'Story of failed escape' told by Mussolini’s $6,325 uniform and suitcase



2015-06-26 12:34:06

'Story of failed escape' told by Mussolinis $6,325 uniform and suitcase

The Italian dictators change-of-clothes reveal the desperate movements of Il Duces last days

In April 1945 Benito Mussolini's world was collapsing.

With the Allied forces striking deeper into Italy, the Italian dictator, along with his mistress Clara Petacci, made a desperate attempt to flee the enemy and the Italian partisans.

With a German greatcoat over his military uniform and carrying a suitcase containing a change of clothes, Mussolini and Clara joined a retreating German convoy in a bid to make it to neutral Switzerland and a potential plane to Spain.

But Mussolini was recognised by the partisans at a checkpoint in northern Italy. A day later both he and Petacci were shot dead. Mussolini's body was hung from the roof of a Milanese petrol station as a warning to other fascists not to continue the fight.

Mussolini's suit and case Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petaccis spare outfits

Further insight into the compelling story of Mussolini's last days has now come to light with the auction of his escape suitcase and its contents.

A spare grey military uniform, with its entire insignia removed by the partisans, a khaki Italian military shirt and Petacci's rust-coloured wool dress sold for $6,325 at a Heritage Auctions sale in Dallas on September 18.

The collectible items of world war two history were consigned by the family of Paul Moriconi.

Moriconi had been the personal secretary to Charles Poletti, a commissioner for the Allied military government in Milan. Upon receiving the suitcase from the partisans, Poletti asked Moriconi, who died last year, to dispose of the items.

Instead, Moriconi sent the suitcase to his mother in the US for safekeeping.

In later years Moriconi was often coaxed into donning Mussolini's outfit, once even wearing it to a Halloween party in the 1950s.

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