“I found shelter and protection with Olga’s love. She saved my life…”, the Italian sergeant Ugo Donzelli, who survived in Corfu, after the German liquidation operations on the island that followed the massacre of Kefalonia, testifies in his notes in September 1943.

The story of Olga Bounia from Corfu and the Italian Ugo Donzelli became a book in Italy, in which his personal “salvation” story is recorded, everything he experienced in Corfu, as he himself noted in his diary.

Olga and Hugo married and had two daughters, Beatrice and Sylvana. On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the massacre in Kefalonia and Corfu, the eldest, Beatriki, spoke to APE-MBE about everything her parents experienced, the difficult days of the German occupation, their acquaintance, the anxiety and fear, the illegality, fleeing to Italy.

My father was drafted in July 1940 in the military engineering department and was placed in charge of the radio link that connected Bari with Kefalonia. On March 5, 1942, he arrived by plane in Corfu and together with a group of radio telegraphers, they settled on Pantokratoras mountain, in the village of Strinylas, where the communication telegraphs between Italy and Africa were placed. Five months later, they moved to the village of Visit because they judged it to be a better point for communications“, says Beatriki Donzeli and remembers her parents’ stories.

As she mentions, her father, together with the other Italian soldiers, also patrolled the villages in the area. This is how she met her mother, who lived in the authoritarian environment of her wealthy family, in the neighboring village, Agios Panteleimonas.

“THE my mother was 25 years old and my father 31. They fell in love. She saw him secretly, she was afraid of her family, she met him in the olive groves. Her father had a consul ready with a Corfinian of the same social standing. Their meetings were dominated by anxiety. The days passed and September 1943 came. The difficult days were ahead of hims”.

After the capitulation and the massacre that followed in Kefalonia, it was Corfu’s turn, where the 18th Regiment of the Akui Division was stationed. As he writes in the diary, Sergeant Hugo Dozzelli, together with the group of 10 soldiers, immediately looked for a way to escape to Italy. They found a boat in NW Corfu to escape from the Straits of Otranto in Italy. But, as he mentions, an order came not to leave their position, because the radio link between Italy, Kefalonia and Africa was important. So they returned to the village of Epischika, where they had set up radars and radios. A few days later, the Germans arrived in the village, occupied the place and ordered the sergeant and his team, the next day, to report to the German Administration, in the city of Corfu.

As Ugo Donzelli mentions in his diary, early in the morning the 11 Italian radio operators started for the city of Corfu. But in the middle of the route they thought it was a trap and the 5 returned to the area they knew and hid on the mountain in a cave.

My mother Olga’s help to my father was great“, says Mrs. Beatriki.

The 25-year-old girl found shelter for her partner at first, in the mountain village of Petalia.

So that no one from the house where he was hiding would betray him, my mother took care and bribed them with oil and food, which she took from her father’s,” he continues. The controls of the German patrols on the island, in order to locate Italian officers and soldiers, did not stop. Olga, who was worried about his life, with the help of her mother, initially led Ugo Donzeli from Petalia to her village, Agios Panteleimonas, and hid him in a small room of her mansion. He would not leave the small room. “In the village, even the stones had eyes“, says Mrs. Beatriki. He then took refuge in an old abandoned farmhouse until the end of the war.

In October 1944, Olga and Hugo got married in the city of Corfu and left for his homeland. Initially they stayed 7 months in Bari and when the Germans left Northern Italy they went to their native Cremona.


Μαζί τους έφυγε ακόμη ένας Ιταλός ασυρματιστής της ομάδα του, ο οποίος βρήκε καταφύγιο στο σπίτι μίας νεαρής κερκυραίας, την οποία στη συνέχεια παντρεύτηκε και έζησαν στο Μιλάνο.

Η Βεατρική Ντονζέλι θυμάται τη μητέρα της στην Κρεμόνα, να έχει φίλες δύο γυναίκες από την Κεφαλονιά, την Έλλη και την Μιχαλούλα, που είχαν παράλληλες προσωπικές ιστορίες.