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BBC Radio 4 series on Italian Armistice

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Post by Perlasca on Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:03 pm

Bit of a hobby-horse of mine.  Glad to see someone is marking it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b038zcqh 

We will be participating in Freedom Trails at the beginning of September.  They centre on the former PoW camp at Servigliano.  Can send more info to anyone interested.

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Post by ghiro on Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:08 pm

Good info Perlasca.  Thank you Smile 

Often, when I look at the Apennines to the north of us overlooking Pontremoli, I think of Eric Newby climbing to the top and viewing La Spezia in the far distance.
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Post by Gala Placidia on Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:27 am

THanks for the information, Perlasca. It is important to remember those times. I'm pretty sure that you have seen this, but others -who can read Italian - may be interested, as it is full of information: Prisoners of war in Italy
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Post by Perlasca on Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:25 am

Thanks Gaia.  There's also this site http://camp59survivors.wordpress.com/

Dennis Hill's father was an American POW at Servigliano and this site is part of Dennis' ongoing research.  He and I are trying to get more media interest in what is a unique story.   I reckon Italian Americans (Danny de Vito?? Robert de Niro?? - I like to aim high Smile ) should pick this up as an antidote to endless Mafia stereotypes on American TV.

I've written a treatment if anyone knows anybody......

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Post by Gala Placidia on Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:52 am

You are right, the Americans should be more interested in these events. There has been Spike Lee's film, but not much. As you rightly say, they concentrate on the Maffia and forget about the rest... I may have a good contact for you in San Francisco, a screenwriter and movie director of Italian ancestry who is a good friend of one of my daughters. I shall send you a PM.
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Post by la alma on Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:03 pm

Thankyou for the info Perlasca. I immediately set the recorder for the 2 programmes.

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Post by Neil D on Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:01 pm

I was in Italy on September 8 and, as a former history teacher, wondered how the Armistice's 70th anniversary would be commemorated.  Unsurprisingly, it passed off very quietly and I could find very few articles in any newspapers.  I do remember one long article in 'Il Tempo', I think.  Italians have an uncomfortable relationship with the Second World War and the abject collapse of the Italian army after the surrender is not something they like to dwell on.
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Post by Gala Placidia on Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:49 pm

On the other hand, I was also there in September and there were quite a few ceremonies taking place in Bagni di Lucca and Borgo a Mozzano. The one on the Ponte della Maddalena was very impressive, with a band, people in uniforms, children wearing great-grandfather medals... But then, there are still remnants of the Gothic Line in the area. I guess it all depends on the area an hat they went through at the time. Which, in general, was pretty awful and daunting.
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Post by ghiro on Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:44 pm

Neil D wrote:I was in Italy on September 8 and, as a former history teacher, wondered how the Armistice's 70th anniversary would be commemorated.  Unsurprisingly, it passed off very quietly and I could find very few articles in any newspapers.  I do remember one long article in 'Il Tempo', I think.  Italians have an uncomfortable relationship with the Second World War and the abject collapse of the Italian army after the surrender is not something they like to dwell on.
As I understand it the Armistice was actually signed on 3 September 1943 - but not announced until the 8th.  So exactly when, if you want to, should it be celebrated?

Liberation Day, on 25 April, is a national holiday in Italy and celebrates the end of the war in Italy 2 years later.  IMHO this is a much more significant and relevant celebration.
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Post by Gala Placidia on Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:37 am

I agree with ghiro and I would add that in any town or village you will find plenty of inscritions (plaques, monuments) saying that in those spots Italians were killed because they opposed Fascism. Yes, WW2 is remembered and I would not qualify the surrender of the Italian army as "abject". Most of them were there forced by circumstances and without any desire to fight.
P.S. I would strongly recommend to watch the award winning film "Mediterraneo" to better understand the Italian side of the conflict Mediterraneo synopsis Besides, it is a wonderful film which I keep on watching regularly. A true delight!
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Post by Neil D on Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:06 am

Gala Placidia wrote:I would not qualify the surrender of the Italian army as "abject".
I didn't say the surrender or Armistice was abject.  I said the collapse of the Italian army after the Armistice was abject.  700,000 Italian troops allowed themselves to be disarmed by the Germans.  600,000 were promptly shipped off to labour camps in Germany.  The chief responsibility for this lies with Italian High Command and the King who gave no clear orders on how the Italian military should conduct itself after the surrender and were only interested in their self-preservation. The Germans seized their opportunity.  I can only think that 'abject' does indeed describe this deplorable derelection of duty.
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