Brigate Fiamme Verdi

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The Brigate Fiamme Verdi (Green Flame Brigade) was an Italian Partisan Resistance Group, of predominantly Catholic orientation, which operated in Italy during World War Two.[1]

The armed Italian Resistance comprised a number of contingents of differing ideological orientation - the largest being the Communist Garibaldi Brigade.[2] Tensions between Catholics and Communists in the movement led Catholics to form the Fiamme Verdi as a separate brigade of Christian Democrats in Northern Italy.[3] Peter Hebblethwaite wrote that, by early 1944, some 20,000 partisans had emerged from Catholic Action. Known as the "Green Flames", they were supported by sympathetic provincial clergy in the North, who pronounced the Germans to be "unjust invaders", whom it was lawful and meritorious to repel. "Bishops tended to be more cautious", wrote Hebblethwaite, Maurilio Fossati, the Cardinal Archbishop of Turin "visited partisan units in the mountains, heard their confessions and said Mass for them."[4]

The Fiamme Verdi did not belong to the approximately 4% of Italian Resistance groups that were formal Catholic organisations, but instead was classed in the 21% of resistance groups that were "independent", in which, like the Osoppo group and others, the Fiamme Verdi was not formally a Catholic group, but had a very strong Catholic presence. Nevertheless, just as there were militant Catholics within the Garribaldi Brigade, so there were non-Catholics within the Fiamme Verdi.[5] 191 priests were killed by fascists and 125 by the Germans, while 109 were killed by partisans. Though some priests joined pro-fascist bands, the Vatican backed the so-called anti-Fascist 'partisan chaplains' and 'red priests' fighting with the partisans, hoping that they would provide religious guidance to partisans being exposed to Communist propaganda.[6]

The Fiamme Verdi was sometimes associated with the Democrazia Cristiana Party and was particularly active in Emilia and Lombardia.[7] Notable members included Lionello Levi Sandri, who later served as a prominent Italian and European Commissioner.[8]

External websites[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ European Resistance Archive - Italy on www.resistance-archive.org
  2. ^ Left Catholicism 1943-1955: Catholics and Society in Western Europe at the point of Liberation; edited by Gerd-Rainer Horn & Emmanuel Gerard; Leuven University Press; p.178
  3. ^ Charles T. O'Reilly; Forgotten Battles: Italy's War of Liberation, 1943-1945; Lexington Books; 2001; p.218
  4. ^ Peter Hebblethwaite; Paul VI - the First Modern Pope; Harper Collins Religious; 1993; pp.194-5
  5. ^ Left Catholicism 1943-1955: Catholics and Society in Western Europe at the point of Liberation; edited by Gerd-Rainer Horn & Emmanuel Gerard; Leuven University Press; p.178
  6. ^ Mark Mazower; Hitler's Empire - Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe; Penguin; 2008; ISBN 978-0-713-99681-4; pp.504
  7. ^ http://www.anpi.it/fiamme-verdi/
  8. '^ Governo italiano - Lionello Levi Sandri at www.funzionepubblica.gov.it

See also[edit]