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A small piece of Italian History on a German Leaflet!

Article about: Hi all, here’s a small piece of Italian History; it’s one of the original leaflets that were found in all Regio Esercito’s,Marina’a and Aereonautica’s barracks,

  1. #1

    Default A small piece of Italian History on a German Leaflet!

    Hi all,
    here’s a small piece of Italian History; it’s one of the original leaflets that were found in all Regio Esercito’s,Marina’a and Aereonautica’s barracks, offices and Commands immediately after the September 8th 1943 Armistice.It “invites” al the “interested parties”,i.e soldiers and officers of every branch to gather with weapons and equipment to this or that Caserma at the disposal of the occupying German Forces.In case of refusal….make a quick Google search for “Cefalonia Massacree”!
    My late father went to his Command in Rome, kindly replied “Thanks but..no thanks!”,was brought to the station the very next day,understood that the next stop would have been the last,i.e. Germany or Austria,left his backpack on the ground,crawled under the train and sneaked out of the station…and after a few months odyssey joined the USAAF with the older of his two brothers-he didn’t like to talk about that often but when he did…MASH wasn’t that far from truth-…while another-a tanker-didn’t even take this flyer into consideration,“stole” his own staff car and drove straight southwards until he reached the Canadians who at first rightly looked at him very suspiciously only to be reassured by a certain person that he was “clean”.After a while he was wearing a new uniform and fought his way with the Royal Canadian Dragoons back to Venezia,nearly loosing one eye when his armored car hit a mine somewhere near the Gothic Line.The driver-a young unexperienced boy-died when he jumped out of the damaged vehicle only to land straight onto a German Anti-Personnel mine!!
    This leaflet has been nonchallantly recycled by the Germans one year and three months later and on its back Major Hupfer of the Cuneo Platz Kommandantur asks the Italian Engineers to build a wood stand for an electric saw!!!
    Cheers
    Manny
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: A small piece of Italian History on a German Leaflet!

    Interesting document, thanks for sharing.
    The betrayal and escape of the King of Italy started one of the darkest periods of Italy. It also started the civil war,where italian fought against italians.
    That said, to take as an example the Cefalonia massacre is a bit too extreme.The case is still not clear and there are serious responsabilities of the italian officers there.
    Those who did not want to join the RSI were simply disarmed and sent to Germany to work. That happened to one of the brothers of my grandmom too.
    You can imagine, if you ever served in the Armed Forces, the chaos generated by the sudden change of front: your ally becomes your enemy and your enemy your ally. Many young men did not like Mussolini or the Germans, but chose to fight on the same side till the end to save their and their country honour. I met and interviewed quite a few in the years and none of them was a fanatic. They simply did not want to "badogliate".
    PS - By the way the 2nd paper has no relation with the armstice leaflet.
    Regards

    Matt

  4. #3

    Default Re: A small piece of Italian History on a German Leaflet!

    Hi Zeller,
    thank you for commenting ! You sure know about Italian history but let me tell you...what did happen in Cefalonia was nothing but a massacree and almost ALL the Italian Officers were murdered there!
    Those who refused to adere to the RSI,which was founded three weeks later (September 23th 1943),while these leaflets were printed even BEFORE september 8th,weren't "simply" sent to Germany to work as nothing had happened...they were employed as forced labourers and treated as the rest of their inmates...many of them ended in Dachau (which I visited last December) where they worked in the nearby facilities.
    I'm a Germanophyle,mind you,and do put myself in the shoes of the Germans and understand their feeling,but life hasn't been easy for the ones who refused to either join the RSI or to be of help in a way or the other to the Germans.
    To better understand the feeling of the Italians you'd either be grown in an Italian family or have lived in Italy for a long time;for example,my mom has found herself on the receiving end of an MG but had her life (and many other's) saved when three young soldiers told the German officer commanding the platoon-who was about to retaliate for the killing of several German soldiers-that they had their lives saved two days before by a man who gave them shelter for the night,telling them that they woldn't have never reached their company in the nearby village,due to the fact that the woods they had to cross were full of partisans...that man was my grand-uncle,who gallantly fought as an Ardito (Italian Stosstrupp) during the Great War.My mom has never talked in hanger against the Germans,on the contrary even as a young girl understood that she had been brought in the middle of the town's square because of the partisans...who shot from a distance and left the civilian pay for their actions!She fondly remembers the days she and her friends spent together with the HJ when they came to her hometown but even after all these years she doesn't want to talk about "that" King,better avoid the word"partigiano" with her (she's witnessed the cold-blood murder of a 12yo schoolmate on behalf of the "patriots" only because he was proud that his brother had finally managed to join the XaMAS) and as far as Mussolini is concerned...well...mixed feelings.
    The Italian civil war is a dirty,dark,long story and murders for personal reasons were at the order of the day and in many cases the involved parties couldn't care less if you were red or black!
    There's no second paper anyway...if you take the time to read all it'll be clear to you that the back of the SAME LEAFLET has been used for a more "mundane" thing!
    Cheers
    Manny
    Last edited by Canuck63; 06-06-2010 at 05:15 PM.

  5. #4

    Default Re: A small piece of Italian History on a German Leaflet!

    Quote by Zeller View Post
    You can imagine, if you ever served in the Armed Forces, the chaos generated by the sudden change of front: your ally becomes your enemy and your enemy your ally. Many young men did not like Mussolini or the Germans, but chose to fight on the same side till the end to save their and their country honour. I met and interviewed quite a few in the years and none of them was a fanatic. They simply did not want to "badogliate".
    To deviate on a happy note I confirm that what you say it's true...the chaos was total and I'll quote the dialogue on the phone from the movie "Tutti a casa" between Alberto Sordi playing the R.E. Officer and his Commander on the morning of September 10th 1943:
    AS:"An incredible thing it's happening,Sir!"
    Colonel:"What?"
    AS:"The Germans have opened up on my soldiers:they have betraied and now they fight alongside the Americans!"

  6. #5
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    Default Re: A small piece of Italian History on a German Leaflet!

    Quote by Canuck63 View Post
    Hi Zeller,
    thank you for commenting ! You sure know about Italian history but let me tell you...what did happen in Cefalonia was nothing but a massacree and almost ALL the Italian Officers were murdered there!
    Those who refused to adere to the RSI,which was founded three weeks later (September 23th 1943),while these leaflets were printed even BEFORE september 8th,weren't "simply" sent to Germany to work as nothing had happened...they were employed as forced labourers and treated as the rest of their inmates...many of them ended in Dachau (which I visited last December) where they worked in the nearby facilities.
    I'm a Germanophyle,mind you,and do put myself in the shoes of the Germans and understand their feeling,but life hasn't been easy for the ones who refused to either join the RSI or to be of help in a way or the other to the Germans.
    To better understand the feeling of the Italians you'd either be grown in an Italian family or have lived in Italy for a long time;for example,my mom has found herself on the receiving end of an MG but had her life (and many other's) saved when three young soldiers told the German officer commanding the platoon-who was about to retaliate for the killing of several German soldiers-that they had their lives saved two days before by a man who gave them shelter for the night,telling them that they woldn't have never reached their company in the nearby village,due to the fact that the woods they had to cross were full of partisans...that man was my grand-uncle,who gallantly fought as an Ardito (Italian Stosstrupp) during the Great War.My mom has never talked in hanger against the Germans,on the contrary even as a young girl understood that she had been brought in the middle of the town's square because of the partisans...who shot from a distance and left the civilian pay for their actions!She fondly remembers the days she and her friends spent together with the HJ when they came to her hometown but even after all these years she doesn't want to talk about "that" King,better avoid the word"partigiano" with her (she's witnessed the cold-blood murder of a 12yo schoolmate on behalf of the "patriots" only because he was proud that his brother had finally managed to join the XaMAS) and Mussolini...well...mixed feelings.
    The Italian civil war is a dirty,dark,long story and murders for personal reasons were at the order of the day and in many cases the involved parties couldn't care less if you were red or black!
    There's no second paper anyway...if you take the time to read all it'll be clear to you that the back of the SAME LEAFLET has been used for a more "mundane" thing!
    Cheers
    Manny
    Hello Manny,
    thanks for your reply.
    Indeed at cefalonia there was a massacre of innocent soldiers, but I am pretty sure you have read and studied all the dark aspects of the matter. Some italian officers actually opened fire against the germans causing the reprisal.

    I am well aware that many italian soldiers were sent as labour force also in Dachau: as I mentioned before, the brother of my grandmom was one of them. Due to his home city history, he spoke german fluently and worked as a secretary/translator and although he returned skinny as a ghost, he said he was never ill-treated. Only once when he tried to help one jewish inmate he was beaten by a guard.
    To complete your thought, life wasn't easy either for those joining RSI or working in Italy under the Todt. The germans no longer (or maybe never) trusted the italians and the italians hated them too.
    To sum up the feelings of the italians yesterday and today would be impossible here: everybody suffered but also lived different experiences. My grandmom couldn't stand the partisans either: her husband was in Yugoslavia with the Army and she had 2 babies. Her family owned a restaurant and by night the partisans came to steal anything they could and get drunk.Once they almost killed my uncle shooting by mistake while drunk on the ceiling.
    On the contrary she told me that the germans also took everything, but also pay for that until the last cent.
    Stories...

    By the way, your document is very interesting and I didn't notice it was reutilised!

    PS - I do understand the italian feelings...because I am italian
    Regards

    Matt

  7. #6

    Default Re: A small piece of Italian History on a German Leaflet!

    Hi Matt,
    we're probably saying the very same thing then !If you search on You-Tube for "Alberto Sordi Tutti a Casa" you'll find that memorable duet between Alberto and the Colonel...it's funny but 100% true...there was a total chaos and what's more sad is that many units were disbanded and didn't know about the Armistice and when they first came aware of it they thought that the War was finally over...and wrong they were!
    As far as Cefalonia and Rome and Tuscany and Umbria and XXX are concerned the order given to the officers was to resist and to return the fire in case the Germans had shot first...that's what happened and you know that better than me!1300 Italians died during the fightings but more than 6000,including the garrison's Commander Gen. Gandin were executed after their surrender!
    I'm glad your relative came back from Dachau and I'm glad that he wasn't treated fairly...do you know where he worked there?The uncle of a friend was in another camp where he peeled potatoes and cabbages all day long...he too was treated well excepting that time when he cheered seeing the low pass of two American Fighters he's 90 but still recalls the kick in the a@@ that he got from a young soldier...he couldn't sit for a week!
    Cheers
    Manny

  8. #7
    ?

    Default Re: A small piece of Italian History on a German Leaflet!

    Hi Manny,
    unfortunately I don't have many details on his stay in Dachau. He passed away about 10 years ago and he was a sailor. He had alot of depression problems when he came back and had to go under electro-shock sessions too. Very sad.
    His depression didn't come from Dachau but from a war incident : he was a crew member of a submarine, and after they sailed from a sicilian hub he suddenly felt so bad that the commander decided to go back to hospitalize him.
    When the submarine left the harbour was attacked and sunk. All his mates were killed and he felt it was his fault.He never overcome that incident.
    Regards

    Matt

  9. #8

    Default Re: A small piece of Italian History on a German Leaflet!

    Quote by Zeller View Post
    Hi Manny,
    unfortunately I don't have many details on his stay in Dachau. He passed away about 10 years ago and he was a sailor. He had alot of depression problems when he came back and had to go under electro-shock sessions too. Very sad.
    His depression didn't come from Dachau but from a war incident : he was a crew member of a submarine, and after they sailed from a sicilian hub he suddenly felt so bad that the commander decided to go back to hospitalize him.
    When the submarine left the harbour was attacked and sunk. All his mates were killed and he felt it was his fault.He never overcome that incident.
    That's a sad story...the so called "survivor syndrome" is terrible,even more so if you feel that what it's happened is your fault!It's really sad Matt,but I hope he's met his mates and that they have told him that what has happened was only fate and not his fault...and that now they're all resting in peace!
    A few moments ago I've talked to my mom and she told me that the man that saved the three German soldiers on that day wasn't his uncle (that was another similar story and I've had the two of them mixed up) but an old peasant that when saw three young boys going straight towards a certain death stopped them and in a way or another explained what could have been of them and offered shelter for the night at the risk of his very life!I had to post this because if I hadn't I'd been unfair towards a man that with his generosity saved three boys....and by doing that the lives of many others as well...a small miracle perhaps?
    I know how many of the "partisans" behaved,especially the reds...one of the mottos of the ones "fighting" in this part of Northern Italy was "Rich houses=no mercy!".In one occasion they even wanted to kidnap my uncle and held him for ransom,a lady who worked for my mother's family by chance heard a conversation between two men and warned my grandmother who told the story to my grand uncle...he accompanied the little kid through the territory held by the "partisans" and when they reached the area still in German hands my uncle told him that now he was safe and to hurry home at A...he walked for 20 kilometers and nobody did him any harm..he recalls German soldiers telling him in a broken Italian to go home, to be careful or to hit the ground if he heard an aircraft approaching!
    The memories of kids and young boys are more receptive to the real faces and facets of good and bad IMO...my mom has been strafed several times by Allied fighters,found herself in a hairy situation such as a reprisal,her city has been bombed many times since it was a very small,yet important railway station,lost many friends due to those bombings and reprisals on both sides (not bad for a 10-15yo girl) yet she always says that the people which showed less mercy weren't the Germans.Who knows...people living in that area were fortunate enough that there were only Kustenartillerie,Wehrmacht and Org Todt units and little or no WSS activity (although there were several Police Units) or else I think that things may have took another course..
    Cheers
    Manny
    P.S.; the "partisans" that murdered the little Nello also murdered his whole family...and all lived in the same hamlet but there's a thing called Nemesis,for many of the family members of those gangsters died badly after the War!
    Last edited by Canuck63; 06-06-2010 at 08:09 PM.

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