“Andgannets in a foreign land, persecuted by the police enslaved by the Nazis, forced to a life of deprivation, sacrifice and hardship, held up the torch of the Resistance fighting with unsurpassed faith and valiant tenacity for the redemption of the homeland. She returned to Italy overcoming often deadly dangers, boldly crossing borders and borders several times, has fulfilled missions of extreme delicacy and importance radiating an aura of legend around his admirable activity ».
With these reasons on May 21, 1961, a daring partisan fighter received the silver medal for military valor. She wore a red dress, and had demanded and obtained an official ceremony such as those reserved for men.
She was Joyce Salvadori Lussu and with her life and her deeds she crossed the twentieth century. Revolutionary and activist, writer, historian, poet, globetrotting translator, in one word: irreducible.
Born in 1912, who died on November 4, 1998this woman has moved on the outposts of history never backing down, claiming with determination, without ever giving up, the right to act and make her voice heard.
Witty and fearless, cultured and polyglot, beautiful and charismatic, Joyce Lussu he had made civil and political commitment the reason for his existence.
On this furrow he had found the love of his life, the legendary Emilio Lussu, a point of reference in the anti-fascist strugglestatesman and writer, and had taken his surname after marriage.
A choice defined by herself as a “cultural politician”: «My name is Joyce Lussu because women don’t have their own name. Women must always bear the name of a man, either he is the father or he is the husband. I found my father, I chose my husband: there is an extra bit of autonomy ».
Gioconda Joyce Beatrice Salvadori he had in his blood the spirit of his havens: the Apennine sibylsdiviners and custodians of knowledge and knowledge, and the nonconformist and rebellious vein of those British girls who in the mid-19th century had arrived in Italy and settled in the Marche, the region of origin of the Salvadori family.
The parents, progressive anti-militarist and anti-fascist intellectuals of the first hourboth from well-to-do families who had challenged and disowned, they had raised her, her sister Gladys and her brother Max in a secular and equal way, without any gender difference.
There was little money at home, but there was a much greater wealth: culture. Joyce learned to read and write with poetry and, although he attended public school for a few years, he then continued to receive an education at home, learning foreign languages and feeding on literature, philosophy, history.
In the sky over Florence, the city where she was born, in the meantime black clouds were gathering: squadism had risen sharply.
A life against injustice
She wasn’t even twelve when, in 1924, the fascists beaten his father and brother.
In Joyce was born in that moment not only the anger against injustice, but also the desire to fight violence and a will to act, to rebel, to be equal and never inferior to men: “I swore to myself that I would never use traditional female privileges: if there had to be a fight, I would have been in the fight too ».
She and her family were forced into exile. They fled to Switzerland, the first of many pilgrimages. Joyce wandered from Italy to Libya, diving into a whirlwind of jobs to support himself, up to Germany, where he studied philosophy, and then returned again to Africa with her first husband, the landowner Aldo Belluigi, a union lasted very little, because she had already fallen in love with Mister Mill, the code name of Emilio Lussu.
She had met him for the first time in Geneva, when she had started her clandestine anti-fascist struggle with Giustizia e Libertà, the revolutionary movement she had joined together with her brother Max, and she immediately understood that he was the man of her life.
But Emilio, who was twenty-two years her senior, and was an unrepentant bachelor, didn’t want to have a stable relationship. So they separated, only to find each other as soon as Joyce returned to Europe.
In 1940 they left together Paris occupied by the Germans and it is here that the chronicle of real life that will become the book begins. Fronts and borders. It is the work, which looks like a film, in which Joyce recounts the whirlwind of events that carried her and Emilio to the threshold of the end of the Second World War.
From Orléans to Marseille, where Joyce became a very skilled manufacturer of false documents saving the lives of many refugees and persecuted. Then Lisbon, London where he attended a military training camp and learned to use radio transmitters, the Morse code, to shoot and use explosives.
The book, recently re-edited by the publishing house Abbot in its first original versionthe one in which each chapter has the name of a woman who was precious in that wandering around Europe between borders, escapes, precarious housing, fictitious identities and continuous dangers to overcome, culminates in the mission that the National Liberation Committee entrusted to Joyce in 1943: make the connection with the Italian government of the South.
Codenamed Simonetta, Joyce crossed the line of fire by embarking on a journey that the other male fighters who had attempted before her had failed..
On the feminist wave
«Being a woman – she wrote in the opening of the essay Father, master, master eternalanother text republished just this year by the NdA Press publishing house, together with another of his twenty works: The Book of Witchesboth edited by Chiara Cretella – I have always considered it a positive fact, an advantage, a joyful and aggressive challenge. Does anyone say that women are inferior to men, that they can’t do this is that? Oh yes? I’ll show you! What is there to envy of men? Everything they do I can do too. And what’s more, I also know how to have a child ». And he had had a son in the aftermath of the Liberation.
Immediately after the end of the war he undertook to rebuild Italy in the ranks of the PSI and the UDI. Then she moved away from official politics, which had disappointed her, because the women’s question remained a minority issue.
However, he never stopped actively engaging, writing and studying, looking for new dimensions in which to try his hand. She became a translator for poets like Nazim Hikmeth engaged in the fight for freedom in the four corners of the globe.
He was a pacifist and environmentalist, he dedicated his life to the knowledge of society and the world. His story is told every day, taking it away from oblivion, in Emilio and Joyce Lussu Historical Museum in his native town, in Armungia, Sardiniathe land that she called “a door to the world”, to keep alive the memory of a woman like Joyce Lussu and her sharp, timeless gaze.
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