The Refugee House

A place to welcome those fleeing the front

After the Armistice of September 8th, 1943, numerous refugees arrived in Modena from the territories that had already been liberated. They were entire families who have had to abandon their homes amidst great suffering and who found themselves in the condition of needing assistance for every aspect of daily life. In the building at the then Via Caselle 10 (now San Paolo Complex), a first reception point was established, called the “Refugee House,” where they could rest and find refreshments. Approximately five hundred beds were available there.

The refugees crossing the Modena territory were thousands. Their names were listed in weekly lists drawn up by the Prefecture offices: they came from nearby cities like Bologna, but also from neighbouring regions like Tuscany, particularly from Pistoia. For the fascist regime, the ability to provide help and assistance was a way of showing that it could cope with the needs of the Italians, often without actually succeeding. To this end, fundraising and subscriptions were organized in all municipalities.