Renato Dulbecco – The resistance (9/61)

And thus another period of my life began, because naturally I wanted to continue to work in Turin and so I worked in Turin. I travelled from Sommariva Perno to Turin, but the transport conditions were inexistent, sometimes I had to go by bicycle. [Q] I can imagine. How many kilometres
did you have to travel by bicycle, many? Quite a few. I went by bicycle on many occasions,
other times I tried to get there in other ways. There was a train to Carmagnola that went to Turin,
but to get to Carmagnola I had to take the bus, which left at 5 in the morning from
Sommariva Perno, so you can imagine. And then the train was all loaded with livestock, there was no… but in fact… and so I was able to do a little work there in Turin. And in Turin, speaking with colleagues who knew my position… [Q] But you were, in this sense… it was official that you had left… you were able to stay in Turin or were you in hiding? No, I wasn’t in hiding.
[Q] Oh, I see, that is important. No, no I wasn’t in hiding. So I was in this little village.
Basically, it was difficult. I went alone because I wanted to work… no, I wasn’t in hiding. And then even worse because when I was in Turin, my friend was there, a colleague at the Department of Pathological Anatomy called Mottura, Giacomo Mottura, we were very good friends and then he knew my particular position and we spoke about what I could do, the future and he gave me things to read about political parties, etc. It was necessary to be active and so I became a member of a small party that was called the Christian Workers’ Movement, which was obviously left-wing. In essence it was a splinter group of the Communist Party. And with this I therefore got involved in
anti-German activity, anti-fascist activity in Turin and I became a member of the Turin Liberation Committee. [Q] So was this risky too? Yes, yes, of course! I remember, for example,
two or three times this happened to me: I was at the hospital, naturally in a white coat
and, speaking with some friends, some colleagues and there was a man there at the Department
of Pathological Anatomy who was organising, keeping everything in order.
And he came and said to me, ‘Ah, Dr. Dulbecco, there are two men
who would like to talk to you’. And I said, ‘Okay, okay’ and went to
where there was a large group of physicians and mingled with them and
stayed there all day until they left. [Q] So, we were saying, very simply
you were doing well, because… I know, I know, certainly. I also remember that this committee that was there, at a certain point we were thinking how it would end up here, because there were partisans all around and the Germans saw that in the end they would not have made it. So they were thinking if only they will shoot,
there will be a battle in the city and then we decided to organise a system of first-aid
which was based on volunteers, who were organised by other colleagues.
I don’t know how they found them. Then they were telling me where they were gathered and every so often I would explain some first-aid techniques. In fact, they were all women and it was
very moving, because again this was very risky, because if by chance they had found out,
they would have been able to take us all. Everything turned out well, luckily. And then naturally the good thing was that the Germans left without firing a single shot and the
only thing that we noticed during the night, because we were at the hospital, in case it was necessary, was the comings and going of armoured vehicles, etc. The noise, not shooting, was only the noise of ironware, you see, this showed that they were leaving. Then in the end, on 25 April, I remember going out, there was new air, the Germans were no longer there, there were no more fascists, the partisans
had entered, it was a wonderful feeling. [Q] Excuse me, remembering this, where were you on the previous 25th of July? It’s not before the 25th… On the 25th of July? [Q] When did Mussolini fall for the first time? No, this… I was in that area on the 25th of April! Right, that happened later, I still was there, there was nothing. What I remember was very beautiful. Sommariva Perno was a partisan centre, and I was
their physician, you see, and dentist as well… what was very beautiful was to see theseyoung people
who were not bad, they didn’t hate anyone, they only wanted to fight to eliminate… But,
on the other hand, they were very serene, very pleasant, when I went among them, it was always very beautiful. And the same in Turin, there was a
spirit of action, of contributing.

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