20 Jun 2021

RANDOM Times •

To survive, you must tell stories…(“,)

May 14, 1983: the forgotten history of massacre of the Eros cinema in the suburbs of Milan, Italy

5 min read

Saturday, May 14, 1983: while about thirty spectators were watching the first half of the porn film “Lyla, profumo di femmina” (Lyla, scent of a female), two young people showed up at the Eros Sexy Center cinema in viale Monza 101, near the Rovereto metro stop, they bought tickets, entered the hall and sat in the back rows (after the subsequent arrests, the cinema cashier will recognize Marco Furlan and remember having sold him three tickets, one of the main elements in support of the thesis that Ludwig, the obscure Nazi-inspired organisation behind this story, were not just the two friends, but a small group).
However, no one paid any attention to the fact that they were carrying two duffel bags.
Inside the bags there were two petrol cans.
The Eros had not always been a porn cinema: behind it, it had a glorious past as a suburban cinema. It was called Abc, the first three letters of the alphabet and it had also ended up in a scene from the famous film “Miracle in Milan”. However, the crisis of the seventies led it, like many other cinemas, to enter the most flourishing hard core circuit.

In any case, at 5.45 pm the lights went out, and the second half of the film began.
The two spectators rose from their seats, opened their bags and spilled the contents of the cans on the floor of the hall. Then, as they pulled back the heavy velvet curtains to run away, they threw a lit match to the ground.
The fire that broke out was very violent.
All the spectators managed to escape using the emergency exits, some with their own legs, some carried in their arms by other spectators, before the roof collapsed.
However, numerous spectators and some rescuers had to be hospitalized, some from burns, some from smoke poisoning, and six of them died in the days following the fire.
The victims were five spectators of the porn film and Livio Ceresoli, a passer-by who had rushed into the hall to help but his injuries were so bad to finish off to kill him shortly after (the heroic doctor will receive the gold medal at valor civil).

A week after the fire, the Ansa of Milan received a leaflet claiming the attack with these words: “We claim the burning of cocks. A death squad executed men without honor, disrespectful of Ludwig’s law”.
The authors of the leaflet, in order not to be mistaken for mythomaniacs, cited details that until then had not been disclosed by the investigators: “to set the cinema on fire, a jerrycan and a plastic bin were used, whose handles were fixed respectively a sink chain and a Serflex brand metal band”.

The acronym that claimed the action – Ludwig – was well known by law enforcement because it had already claimed several murders committed in previous years.
Ten attacks in just under ten years.
From 25 August 1977, when they burned alive Guerrino Spinelli, a homeless man who slept in an abandoned car, until 4 March 1984, when they tried, unsuccessfully, to set fire to a disco.
In the middle, other brutal murders.
The victims are mostly marginalized as homosexuals, drug addicts and prostitutes, but also ordinary citizens who frequent red light cinemas or young lovers of Saturdays in the disco.
The murderous hand was particularly striking in the Veneto area and then it moved to neighboring areas, in Lombardy, but has struck also abroad, in Germany and in the Netherlands.
The “motive” that unites Ludwig’s crimes is a devastating moralizing fury: the hatred for the different, for those who, in a very sad view of the world, do not obey the rules of the most idiotic respectability.
A hatred that pushes Ludwig to strike even some friars, guilty of having sinned in his youth.
Even the modalities of the murders are brutal: with stabs, hammer blows, with the ax, with chisel points or with fire.

But who was actually Ludwig?
Ludwig has a diabolical characteristic: not only does it promptly claim its horrible crimes, but it also provides the investigators with the elements and circumstances, the proofs that only those who have killed can know.
In any case, on March 3, 1984, two young men who are trying to set fire to the Melamara disco in Castiglione delle Stiviere, Mantua, full of people to celebrate Carnival, were arrested.
From that moment Ludwig leaves the scene.
The two arrested were not normal boys, but belonged to the Venetian upper middle class.
Their names were Wolfgang Abel and Marco Furlan.
The first was a graduate in Mathematics and the son of a very wealthy German insurer while Furlan, graduating in Physics, was the son of a primary physician.
The investigators had no doubts: Ludwig is them.
Although, perhaps, not only them.
In prison Abel and Furlan denied everything and attempted suicide several times.
Then came the trial sentences: 27 years, but only for 15 of the 28 victims, those of the last five crimes.

Back to this story, after the attack, the cinema in Viale Monza 101 remained closed for nine years.
It reopens in 1993, with a new name and a new management, but still the same hardcore programming.
Then it closes definitively its doors and, today, at the same address there are apartments, a bar and an internet point.