As we have seen earlier, Father Zanini denied that the priests in the region of Monte Sole who died in the massacre, supported the partisans. He described them as cohabiting alongside the partisans but not collaborating with them. The official account reports that Father Fornasini, the parish priest of San Martino in the Monte Sole region, was close to the partisans. He died in 1944 so we can no longer test the veracity of either claim. What is known is that he helped some of his parishoners to escape and later admitted his role when confronted by an SS Officer who then shot him. Interestingly, both Father Fornasini and Mario Musolesi, the leader of the partisans, were posthumously awarded Gold Medals for Military Courage. The citation on Father Fornasini’s Medal is reproduced below. In 1998 the lengthy canonical process of beatification of Father Fornasini and two other priests began.
From the presentation of the Gold Medal for Military Courage awardxed posthumousdly to Father Giovanni Fornasini, (killed by the Nazis in San Martino on the 13th october 1944). Marzabotto 1949:
(..) In his parish, where all the able adult males were on the mountains fighting for freedom of the fatherland, he was a shining example of christian charity. (..) He encouraged all to a heroic resistance. After being arrested and miraculously escaping death, he took up again his place of priest and soldier. (..)