Italian Communist Party 1948

Vile Attack on Togliatti

Source: L'Unita, July 14, 1948;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor

As the Honorable Togliatti, accompanied by the Hon. Leonilde Jotti, exited the door of Montecitorio, which gives onto the via delle Missione, he was confronted by a young man — whose personal details are yet unknown — who fired several bullets at him, striking him, it appears, in the spleen, below the left lung, and in the head. The young man was immediately captured by the Carabiniere on service; the wounded man fell to the ground and then was quickly transported to the first aid station of the Chamber of Deputies.

The news was given by Sen. Alberti, who was presiding over the session, while the Hon. Terracini was speaking The reaction was extremely violent. The session was immediately suspended, as was that of the Chamber of Deputies.

The Hon. Prof. Mario Ceravolo, a pulmonary specialist, visited Comrade Togliatti immediately after the attack and issued the following medical report:

“General status very weak, a state of collapse, pulse bradycardic (constitutionally), bur regular; three wounds, the most serious of which is that of the left thorax at the level of the pleura...The condition is worrisome and the prognosis is guarded.”

Immediately after the attack an ambulance left from the Polyclinic with doctors and medicines. At first it seemed the wounded man was not in a condition to be transported. However, once it was determined that he could bear the trip to the clinic he was taken there by means of that transport.

The attacker is a university student who appears to be 25-26 years old.

No sooner had the CGIL learned of the attack than it convoked a meeting in Rome of all members of the Executive Committee of the CGIL. The place and hour of the meeting will be communicated to all members of the Executive Committee.

The consort of Hon. Togliatti, Senator Rita Montagnana had no sooner heard the news than she hurried from the Senate and went to the side of her husband, her face showing great agitation; especially when the wounded man, followed by many deputies, was transported on a stretcher through the corridors of Montecitorio to be taken out and transported to the clinic.

Hon Togliatti appeared a little more pale than usual, and his eyes were half-shut, as if sleeping.

The impression on the Chamber is enormous. Everywhere, groups of deputies gather, who sadly comment upon the events. The versions given aren’t in agreement, but it appears certain that four shots were fired, and that three struck the leader of the Communist Party.

An ever growing crowd gathered in the via delle Misione and the Plaza Montecitorio. The forces of order, La Celere, are on the scene.

At the last moment we have been informed that Comrade Togliatti has reached the polyclinic, where he will be operated on by the surgeon Valdoni.

The President of the Chamber, the Senate president Hon. Orlando, has gone to the hospital to gather news.

According to information gathered at Montecitorio, the attacker is a Sicilian, like Ballante de Randazzo, who attended the session of the Chamber yesterday with a ticket provided to him by a Sicilian deputy, whose name is still unknown.

It has been confirmed that he is 25 and a university student. During his first interrogation the attacker declared that for some time he had planned to carry out the attack, and that he doesn’t belong to any party.

Barely had the radio spread the news than a wave of indignation spread across the country. Crowds of people are gathering before the offices of newspapers to learn details on the condition of our comrade. A great number of people are permanently stationed before Montecitorio.

An uninterrupted series of calls from factories, offices and sections are coming into the newspaper, as people seek details on the attack. In the mouths of all are the most fiery expressions of indignation for the vileness of this blow, which was aimed at the entire Italian democratic movement, striking its highest guide.