The next photo is of my great grandmother Maria, or Nonna Maria who so lovingly raised my mother. She was 90 in this picture which was taken in March of 1942, just before my mother would be taken away to Labor Camp.
And the photo that is left is my mother and her older brother John. They were close because I think John was in Italy alot, although my mother was close to all her siblings. Just as life moves on so must this story, so here goes. When mom was little, Italy had a King and Queen. Then came Mussolini which many Italians felt that he did a lot of good for the country until he got involved with Hitler. Check out your history!! He did a lot to improve the infrastructure of Italy and people felt he was improving the country and their lives. As we know Europe was involved in the war long before America got involved.
Germany was taking over countries and working its way through all of Europe. Germany and Italy had signed the Pact of Steel, thus making Italy partners with Germany. Much of the information I now give you was researched by my wonderful sister-in-law, Lydia, who came down and interviewed mom and wrote a paper on La Resistenza. Mama turned 15 in 1940 and at this point the Germans were present in Italy, trying to use the resources they had to further the war effort. Mom was approached by the Partigiani, the underground, to help them with translating messages. She did not fully understand the danger or risk she would be taking at first, but she continued with it because of her love of Italy and their love for the people they were helping. So my mother had a code name, V14. Mama would translate communications that would enable the Partigiani to rescue and regroup allied soldiers or get others to safe havens such as Jews, Italian or German soldiers who were facing persecution. Everything was done in secrecy so mom kept her full time job which was working at a bank during the week. It seems funny that someone would be working full time at 15! and put there life at risk on the weekend to help others! On weekends she would ride her bike 13 kilometers north to her uncle's house, stash her bike and be picked up by someone, often in a German jeep, once even wearing a German uniform. Because there were many civilians working for the Germans no one ever questioned it. They would drive far into the mountains then travel by foot until they reached a cave. This is where their communication equipment was hidden. There she would work until returning home Sunday night after dark. Her work involved providing communications regarding times and places that were arranged to enable her group to secretly handoff anyone needing help to the next group along the way. Although mama was not directly involved in the movement of people there were two occasions where she did assist getting help from the Partigiani.
|Mama around the age of 15 or 16. Isn't she beautiful|