Profiles of Courage

Irma Bandiera: Tortured by the Fascists For Seven Days and Refused to Give Away Her Comrades.


She was captured and tortured by the Fascists of the Special Autonomous Company for six days and six nights in August 1944. Yet she refused to speak and give up information on her comrades. She was only 29 years old.

Originally from Bologna, she joined the Communist party as she started helping disbanded soldiers and took interest in politics. Her boyfriend Frederico had been taken prisoner in September 1943 but his ship to Germany was bombed and sank in Piraeus.

She took the battle name “Mimma”, a name her family affectionately called her, and joined other militants that from the Faculty of Medecine in Bologna.



On August 5th, partisans killed a German officer and furious retaliation ensued: the partisans were arrested and on the evening of the 7th, Irma was arrested at her uncle’s house. Her mother and her sister looked for her at the police station but could never speak to her. Irma refused to reveal the names of her comrades in spite of the torture she endured, saving many of her companions in the resistance.

She was shot on August 14th, 1944 near her parents’ house in Bologna.




A man by the name of Guerrino, shares his last memory of her:

“It was her, Irma Bandiera. La Mimma. I recognized her immediately. Thinner than ever, disfigured; with his face, hands and chest full of bruises and burns, but I recognized her immediately. La Mimma. They had thrown it on the ground like a sack of garbage. He wore a dark, elegant suit. But they had ripped it off him; it showed. The bullet holes could also be seen. And the streams of blood. The eyes, then, the eyes …”

There is a street plaque in Bologna in her name.

On another Word War II heroine, read this piece about Madeleine Pauliac: The Rebel Doctor Who Delivered Nuns in Post WWII Poland.

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