Piero Folli

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The Reverend
Fr. Piero Folli


Don Piero Folli, photo on his tomb in Voldomino
Church Roman Catholic Church
Personal details
Born 18 September 1881
Premeno, Italy
Died 8 March 1948
Voldomino, Luino, Italy
Nationality Italian

Don Piero Folli (18 September 1881 in Premeno – 8 March 1948 in Voldomino, Luino) was an Italian antifascist parish priest.

Luino Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Luino is a small town and comune near the border with Switzerland on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore, in the Province of Varese.



Since the years in seminary he shows his opening and sensitivity to social and political problems, sympathizing with workers fights of 1898.

In open reaction against any abuse of power and injustice, declared antifascist, since 1923 he suffers every type of harassment, including the fascist punishment of castor oil.

Castor oil vegetable oil obtained by pressing the seeds of the Castor plant, Ricinus communis

Castor oil is a vegetable oil pressed from castor beans. The name probably comes from its use as a replacement for castoreum.

In 1923 he arrives in Voldomino near Luino, where he often denounces in his sermons the abuses of power and wrongs of fascist dictatorship.

After 8 September 1943 many allied prisoners escaped from concentration camps arrive in the village, young Italian soldiers who failed to report for military service in Italian Social Republic, victims of political persecution (Mauro Scoccimarro, Guido Miglioli, Piero Malvestiti), Jewish sought-after. His house, the sacristy, the oratory, the old nursery school of Santa Liberata are literally invaded by hundreds of escaped people who are welcomed, given hospitality, fed, helped to expatriate until his arrest on 3 December 1943.

Italian Social Republic puppet state of Nazi Germany

The Italian Social Republic, popularly and historically known as the Republic of Salò, was a German puppet state with limited recognition that was created during the later part of World War II, existing from the beginning of German occupation of Italy in September 1943 until the surrender of German troops in Italy in May 1945.

Piero Malvestiti Italian politician

Piero Malvestiti was an Italian politician who was a minister in successive governments in the 1940s and 1950s, a European Commissioner and President of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community.

After three months of hard prison in San Vittore, thanks to the intervention of Card. Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster he is freed and confined first in Cesano Boscone, then in Vittuone. After the war he is permitted to return to Voldomino and start again his life as parish priest, dying after three. He is buried in Voldomino cemetery, on his tomb stone it is written that he was given the treasures of «faith science altruism» that made him «dear to God and his people».

Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster Metropolitan Archbishop of Milan and Cardinal of the Catholic Church, beatified in 1996.

Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster - born Alfredo Ludovico Schuster - was an Italian Roman Catholic prelate and professed member from the Benedictines who served as the Archbishop of Milan from 1929 until his death. He became known as Ildefonso as a Benedictine monk and served as an abbot prior to his elevation to the cardinalate.

A memorial tablet was put on 3 December 1983 on the vault of Piazza Piave in Voldomino. [1] [2]

The arrest

Memorial tablet of don Piero Folli in Voldomino Follipierolapide.jpg
Memorial tablet of don Piero Folli in Voldomino

3 December 1943. Voldomino near Luino.

A nazi-fascist breaks punishment expedition breaks in the rectory and arrests don Piero Folli together with a group of 14 Jewish people sent from Genova archbishop Pietro Boetto, who had been just rejected form the Swiss at the border. Thirty other Jewish people, coming from Saint-Martin-Vésubie near Besançon, had already been saved in three or four trips, accompanied by Don Rotondi, but their names have not been found. [3]

Pietro Boetto Catholic cardinal

Pietro Boetto, SJ was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Genoa from 1938 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1935.

Saint-Martin-Vésubie Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Saint-Martin-Vésubie is a commune of the Alpes-Maritimes department, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in Southeastern France. Established on the edge of a glacial plate, it had a population of 1,327 in 2008. It was named after the Vésubie, a local river.

Besançon Prefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Besançon is the capital of the department of Doubs in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. The city is located in Eastern France, close to the Jura Mountains and the border with Switzerland.

Don Piero, tied to the grate, in spite of the undergone tortures to make him talk, still has the strength to react strongly when he sees Jewish women and children hit and loaded on a truck. To make him silent they turn his head backwards against the grate, seizing him by his hair and pulling out a lock. Only one girl named Myriam Pirani succeeds in hiding and returning to Genova to give the alarm to Massimo Teglio of DELASEM, who organized the escape of the Jews to Switzerland. We don’t know where the girl ended to.

1943–44. San Vittore. Don Folli succeeds in keeping silent and doesn’t reveal the names of the people who helped him in his activity, he is beaten and tortured but he doesn’t talk. One day, during the hour of air he sees a line of prisoners who is being deported to Germany. As he is unable to send his word of support he doesn’t hesitate to bless them. The fascist guard who sees him hits him hard with the butt of his gun and throws him to the ground. [4]

See also


  1. G.De Antonellis (care of), Cattolici ambrosiani per la libertà, Milano, Ned, 1995, pp. 98–102
  2. Don G.Barbareschi (care of), Memorie di sacerdoti ribelli per amore, Milano, Centro di Documentazione e Studi Religiosi, 1986, pp. 162–166
  3. A research of these people is under way to include him in the list of the Righteous among the Nations. If you have any information refer to MSacerdoti
  4. Travalia, Studi su Luino e gli immediati dintorni, edito a cura della biblioteca civica di Luino, aprile 1975


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