How Portofino was spared in 1945

A story of Portofino

Portofino during the second world war

There is a part of Portofino's history which was marked by a dark time. During the 30’s Portofino became one of the headquarter of the German's army, at that time allied with Italy. The commander in charge was Ernst Reimers.
In 1943 when Italy surrender and the allies arrived the Sicily, the north part of Italy was still occupied by the Germans. In 1944 Reimers took 40 prisoners from Genoa and killed them with the charge of betrayal. This atrocity was knew as the massacre of Portofino.
In 1945 as the Nazi’s army was pushed back by the allies from the south, the local commander received the order to destroy Portofino to block the natural harbour.
It was Jeanny Watts von Schwarzenstein, who sprang into action. She was a Scottish baroness, Widow of Alfons von Mumm a German business man and diplomatic who worked for the emperor William the second, during the 20’s. The couple had a house in Portofino and when Alfons died she decided to remain there alone. She was fluent in German and above all she was not scared to speak with commander Reimers.
She brought to mind the monster of this plan, she told him that this atrocity would return like a boomerang against his head.
Portofino was spared as the Germans retreated north. Jeanny Watts von Schwarzenstein was bury in the tiny cemetery of Portofino where she is still today.

 
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