[sixties-l] WW II, Vietnam, & War Crime

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 08:28:35 CUT

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    This reminds me of a sobering experience I had in Rome in 1966 while
    photographing on the outskirts of one of the city's poorer quarters. A
    man approached me and asked where I was from. When I responded, he
    broke into a smile and repeated to me the few words he had learned in
    English following the liberation of the city 22 years before and whose
    meaning he had surely forgotten: "Hey, Joe," he said to me, smiling as
    if to assure my approval, "do you want to buy my sister?" As I stood
    there shuddering, waiting for him to stop, wanting to be anyplace but
    there, he uttered a few more questions of a similar nature. When he
    finally finished I forced a smile, said goodbye, and tried,
    unsuccessfully, to enjoy what was left of the afternoon. It wasn't, of
    course, that I was unaware of what happened when the Yanks came in, I
    just wasn't prepared to experience it so graphically.

    For a vivid description of that period, I recommend Skin, by Curzio

    Jeffrey Blankfort

    > Date: Thu Jun 22 12:56:44 2000
    > From: Sorrento95@AOL.COM
    > Subject: [sixties-l] WW II, Vietnam, & War Crime
    > To make the point, I'll tell a story about my
    > father, a warrant officer and radio specialist
    > in the 753rd Tank Battalion, which participated
    > in the invasion of Sicily, the Anzio campaign,
    > and the invasion of southern France. Amidst
    > the confusion, when Allied planes were strafing
    > their own positions, he recalls grabbing
    > a shovel and digging in for dear life on the
    > Sicilian beach.
    > Sicilian "mafiosi," who had earlier been
    > driven underground by the Mussolini government,
    > assisted the Allied commanders in their
    > successful effort to drive the Germans off
    > of the island.
    > Later while in southern Italy my father had
    > the opportunity to visit the small village of
    > Corleto Monforte, province of Salerno, where
    > my mother's parents were born. He took
    > photos of her aunt and uncle and cousins.
    > Thirty-four years after his visit I made
    > a trip to Corleto, and took these photos
    > with me. I showed them to an old gent
    > from Corleto whom I met on the bus en route
    > to the village. His name was Giuseppe
    > Aurecchio, and he was delighted to know
    > that my father had been a GI, and recognized
    > every individual in the old photos.
    > I also met an old gent named Vito Bambino,
    > my grandfather's cousin. Later I obtained
    > a rental car for driving back to Battipaglia,
    > the nearest town with a train station. On
    > the way out of the village, I saw old Vito,
    > and he waved at me. I stopped to say good-bye,
    > but he wanted me to delay my departure and
    > have a drink with him. The reason? He
    > had learned that my father had been a GI
    > in Italy, and wanted to commemorate it.
    > You think the Italian peasants saw the GIs
    > as war criminals? Ask Vito! Ask Giuseppe
    > Aurecchio !
    > ~~ Michael Wright
    > Norman, Oklahoma

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