-General Neinholt, commanding the fortress in Genoa. The Germans had tried to negotiate a withdrawal from the city, brokered through Bishop Siri, but the partisans refused to enter into negotiations that would involve making concessions to the occupying army. When news of the German intentions leaked to the partisan committee, they began isolated attacks on German garrison outposts. On the 23rd of April, the attacks became general throughout the city under the command of the partisan committee. Over the two days of street fighting the partisans, outgunned and outnumbered, fought the Germans to a standstill, preventing their retreat from the city. On the morning of April 25 Neinholt offered unconditional surrender to the partisans which was accepted later that day. It is the only instance of a German army surrendering to partisans during WW2. An enraged Hitler, upon hearing of the surrender, ordered Neinholt be executed ( a sentence never carried out). You will find almost nothing about this on the internet, by the way, which concentrates on the “liberation” of Genoa by the American army several days later. But the US Army did not liberate Genoa, the people of Genoa did that themselves. It sums up the spirit of this city—intensely proud, more than willing to kick some ass, and aware of it’s working class, left-wing heritage.

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