Today’s Illustration: A Full Life Ahead Of Him, But He Gives It For Others

Who:  Salvo D’Acquisto

1920 — Born in Naples, Italy
Oldest of eight children
Joined the Italian military and served in Libya during WWII
1939  joined the Carabinieri (an Italian police corps) [1]
1942 — Military Vice-sergeant “assigned to an outpost in Torrimpietra, not far from Rome.” [2]
Died September 23, 1943 — Age 22

When: September 22, 1942

What: An explosion at an abandoned munition building killed two German soldiers and wounded others.

The Story:

The commander of the German detachment blamed the death on “unnamed locals” and demanded the cooperation of the local Carabinieri post, at the moment under D’Acquisto’s temporary command. The next morning, D’Acquisto, having gathered some information, tried in vain to explain that the deaths were an accident, but the Germans insisted on their version of events and demanded reprisals, according to a standing order issued by Feldmarschall Kesselring a few days before.

On 23 September, the Germans conducted searches and arrested 22 local residents. An armed squad took D’Acquisto by force from the station to the Torre di Palidoro, an ancient watchtower, where the prisoners were gathered. Under interrogation, all of the civilians said that they were innocent. When the Germans again demanded the names of the responsible persons, D’Acquisto replied that there were none – the explosion was accidental. The Germans ridiculed, insulted, and beat him, and tore his uniform.

Suddenly, the prisoners were handed shovels and forced to dig a mass grave for their own burial after execution. The digging went on for some time; when it was completed, it was obvious the Germans meant to carry out their threat. D’Acquisto then “confessed” to the alleged crime, declared that he alone was responsible for the “murder” and that the civilians were innocent, and demanded that they be released right away. One of those freed, 17- or 18-year-old Angelo Amadio, witnessed the execution by firing squad. D’Acquisto was 22. [1]


An explosion took place Sept. 22 when the SS were inspecting boxes of abandoned weapons; one was killed, and two more were wounded.

The German commander blamed the explosion on local Italians, and rounded up at random 22 locals the next day, demanding the assistance of the Carabinieri.

All of the arrested declared they were innocent. Asked to name of those in charge of the explosion, D’Acquisto reiterated that there could not be anyone responsible, because the explosion was accidental, and so all the local residents had to be considered innocent.

Wanda Baglioni, an eyewitness to the incident, explained that the Germans separated D’Acquisto from the arrested while these latter were under interrogation, and “even though he had been beaten up and sometimes even beaten by his guards, he kept a calm and dignified countenance.”

After the interrogation, the arrested people and D’Acquisto were transferred outside of the town and were given spades with which to dig a common grave in the vicinity of the Tower of Palidoro.

They were all to be executed by firing squad for the explosion which had killed a German soldier.

Angelo Amodio, one of those who were arrested, has said that “at the very last moment, against all odds, we were all released, with the exception of Salvo D’Acquisto.”

“We were already resigned to our destiny when D’Acquisto talked with a German official through an interpreter. We do not know what D’Acquisto said.”

D’Acquisto had  “confessed” to causing the explosion, saving the lives of the 22 others.

Amodio saw D’Acquisto shot, and heard him yell “Viva l’Italia!” before his corpse fell to the ground. [2]

Key Illustrative Thoughts:

  • sacrifice
  • life / death
  • war
  • salvation
  • the gospel
  • love
  • Calvary
  • self-sacrifice
  • innocent
  • guilty


Sermonic Example:

Sermon Clip Using This Illustration By Pastor Willy Rice, Calvary Church, Clearwater, Florida – 10-9-2022

LINK: If you would like to hear the full message.  It is well worth your time since Pastor Willy Rice is an outstanding Bible teacher and preacher!




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