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The resistance


Return from the war
Renato Dulbecco Scientist
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Only 20% of the people in my division returned, the others went there and I was lucky because, in fact, being a doctor I was already in a privileged position, but I was also lucky because, right in the middle of these tremendous battles with air raids and bombings... I don't know, then everything was icy. I remember that I was out, I don't know, to go and do my business and a bomb fell close by and it threw me to the ground, I dislocated my shoulder and it was also probably a stroke of luck as with my shoulder like this my colleague said to me, 'I'll have to send you to hospital' and so I went and that was the end of my participation...

[Q] Military career...

... of my military participation in hospital. Then I went...

[Q] But you stayed in hospital there?

I stayed for about a month and then they decided that and my health condition was deteriorating, etc. that they didn't need people anymore. The Italian component, that which remained, were being sent home and so they sent me home. And then I returned to Imperia and for several months I was in a situation of... I was on leave for medical reasons. Then after six months this expired and that is when I decided I would not return there. So I decided to go and stay in a small village in Piedmont, which is called Sommariva Perno, because some relatives had a farm there and they knew people, you see and so I set myself up there with my wife and children.

[Q] How many children? Did you have two?

Two, I had two.

[Q] You had Pietro, who was the first, and then? And Maria.

Di questa... di questa divisione a cui io partecipavo, solo il 20% è ritornato, gli altri sono andati lì e io sono stato fortunato perché, insomma, essendo medico ero già in una posizione privilegiata, ma sono stato anche fortunato perché, proprio durante queste tremende... tremende battaglie con bombardamenti aerei, bombardamenti... non so, poi tutto ghiaccio. Mi ricordo che ero uscito, non so, per andare magari a fare i miei bisogni ed è arrivata una bomba proprio nelle vicinanze, mi ha schiantato a terra, mi sono lussato la spalla e probabilmente è stata anche una piccola fortuna e così ero con la spalla così e il mio collega dice, 'Non c'è niente da fare, devo pur mandarti in ospedale' e così sono andato e quella è stata la fine della mia partecipazione...

[Q] Carriera militare.

... della partecipazione militare in ospedale. Poi sono andato...

[Q] Ma sei rimasto in ospedale lì?

Sono rimasto per circa un mese e poi hanno deciso che... e le mie condizioni di salute erano deteriorate, ecc, che non avevano più bisogno di gente. Il componente italiano, quello che rimaneva, lo stavano mandando a casa e allora mi han mandato a casa. E lì poi sono ritornato a Imperia e per parecchi mesi ero in una situazione di... ero in licenza per ragioni di salute insomma. Poi dopo sei mesi quella scadeva e allora è quando ho deciso Non ritorno lì. Allora ho deciso di andarmene a stare in un piccolo villaggio del Piemonte, che si chiama Sommariva Perno, perché alcuni parenti avevano lì una tenuta e allora conoscevano gente, capisci e allora sono andato lì e mi sono stabilito lì con mia moglie e i figli.

[Q] Quanti figli? Ne avevi due?

Due, ne avevo due.

[Q] Avevi Pietro, che era il primo, e poi? E Maria.

The Italian biologist Renato Dulbecco (1914-2012) had early success isolating a mutant of the polio virus which was used to create a life-saving vaccine. Later in his career, he initiated the Human Genome Project and was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1975 for furthering our understanding of cancer caused by viruses.

Listeners: Paola De Paoli Marchetti

Paola De Paoli Marchetti is a science journalist who graduated with an honours degree in foreign languages and literature from the University Ca’Foscari, Venice. She has been a science journalist since the 1960s and has been on the staff of the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore since 1970. She was elected president of UGIS (Italian Association of Science Journalists) in 1984. She has been a Member of the Board of EUSJA (European Union of Science Journalists’ Associations, Strasbourg), and was its president in 1987-1988 and 1998-2000. In May 2000 she was unanimously elected president emeritus. She was a member of the National Council of Italian Journalists (1992-1998). From 2002 to 2004 she was member of the working group for scientific communication of the National Committee for Biotechnology. She has also been a consultant at the Italian Ministry of Research and Technology and editor-in-chief of the publication MRST, policy of science and technology. She has co-authored many publications in the field of scientific information, including Le biotecnologie in Italia, Le piste della ricerca and Luna vent’anni dopo.

Tags: Imperia

Duration: 2 minutes, 32 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008