Scritto da © Carlo Gabbi - Mar, 21/07/2020 - 18:05
One early morning at the time Gilberto opened the restaurant, a water-taxi moored at the Manin jetty. A middle aged woman with a shawl hiding her face hurriedly moved into the restaurant. Seeing Gilberto she took his hand and implored him.
“Please help me, Mr. Levi…” she was speaking without stopping crying. “They came at down… an officer and six militias and they took the Count away. Why have they done it? You know we paid in time the money for his freedom; why Mr. Levi?”
“Sure, it was a mistake, Contessa Cigni, I’ll go to find it out and I’ll let you know. Please don’t cry now Contessa, keep your dignity. Don’t worry, he’ll be home soon.”
Gilberto helped the Contessa by the arm and gently guided her to the waiting water-taxi. Reassuringly he kissed her hand, “You will hear from me soon.” He told her while the boat departed from the mooring.
“I have feeling this morning, something is going to happen.” Day was breaking up the night darkness in a misty Saturday morning. Gilberto wasn’t at easy and very apprehensive.
He kept looking out from the front window into the lane taking to his apartment. He had a premonition which he couldn’t ignore.
Then he saw them, surging from the fog. They looked in the way that Contessa Cigni had described to him only two days ago.
It was an officer and six militias and marched on two lines down the alley; Gilberto knew immediately what they where doing in this place so early. They had come to get him. His time of freedom was over. Never before, gendarmes had been at the Lido, particularly at such an unusual time.
He grabbed his jacket on the way out from the back door that faced the lagoon. The water-taxi jetty was within one hundred meter from his house, and by the time the officer knocked at his front door, Gilberto’s water-taxi was already speeding toward San Marco.
“It was a lucky escape thanks to my sixth sense.” Marco thought while the taxi was leaving behind the marks of its speed on the water.
“I will be out of Venice before they start to follow me.”
Marco stopped at the restaurant to get the money and document that he had previously had prepared for such an event. He kept on with his thought.
“The fisherman told me that I can call to their jetty any time. A trawler would always be ready for me. Then without delay they will sail along the cost to Monfalcone. From there would be easy to disappear on the Carso’s hills where I’ll mix with the Resistance. They’re helping people like me.”
At the restaurant he wrote a short note for Annemarie, and was ready to go. But the Gestapo broke into the restaurant at that moment brandishing in their hands the machine-guns.
Gilberto had no way to escape. He tried to get the vial, but slipped away from his unsteady hand into a crevice of the desk.
He was arrested and the soldiers took him to the SS headquarter in Mestre, where they interrogate him.
Gilberto declared himself innocence against the accusation of smuggling Jews out of the Country. The same the SS, incriminated him of plotting against the security of the Reich, and they force him to sign a document along that line.
Without delay a Military Court was assembled and within fifteen minutes the Court Judges established that Gilberto was guilty and signed the order that he would be executed by firing squad on the next evening at the presence of a few selected witnesses representing the city of Venice.
Annemarie was taken by panic when she heard the militia knocking to their apartment door but she relieved when the militia couldn’t find Gilberto.
As soon as the soldiers left, she hurried to San Marco, hoping to find a message from Gilberto at the restaurant. She repeated to herself, “He is safe and on his way to the Carso, as we discussed some time ago.”
She found the Manin door open, and was evidence that people had searched through the rooms. She started shaking when she saw Gilberto’s desk unlocked and opened. “It’s not Gilberto habit. He keeps it securely locks.”
Than she had the vision of the events and she knew all. She screamed hysterically, “NOOO, My God, and NOOO. Please God tell me it’s no true.”
She dropped exhausted on the chair fronting Gilberto’s desk and she saw his keys on the desktop. Frenetically she looked for the poison and saw the vial. She knew then that thinks had run out of his control. He was too meticulous to go away without locking the desk. She knew then he was in a mortal risk.
She thought for a second why Gilberto didn’t use that tiny powerful vial of poison, giving him the change to die with dignity. Then she saw that the vial had slipped into a crevice…”What had happened to him?” Annemarie cried on that though.
A neighbor came in through the main door and took her hand telling,
“The Germans have been around earlier. They took Gilberto away in a barge. He was handcuffed.”
“I must be strong… I must act swiftly if I want to see my man alive” she told Vittorio, who gave her that news.
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