Why this story matters:
The portraits were unveiled Tuesday in Bologna, a north-central city that was at the heart of the partisan Resistance movement after Prime Minister Benito Mussolini was ousted and Germany invaded Italy in 1943.
The women, all of whom are still living and are now in their late 80s and early 90s, undertook dangerous missions relaying information between local battalions.
One woman, Flora Monti, was just 14 years old when she volunteered to deliver messages hidden on tiny pieces of paper tucked into her hair.
At the portraits’ unveiling, Monti described friends who were killed in the Resistance and warned young Italians not to become complacent.
“You’re still young,” she told reporters. “Make sure there isn’t another dictatorship. We brought you to this point; now it’s up to you young people.”
The message was especially poignant this year as Europe deals with creeping authoritarianism in a number of EU member states.
Details from the story:
- April 25 is a national holiday in Italy commemorating the country's liberation from Nazi forces that invaded after Benito Mussolini was deposed in 1943.
- In honor of this year's Liberation Day, the National Association of Italian Partisans commissioned a series of portraits honoring 12 living members of the Resistance -- six men and six women.
- The portraits were unveiled Tuesday in Bologna, a north-central city that was at the heart of the partisan Resistance movement.
- The women joined the Resistance as teenagers and undertook dangerous missions relaying information between battalions.
- One of the survivors, Flora Monti, told reporters that an astonishing number of young people died working for the Resistance.