Silvia De Marchi, a rediscovered woman.

An antibiotic would have been enough, and my mother would have saved her life.” These are the words that the lawyer Riccardo Musatti reports at the end of the story about his mother, Silvia De Marchi, of his few memories and those one handed down by his father, Cesare Musatti, and his aunt, Lucia De Marchi. To welcome us sitting at the bar, an octogenarian. “At one of the first tables you will see an elderly gentleman, in a sweater, reading the newspaper. It’s me. “After the due presentations and pleasant greetings, Riccardo opens his briefcase and pulls out a red folder: inside a pile of photographs and a bundle of sheets. The emotion is great. Finally we can admire the face of Silvia.


Riccardo Musatti

He immediately underlines that he has no recollection of his mother, who died when he was only three years old, only some image of places, such as the courtyard and the stairs of the clinic where his mother was hospitalized in the last moments of her short life. The story is relaxed, between a photo and another, the description of the protagonists of the photos, some familiar anecdote.

The photos of a woman in the middle of her life: the smile, the airiness, the bond with the child, the intense look. A young promise struck down by a terrible ear infection, today trivially cured with an antibiotic but devastating for the thirties.


“My father did not speak willingly of my mother, a little bit to protect himself from grief and for my aunt, the death of her sister, it was a terrible wound, very painful”.

Silvia De Marchi e suo figlio Riccardo

The story went on reviving the origins of the Musatti family, the grandfather Elia  son of one of the most important Venice Jewish families, who marries a Neapolitan woman, Emma Leanza, cousin of the deputy and leader of the liberal left Giuseppe Zanardelli. Then the story moves on to his grandfather De Marchi, Luigi , senator of fascist Italy and his children, especially Lucia, custodian of the suffering of the family. Luigi De Marchi and his wife Rosa Porro had 7 children: everyone had the chance to study, except Lucia. We do not know what the real motivation was. After an unlucky love, Lucia becomes  a Red Cross nurse. In 2006 the President of the Italian Republic Ciampi confers the gold medal to the civil valour in memory of Lucia De Marchi:



Inspector of the Red Cross, with great sensitivity and high professionalism, during the last world war, with heroic courage and commendable civil virtue she worked to give assistance and help to 1022 Roman Jews captured by the SS on October 16, 1943 and deported to the camps . She continued her voluntary work with tireless and passionate efforts in favour of refugees, veterans and people affected by natural disasters. A shining example of a sense of self-denial and of humanism founded on the highest values of brotherhood and the sharing of others’ suffering. 1943 – 1982 / Padua




Lucia wrote family memoirs, published in private for family use. In her memories we find Silvia.


Riccardo also tells us about his father, about his life. From the expulsion from Padua as a university professor as a Jew, to the transfer to Milan.

Towards the end of his life my father told me in Venetian dialect, you know your mother was smarter than me. She had a method and scientific rigor that I never had “.

And we can still say that her discoveries are still valid today, and despite having only two articles in her name, we reiterate that Silvia De Marchi has every right to be counted and remembered as a pioneer in the field of the psychology of testimony .

Thanks to the lawyer Riccardo Musatti for allowing us to travel with him in his memories and in his life.

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