The first academic year of peace after the Second World War was opened on November 12, 1945 in the presence of the head of government Ferruccio Parri who gave the University of Padua, unique among Italian universities, the gold medal
for military valour for its role in the Resistance.
“Secular asylum of science and peace, glorious and munificent hospice for those from all over Europe who flocked to learn the arts that make people civil, in the last terrible conflict the University of Padua knew, before all others, how to turn into a centre of conspiracy and war; neither did it know tiredness, nor did it bend from the fury of persecution and torture. From the inaugural solemnity of November 9, 1943, in which the Padua youth screamed its curse on the oppressors and launched the challenge, until the triumphant liberation of spring 1945, Padua had in its University a temple of civil faith and a garrison of heroic resistance and from Padua the partisan university youth offered Italy the largest and longest blood tribute», this is the reason why the University of Padova received the gold medal.
One of the pinnacles of the country’s commitment to freedom was declared in large letters in 1943, when the rector Concetto Marchesi invited the students and teachers to fight against fascism, pronouncing in the inaugural speech of the academic year what was defined “a declaration of war by the University of Padua to the oppressors of Italy”.
At Palazzo Bo a large stone stele bears the names of the 116 fallen university members in the fight against Nazi-fascism, of whom 107 are students like Lodovico Todesco and Primo Visentin, the latter portrayed in the sculpture of Arturo Martini “Palinuro“, at the foot of the Scalone del Sapere of Palazzo Bo. Among the “Paduan” protagonists of the Resistance, we remember Norberto Bobbio, Manara Valgimigli, Luigi Cosattini, Ernesto Laura, Enrico Opocher, Lanfranco and Paola Zancan, Otello Pighin, Ezio Franceschini and Egidio Meneghetti. In addition, the Justice and Freedom Brigade, named after Silvio Trentin, was born in the university.