His nom de guerre was a whole program: Steel, for the strong physique that seemed that of a man made and finished. Beniamino Ronchi – who died late in the evening of Friday 12 August at the age of 95 – was instead a big boy of not even seventeen when he joined the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Osoppo-Friuli Division. Partisan on the disputed eastern hills, he was the last Osovan patriot of Attimis, as the Osoppo Partisans Association recalls: in fact he was part of the large group that had gathered around Manlio Cencig “Mario” and which constituted one of the most important nuclei of the resistance osovana. Beniamino was born on 1 June 1927 in Paris, where his father, an expert porphyry installer, who traveled a lot around Europe in those years, was working.
The return of the Ronchi family to Italy dates back to five years later: the young Ben works in Milan, then in Udine. In 1944, in the midst of the war, all the Ronchis moved to their father’s country of origin, Enclosed. When Beniamino has not even turned seventeen, his story intersects with that of the Resistance: «Dad – says his son Mario – he loved playing the accordion, from an early age. One evening he was playing in the backyard, in front of the family. The partisans entered and were quite convincing: “Either come with us or you are against us”. Obviously he went, even though he was still very young: whoever had enlisted him was convinced that he was at least twenty, because he had a structured physique, he was a true force of nature ». And so the battle name, Steel, was born, with which Beniamino will face the very hard months that will lead to the end of the Second World War.
«He also risked dying: one evening his grandmother was cooking spaghetti for the partisans who came to Enclosed from the hills. The Cossacks arrived – Mario continues – and they took prisoners all present: they aimed Benjamin, but when the time came to shoot the rifle he made a “poof”, jammed ». After the war Beniamino moved to Belgium, together with hundreds of emigrants who left Friuli to work in the mines: he ended up in that of Aulniat-Roton, near the town of Farciennes, in the province of Charleroi. Here he meets Monica Boucher, whom he marries in 1951: Mario, Maria Theresa and Sergio (who died prematurely) will be born from their union.
In the Eighties the call of Friuli and of “its” Racchiuso becomes irresistible: in May 1982 Monica and Beniamino return to the small town in the municipality of Attimis, where Acciaio works to help the community, with small jobs and supporting the initiatives of the hamlet. In 2009, on the occasion of the Feast of the Emigrant, the Apo had given him a certificate of thanks, recalling his transfer abroad.
“Beniamino – writes the association – was proud of that simple piece of paper, which in addition to his name contained a Thank You, to remember the sacrifices of a generation that after the war, knew how to roll up their sleeves and rebuild with effort and commitment”.
Beniamino Ronchi’s funeral is scheduled for Wednesday 17 August at 3 pm in the parish church of Racchiuso.