15 February 1944 - Today, 71 Years Ago, THE BOMBING OF THE ABBEY OF MONTE CASSINO

The Germans had agreed not to station troops in the Abbey, Allied officers suspected that it gave the Germans a valuable observation post and would inevitably come into play to protect German troops. Its obliteration by Allied strategic bombing ended up Killing over 200 Italians who had sought refuge behind its walls as well as other victims, civilans and allied soldiers, killed from errant bombs, by friendly Fire.

As it turned out, the Abbey’s destruction also freed the Germans to use the ruins as a site for digging in for their desperate fight against wave after wave of Allied troops who finally captured the mountainous redoubt on May 18, 1944. It was not until a quarter century later that the official U.S. account of the battle was changed to acknowledge that “the abbey was actually unoccupied by German troops.”

In 1945, the italian govern start the recostruction of the country from the Abbey of Monte Cassino. The Abbey became the symbol of the destruction of our country, and may be, only in that occasion, the italians were united for a common task. The last pictures, taken in 1948,  in the series shows how fast start the reconstruction and how much effort to rebuilt it.

The works of reconstructions were paid by the Italian State, arts and redecorations by private association and by the Church. In 1959 St Benedict, who is buried in the Abbey has been proclaimed Saint Patron of Europe and the Church was reconsacreted again in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.