Antonio Pallante died, in ’48 he shot at Togliatti

He disappeared on 6 July but the news of his death had so far been kept confidential by his two sons

AND’ Antonio Pallante, the assassin of Palmiro Togliatti, died in Catania, against which 3 gunshots exploded on July 14, 1948, reducing the leader of the Italian Communist Party to death, in the company of Nilde Iotti, near the Chamber of Deputies. An attack that brought Italy to the brink of civil war, with the communist leader himself, who from his hospital bed called for calm, while clashes began in the anti-fascist squares. Pallante, born in Irpinia on August 3, 1923, passed away on July 6, due to respiratory complications, in his home in the Sicilian capital. The news of his death had so far been kept confidential by his two sons.

Antonio Pallante gave his last interview to AdnKronos on January 17, 2021. During that conversation he claimed the “ideal” reasons for his gesture, which he described as patriotic, to protect Italy from communism “preventing our nation from falling under the heel of communism”. Below is the text of the interview given on that occasion.

“I have no regrets – says 97-year-old Antonio Pallante to AdnKronos -. I thought it was the right thing to do to save the country”. He has forgotten almost nothing of that July 14, 1948. And yet Antonio Pallante had only 24 when he pulled the trigger of his 38 caliber drum. but above all, a young man obsessed with the fear of communism in Italy. And he never regretted it.

“I have clear memories of that day – he says in the interview with AdnKronos – and also of the previous months”, there was the danger of communism and I “was convinced that the only solution was to eliminate the party secretary Palmiro Get off”. “An extreme gesture that repelled me humanly, but I saw no alternative” admits Pallante, who took a train from his home town of Randazzo, on the slopes of Etna with a pistol in his pocket, one way to Rome. Pallante recalls the history of the town after the elections of April 1948 as follows: “There had been the elections of April 18 and the Communists had lost, but for me nothing had changed”. And then, the former seminarian, later a member of the Gioventù Italiana del Littorio matured his decision.

He imagines he can make a change in the country, in his memoirs, he explains how his resentment for the communists burned: “In the north the red partisans, especially in the infamous triangle of death but not only, had systematically eliminated those who didn’t think like them “. “They massacred white partisans, priests, landowners,” he says pointing his finger at the Communists. In Togliatti, then, Pallante reproaches another thing: “That terrible page, which has emerged over the years in all its tragedy, on the soldiers of the Armir, captured by the Red Army and sent to die by the thousands in Soviet concentration camps without ‘the Best’ lifted a single finger to help them”, a story that the son of the Randazzo forester defines in one word, “monstrous”.

“The fate of my homeland was at stake – he still mourns: freedom against dictatorship”. And we “were at a crossroads” which “in my conscience had an epochal meaning, one had to choose between black and white, life or death, definitive and irrevocable here or there”. Shooting at Togliatti, he reiterates, seemed to him the solution, his choice of side.

“Of course, at that age – he says almost 73 years after the shots that made Iotti despair, who shouted ‘they killed Togliatti’, then giving rise to the popular reaction, which left at least 30 victims lifeless in the Italian squares – naive and only a naive, idealist like me, could think that by eliminating Togliatti I would have solved the problems of my compatriots, but I believed it”. “I had models in front of me, models who have illuminated my whole life and who still fill me with enthusiasm”.