Warrior Warriors: the woman who saved the heritage of the National Library

by Laura d'Avossa

Perhaps a curious twist of fate would have it that the name Warrior Warriors was destined to embody one of the most combative women in Neapolitan history, engaged in the battle to defend a precious heritage of books from the fire of the Second World War.
His was a war fought in the silence of the dust, in the secret of mysterious transports that went from the gulf to the hinterland, to save that priceless treasure.

Warrior Warriors
A portrait of Warrior Warriors

Who was Warrior Warriors?

Warrior graduates with full marks fromuniversity of Naples in classical literature and becomes a teacher, but decides to give up her profession, when she is entrusted with the task of tidying up the library of the Royal Palace of Capodimonte. Fascinated by being surrounded by those volumes studied in her youth and others still unknown, perhaps for this reason even more attractive, she decides to dedicate her life to I work in the library.

Soon it becomes like this director of the National Library of Naples, the largest in Italy after Rome and Florence. But we are in the years of Second World War and Naples undergoes the bombings that are gradually destroying the entire city, demolishing monuments and sweeping away works of art.
Considered the imminent danger that the city was experiencing, between '43 and '45 Warrior decides to collect the rarest texts and with only the weapons of wit and boundless love for those works, he chooses the safest places and personally accompanies the trucks in transport. Many times refuses to sell that estate to the Nazis or allies and carefully hides the valuables papyri of Herculaneum in 75 cases in a special "crypt"On the ground floor of the structure.
Meanwhile the bombings continue and on 4 August 1943 the library was hit in full, but its halls are now empty.

Warrior Warriors: the woman who saved the heritage of the National Library

An act of heroism

Without the courageous commitment of Guerriera Guerrieri, one of the greatest Italian book herds would probably have disappeared.
These are the words that Benedetto Croce he dedicates them in his sixteen letters:
"[…] If I now think that all the patrimony of government libraries is saved for the love and devotion of Signora Guerrieri, my soul fills with gratitude."
The woman accompanies her work to the writing of a diary which will become a remarkable testimony of her work. Night after night, he notes his thoughts and worries, until he draws the last page, when his calmed soul can finally sigh and look to the glorious future of the library:
"Slowly the life of the Library has approached normalcy, but there is still a lot to do. [...]
The return to a working habit that was broken is particularly pleasant now. [...]
We are going with new care to complete collections, to fill gaps, to make the Library more useful and welcoming to the scholar.
And that the past storm is nothing but a bitter memory, like a sick person who comes back to life and this more appreciates and more promptly protects.

Laura d'Avossa


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